Cliff Bleszinski, the creative director of Epic Games and the man behind the Gears of War franchise, has shared his thoughts on downloadable content and the recent practice of putting the content on the game’s disc and then charging a fee from players to unlock it.
DLC has always been a sensitive aspect of the gaming industry, as more and more companies are attracted to the profit it can generate, but often end up causing serious backlashes from players with their shady practices.
The most recent case is that of Capcom, which confirmed that 12 fighters
will be released as paid DLC for Street Fighter X Tekken
, although the characters are already present on the game’s disc.
Such a practice of on-disc DLC is unfortunate, according to Bleszinski, but it’s something that’s necessary in some cases nowadays.
"When you're making a game, and you're getting into a ship cycle, there's often three or four months where the game is basically done. And you have an idle team that needs to be working on things," he told GameSpot
"And often for compatibility issues, [on] day one, some of that content does need to be on-disc. It's an ugly truth of the gaming industry. I'm not the biggest fan of having to do it, but it is one of the unfortunate realities."
Often times, the DLC is there to prevent incompatibilities between those who play with new content and those who don’t have it.
Other times, like we’ve seen with Capcom, it’s just a way of getting more money from players that want to experience the full game, even if they’ve already bought the disc and the content that’s locked on it.
Fully downloadable games, according to Bleszinski, might fix this issue, as players will be able to truly pay for only what they want.
"If we can get to fully downloadable games, then you can just buy a $30 horror game and just have it, and that stuff will thankfully go away," he said.
We’re getting close to such a reality, as more and more games are getting day-one digital releases across not just the PC but also on the PlayStation 3 platforms, but it’s still a long way to go before all games will be available for download.