The Advantages and Disadvantages of DLC

     As time goes on and technology, along with the video game industry, changes into different ways that we've never seen before, the way we use and play video games will become increasingly different, whether in a good way or bad way. One way that has sparked this sort of change came with the XBOX 360, PlayStation 3, and mobile market years ago: downloadable content (DLC). When I say downloadable content, I'm not going to be talking about downloadable content as in a downloadable video game from something like XBOX Live, PSN, or the Nintendo eShop, but I will be talking about downloadable content for a full retail game. If you don't already know, which you should by now, downloadable content, or DLC, for video games are extra content that you pay (typically just a few extra dollars) for more content in your video game. This has become increasingly popular in the mobile market and is becoming much more popular in the general video game market.

     Without a doubt, downloadable content is going to be expanding and become more present in the video game industry's future and present-day. While some people like this form of content, many gamers loathe it and wish that it would just disappear into oblivion. While I have to agree with them on many points, there are also some huge advantages towards DLC in video games and buying DLC in video games. 


DLC Adds Extra Gameplay

     If handled improperly, this could become a disadvantages rather than an advantage, but DLC can add extra gameplay to your video games. If there is a game that you loved so much that you wanted more gameplay from it, then DLC can come in handy. DLC can give you a fresh and enjoyable gameplay experience apart from the main game itself. For example, New Super Mario Bros. 2 received DLC for the coin rush section, which added fresh and enjoyable gameplay experiences that was worth the $2.50 for admission. Another example of this would be Skyrim, which received a variety of DLC that added much more to the core experience of the game itself. However, as I said, if the DLC isn't handled properly, then it could detract from the experience or be a chunk of the core experience that was stripped away from the game itself for extra cash, which is explained more in the disadvantages section. Ultimately, DLC can add extra gameplay that is fresh and enjoyable as long as it is handled properly and is extra gameplay that is worth what it is.

DLC Adds Longevity to Video Games

     One of the biggest advantages towards DLC is the fact that it can add much more longevity to a video game. After completing a video game, you can purchase DLC, which can add more playtime to your video game, and allow you to enjoy the game even longer. Many people could highly enjoy the fact that they can extend some of their favorite video games by buying DLC for the game while others might not care too much about it because they'd want to start on another video game. I, for one, love it when I'm able to extend a game I heavily enjoyed even more by purchasing DLC. This is certainly something that DLC can add to your gameplay and it's always a good thing that can keep you enjoying an already-amazing game.

DLC may boost a Company's Profits

     The main reason behind why DLC appeared in the first place is all because of the amount of money a company can make off of DLC. DLC for a video game can largely boost a company's profits since players can purchase extra content for a video game. For example, if one million people purchase a $3 DLC pack for a video game, then a company would make three million dollars more than if they never did make DLC for that video game. The company also doesn't have to go through as many hurdles when releasing DLC for a video game as they would if they were releasing a brand-new retail game. This is a huge advantage that comes with DLC, but, if a developer uses DLC irresponsibly in order to make large amounts of money, this won't be a very beneficial thing towards a customer. Since companies make extra money off of DLC, this money can allow them to make video games that us gamers would purchase and enjoy. Along with that, it can help keep the company alive and kicking rather than going bankrupt like companies like THQ.


Developers may leave out Gameplay Necessary to the game in order to Earn Extra Profits through DLC

     One disadvantage to DLC that has become increasingly popular recently is the fact that developers may leave out gameplay that is necessary to the core game experience in order for them to earn extra profits by selling them as DLC. Unlike the past, this is something that has become much more popular recently rather than including it as a part of the main package, especially in the mobile market. One recent example of this would have to be from Street Fighter X Tekken. Surprisingly, Capcom decided to leave out 12 characters in order to sell them as "disc-locked" DLC. The recent Skylanders series also shows this kind of "disc-locked" DLC to be present, too, as the game requires you to buy figurines from a store in order to continue playing the game. This sort of use of DLC is one that, sadly, has started becoming popularized but is a revolting use of DLC and is insulting to gamers.  

DLC Can Be Costly

     While DLC can help a company boost its profits, there are some drawbacks towards it on a consumer's wallet. DLC for a video game can be very costly, as it ranges from $1 - $99 or more. This can really put a dent in a consumer's wallet when they can buy another full retail game instead. Of course, purchasing DLC is optional, but, if you do want to purchase DLC, it can be very costly on your wallet. If DLC costed less, that could definitely help a consumer on the financial side although it will lower profits on the company's side. 


Not everybody has Internet Access, which may disable them from Getting Free DLC or any DLC at all

     Finally, the last disadvantage that comes with DLC is the fact that not everybody is able to get DLC due to not everybody having Internet access.  While you might discard this as a disadvantage, this is something that is very true and many hate when it comes to DLC. For whatever reason it is, not everybody in the world has Internet access and not everybody is able to get DLC, whether it is free or not. When a company gives away any DLC for free, the people without Internet access, sadly, won't be able to receive this DLC due to a lack of Internet access. For example, on the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo has been delivering free DLC for the game Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask every day for until October 28th, 2013. If you don't have Internet access, then you won't be able to get any free DLC. You'll also be unable to get any DLC that you may purchase, too, if there is any DLC that sparked your interest and you want to purchase. Developers selling an incomplete game and selling parts of it away as DLC makes things even worse since they can't buy the parts of the game as DLC if they do want to buy it as DLC. This is a major drawback towards gamers and consumers alike, as they are unable to get the content they wish to receive due to a lack of Internet access.

     As you can see, there are some noteworthy drawbacks towards DLC in video games as well as some noteworthy advantages towards DLC in video games. While I, personally, am fond of DLC as long as it is strictly extra content and is worth the purchase (When I say worth the purchase, I do not mean something like you pay $3 or $5 for a few cars in a racing game.), DLC isn't always a good thing. Although you may hate DLC, it's becoming a huge part of the gaming industry, and, as much as many wish for it to not be used anymore, it's something that will have to be accepted among the video game industry and the gaming community.