Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DLC Series Part One: More like Downloadable Codes...

DLC is one the biggest innovations of the current generation and whether it be for better or worse, it seems like it’ll stay. I love video games and if developers produce downloadable content, or DLC, then I will happily buy them. This will be first part of many that describe DLC and how it affects the industry/what it does. In this part I want to discuss DLC that act more or less like codes rather than large chunks of files that you download from Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network

DLC is basically additional content that extends gameplay and when you download them they tend to be in the hundreds of MB. It’s understandable, a lot of content is in it and of course the files would be large. However, there are some companies that would practice the idea of selling DLC in a rather vile and unethical manner. One of the most common method is content that is on the disc but locked out. Allow me to use an example from Resident Evil 5. The game inside has a multiplayer mode. Everything is on the disc that would allow you to play it but it is locked therefore keeping players from accessing it. A while after the game’s release Capcom, the developer of Resident Evil, put up a DLC called Versus Mode on XBL and PSN. Now, I initially did not know that the Versus Mode was not on the disc as were many other consumers. However, when I had purchased the DLC I remember it being a fairly small file. It wasn’t until a few days later that I had found out that the content was already on disc and what I had purchased was an unlock key that would allow me to access the files on the disc. 

How insulting. While I won’t go into the issue of entitlement right now, I will discuss it another time, it is downright insulting to know that there is content completed on the disc and Capcom had the nerve to sell me something that I already own. Sure, I don’t own the access to it and I can argue on and on about what I am entitled to. The point of this is that I believe this is bad business practice and ethically wrong. Takes this analogy, if you will. I bought a basket of fruits and obviously it has various fruits like apples, oranges, and the like. Now you finish off all your fruits and the pineapple is the last bit. You reach for it but some random force of nature prevents you from eating it until you pay a bit more for it. Didn’t I pay for everything in the fruit basket? Hell yeah. So why can’t I eat the fruit? Well, the store locked out the pineapple and you can’t eat it until you pay for the unlock. This sounds like a ludicrous analogy but it’s the only one on my mind right now. Regardless, the point I’m trying to say is that this is bad business practice. Something that’s done and clearly in my possession is denied by Capcom. They say that “Technically we own the content since you can’t access it. Ha ha!” Absolutely mediocre.

Another instance of this offense is Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. Coincidentally it seems like Capcom is the problem, again. Not surprising considering they did this before so it would seem likely that they would try this again. UMvC3 is a fighter and it’s filled with content and it seems somewhat ironic that Capcom had completed content on the disc, which happened to be new voices for the fighters. Surprise surprise, you can’t access it yet! Once again a while after release Capcom puts these voices on the market for you to buy. Technically though, you’re buying a code to unlock it... Watch the video below this paragraph for more information.

Personally, there is something wrong with the way Capcom has conducted business and I don’t feel inclined to purchase their products when they pull these shenanigans. Of course, this is just how I feel. There are definitely optimistic ways to look at this and I congratulate them. However, I feel like if people buy these types of DLC then Capcom is going to think that they’re not doing anything wrong when they’re ripping off customers. They’ll keep doing it again and again until it becomes common practice. So, what do I want. I don’t want this happening in the future. DLC should be content, not a few MB codes that unlock stuff on the disc.


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  2. The worst part about all this is hackers/pirates will have access to the DLC early since they're located on disc, while legitimate consumers will not. Hackers/pirates will also have an edge competitively since the wait is 6 months.

    1. I wouldn't say it's the worst part but I agree with you, it is pretty bad and disconcerting...