The Problem with Modern Console Gaming

A few people have sent this in to me, as they’ve tuned in for some of my previous rants about preorder content and DLC. This uses the most classic game of all to show just what’s wrong with the current system, where you can never get all the content from your titles unless you pay about 50-70% extra in downloadable materials.

With games already at the ridiculous price of $60 regardless of whether they’re 4 hours long or 100, it’s frustrating to have to add even more on top of that to get the “full” experience. And I’ll say it again, DLC delays future titles more than it should, as time spent working on content there is not being spent on a true sequel. I always point to Borderlands as being guilty of this, which has practically come out with an entire other game’s worth of DLC at this point.

I also am tired of content you get for buying the game new or preordering it. Even stuff I qualify to get, I don’t want to register for EA Online, type in a code and download some extraneous character or weapon which never needed to exist at all. So I don’t, and in the back of my mind I always feel like I’m missing something.

Your thoughts on DLC?

  • Newtype

    The most aggravating and blatantly money-hungry display of DLC has got to be Halo Reach. When you first log in and select matchmaking on the game menu, you are greeted with a message that informs you, via pop, that there are new maps available. This can not be avoided. Further, Bungie has placed the following message on your lobby screen: “Players do not have the recommended downloadable content maps.” It blinks. Repeatedly.


    For what?

    Oh that’s right — to further line their pockets.

    To add insult to injury, they aren’t even properly supporting the game; they arrogantly believe the game is without issue.

  • Andy

    my thoughts on console gaming: it’s not pc gaming

  • Coop

    DLCs should be for free

  • trashcanman

    I’m fine with it. I almost never buy it. Problem solved. In the old days, you paid nearly the same price for a game and once you beat the game you got…..nothing. Now you have the OPTION of buying additional content. Note the operative word there is “option”. And preorder bonuses are great because they allow you to get for free what you’d otherwise have to pay for. Hard to complain about that. Putting down $5 in advance on a game you know you are going to buy on day 1 anyways is not as hard as people make it out to be. Seriously. Is DLC a bullshit business model that is causing companies to leave content out of the game to gouge you for it later? Yes. But consider the cost inflation other forms of entertainment. Movie ticket prices have risen constantly, concerts are now out of my price range to begin with and charge you tons of money in imaginary “service charges” for NOTHING in return, and don’t get me started on cable. Gaming is looking like a damn bargain next to that crap DLC or no. Capitalism means if you are dumb enough to buy it, they will be smart enough to sell it to you. Don’t want DLC? Stop buying it.

  • Coco

    Any type of DLC that splits the player base or changes the mechanic of the game by giving those who have the DLC an advantage is tom foolery. I’m all for anything that provides purely cosmetic changes as well as extrasSingle player levels for games.

    The current trend of map packs is getting to be ridiculous. It’s one thing to release a map pack after the game has been out for 3-6 months, but to release a map pack on the day a game releases? GREEDY.

    Often the developers will say “oh those maps were not ready when the game went to be pressed to disc.” Then how about you make the maps free? Include a download code with the game for the maps that were “not yet ready”.

    As far as preorder content goes, same school of thought. Mortal Kombat 9 nailed it. Preorder here get this classic costume (that will not alter gameplay in anyway whatsoever) and get this classic fatality(which technically does not alter gameplay in anyway either just gives you a different fatality animation.)

    Unfortunately they also have release day DLC in the form of characters. Thankfully it’s not any of the core characters from the game. Still, not having them will impact my online experience as I will not be familiar with there move set and combos if i have to play against them.

  • silly_sad_machine

    I originally chose PS3 over Xbox360 for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest was the fact that PS3’s online features were free, but with 360 you had to purchase a subscription. Well, 3 years later I got quite an upset when I rented (I never buy games … I’ve got kids, and it’s hard to justify $60-70 for a video game, no matter how much I want it) Dead Space 2. As it turns out, you can’t use the game’s online features without enabling them through a code included in the game manual. That’s fine and dandy if you bought it, but I hadn’t. So DS2 gives you another option — you can buy a new code through PSN.

    DLC is frustrating in many instances. Sometimes I can understand charging for it … like with Little Big Planet stuff. Game companies charge money for the game to pay for the cost of (and hopefully make a profit from) hiring their designers to create the game. Usually the transaction ends there. Nowadays, however, designers stick around to create DLC, to monitor online issues, things like that, so it makes sense the companies would continue to charge money for the extra stuff being released.

    Charging me for using a game’s online features is bullshit, though. The person who buys the game originally gets no charge — they consider that he/she already made good on that charge with the cost of the game. If he resells the game to someone else, though, the previous code is unusable and the new guy has to buy a code through PSN. Why? Is the company incurring added costs to their operations based on the presence of a new user online? NO. It’s price gouging, and they do it because they can. It’s like when you bought an original Xbox for $300 and then you had to buy a $30 DVD sensor and remote to use the box’s BUILT-IN DVD system. Don’t tell me those things couldn’t really play DVDs without the sensor, because I played several movie-based games that included extended scenes from the films that I’m sure were played using the game’s DVD capabilities.

    Preorders are equally frustrating, especially when they include exclusive content that isn’t available anywhere else. Preorders for Red Dead Redemption included outfits that people who buy the game today can never get. That’s a little screwed up. It’s okay to reward the gamers and fans who buy your game early, but at the expense of the gamers and fans who buy it later? Why punish people for having tight budgets? Preorder content is fine and dandy, provided that it’s still available as DLC after the release date.

