I can safely say that the majority of informed gamers hate whatever we call DLC. Why do we hate DLC? To begin, we must distinguish between the two types of DLC. There is Downloadable content that is made after a game release. Then there is disc locked content that is deliberately taken from the game, usually unlocked with a code.
We shouldn’t pretend as if these practices are anything new. We all remember Horse Armor in The Elder Scrolls IV. Bethesda made the mistake of releasing an expensive item without any real value whatsoever. Did they actually expect people to pay for it? While Horse Armor was a significant gaffe of this generation, most have forgiven Bethesda. The entire idea of it was more absurd and curious, rather than exploitative. In no way was it required at all for your experience. Bethesda learned from their mistakes by then releasing infrequent but large pieces of DLC. That type of DLC was more in line with an expansion pack. Good DLC adds dozens of new hours to the game for a fair price. It set the standard for the amazing Grand Theft Auto IV Episodes or free substantial content from CDProjekt’s The Witcher 2.
You can’t argue that Electronic Arts and Capcom are doing the same. They are not learning from their mistakes. Mass Effect 3 features a fully functional character that is locked from the standard edition of the game. This character is not only important to the gameplay aspect, but is crucial in tying up loose ends in the lore of Mass Effect. This was not content that was developed at a later date at fan request. This is content that should have been standard for every copy of the game. Instead, it is removed for the sake of quick profit. This locked content has made fans bitter, with many wondering why it wasn’t included in standard game. Some argued that you aren’t a real fan of Mass Effect if you aren’t buying the limited editions. Ironic, since Bioware sought a larger audience for their final Mass Effect game.
My same points apply for Street Fighter X Tekken. Not only is this “competitive” game restricting characters across each platform, it appears that all version of the game have six or more locked characters. These characters for the most part are finished, but you cannot use them without modifying game files. Capcom is once again testing the limits of post-release monetization.
It is an unfortunate thing when people argue why developers are required to do this in order to support their games. Everything that they release can be done as an update. Like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, there have been games that have been released with lack of content or poor netcode. Gears of War 2 and Mortal Kombat 9 come to mind. Both of these games received massive post-release support. They both received it for free. Both added free content as a thank you to their fans that have already purchased the game, and they improved the online experience on top of it.
Capcom seems to be unaware that they will never generate the Call of Duty sales numbers that they so desperately desire. So they make up for it by releasing several versions of games yearly. Capcom has gotten away with this tactic for many years. The constant new updates and editions may be a new thing to home gamers, but arcade owners have had to deal with this for the past decade. For them, that model of business was unsustainable, killing the arcades that we knew and loved. It is still unsustainable here. As grievances that gamers have against major publishers increase, we will reach a threshold of dissatisfaction among gamers. I can see a very near future where many people just refuse to purchase anything published by Capcom or Electronic Arts at all.
You think that it isn’t already happening? Try looking again. Game sales haven’t decreased for the past four months because of piracy, used games, development costs, or whatever extraneous variables that get tossed around. It took a while, but game sales are finally going down because the games suck. Before constant patching and DLC, a console developer had one shot at selling a lot of copies. Release the game in its entirety, and make damn sure that it is the best game that the studio could have created. Developers and publishers have gotten equally lazy. Even worse, they lie to us about it. The importance of the DLC is downplayed. Recently, there have been lies suggesting that the DLC isn’t even on disc at all. How shameful is it to get caught when it takes a mere moment of browsing game files to see restricted content?
Entitled is an awful word to describe the people that enjoy your games, but I suppose we are entitled. We are entitled to a complete game on release day. We’re entitled to seeing the ending of a trilogy that doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. We’re entitled to not getting gouged for content that we already own. Stop compromising the integrity of games for a quick buck. Your stockholders and board-members may understand how to generate a quick profit from ignorant consumers. But these consumers are gradually becoming less ignorant. Boycotting a fun game for economic principle is always a sad thing for gamers, but we can certainly do it. These modern games aren’t that interesting anyway. Get this problem of disc-locked content solved. Set some standards for your consumers, and set them soon. Gamers won’t wait forever.