Super Smash Bros. Creator Accuses Publishers Of “DLC Scam”

It has been reported that Masahiro Sakurai, creator of Super Smash Bros, has accused publishers of ripping off gamers by removing core content from titles and selling it as DLC.

Sakurai was interviewed in Japanese by Famitsu magazine which in turn has been translated Sourcegaming, so there is always the possibility of things being ‘lost in translation’. However, his views do seem quite clear.


“These days, the ‘DLC scam’ has become quite the epidemic, charging customers extra money to complete what was essentially an unfinished product,” said Sakurai. “I completely understand how aggravated players must feel. After all, a game should be 100% done at the time of release, and I would be livid if it were split up and sold in pieces.”

“Why, then, do you think so many titles provide premium DLC on or shortly following a game’s release? It’s because that’s the easiest way to make money,” he added. “After all, if you wait too long after a game’s release to distribute additional content, players will already move on to the next title. Even long tail titles–that is, ones that perform consistently well over an extended period of time–make more money the earlier they come out.”

Super Smash Bros. has DLC but Sakurai insists it is”authentic, developed only after we finished working on the main game.”

One of the most recent games to incur the wrath of the internet was Evolve which launched with over $60 worth of day once DLC, not including the Season Pass, whilst the Red Hood DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight was announced in July last year, just four months after the game was revealed and almost a year before the game is due to be released.

Whatever your thoughts are on day one DLC and pre-order “bonuses”, it looks like they are here to stay.

Source: Famitsu via Sourcegaming



  1. So leaving out characters that were in the previous 37 versions of your game (or however many it is in this case) and then making them afterwards to sell as DLC is “authentic”? And not selling an “unfinished product”?

    And to make things worse, Nintendo tie the DLC to the hardware and not an account that you can move to new hardware when the old one dies or gets exploded by some sort of freak weather or whatever happens to Nintendo hardware. Small children maybe? They happen?

    He makes good points, but however much he denies it, people in glass houses should always wear pants. Or whatever the expression is. It’s not anything to do with pants, is it?

    • don’t know if that’s the expression but it bloody well should be. if you live in a glass house and want to talk shit about others then make sure your ass is covered. Nintendo infuriate me for a good number of reasons but like you said…I can see the logic behind his statements and it makes sense but don’t point out other people when you are doing the same thing because you just end up looking stupid.

    • “He who lives in glass houses should NOT THROW STONES”.

      I don’t blame Sakurai for releasing Lucas and Roy as DLC, even though they were in Brawl.

      I do blame him a little bit for selling clone characters as DLC. Snake would have been more welcome.

      • You can throw stones in a glass house. Just have to remember to only throw small ones. And wear pants while you’re doing it.

      • Roy isn’t even announced yet (only leaked), and wasn’t in Brawl. And would you rather have them spend time on clones for the main roster? I agree that they need to be careful with pricing though.

        It’s ridiculous that you guys are talking about throwing stones in a glass house, and don’t even get your own facts straight. Nintendo are currently the most interesting and considerate when it comes to DLC, just take a look at the recently released pack for Mario Kart 8.

        Also, keep in mind that Sakurai isn’t actually a Nintendo employee. He works with them, but is part of his own company.

  2. DLC got out of hand years ago and I can’t see it ever being what it was supposed to be.

  3. Publishhers are testing the market with new business models, it will hopefully settle to a situation where both sides are happy.

    I can’t remember the last piece of dlc I bought off the top of my head. *Goes to check.

    The only DLC I have bought on PS4 was Resogun, because it came out several months after the game, was priced reasonably and appropriately, and I didn’t pay for the main game because of PS plus.

    I bought Infamous first light and assasin’s creed freedom cry but they are both standalone games with different protagonists so I don’t regard them as dlc.

    I haven’t bought any dlc for X1 games.

    • Freedom Cry was DLC for AC4 though, wasn’t it? Not a standalone thing. It’s a good example of how to do DLC properly though. Big extra chunk of game at a decent price.

      Not expensive extra characters that should have been in there from the start, or an endless stream of costumes with slightly more exposed breasts than the week before’s costumes. Or the infamous horse armour.

      I’ve spent far too much money on DLC for assorted pinball games. But they’re all reasonably priced and pretty much just using the base games as a platform for DLC anyway. Which reminds me, that Addams Family table appeared, didn’t it?

      • It was available as dlc or standalone. I bought it standalone as I had finished and sold the main game, and it was reduced quite alot in the xmas sale.

      • Yep, you’re right. It was available in both ways. A decent sized chunk of game at a reasonable price either way.

  4. The last and next DLC I buy will be for Dragon age. It’s always out after release, always expensive and always good.

    • I don’t think we should be praising Dragon Age for good DLC practices after they pulled that timed exclusive crap with MS for the DLC.

      • To be fair, the development side of Bioware didn’t decide it. It was either the higher ups at Bioware or EA.

  5. Only DLC I have ever bought was Undead Redemption. For what it cost it was a lot of content and I really enjoyed playing through it, more than the original game at times.

    These days, DLC isn’t DLC. It’s an experiment in extortion and greed.

  6. I’m not surprised by this, however Nintendo probably won’t recieve much flak for it due to them being Nintendo. If it was EA, MS or Sony, there would be a ****storm about it. I believe this video sums up what could happen if DLC continues to get out of control.

