Video game publishers have become so addicted to downloadable content and the revenue that it delivers that, for example, Ubisoft is rumored to already have a six-month-long program of releases for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed III, which will be out during the fall.
Gamers tend to rebel when they hear about his latest way of extracting money from their wallets and the backlash against initiatives like on-disk DLC that’s only unlocked after payment has been especially vocal.
But we have also become addicted to the DLC idea and constantly ask the development teams behind the titles we like, from Civilization V to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
, for more, whether we are talking about maps, civilizations, weapons, modes or simply costumes.
The only tension between the players and the publishers is linked to the cost, with those who already own a game feeling that they should get at least something for free, while the companies are willing to split their audience as long as they can get a sixth of the game price for a package that only adds a tenth of the content.
The big question is whether the players will win, convincing companies to give away content for free as long as they keep paying full price for the boxed copy, or whether publishers will decide that they can charge the usual 60 dollars or Euro for the core game and then another 10 for each piece of new content.
At the moment, a truce seems to be holding, somewhat uneasy, but I believe that a clear inflexion point will arrive in the coming year and, by the end of 2013, we will know whether the DLC trend was a passing one or an integral part of the industry.
Until then, good luck resisting the draw to pick more costumes for your Mass Effect 3