Lunchtime Discussion: DLC Pricing

Remember when if you wanted extra content for a game you went and bought an expansion? I distinctly remember the excitement I felt when I finally managed to track down a bundle of the Total Annihilation expansions and installing them onto my computer for a few extra missions. I also have very fond memories of swapping out the disk on my treasured PlayStation so I could wreak havoc over the streets of London in GTA: London (yes, yes I was far too young to be playing it, my parents pretty much ignored age ratings).

Now things are much simpler of course. No spending hours tracking down expansion packs or swapping out disks to get your hands on a new city, you just jump onto the store of your choice and grab whatever new content you want in the form of DLC. Pft, young people these days, you don’t know how good you’ve got it.

Of course the biggest issue with DLC seems to be how much it’s worth. Is it worth less if it’s just an unlock code on the disk, even if producing that extra content was budgeted for as premium content? That’s what does seem to be forgotten about unlock codes for disk based content, it may have been produced at the same time as the rest of the content, but the development hours were paid for by expected sales of DLC.

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I don’t think I’ve ever actually purchased a single item of DLC, so it’s hard for me to gauge how much we should be paying for things. What does seem a little weird is the amount of content you can get at a fixed price, say £7.99, varies so much game to game. Some games will give you just a few more characters for that, others will give you new maps or missions.

How much should we be paying though? Is a new character worth more or less than a new car or a new map? Is everything priced too high at the moment?

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59 Comments

  1. I personally think that DLC should only be released when it adds something to the game. I remember I used to play games like Rollercoaster Tycoon, and they had expansions that were about £20 on release. A hefty price tag by todays DLC standards? But what you got for that £20 was brilliant, it added a hell of a lot of new items to the game (not just an extra skin for a character), added new missions, ways to play the game and enhanced the game in many aspects. Enhanced the CURRENT game.
    Totally worth it.

    DLC by todays standards is pretty rubbish in my opinion, I completely understand why people say that the prices for the COD map packs are too high, because they are. HOWEVER, if your willing to pay, and your going to get enough gameplay out of it, it should be worth it in the long run?

    My opinion on this is so conflicting even I’m not sure where I stand with most DLC… I just wish the quality of DLC was up to scratch and not just a case of “lets squeeze a few more sales out of these idiots who paid £40 for the game already with an extra skin”.

  2. Ooops I forgot about Legends and Killers, Forrest_01 ;-)

    • No worries – Just wanted to make sure that you weren’t missing out on one! :)

  3. I take it on a case by case basis, really. Though generally I find stuff to be a bit overly expensive.

    Your comparison with old expansion packs is a good one. They generally cost half as much as the game once again, but at the same time, they were also half the game in both single and multiplayer once again. Some of the best value you’d get would be with RTS games, where they so often got everything from the chopping board and just dropped it into a crazy package. Yuri’s Revenge for RA2 was brilliant, and the expansions for Blizzard’s games were all just as if not more important to the plot than the main games!

    So it does somewhat pain me when I see two maps and two remixed maps being sold for £10, or perhaps a collection of maps released less than a month after release. Even EA’s frankly ridiculous online pass for Bad Company 2 where they basically drip fed you content that was already on the disc annoyed me, and that was ‘free’ if you bought the game new.

    Then again, it’s all about individual worth. If you’re going to get enjoyment out of all this, then that’s great. That’s why I bought the DLC for KZ2, LBP and UC2, and in turn got some excellent maps.

    Ideally I’d like to see Sony follow the path that LBP2 is blazing. If a sequel or follow up game is using the same, or a modified engine, I’d like to see all DLC from the previous title be immediately playable in the next game. So the map packs from KZ2 should work with KZ3. That still allows them to release the on disc maps from KZ2 as DLC for KZ3, but it would also mean that they get some extra life out of the previous DLC without raiding the fans’ wallets in an overly unfair manner.

  4. RDR undead nightmare got it right…

  5. For the majority of DLC, it should be included in the disc copy, not in some GOTY or updated version…bad instances would be the RE5 versus mode and launch DLC..as for the pricing..I think complete editions like Fallout 3 can be a tenner rather than pay £30 for all the DLC…so evens itself out a lil bit :’)

  6. LittleBIGPlanet & Borderlands have reasonably priced DLC.

    • Are you forgetting the whole T-Shirt debacle?

      • lol ive never bought lbp dlc. costumes for sackboy, no thanks. i know they look cool, but the dont add anything to the game (imo)

  7. I think Rockstar get the balance of content/price right most of the time.

  8. Developers KNOW that if a game is popular, DLC will be popular, therefore they can overcharge for DLC.
    The most obvious example is COD, the map packs are crap in MW2, yet people buy them on a huge scale, as the game is just soooo damn popular and IW will inevitably see huge interest, despite the large price tag and, as a result, making a killing!
    It’s intelligence from the devs, not neglect to gamers. However when Burnout Paradise releases Bikes, new challenges and trophies as a free update, then a debate is justified I guess.

  9. I was happy to pay the money for MW2’s map packs, only because i knew i would get my moneys worth of play time out of them. Without those maps, i wouldnt still be playing mw2 today, it would have been relegated to the shelf a long time ago, it freshened it up for me and ill keep playing it up until the 9th. Then ill move onto blackops.
    Was never a fan of waw so didnt bother with those maps as i stopped playing the game long before they were available, but rest assured, i will be buying the map packs for Blackops. Yes i can say that even before ive played the game. I just know i will!

  10. It all depends on what you get imo, I.E I think big surf island was about a tenner for burnout, which i found to be reasonable because of the shear size of the new map.

    where as the cod maps just keep getting dearer and dearer the last one i bought was map pack 1 for waw

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