    I’ve not purchased any DLC for years due to no net connection for the PS3 but it is always annoying to hear about the latest releases having DLC available from day one. Fair enough if the game went gold and they started work on it before the offical release but cutting content out to flog back to us is shady.

    Bioware, CD Project Red(Witchers developers), Bethesda know how to handle DLC and it is usually worth the price. Here? Nintendo seems to have discovered DLC and is using the wrong side of it. What’s next? Taking 80% cuts of monetisation on Youtube for any Ninted…. oh, right, Ninty did that.

    • Bethesda? The creators of the infamous horse armour DLC for Oblivion? And currently involved in something completely outrageous / a big fuss over nothing with Steam and charging for mods (which is either “being greedy bastards and getting money for nothing” or “giving people a bit of money for all their hard work making mods”).

      And also either being completely incompetent at getting the Skyrim DLC released for the PS3 or doing some dodgy deal with MS to delay it.

      On the other hand, they have been known to do some good DLC at a decent price too. So we can probably put them on the “good company for DLC” list.

      • If i recall correctly, it was techincal issues that prevented Bethesda from releasing the DLC for Skyrim at the original date. The horse armour DLC was their biggest mistake and the current crap with steam is still unfolding but there hasn’t been any hard evidence that puts Bethesda at the heart of it or if it’s Valve shifting the blame to them. If it’s the former, it would be their higher ups that caused it or the publisher side of it. :( I seriously doubt MS would pay a publisher to delay content months due to it providing them no benefits and would bring them bad PR.

      • The current nonsense with Steam seems mostly like it’s being stirred up by a certain “group” I won’t name in their usual “we’re not a hate group, it’s about ethics, honest” way. Valve have possibly not thought it all through properly and Bethesda have obviously just gone “Free money? We’ll have some of that”. And some people are screaming “It’s evil and unethical! Get rid of it!” rather than “Here’s the problems with it, can we get them fixed?”

        As for MS paying for timed exclusives on DLC, they do it all the time. And yes, it’s just as bad when Sony do it. Although Sony tend to go more for (timed) exclusive extra content instead of DLC.

      • The big problem on steam is not the fact that there is a charge for mods it is the fact that valve get 75% of that money and the mod makers get 25% but I only get that 25% when it has sold a certain amount. If it doesn’t reach that amount the mod makers don’t see a penny It all goes to valve.

      • 75% of it goes to Valve and the developers (so far, that’s only Bethesda). The minimum payment thing makes sense though. It’s going to cost Valve to send the money, since they’re only offering the option of transferring it straight to your bank account (so that 75% for Valve is actually less now). The minimum payment of $100 seems fairly reasonable in that case. If you don’t earn that much, they keep the money until you earn more.

        I guess they could pay mod developers before that minimum threshold and take bank fees off? I suspect most would probably be happier getting the full $100.

  7. What people need to realise is that games have budgets the same level as movies nowadays. The problem is there is only one opportunity to sell a game. Movies can be sold 5 times. At the cinema, as exclusive rights to a streaming, or pay TV service, on DVD/BD, on subscription TV channels and finally to free to air channels.

    Suddenly it becomes apparent that it’s hard for these companies to stay afloat with game sales alone. Even at the prices charged. DLC is a necessity in order to cover costs and make a profit. It’s a way of creating a second sale for the same game.

    • A good point, if not quite entirely true these days. There’s always the option of games being re-released later on in a cheaper version (something we’ve not had with the current generation yet. Or some sort of bundled with all the DLC edition (which kind of relies on there being some DLC to bundle it with, I guess).

      And these days with got PS+ and PS Now. Both presumably working in a similar way to selling movies to TV channels. Here’s a big pile of money in exchange for your game being made available for a certain length of time. (And a chance to tempt people with more DLC or any sequel)

      Those enormous budgets don’t help either. At least not while people want those games but aren’t prepared to pay for them. How much complaining does the internet do about the prices of games on the PS store? Take inflation (and the extra VAT) into account, and even those full prices are the same or less than we were paying 20 or 30 years ago. For games that cost 100s of times as much to make.

    • Publishers are partly to blame for increased development costs. Rather than throwing more staff at projects to cope with the ever more complicated technology in games, (e.g. Ubisoft Montreal with over 1000 staff), they should invest in a modern engine that can be used across genres, which is what DICE/EA have got right with Frostbite 3…

      But then you have people complaining about the engine+tech is the same as a previous game (specifically BF4 and Hardline) which is ridiculous and part of the problem.

  8. I never do DLC and I still remember Capcoms ridiculous Versus being locked but already in the disc!
    Mortal Kombat X has a DLC of Goro but he is in the main tower and then it’s Shinnok (he can be unlocked after completing the story)
    But in Mortal Kombat 9 Shao Khan is the main villain in the arcade ladder but is also a DLC to play and Goro was also a DLC if I remember.

  9. It’s definitely a scam when you do buy some dlc content and the download for it is just a couple a kilobytes, which unlocks what you already have on the disc you already bought and own.

    • That’s pretty outrageous, yes. But those tiny DLC downloads don’t always mean it was on disc in the first place. I’m sure you’ve seen massive game updates that don’t seem to do much. The DLC often gets to sneak in that way ready to unlock once you pay for it.

      A completely different situation to unlocking stuff which was developed and on disc before the game was released. That’s an absolute disgrace and deserving of many pages of internet moaning and strong language.

Comments are now closed for this post.