The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
Arrival, Dead Money, the Noble Map Pack, Bonfire of the Vanities, Battle of Forli, Pinnacle Station, the Defiant Map Pack, The Da Vinci Disappearance...what do all these DLC have in common? I don't own them, I really want to, but I quite frankly don't want to shell out $60 for a bunch of tiny addons when I could easily buy a full game for the same price.
I'll get straight to the point: I think that the game industry is currently suffering from what I like to call DLC Overload. Put simply, game developers are making too many DLC packs, especially when you compare the number of DLC packs with the number of full games being released: in 2008, about 950 new games were published, while in 2010 there were about 650. In that same time period, DLC has gone from being a fun bonus to an expected addition. From personal experience, I can tell you that while certain DLC can be a lot of fun, others seem to exist as bait for achievement hunters or as money sinks for gamers. What's more, many of these DLC packs aren't really worth the money.
Take Fallout 3 for example; Fallout 3 has five different content packs. Each one adds a new, short adventure to the game, a few new fun guns, and occasionally a gimmick. Out of them, only Broken Steel and Point Lookout seem to be worth the $10 cost, but only because Broken Steel raises the level cap and Point Lookout actually adds a new (mini) wasteland. The other ones are, quite frankly, not worth the money. The Pitt offers an ammo source and a very short story, which isn't very interesting after the second playthrough. Operation Anchorage is an interesting change of pace, but it is also very linear and has very little replay value; you could probably find a copy of Call of Duty 2 for the same price and get a longer version of the same experience. As for Mothership Zeta...well, in all honesty, I never got Mothership Zeta, but that's only because I figured that spending $99 on one game was enough.
For $10 I could easily buy a full length PS2, Gamecube, or Xbox Live Arcade game. Instead I used that money to wander through a post-apocalyptic Pittsburgh for three hours.
I honestly believe that some developers need to take a little break from DLC, or at the very least charge more affordable rates. I know that Microsoft makes developers charge a minimum amount for each piece of DLC, but could they at least wait a few months and add some more content before releasing the DLC? I mean there's no way that $30 is worth a bunch of maps (see Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2), especially when the matchmaking system forces me to play said maps at random. Are you telling me that they couldn't add some new game modes or something to it before asking for my money?
Another grievance I have against DLC is achievements. Achievement hunters can often be baited into buying bad DLC quite easily if the DLC includes achievements for their favorite game. I myself tried achievement hunting a while back, and the result was that I bought every Fable 2 DLC, even the ones that had very low ratings. Overall, I was disappointed by the DLC and felt that I had wasted a ton of money. On the other hand, many gamers outright ignore DLC that doesn't include achievements, so I can understand why developers would want to include them. I simply think that developers should improve the quality of their DLC so that it seems more like actual gameplay rather than achievement hunter bait.
Speaking of quality, it seems that DLC Overload has brought down the quality of DLC content overall. For example, Bioware is usually known for making awesome games with incredible stories, but their DLC generally doesn't reflect this reputation. They have made a few great ones, such as Lair of the Shadow Broker or Dragon Age Origins - Awakening, but these are shining jewels in a sea of muck: Witch Hunt, The Golems of Amgarrak, and Darkspawn Chronicles all failed to impress me, and I haven't been hearing good things about Arrival. Most of the Mass Effect DLC packs are ok, but none of them are anything compared to even a single companion loyalty mission from the full game.
Don't get me wrong, I love getting new content for my favorite games, but I would much rather have a few high quality DLC packs than the ton of hit-or-miss DLC that developers are currently throwing at us. In fact, I would probably be willing to pay more for great DLC like Lair of the Shadow Broker or Left 4 Dead's The Sacrifice if I wasn't busy spending money on all the other so-so content that's being released.