Many newer video games these days have downloadable content that gets released after the game’s initial release date, sometimes even on the same day. Abbreviated as DLC, this content has caused quite a bit of debate since its invention and popularization about what exactly it’s doing to the world of video games. Some gamers say it’s ruining video games, whereas others say that it’s helping them. What’s the deal? Is downloadable content ruining the video game industry and making fewer and fewer consumers interested in playing the games or is it helping the games to stay relevant for a longer period of time? It could go both ways, depending on how you view the games and well, let’s be honest, what your level of dedication to video games is.
One of the things that people who are all for the inclusion of DLC say for their cause is that it obviously gives them more content. For people who are playing the new installment of a favorite series, or a game that they’re really interested in but that is a standalone without any other releases, more content is always welcome. If it’s a favorite company that produces lots of high-quality games, many gamers don’t mind giving them a few extra dollars here and there if it means they’ll get to keep experiencing the games they love. DLC, a lot of them argue, is helping to keep games relevant for long after their release dates, because sometimes it’ll be months down the road and content is still being released for the game which helps more people get interested the series which generates popularity and a higher demand for more games in the same series or by the same company.
DLC is never free. That alone is enough to put a lot of gamers off and make them think that the video game industry has become nothing but a series of poorly disguised money grabs. A big complaint with a lot of gamers is same-day DLC, meaning downloadable content that comes out on the same day that the game initially releases on. It leads many people to become convinced that it’s just a ploy to get more money or that they left the game in a semi-unfinished state and couldn’t bother to put the content in the game itself so they had to make it downloadable. Another complaint is not necessarily that the content itself isn’t free, but that it must be purchased one piece of DLC by another piece, leading to a lot of micro transactions that clog up a customer’s transaction list on their online banking or their paper billing statement. It’s a small nitpick, but it’s nonetheless something that annoys quite a few consumers.
The lines are drawn fairly evenly when it comes to arguments from gamers about the importance of downloadable content, with half claiming the concept is ruining the industry and the others clamoring for more for any number of reasons. Regardless of anyone’s opinions on the matter, it looks like downloadable content is here to stay. Whether it is truly a money grab on behalf of the companies or truly a well-meaning gesture to get more content out to consumers, video game companies don’t look like they intend to stop releasing it any time soon. It’s a mark of the digital age. Video games are no longer just a one-time purchase, they are a completely immersive experience that includes the game itself but also later story installments or additional costumes, depending on what type of game it is. Whether or not you choose to support the practice of downloadable content is fine! If you like it, buy it and if you don’t, stay away from it. Just know either way that the face of video games is changing right before our eyes.