OLD SITE

You're currently viewing the old version of the GameGrin site as this article hasn't yet been moved to our new site.

Visit the new site at www.gamegrin.com

Staff Blog: The Day DLC Jumped The Shark

I’ve never been the biggest fan of DLC. It’s not an inherently bad concept; buying more of a game I liked is a sound idea in principle, and companies like Bethesda have shown that it can be done well, with Fallout and The Elder Scrolls offering worthwhile downloadable additions to already fantastic experiences. However, far too often it’s insubstantial and overpriced, or something that should have been in the game to begin with; whether it’s THQ cutting out most of Saints Row: The Third to sell separately, Capcom hiding away the cheats in Dead Rising: Off the Record, or EA forcing used customers to pay for an online pass that’s already been paid for.

All of this, however, is absolutely eclipsed by Square Enix’s latest DLC venture. After selling copies of Tomb Raider to Japanese gamers on Steam, with full Japanese voice acting and subtitles, they then patched out the Japanese language support to sell as DLC. For $30. Just to be clear, they took out an already existing feature, one that players had already used, to resell it to them. This is it, folks: DLC has finally jumped the shark.

Now, as I understand it, this was a mistake on Square Enix’s part. The Japanese language pack was not intended to be included with Steam versions of the game and it something of an accident but still, projecting this mistake onto your paying customers is an absolutely terrible business practice. Say what you like about EA, but when players of Dead Space 3 found an exploit that let them bypass the microtransaction system, EA let it go. It didn’t start punishing its customers, and forcing them to pay for something they assumed was part of the purchase price. You know you’ve done something truly horrible when you look bad compared to EA.

Now I can certainly understand the desperation on the part of Square Enix. As a company, they’re not in the greatest shape right now. After vastly overestimating the selling potential of Tomb Raider, Sleeping Dogs and Hitman: Absolution, posting losses of around $100 million and losing their CEO, I can see why they may be a little desperate to make back money wherever they can. To me, however, this seems like a very short-sighted strategy. Sure, gamers who’ve already purchased Tomb Raider will probably bite the bullet and buy the language pack to fully enjoy what is certainly one of the best games this year. However, I know if I’d been forced to pay such a vast sum for English voice support, I’d absolutely swear to never purchase a Square Enix game brand new, ever again. An attitude I’m likely to adopt anyway.

This incident represents the absolute epitome of the attitude of AAA developers today: Make money now and we’ll figure the rest out later. A particularly poor attitude for a company like Square Enix, who are already expecting to post further losses this year, to take on. Overall, I’m just disappointed. For a while, I’d been extolling the virtues of Square Enix as a publisher. Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Sleeping Dogs were all fantastic games, with very few of the anti-consumer measures often taken by larger publishers, and it’s shame they had to ruin this goodwill with such immeasurably horrible business practices.

Somewhere in the world, a big group of executives from EA, Activision and Ubisoft are high-fiving each other and drinking champagne, secure in the knowledge that they will never look as bad as Square Enix does, right now.

SilentHeaven109 | 17th April, 2013
Hairy's picture
VFM - Value for Money.

If it's sizeable, reasonably priced DLC, not a problem.

If it's DLC that comes out just weeks after the release of a title and adds very little then you get the feeling it was 20% of the original title simply ripped out of the original release.
Betty_Swallocks's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hairy View Post
VFM - Value for Money.

If it's sizeable, reasonably priced DLC, not a problem.

If it's DLC that comes out just weeks after the release of a title and adds very little then you get the feeling it was 20% of the original title simply ripped out of the original release.
Agreed. Mafia 2 was very much like that. A fairly short story with more "chapters" released almost immediately. It put me right off and rather than buying the game immediately which is what I had planned to do I waited until the full package was on sale on Steam

Other items from around the web