DLC – Supreme Evil or Kind Gesture?
Some is free. Some is paid. Which is more valuable?
With the announcement from Techland that there would be 10 free dlc drops over the next year for Dying Light, a 2 year old game, the time seemed right to explore the future of downloadable content (DLC) and how a few games have decided to handle the beast.
Dying Light is the the little game that could. It’s the spiritual successor to Dead Island, a game that really resonated with fans despite of its faults and put Techland on the map. Dying Light incorporated an immersive light/dark mechanic that made wandering the streets at night terrifying. Fans of the game have stuck with it for over 2 years now. In order to stay relevant, Techland is offering a year of free DLC to their fans. In a world of micro transactions, this is rarely seen.
While not completely outlined, Techland have announced that the DLC could even be shaped by fans of the game. You can contact them and let them know what you’d like to see in the game and, in time, you just may. This is a developer doing exactly what they should to bring make the game better for everyone and to keep it relevant.
Star Wars Battlefront 2
EA recently announced that Star Wars Battlefront 2 will have NO season pass. All content post launch will be free to anyone who owns the game. I personally found this to be a huge relief. As a huge Star Wars fan, I purchased the first entry in the series for both Xbox One and PS4. Having spent so much money on the game itself, I chose to only buy the season pass for one system – virtually making the game unplayable on the other. While the core game was still there, there were so many maps that I didn’t have available to me and eventually I just deleted the game from my system.
The biggest reason that I purchased the game for both systems was so that I could play with any friend that had the game regardless of console. While a nice thought, the season pass put the kibosh on that pretty quickly.
The season pass not only alienates people in my situation, but people who want to stay current yet can’t afford the season pass on top of the game. By abandoning the season pass model and giving the content away for free, EA is prolonging the life of the sequel and saving a little of the face that was lost after the release of Battlefront 1.
Hot on the heels of these announcements, id Software also announced that all multiplayer DLC for Doom would become free to anyone who owns the game. The 6.66 update will download all the multiplayer content to your system when you update the game. Whether they are doing this to boost sales of a dying game or thank their faithful for continuing to play the game, this is an incredibly smart decision.
While the single player campaign was praised by many as one of the best of the year, the multiplayer was considered lacking and never reached its full potential. This gives people a chance to see the improvements and new content id Software has added to the game and get people to try it that may have played the single player campaign and then dropped the game.
Sega has also announced there will be four free DLC drops for Yakuza Kiwami. Free items include outfits, consumable items and more. These items will be patched into the game and immediately available to the players with each update. To receive the items players must visit the clown (Bob Utsunomia) in order to obtain the free items. This is a fun take on the idea of free DLC, making it interactive for the players to receive.
On the other side of the fence lies Destiny 2. Destiny vanilla was desperately lacking in content, but through expansions and DLC the game eventually became very meaty and revered. In order to have all the content for the first Destiny, early adopters may have spent upwards of $200-$300.
Destiny 2 appears to be following this model. Right out of the gate Bungie and Activision have said that there will be content added they are currently working on and the game will continue to evolve the way the original did. The big questions become- Is any of this content currently finished? Are they holding it back from launch in order to nickel and dime players out of more money instead of giving all the created content up front? How much will Destiny 2 cost you to play if you intend on downloading all content when it becomes available?
While EA has clearly learned from their mistakes, Bungie and Activision seem poised to continue down the path they chose for Destiny 1. The only way this will sit well with consumers is if there is more meat and potatoes in the game than there was the first time around. If the content we receive on Day One demands a $60 price tag, then it will make the inevitable paid DLC easier to swallow.
Downloadable content doesn’t always need to be free to be worthwhile. A game that gives you a full $60 experience at launch can justifiably offer DLC for an additional cost and we will buy it, adding longevity to our beloved games. However, if a game is giving you a bare bones amount of content at launch expecting you to buy their DLC to complete the experience, this is not going to go over well with consumers. In an age where paid DLC has become the norm, it has been nice to see developers and publishers offering their fans some free content to either lure them back or simply say thank you!
Author: Phil Neyman
Philip is better at buying video games than he is at playing them. He was once told “it must suck to love something so much and be so terrible at it.” As a boy he would write terrible poems about himself and Ross Perot. He enjoys the best and worst of all forms of media, but nothing in the middle. Puyo Puyo Tetris has almost caused unreconcilable differences between him and his wife. He’s never had a hangover, but not from lack of trying.