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There’s no such thing as too much DLC

todayApril 29, 2021 17

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Downloadable content has somehow managed to become a polarizing issue in the gaming community. Debates rage about when it’s appropriate for a developer to create DLC, how much gamers should be charged, and exactly how many add-ons a company can put out before it becomes too much.

Here’s the thing: there’s no such thing as too much DLC. Stop being ridiculous.

Here’s what’s wrong with DLC:

  • Developers might choose to prioritize DLC development so they can rake in the big bucks rather than finish or fix the main game
  • Developers might decide to withhold content they could include in the main game in order to cash in on DLC
  • Developers might dedicate resources to DLC instead of whatever an individual gamer thinks is more important

Those are all huge problems for gamers. It might not seem like a big deal to outsiders, but, speaking only for myself, I care a lot about the games I play.

Just like Tolkien fans care about Middle-Earth and its inhabitants, or people who never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy care about those characters, I’m emotionally invested in the worlds I visit through gaming and the people, events, and stories that inhabit them.

It does matter when the people handling the worlds I care about so much don’t treat them with the dignity and respect I feel they deserve.

But none of the aforementioned problems with DLC are specific to DLC. Those are gaming problems, not add-on problems.

In the modern development era, if the developer of your favorite game isn’t working on paid DLC, they’re probably working on free patches. Either way: that’s add-on content.

And it’s naïve to think that nearly every developer doesn’t roadmap a DLC plan (even if the plan is to have no DLC) long before they consider launching a game. The gaming industry is worth more than the film and television industries combined. I can assure you that successful gaming studios aren’t releasing products willy-nilly.

When companies make “good” DLC, such as the fan-favorite Hearthfire expansion for Skyrim, it’s considered a net positive for the game itself. Yet, if we look at Fallout 4, a game from the same company that launched with its own version of Hearthfire (a base-building feature) included at no additional cost, we realize that we paid the same for both games but one of them was “more complete” than the other.

That didn’t stop Skyrim from becoming one of the most popular and beloved games of all time.

The point is that there aren’t any static benchmarks for “goodness” in the gaming world. You either like a game or you don’t. You either appreciate DLC or you don’t.

That isn’t to say there isn’t a lot of crappy DLC out there. But, there are more than 30,000 games on Steam and most of them are stinkers. Why should DLC be any different?

Scroll through Netflix, Spotify, or any other service that offers up entertainment choices on a grand scale and you’ll probably find that only a small portion of all content in the world appeals to you. Simply put: it would be incredibly strange if you liked all the DLC that came out, even for your favorite game.