from the dlc-all-that-money dept
We only occasionally talk about video game DLC, or downloadable content, here at Techdirt. When digital distribution became a thing some years back, game makers came up with DLC as a way to achieve several goals: extend the shelf-life of games, make games more saleable through the promise of extra content, and, of course, make more money. I remember when the wave of DLC started and the general negative reaction brought by the gaming public to it. Most concerns centered around game makers charging for features that once were included in the games for the original asking price. Some makers legitimized these concerns through their actions, but others did wonderful things with DLC that gamers would not wish to be without. But, as Hunter S. Thompson once imagined he could see the crest of hippie culture along the Rocky Mountains before its eventual recession, I too can see the crest of DLC greed in our time in the insanity of Train Simulator 2016's laughable DLC offerings.
This all becomes evident as Kotaku's Alex Walker went on a quest to find the most ridiculous DLC costs for games on the market today.
My first thought was the Dynasty Warriors series. They, like many anime brawlers, have an absurd amount of costume and armour packages that are far more expensive than they should be. But then I came across Train Simulator 2016: Steam Edition. It’s US$45, which is fairly standard for niche titles with a hardcore fanbase. Dovetail Games were even generous enough to have a special on the DLC. And then I saw how much DLC there was.
As you can see at the bottom of the image, there are 230 available DLC options for sale. Next to it is an option to see them all. Walker saw them all. The results, and keep in mind that most of these are on sale for nearly half off, are hilariously expensive.
Yes, that's over $3,000 if you were to buy all of the game's DLC when most of it is on sale. None of this is to say, of course, that a game maker can't charge what they like for their game, their DLC, their box art, their communications, their support, or anything else. They most certainly can. But what this should herald for most of us is the ultimate example of DLC done wrong. Whatever costs and effort might go into making a game, the end result shouldn't be the cost of a used car in payment for the full content. There are ways to DLC right and it's not evil to charge for great content, but this kind of thing we see above is so far removed from how games were charged for only a few years ago that it's plainly obvious that something ain't right here.