  • Postal

    I believe the biggest problem with DLC is that more often than not the bugs from the original game aren’t fixed before more DLC is released. An example would be Fallout New Vegas in which there are countless bugs, some serious, that haven’t been fixed despite the game having been out since the fall. But there is DLC available… However, there are numerous user created mods that fix the bugs left by the developers. In effect, they are using their own customer base to fix the bugs while they move on to the next money generating DLC which they won’t bother to patch up completely either.

  • Mikey

    I have been playing Tiger Woods 12 for a couple of days now and ran into some tournaments that REQUIRE you to buy the course. The game has been out for 2 days. 2 DAYS. There are already courses as DLC, 2 days after release (but I’m sure they were there on day 1). That is price gouging at its finest. I wouldn’t mind if the game cost $40, but it doesn’t. It costs $60. At $2 per course, that’s $72 for a game that I’ll probably stop playing in about a month.

    We need someone on the Senate who plays video games and can enact a law that makes it illegal for developers to release DLC within 3 months of the game coming out and charging for characters/costumes/other things that are already coded into the game

  • Leonard

    I agree with silly_sad_machine if you don’t want it or can’t afford it don’t buy it. I buy most of my games used nowadays. When I was a teenager I used to buy new games with every paycheck…not anymore; I can’t afford it. Every now and then I splurge, but it’s gotta be something that I really want to play. Plus, Gamestop often has specials for used games…I have 2 coupons for buy 2 pre-owned games and get 1 free…you really can’t beat that deal. New to me is my motto. The world is full of hustlers, but they can only take advantage of you if you let them. Stop being naive people.

  • WakyWizerdX

    I’m ok with DLC as long as it’s something that the developers honestly couldn’t fit in or came up with after the game was put on the market. It’s a great idea for replay value but just like anything good people will find a way to exploit it.

  • Rob J

    Speaking of Fallout New Vegas…I hate those fucking pre-order packs. There were 5 of them and of course only one is available in my country and only through Online websites or steam so that always sucks.

    Generally DLC used to be a big influence on wheter to buy the game on PC or PS3 back before the PS3 pissed me off but yeah I hate crazy prices for DLC so I just pirate the DLC for the PC editions it so much easier.

    When companys learn to use DLC as treats and incentives to sell more copies or the original game then they will start to do better business. Take any recent valve game (TF2, Portal, L4D) or a quality game like Burnout Paradise and you will see how much lower the piracy figures are because with the constant stream of free DLC people believe they are worth the price of admission.

  • Tim

    DLC is one of the reasons why I don’t game anymore. What a sickening money-making gimmick!

    It really doesn’t cost any more to include these add-ons in a game, and they certainly don’t add as large a percentage to the development budget as the cost increase you’ll pay for them.

    Video games used to be about money, true, but they also were about creating something. Now they’re nothing more than a marketing ploy designed to suck cash out of the gullible. Ever look outside? There are better things to do.

  • Anonymous

    EA’s “Back to Karkand” DLC expansion for Battlefield 3. Enough said.

    (If I must say more: Battlefield 3 hasn’t been released yet and they’ve already got DLC laid out and ready to sell. They tell you that you can get it as a free preorder bonus with the Limited Edition but I bet that the extra $10 you’re paying for your “Limited” copy will make up for the gap left by the free DLC. Hell, you shouldn’t be able to use the words “preorder bonus” and “DLC” in the same sentence at all)

  • Jackson Briggs

    After I realized I paid almost 75 dollars for a game I had been essentially buying since I was in middle school every year, I decided I’m going to spend my money a little more carefully. Who am I kidding?

  • Zinpike

    I dont mind DLC as long as it adds a good amount of content to the game at a decent price. Point Lookout for Fallout 3 is a great example, I must have put an extra 25 hours into the game with that DLC. Zombie Island for Borderlands was also good, it added a good amount of extra content for only $10. But when a game like Call of Duty asks 15 bucks for a few new maps with no actual additional content, then I consider that absurd. Why would I want a few reskined levels for $15 when I can get a decent XBL Arcade game for $5 cheaper? The game got boring after 3 months of playing on and off, and 4 new maps I have a random chance of playing once and a while doesnt seem worth the money.

    The very worst I ever heard of (though I never played the game) is Fable 3. Ive read that the game nickle and dimes the player, even going as far as to charge money for black clothing dye. Yes, you have to pay money for a COLOR, that they couldnt include in the game for free. Now that is just pathetic.

  • GiL

    I agree downloadable content is complete and utter bullshit- the fact it’s in so many games now is seriously turning me off gaming completely. I bought soul calibur 5 a few weeks ago- but only a few day after release they mention DLC for extra equipment for character creation, music for stages, & an extra character- excuse me but can’t i have all that when i initially buy the game? Thats just completely deceptive! The way i see it you are buying an unfinished product and not being notified of it beforehand. What about people that dont have internet for their consoles?— its just cheaply ripping people off- if DLC is just stuff “unlocked” on the disk then the companies need to be fucking sued!! … For not putting a notice on the front of the game box with “warning: you are not buying the full product unless you give us more $ afterwards via internet”

  • colra90

    You mean to tell me a company *gasp* is deliberately using the model that makes them the most money? That’s how a buisness works. People are clamoring for these games so they have zero reason to change it because the SAME EXACT PEOPLE who just paid them are complaining online. They have your money. They don’t need anything else.

    the solution? don’t pay for dlcs so that they have a real reason to reexamine their modle. or suck it up and pay for dlcs.

    bottom line: the company wants money, not your love

  • johnson

    For all of you clamoring for these companies to be sued? Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware. You can look up the exact details on a game release if you look it up online. The internet is literally awash with early leaks and info on games. Or wait until you’re sure! No one’s making you buy it.