DLC and destroying the defenses of the indefensible

The past week or two has had a fury of new articles on the DLC for EA’s Battlefield: Bad Company. If you already know the story then you can just skip to the next paragraph, for the uninitiated; buckle up! EA revealed during the beta that in BF:BA (not to be confused with BF:Heroes wich is the free game) upgraded weapons would require a purchase for each weapon. Some game sites around the net reacted violently calling for a boycott on the game in its entirety just to send a message to EA that paying for weapons is unacceptable when it is obviously a completed feature and is already on the disk. A few days ago EA came out and said they would no longer be forcing players to pay for the weapons and that they could unlock them by playing through the game(or by paying).

Now when the news was first announced that EA “changed it’s heart” it was pretty obvious that it wasn’t about customer service or giving the players what they wanted. It was entirly a monetary issue. But since the boycott forced the issue it, contrary to what certain gamers may think, is a BIG win for gamers, as it shows that we do have the power to decide how our games will be. It comes as no surprise that people on the internet would want to rain on the celebrations, but the number of people actually defending DLC is shocking. Alot of points used to defend DLC in gaming are just wrong.

If you don’t like it just don’t buy it.
Fair enough. And although this isn’t necessarly an argument for DLC it is just as bad since it still allows for DLC. Even if there are plunty of people who don’t buy it that won’t stop companies from witholding content just to provide it as DLC.

DLC is just like expansion packs, only you can buy just the parts you like.
No it isn’t. First off no game has yet to offer enough DLC to equal what is typically included in an expansion pack. Second, given the prices for DLC, an expansion pack worth would cost significantly more than an expansion pack. Additionally, many expansion packs signifigantly change the game: to the point that it is nearly a new game. Developers ussually start working on expansions after the launch of their title. DLC is sometimes available from launch. If something was ready at launch why isn’t it included at launch? Now sure it takes some time to make content but even if DLC going gold is instantly available and a game takes about a month to see release after it goes gold, that means that launch day DLC has only been worked on for 1 month maybe less. If it has been done in less than a month there is a fair question of quality, if they have been working on it longer than a month then why didn’t they just include it in the game? It has been proven that companies withold content from the game to use as DLC. Expansion packs have never been comprised of content witheld from the original game.

Making games is more expensive, HD graphics cost a ton, DLC is just a way to recoup costs.

BS! If DLC is to recoup costs the why are the HD games sold at a 10 dollar premium? Wasn’t that explained as a way to help developers recoup the cost of making games in HD? Besides, it isn’t like gaming is the only industry where cost are escalating, hollywood’s production costs are also rising. Yet hollywood mysteriously seems to be able to maintain, heck 90% of hollywood movies actually make money (of course they will use hollywood accounting to claim otherwise but that is a different story). The reason hollywood is able to enjoy such a success rate is because they have people who are very very good at looking at an idea and knowing it will make about X dollars so they can spend Y. Just look at Uwe Boll, the man makes the poorest rated movies yet still gets hired. Why? Because, as Kevin Smith has said “If you can make someone even a little bit of money, you will be hired again.” Even with the negative reviews, Uwe’s movies make money. Obviously, this is due to budgeting and not success. This is what gaming companies need to do. They need to have guys who sit there and determine how much a game idea will make with fairly good accuracy. Really, game companies, and some gamers, need to realize that not every game needs to be presented in 720p! Not every game needs to have 10 million dollar CGI scenes! Not every game needs to have lifelike foilage! Would Halo 3 really have sold less without the fake HD? Would Lair, Heavenly Sword, or Warhawk have sold less? With those three it is likely that they would have sold less but the cost savings would have made all three games financial successes. And really what is more important; having beautiful games or having game companies that can make money without pumping out the same game franchise year after year?