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The DLC debate: should most DLC be included in the original package?

Downloadable content is a very early and unsure part of the gaming medium. 

Unsteady price tags, ranging amounts of content, and a good deal of controversy shroud this topic. There's quite a lot of areas to talk about, but the most intriguing aspect is that of it's release dates. 

Some games wait half a year to release DLC, while others wait only two weeks. Upon hearing that Mafia II's first DLC pack was to be released two weeks after the base game's release, I was surprised. Many fans were upset that they would have to pay money for content of a game they hadn't even finished in the first place. My original thought on why we had DLC, was to keep our interest in a game we would have otherwise grown tired of. 

Joe Barbaro steels the spotlight in the Joe's Adventures pack for Mafia II.

Taking a break from a game is healthy, especially when you know you have more of the game to look forward to in the future. But when DLC is released so swiftly, it seems to lose that interest. 

So from here it's very easy to agree with people that DLC should either be fit into the package, or given some time before release. But what some people don't take into account, is the fact that some DLC may not fit into the original storyline. For instance, the Minerva's Den DLC puts you into the metal shell of a different big daddy, Sigma. His story follows a different path, although it is the same game. So if this were to be released within the first game, it may have felt rushed or rather cheap in order to fit into the original story arch. 

minervas_den

Fun Fact: Minerva is the Greek goddess of wisdom and is often associated with owls.

I know Minerva's Den wasn't released within two weeks of BioShock 2, but it brings up another argument. The player by no means is forced to purchase DLC. But when a game offers a shorter play time than other games, buyers may feel scammed. If someone payed the average sixty dollars for a brand new game which turns out to be short, why should they have to pay more money for additional content? 

I enjoy DLC a lot. Whenever I like a game, I always look forward to the additional content. It certainly keeps my interest in games up, even if I do have to wait five months. DLC is still a very new concept that needs more time to develop and become a more appreciated addition to any video game. Although it may not always be as good as the original game, it's still a great way for developers to experiment with new and innovative game styles. 


This article is my response after pondering the ups and downs of DLC whilst enjoying the Joe's Adventures pack for Mafia  II. Thank you, Dan Hsu, for the awesome gift. 


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