The Future Of DLC Is An Expensive Place

The Future of DLC Is an Expensive Place

You've probably seen that famous Mona Lisa Photoshop that shows how downloadable content has evolved in games over the years. The image has gotten yet another update to show our grim DLC future.

While not brand new, the image continues to float around internet bulletin boards like 4chan and 2ch. In case you missed it, here's a previous update the image got.


    It's missing the Early Access picture, where someone has crudely drawn the Mona Lisa in MS Paint.

      Its not missing the Early Access Picture....Its there. You can't see it? Well it's there, conceptually...

    I would call that 'episodic' rather than 'DLC' as by the prices on the image all that adds up to less than a full game costs brand new in Australia.

    I assume they're talking about Destiny as well, which Bungie has said that from the very beginning they have a 10 year plan for. How some people think you can release a game and keep it going for 10 years without releasing content that relates to the original game is beyond me. The greater story arc is obviously going to be revealed over the course of subsequent games and expansions, but this way it allows the devs to tweak and evolve their game, taking into account player feedback in terms of new ideas that have been suggested by the player base.

      the prices on the image all that adds up to less than a full game costs brand new in AustraliaSomehow I doubt that was written with an Australian context in mind.

      I'm pretty sure this updated version is a reference to Evolve.

        I would assume so as well
        Considering they have almost $100 worth of DLC (inc season pass) at launch. $60 worth of content is accessible at launch if you pay for it.

      this way it allows the devs to tweak and evolve their game, taking into account player feedback in terms of new ideas that have been suggested by the player base.

      this made me lol.

      which Bungie has said that from the very beginning they have a 10 year plan for.

      I agree with you for the most part, but I think it's clear that Bungie's ten year plan has gone out the window. Now 10 years is probably two games, both delayed until they have no choice but to release whatever they've got. I get that it was always going to release technically 'unfinished', the same way Empire Strikes Back is technically an unfinished movie because the story is incomplete, but I think ultimately the content in that actually made it into the game was released in a state that was less than desireable. It needed another year in the oven.
      Although all that said I don't think that was part of any master plan to fleece users. I think they just hit a point where nobody could justify sinking another million into development.

        Yea I think you're pretty spot on there, the delays and money woes definitely added to the perceived problems in regards to possibly some of the content, but not to the degree that most people are assuming.

        If that leaked image and some of the other info is anything to go by they are still roughly on track in terms of what content will come out when, so they've got time to smooth over the whole thing. Similar in a way to Assassins creed in a way, each new instalment irons out some more kinks and builds on the previous titles foundation.

    People pay for it. That's why this is happening. I refuse to buy DLC nowdays, by the time the last dlc pack has come out (Use BF4 as an example) most people have moved onto another game or there are not enough people to fill the new maps with because no one owns the new maps. Has happened consecutively with the Gears series and BF titles. Done with it.

    As long as the standard game is a full experience, I don't mind. If I love a game and DLC is able to extend the lifespan of the game then it's all good.
    The price of games really hasn't increased in line with inflation. Games are cheaper then ever and cost more to produce.
    Obviously publishers need to make money and DLC is where it's at.
    I'm loving Destiny and am happy to pay for the DLC, but I'm a bit concerned that someone with the Vanilla version is now locked out of daily/weekly missions if they don't buy the DLC. That is a bit sketchy.

    Micro-transactions can fuck off tho.

    to me its a sign that the game devs/pubs are in shambles and they need to get their art together

    look at how witcher 3 is handling it... giving free patches and expansions

    look at how cities xxl handles it... giving the exact same game for another 20 dollars

    I disagree with the image. I think some games, for sure, have parts of them missing as DLC, but in another sense DLC for games is getting so much better. Ubisoft have done a really good job of DLC with the AC series (barring Dead Kings - but even then as glitchy as it is it's free DLC) and Far Cry. Instead of releasing new story missions or maps or whatever they release entire, standalone games that are separate but connected. Freedom Cry and Blood Dragon are both good examples, and they're both under $20 for like 6-7 hours of gameplay each.

    This seems like an example of people who have been gaming for ages remembering "back in the day" and thinking "wow kids these days really don't know what good DLC is"

      Blood Dragon was fantastic - hoping we get a cool idea like that for 4

      Back in the day there was no DLC at all. If there was an expansion you had to buy it physically, like you can still do with the Sims.

      I think the concept of DLC in its purest form is good: the devs do some extra work and get paid for it.

      What I don't like is the very high likelihood that there are now publishers who mandate that an otherwise complete game be artificially sliced apart and sold piecemeal. For me, it would be like buying a barbecue chicken from the supermarket only to find that they'd removed the breasts, wings and drumsticks, leaving only the headless carcass and the stuffing.

    They seem to have forgotten the part where certain DLC is only available if you preorder at certain places. We're also sort of already at Tomorrow with how Free to Play as a concept is currently progressing. You get a thin game, but to actually have any meaningful fun with it you have to pay for content. Also not pictured is Pay-2-Win DLC and cosmetic DLC that does nothing but by Jove, you must have it. People laughed at Horse Barding when it came out but these days it's a day one purchase.

      That image exists, its the previous version. They forgot to add it in.

    What's with that 2005 picture? The DLC is exactly the same as part of the original game?

