Video Games

DLC abuse will ruin the future of gaming

There is no doubt that video gaming will ever be the same thanks to the online component that allows gamers to play titles with people anywhere in the world at the press of a button, but the video game companies may use this to exploit gamers for every penny with the abuse of their downloadable content. They’re off to a good start.

Downloadable content offers add-ons to games that have already released. If done right, DLC offers elements that got scrapped or weren’t thought of yet during the original production. It can range from a patch that give games new levels and modes to a simple fix of a glitch and the prices varying between under $1 to more than $50.

While all this sounds great on paper, there always seems to be a select few of game publishers that want to take advantage of the situation.

Among the gaming community, DLC has now been dubbed as disc-locked content because of its trend to companies urging developers to make an entire game, lock away 30 percent of its content that’s already on the disc and hold it for later release as DLC add-on.

Capcom has become the biggest offender of this because of its release of the franchise cross brand fighting game titled “Street Fighter X Tekken.” The company held back 12 characters and a huge set of costumes so it could release them at a later date for $20 and make players wait weeks to pay for it.

Many other companies continue to do the same and has become popular for them to offer downloadable content for fans who pre-order games. Games like the Square-Enix’s “Sleeping Dogs” offered different costumes and weapons for download depending on where you pre-order the game while “Persona 4 Arena,” released by Atlus, offered character accessories.

However, what gamers are getting is a code to unlock said content and not the content itself.

Now, the newest trend in DLC is the Online Pass, in which gamers who buy a game used or borrow it from a friend would have to pay an additional fee — around $10 — just to access its online content.

This is like saying that if someone wants to buy a used car, they would have to pay a road fee to drive it anywhere. It can be argued that companies are hurt by the reselling of their games, but it didn’t seem to be an issue before online accessibility.

With more video games becoming downloadable, these companies are given higher control. In the future, gaming fans may not even own the video games at all, rather they would be renting them for a set amount of time. They won’t be able to lend them out to anyone and may not even be able to complete it more than once without paying extra.

Call it extreme, but it’s highly possible.

Gamers are slowly owning less of the product that they are spending their hard-earned money on. Fortunately, Internet standards aren’t quite there yet in terms of speed to make this a viable option, but this doesn’t mean that gaming fans should ease their minds just yet.

The online gaming scene may still be in it’s infancy, but it won’t stop companies from experimenting with what they can and can’t get away with. Now is the time to speak out and put an end to this if fans want to own a video game again.

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  • Near the end of the article, it states that gamers “may not even own the video game at all…”

    In fact, this has already come to pass. If you ever read the fine print in the manual (which I never did until one lonely night), by “purchasing” the game, you are merely acquiring a license to use the game. You have no actual ownership over the game itself, and perhaps not even the disc it came on.

    Unfortunately, video game publishers are becoming more and more greedy. The recent Simpsons: Tapped Out is a good example. A “freemium” game, players can play the game and access base items for free. However, to purchase certain new characters and buildings, players must use donuts. While these can be earned through the game, there is an option to buy a “boatload of donuts” for $99.99. $100 for an iPad/iPod game in absurd … but just another example of the greediness overtaking the video game industry.

    Unfortunately, this greediness will begin to restrict the art and storytelling that video games represent. It’s unfortunate, but be ready for next-gen games to reach the $80 mark upon release ….

  • There are already games we don’t get to own even though we pay for them. Many games are filled with copious amounts of DRM. The recent SimCity everyone complained about, you can’t play off-line. When EA decides to shut down the servers, you don’t have a game to play.

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