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DLC: Good or Bad for Gaming?

by William Schwartz

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Today at Comi-Con Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park and The Book of Mormon, had interesting things to say concerning the concept of DLC. According to the two, games like Skyrim, Ocarina of Time and Earthbound had influenced them to create South Park: The Stick of Truth. However, this ambition got the best of them and they wrote a script at around 850 pages, which prompted Obsidian to give a release date of “2032”. According to Trey Parker, they were prompted to “cut it down, cut it down, cut it down,” and “that everyone kept saying to us [make that extra content] DLC” — drawing boos from the crowd — “and I agree… fuck that.”

and I agree… f*** that

DLC, otherwise known as Downloadable Content, has certainly been a mixed blessing for gamers. On one hand, it has extended the life of games and allowed developers to experiment and try new things when they couldn’t otherwise on the main game (examples include Fallout: New Vegas DLC, Borderlands DLC, Mass Effect: Citadel, and the Battlefield 3 Expansion packs). On the other hand, gamers also feel they’re being swindled out of their money, with the rise of Day-1 DLC and On-disc DLC prompting them to believe content was cut to sell as extra (examples include Mass Effect From Ashes, Resident Evil 5 DLC, Street Fighter X Tekken) or being sold weapon skins, player skins, and other things deemed “microtransactions”. It also hasn’t been helped that the answer to this ire is it being called “a necessary evil”.

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So where do we go from here?

While the general consensus is “vote with your wallet”, that doesn’t seem to be the case as downloadable content, whether games or add-ons, was projected to make over 1 billion dollars in revenue in 2012. Clearly, it is a money-making machine, and one that will not end anytime soon. So, where do we go from here? Do we buy the DLC that is deemed “worth-while” or like an “expansion pack”? Do we try and boycott all DLC? What do we do?

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