Exclusive: DLC Conspiracy Doesn’t Exist…Well, Not Really

Is it true that developers are just money-grubbing peeps? Of course not.

Is it true that developers are just money-grubbing peeps? Of course not.

These days, downloadable content is a force. It’s a proven method of increasing revenue for any video game, but it has led to a firestorm of controversy. The addition of microtransactions fans the flames and of course, now we have conspiracy theories. The belief is that many developers – especially the larger studios – either hold back content or even cut content from games, so that content can be sold as DLC.

We’ve been hearing this for years and we figured we’d contact our VGRHQ contributors and see what they have to say. Being veteran journalists and having continual interaction with many of the industry’s most accomplished developers, they should have inside insight. And so they do. Here are some of the comments we’ve collected and as usual, for the site’s anonymity purposes, no names are attached to these comments.

As you can see, there’s plenty to talk about but the takeaway should be this: If you want to blame anyone, blame the publisher. And actually, if you really think about it, blameĀ yourself.

The DLC market isn't complicated but it is rife with controversy.

The DLC market isn’t complicated but it is rife with controversy.

Journalist A:

“I once asked a lead designer what he thought about the downloadable content controversy. And as it turns out, it really irritated him; he was just incredibly resentful of the constant implications that he and his team exist only to rip off gamers. “I don’t get it,” he said. ‘We’re gamers, too. We’re all gamers. We do this because we love games and we want to produce the best possible game we can. Why on earth would we gimp the game, or lessen the experience in any way? To make more money? What good is DLC if the game itself sucks?’

He’s not the only one who seems annoyed at gamer accusations concerning DLC. Some developers are honestly trying to say “no” to DLC direction by publishers, simply because they know they’ll end up looking like the bad guys.”

Journalist B:

“Publishers have found a new way to monetize their product. That’s all there is to it. If you want to point the finger, point it at publishers. They will probably respond by saying it’s getting harder and harder to turn a significant profit on AAA productions, considering the amount of money they have to invest. Even so, I’ve heard of some developers facing the “we need DLC” directive from the publisher. In other words, publishers make it a requirement if they agree to put out the game.”

“Personally, I don’t see what the fuss is all about. If you don’t want to pay extra for more content, don’t. If the DLC model begins to falter, everyone will get what they want, right?”

Is DLC bad? Depends on your position.

Is DLC bad? Depends on your position.

Journalist C:

“The DLC backlash is just stupid. In any consumer market, demand is king. Downloadable content and microtransactions wouldn’t exist if they didn’t work. Everyone is bitching and whining and yet, they keep buying the DLC and making it profitable. There’s no point in crying over a beast you helped create. If nobody responded to DLC, we wouldn’t have it. End of story.”

Journalist D:

“Me, I hated the idea of DLC from the start. I knew we’d end up in this position. The basic idea of DLC is fine; i.e., expand on a game for the sake of more entertainment. We all would’ve loved to have seen more levels forĀ Super Mario 2 or something like that. But I knew it would degrade into a mess of bad feeling and conspiracy theories; it was a slippery slope. I spoke to one developer who’d been making games for over 20 years and he was one of the first to recoil from the DLC idea. This is a quote from 2007:

‘I think we all know where this is headed. Pretty soon, gamers will start questioning the motives behind DLC, and start accusing game makers of chopping up games and selling them off in sections. It won’t be a good situation.’

8 thoughts on “Exclusive: DLC Conspiracy Doesn’t Exist…Well, Not Really”

Never like DLC. I don’t ever buy it but I don’t really complain about it, either. I’ve never played a game and said to myself, “gee, something is missing…this feels like an incomplete product.”

And because that has never happened, I don’t feel I have anything to complain about.

I’m with you. If I thought my games really WERE gimped in some way, I’d have a problem. But I don’t think that at all, so…

Agreed 100%. Don’t really get what people are getting all worked up about.

I like some DLC but only if I think it adds to the game in a significant way. Extra skins or some such crap doesn’t do anything for me and I can’t figure out why people pay for it.

I’m okay with the idea provided they don’t take it too far. But there IS evidence of taking it too far and we can’t ignore that.

I buy DLC only sparingly and I NEVER do microtransactions. I think the latter really is just a huge money grab and some DLC could be a positive thing.

I like DLC that adds actual gameplay content.

Yeah, but there just isn’t enough of it. That’s my problem.

It’s just that when I’m done with a game, I’m done. By the time a bunch of DLC is out, I’m usually onto the next, you know?

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