Gamer Advocacy: DLCs – Downloadable Content? Disc Locked Content?

DLCs are meant to enhance the video game experience, giving the player some extra to enjoy. For example, let’s look back at a classic game like Super Mario Brothers 3.

World 1 of SMB3

World 1 of SMB3

I loved Super Mario Brothers 3. Out of all the games for the Nintendo, this game was one of my all time favorites. Probably my 2nd or 3rd favorite game of all time. This game had eight challenging worlds, each level unique and exciting. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve played this game and beaten it. Easily hundreds of times. Easily. If Nintendo would have found a way to give me an extra world to play in, I would have gladly paid the extra money for it.

So yeah, that’s what DLCs are meant to be. Adding to the entire experience. Giving the player something new and fun to do.

Is this what is happening with DLCs these days?

Kind of…..

There is a strange phenomena occurring in the video game industry called disc locked content. When the gamer purchases the game, there is content on the game disc that is not included in the purchase price. The gamer has to pay extra to have additional portions of the game unlocked.

Capcom did this in 2011 with Street Fighter Tekken X. Capcom included 12 locked characters that the gamer had to pay extra to unlock.

Capcom at its "finest"

Capcom at its “finest”

Epic Games did this in 2011 with Gears of War 3. Epic included locked characters, weapon skins, and maps that the gamer had to pay extra to unlock.

Nicely done, Epic Games

Nicely done, Epic Games

BioWare did this in 2012 with Mass Effect 3. BioWare included a locked character and mission that the gamer had to pay extra to unlock.

BioWare at its "best"

BioWare at its “best”

All the companies listed have reasons for why there was additional content on the disc that was locked. Their reasons were numerous, but seemed to all say they weren’t doing this to be greedy. Let me ask this…

When we purchase a video game, is it reasonable to expect access to everything that is on that very video game? I believe so. When I head to the store to purchase something, I feel it is reasonable to expect to use every feature of the thing I am purchasing. That doesn’t give me unrestricted access to every update the game may have in the future. It seems reasonable to expect, at the very least, full access to the product I am purchasing.

Why are video game companies allowed to do this? Why do they have the right to do this and the consumer is called entitled whiner when they say this isn’t fair?

I believe these questions are important, as we will all have our own take on the answer to them. Whatever answer you may have should influence the games you purchase and how you view the video game industry as a whole.


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