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Why downloadable content is demoralizing the video game industry

The Charger Bulletin

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By HECTOR RAMIREZ
STAFF WRITER
HRAMI1@UNH.NEWHAVEN.EDU

With the release of the latest video game developed by Turtle Rock Studios, the same team that brought you Left 4 Dead, Evolve has an infuriating discovery: their day-one downloadable content (DLC).

The DLC involved are bundled pre-set colors/skins for weapons and monsters of Evolve, ranging from five to seven dollars. With all of the bundled DLCs added together, as well as the $25 season pass that includes separate additional content, you’re looking at another $60 to $80. Add that to the cost of the game itself, the consumer would be paying $120 to $140, and that’s only the first day of Evolve‘s release.

The easiest change that can be noticed effectively is to vote with your wallet. Publishers and marketers will push the moral boundaries as far as they can to make more money on their product before, during, and after its time in the spotlight.

In Evolve‘s case, many will argue that making a fit overpriced colored guns or costumes is pointless. From one perspective, their skepticism is understandable. However, let’s look at the bigger picture here. If publishers believe that they can still use these tired and money-hungry practices in the new generation of consoles, they will keep doing it. We have previously seen this trend in situations such as taking out story sequences in Asura’s Wrath and Final Fantasy XIII-2 or gameplay elements like Dying Light’s “Be the Zombie” multiplayer mode pre-order incentive.

Those that have instantly recognized the bad practice of day-one DLC already know what needs to be done: voice your opinion to the publishers in the most direct way via Twitter and YouTube, and don’t buy the DLC or the video game itself.

DLC is a double-edged sword getting sharper. Marketers and publishers have saturated the gaming market with downloadable content since the expansive growth of internet connectivity on video game consoles.
At first, it was innovative and a treat for loyal gamers. For $10 to $20 more, consumers would be paying for more content of the video game they enjoyed post-launch, like The Last of Us: Left Behind, Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Exo Zombies.

Then the idea of DLC as incentives came about. From “additional” downloadable content by pre-ordering the video game to collector editions packed with exclusive DLC, marketers and publishers have been fooling consumers into thinking they are getting more content.

Any video game being marketed with pre-order DLC incentives is not a complete product. For those that do not pre-order a video game with DLC incentives, they are missing out on content that should have been on the disc the day of its release.

We have seen this practice again and again. It’s about time consumers started to voice against these despicable decisions instead of submitting to marketing schemes because “it’s only a few extra bucks.” It’s sneaky and manipulative, which means that there is a lack of honesty and respect between publishers and consumers.

As realists, we have to understand that DLCs are not going away and will continue to influence purchasing decisions. We are not voicing our opinions to abolish DLCs, only to mitigate the unscrupulous marketing practices they are saturated in.

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Why downloadable content is demoralizing the video game industry