Gaming Editorial: On Disc DLC Offends Me

Far Cry 3 DLC Cover Image

Earlier in the week, I praised Far Cry 3 for the living world it presented to players. Now, only a few days later they have ticked me off in a way I only recently suspected from Capcom. The other day on XBox.com, I saw Far Cry 3 had new DLC and thought to myself, “Great. More Far Cry 3 to play and it’s only ten bucks.”

Six more missions, more rare animals to hunt, multiplayer unlocks and the previously unreleased retail bonuses from The Monkey Business Pack, The Lost Expeditions, The Warrior Pack, and The Predator Pack. But then I look over and see the file size. 108 kb. While I know there are some coding tricks out there to compress file sizes, but a 108 kb isn’t enough to load new missions and rare animal character models. But it is just big enough to unlock content currently on the game disc…

This has been a personal pet peeve of mine since DLC began supporting on disc unlocks. If it’s on a disc, that means it was completed before the game was sent to print. In my mind, the price I paid for the game disc should include all of that content on said disc. There aren’t extra man hours being created to produce new content after the game was completed which is why most people pay for additional DLC like map packs in Halo or Call of Duty. It is literally players just being given a key to unlock what is on the physical media they already have in their possession.

Publishers argue that these DLC provide extended revenue streams for their games but the players they are gearing these DLC packs to are their more hardcore audience. The average player isn’t going to be purchasing extra missions. The players who were preordering the game and paying full price on launch day are. Instead of being rewarded with bonus content for being loyal, there is a level of exploitation of the player’s fanboyism going on. It is a time like this where the business side of gaming takes over as usually games that are commercial failures don’t bother even launching DLC. Instead some number cruncher decides that the financial benefit for launching paid DLC instead of doing a free bonus outweighs the goodwill that’d be seen towards the company for giving players new content.

Other companies have earned the utmost respect from gamers with the use of free DLC updates to their games including new levels and game modes. The most notable is Valve that even offers free to play versions of some of their most popular titles like Team Fortress 2. While Valve has bits of cosmetic DLC, key gameplay features are not restricted by charging players for every little thing. There aren’t some missions launched with the initial release of the game that must be purchased after the fact.

The solution is simple. If you feel the way I do, don’t purchase on disc DLC. While I am all about supporting developers, I am not about publishers trying to force an extra buck out of me for something that is already finished. Borderlands 2’s new missions, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’s map packs and content updates to Minecraft (which is actually free) are examples of post release DLC that were created to further expand on the world the player had already loved but when Ubisoft tries to sell me a code to unlock what is on a disc I already purchased, that’s where there is a problem.

  • Sal Loria
    January 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    The first DLC for Need For Speed: Most Wanted followed this method as well; 100kb file to “unlock” what was already on the disc. Surprised some enterprising hacker hasn’t figured out how to extract the DLCs, yet.

%d bloggers like this: