Downloadable content, it’s always been a major talking point for us gamers. Is it right that developers charge us for extra content? Can it be justified if it’s a substantial addition to the game? It’s a debate that seemingly has no end. It seems so long ago before DLC became standard in video games, when you used to pay for the game and then, that was it, that’s the content you had.
Could the industry finally be shifting away from paid DLC though? Earlier today we reported that Titanfall 2′s entire DLC will be free, and it’s a model that more companies should follow.
I have a conflicted opinion when it comes to paid DLC. On one side, when the content is substantial, I don’t mind paying a bit extra for it. So, for example, the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim was worth the extra £15.00 or so when it was released. It gave us a brand new island to explore and an additional 10 hours or so of gameplay. The GTA IV additional content is another great example, The Lost and the Damned and The Ballard of Gay Tony were huge updates and deserved the extra money Rockstar charged.
What I cannot stand is when developers advertise DLC before the actual game is released! Batman: Arkham Knight did this when Rocksteady released a trailer for the Harley Quinn DLC, two months before the actual game was released. The whole point of DLC is that it is ADDITIONAL CONTENT, if a developer can show a trailer of the DLC before the game is released, then surely it should feature in the main release. The WWE 2K games do this every year as well with all gaming retailers trying to upsell you the Season Pass at the till.
This brings us nicely along to another negative point for paid DLC, season pass prices, which is making it very expensive for parents. Video games are more expensive than ever thanks to the quality we now get with them. Parents are spending huge amounts of money on games for their children, so as a result companies are targeting them.
Let’s take WWE 2K17 as an example. The game retailed for around £45.00, and the season pass was an additional £25.00 – £70.00 for a single game, which is a huge amount of money to spend. Now, of course, you don’t have to buy the Season Pass, you can just buy the DLC as and when it is released, but that generally will work out around £10-£15 more than the Season Pass price. Also, if we are talking about Season Pass prices, EA are the kings of the amount they charge. £40.00 is what they charge for their FPS releases, but then generally it is two years worth of content, so surely it’s justified? However, EA don’t announce what content is coming, just that there will be additional content.
So with Respawn Entertainment’s announcement that Titanfall 2′s entire DLC will be free, could it be time that developers stop charging for DLC, or at least give some content away for free? Titanfall 2 is the first triple A game in a long time that has chosen to ditch paid DLC model. Not only is it a great move for gamers, it’s also a great move for Respawn Entertainment as they are competing with two juggernauts in the first-person shooter genre, Call of Duty and Battlefield. Both of those releases will charge for their DLCs, so with Titanfall 2 choosing to opt out of charging, it could help give them an edge above Battlefield and COD.
Well, it has for me at least. I have been conflicted with which shooter to buy this year, and now with this announcement my money will be going towards Titanfall 2. The move is also guaranteed to generate positive publicity for Titanfall 2 and Respawn Entertainment, which can only be a good thing.
I don’t think anyone would have a problem paying for DLC that genuinely provided a lot of new content, missions, etc. such as Rockstar’s DLC for their games. However, the problem is with games such as Battlefield and Call of Duty holding back maps and weapons to include them as DLC. Not only that, but their DLC amounts to nothing more than some new maps and items which can collectively add up to more than the game itself. It looks like Titanfall 2‘s DLC plan only includes some new maps and modes, so it’s great to see them bucking the trend and offering them for free as they feel they should be included as part of the game, for everyone.
It’s a difficult subject, paid DLC. When the content is extensive, then surely developers deserve the money, but when DLCs are announced before the game is released, then why can’t it be in the finished release? It is also unfair to parents who feel obliged to buy their children all the content available for a game. Should developers stop charging? That’s not for me to say, but with Respawn Entertainment’s announcement, there could be some big changes on the horizon.