Thursday, November 4, 2010

Downloadable content

Downloadable content (also known as DLC) is a somewhat new feature to find in many games these days.  It's much more common on console games for the xbox and ps3, but is also found on some pc games.  What is is is new content for a game that is downloaded after the fact, more often for an extra cost.  This can include new maps to play with online, new items for a character to use, or even more levels.  Some good examples of this are Mass effect 2 and Dragon age, both by Bioware.  Each game had multiple releases  of new content that you could purchase.  This content ranges from some new weapons, to new missions and even advancing the story beyond what the original game offered.  Some people find this to be a greedy opportunity by some game companies to cash in on the popularity of the franchise.  They claim that the developers could have made all of this available in the game from the start, and that they should not have to pay for it.  Others see it as small expansion sets for games and are willing to shell out the extra money that is required to continue the adventures of their favorite characters, or to have a small edge in a battle coming up.

A recently new part of DLC has risen recently, and that is the advent of exclusive content for buying a game.  A good example of this is Fable 3, and also Dragon Age again.  Depending on which store you bought the game from, you got different in game items, such as different armors, weapons or even small trinkets.  This has led to some game stores (most noticeably Gamestop) offering exclusive items for pre-ordering the games from their store.  This has angered a lot of players, as the items being offered end up being as good, or even better then anything else you can acquire in the game.  This forces players to get the games at gamestop, so that they can remain competitive and not fall behind their friends in terms of power in games.  Personally I don't mind a bit of DLC for games if the original game was robust enough to stand on it's own merits.  If I can play a game from start to finish and feel satisfied, then offering me new content to play through will only make the experience better.  If a game was not that enthralling to begin with, offering me new levels for more money is not going to make me want to play it anymore.   

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