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Downloadable Game Content: Is it the best or is it the worst?

Video games have came a long way since the introduction of the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972.  In fact they have made the transition to the digital age almost seamlessly with the exception of Sega which seemed to jump the gun with the Dreamcast.  It was the first console shipped with internet capability. No one used it. Sega never made a console again.

Anyway as time went on the internet was utilized more and more until now. Funny enough it seems hard to remember a time when there was no such thing as a downloadable game.  With the implementation of the internet into game consoles you can now stream or download videos, download games, download game demos and, the topic of this article, download game add-on content.

What is downloadable game add-on content, you say? Well it works like this: a game developer releases a game then after its release (sometimes very shortly after its release which we will come back to)  the dev will produce more content for the game whether it’s something small like a skin (or a costume) for an in-game character, something medium sized like a multiplayer map pack or it’s something big like a continuation or spinoff of the campaign/single player story.

Here is the problem that I believe many people have with downloadable content: It has been taken advantage of by devs and producers, even more so undoubtably, to make a profit well beyond necessary. Take Little Big Planet for example.  For months after release and even currently, though not as frequently, the devs release costumes and costume packs for the characters in the game. Each costume cost $0.99 or when buying a pack they usually give a discount of a dollar or two. Think about 300,000 people downloading one costume a week and those numbers are most likely generous.  It has become increasingly popular with multiplayer games, especially first person shooters, to release a map pack a month or less after the game’s release.  It is hard to believe that they couldn’t have shipped those maps with the copy of the game that consumers pay $60.00 for.  That is a lot of money.  That much money will pay my DirectTV bill or my internet connection for an entire month.  The part that gets me is it seems the devs and producers purposely ship newer games with less and less content so you are almost forced to buy the downloadable content to justify buying the game in the first place.  Granted these are extreme conditions.

To be honest, if I like a video game enough to want the experience to continue I will purchase the downloadable content the devs will supply me.  Especially if it’s a personal favorite dev of mine like Bungie.  Some devs are even kind of enough to drop a freebie for their fans every now and then.  I love video games and I probably would be pissed off if downloadable game-add on content went the way of the dinosaurs. But I don’t know, maybe they can lower the prices?

Do you think downloadable game add-on content is a rip off or do you think these devs deserve every dime? Tell me in the comment section.

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