Skimming off of the top

So, I’m sure it’s come up at least a handful of times already, but let me put it on the record again: I’m not crazy about DLC. Now that’s not to say that I refuse to buy it. So, I’m certainly a part of the problem. I think the majority of gamers are in the same lot. We hate paying for stuff that should be included in the price of the game, but we simultaneously love that games we enjoy are supported, sometimes, long after their launch. Micro transactions are currently the bane of the industry – on the consumer side. Now my feelings can best be summed up by a good friend of mine: when it comes to micro transactions for things that are cosmetic, and not game breaking I’m fine with them. Especially when the money raised from them fund the developer’s ability to release substantial pieces of content free for the rest of the users.

I think what is both interesting and infuriating is that every game seems to come with a “gold” or “deluxe” version now.

assassins-creed-syndicate-gold-edition

In some cases, like Star Wars: Battlefront, the up-sell is 10$. For your 10$ you get a few weapons, some cosmetic stuff and a DLC map. Not a lot for your money, but you’re not breaking the bank. It’s the sort of stuff the die hard crowd goes for, and I get that. But then there are games like Assassin’s Creed Syndicate or Rainbow Six: Siege. The regular games are already at the whopping price point (in Canada) of 79.99$. To acquire the Gold edition, you’re putting down 119.99$ – before taxes. That 40$ gets you access to the season’s pass. Now, most games don’t even give you a complete list of what you can expect, in most cases it’s a vague blurb. In the case of Assassin’s Creed – you get a bunch of missions and an extra “hour” of associated gameplay. The justification is pretty thin.

If you’ve been reading along with me for some time now, you’ll know that my opinion of Ubisoft has only been climbing this year. This isn’t something they and they alone are guilty of. It’s a systemic problem. Not localised to any one company or sector of the industry. And, my qualm (this time) isn’t even pointed directly at the day one DLC/built in season’s passes. My issue is if you’re going to go the way of making a season pass, and promising expanded content – you really need to make it something specific, something great and something that can give me a reasonable answer to the question: Why should I give you another 40$ for a game I’ve already bought, played through and completed versus me going out and grabbing a new game?

Because the truth is: There is always another game out there. Indies, AAA’s and a bevy of games are at the consumer’s fingertips. Basically all retail stores (with even a modicum of electronics) carry games now (even your local drug stores and grocery stores) and digital media is just a few mouse clicks/taps on the analogue away from adding something else to the library.

For 40$, I personally need to walk away from my purchase saying: That was a great decision. Especially since, unlike physical media, there is no returning software that you’ve purchased. Regrets cannot be an outcome.

Now, again, this isn’t me picking on any group or company specifically, but I will use the Fallout series as a perfect example of money well spent. Every piece of Fallout DLC is virtually deep enough to be as large (or larger) as some indie games. For the price of (approximately) 10$ per installment (the same price that games like Assassin’s Creed’s offer) there is no comparison.

So, to the companies forcing that extra attempt at grabbing those extra consumer dollars – just remember that what you put out there is the reputation you have to stand on. Make sure that when you tell me I should give you that extra 40$, that there are choices abound.

– The Ego

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