      Probably a reference to the horrible practice of DLC included in the disc but only "unlocked" after a DLC payment.

    This is essentially why I don't often buy games at the time of release. I prefer to wait until all (Or a fair chunk of) expansions or DLC content is available before making a purchase.

    Some of the picture pieces in the last image should be labelled "exclusive retailer content" and "exclusive pre-order content" and "exclusive platform content". We are fast approaching to the future where (non-Nintendo) games are almost impossible to get in their entirety unless you spend a small fortune in all possible platforms and releases.

    Savvy gamers by now should realise that rather than falling victim of the hype, the best possible way to approach this, is waiting until the next generation of consoles where the whole thing will be packaged up in a "HD" re-release or whatever they want to name it.

      And yet ironically Nintendo was the first to do this with those e-reader cards for SMB3 on the GBA

        Except you did get the entire game. The whole of SMB3 was already on there, the cards all contained extra brand new content. And it was both fantastic and not particularly costly at all.

        Just a shame they didn't seem to be available here at all at the time :/

        Last edited 11/02/15 10:55 am

        Note that I didn't say "non-Nintendo" trying to imply that they are and will eternally be incapable of sin, but rather, that their closed ecosystem doesn't give room to the problems I'm talking about (fragmented releases across platforms, etc).

    Get of my fucking lawn!

    Maybe if Journalists started growing a back bone and calling out Publishers who do this to consumers, we might not be in this mess.

    But nope, it's the old scratch my back and I'll scratch yours style going on.

      Maybe if consumers started growing a back bone and calling out Publishers who do this, we might not be in this mess.

      In the end, we keep buying the shit they keep shovelling out...

    I want to point squarely at two entities - a publisher and a game. I guess most people would guess who I'm about to whinge about. EA and Destiny. I'll start with Destiny.
    Destiny has two things going for it - fantastic basic gameplay mechanics and amazing visuals. The run and gun in a pretty place. Without that, nobody would bother. What it lacks is everything else it was supposed to have - meaningful, deep story, content to keep players engaged, an in game economy and reasonable progression. It wants to be a 10 year series, but when compared to even the earliest builds of WoW (the big boy that every publisher wants to be/kill off) it pales in comparison. Levels 1-20 can be blown through in a heavy weekend and only has 4 locations and 5 dungeons. Levels 20-30 (talking vanilla) isn't really levelling - its a different representation of gearscore and is gained through grinding the same 4 locations and 5 dungeons for hours on end. The story is so thin, yet so overplayed due to daily/weekly/nightfall rotations that you have to play for progression. Rep grinding doesn't offer you anything new (think Ashen Verdict in Wow) - you just put on a new cape, collect your dailies and go blow through the same missions that you have always played through since day 1. To cope with how quickly the content is consumed by the playerbase, they have to release DLC "expansion packs" for $20 a pop just to keep up. Which is then beaten within a few days by the player elite and worn out by most of the player base within a month of solid play. So they need another expansion to keep people invested - another $20 (or season pass). But what each contains is not enough to keep anyone entertained for terribly long and just means you have to start the incredibly long grinding process all over again. With another 4 story missions and 1 strike to add into the rotation (xbox). If you look at Wow (yes its a sub I know but so is xbox live and playstation plus) an expansion is a 2 year deal with 4 major updates during that period giving you hundreds of hours of play and a lot more content. All for $50. And you don't have to buy it to keep playing. You can still be playing a wrath level account during warlords and have the full game experience of wrath plus the updates which have come with later expansions. Destiny forces its player base to update to the new DLC, or it locks out large portions of the required grinding for days/weeks at a time depending on the activity. We know that Bungie can make a compelling story with fantastic VO and character development because of Halo (Guilty Spark vs Dinklebot). But they didn't and the game has suffered for it, becomes very expensive to keep up with and quite frankly doesn't offer much in return for your dollar.

    Secondly EA which I would say epitomises the "now" and "tomorrow" pictures above. The champions of day 1 DLC (Mass Effect) or selling you a game in parts (Sims 4). DLC should not be a locked out section on the disc, accessible from paying $15 bucks on launch day or requiring the extra $20 - $30 for the collector's/special edition. Mass Effect 3 was probably the worst offender of this as the Prothean in the day 1 dlc came with some very lore heavy (and I would say crucial to the understanding of the ME universe) story missions. There was no need to lock this behind a paywall. It should have been just part of the original game. They should have spent more time on the ending of the damn game than trying to craft dlc to push out for an extra buck.

    Sims 4 - well its a pared down version of Sims 3 with the same dodgy character design its always have. They just want to sell the same 30 sets of DLC to its players again. It is a money grab and the iteration doesn't add much to the gameplay experience, only taking away things that the previous iteration already had.

    DLC needs to go back to how it started out. Developers finish a game - bug free and polished. Then start on the DLC instead of locking everything behind a paywall and approx 50mb download. I don't bother with DLC anymore, I've been burned too many times and I have learned that for the most part, it doesn't add much to the experience i already shelled out $100 for

    That tomorrow image has been tomorrow for like ten years now. I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe, the people who do terrible DLC aren't setting the trends and that even the most evil of publishers understand that if you deliver a full price game stripped of content people don't stick around for the DLC.

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