Mass Effect 3Downloadable content has come under even more fire recently. For those not familiar with DLC, it can be viewed as expansion packs for free-to-play games, purchasing premium items from cash shops or purchasing additional card packs for card games like Pokémon. Some gamers view DLC as a welcome addition to their favorite games to extent the playing experience while others view DLC as a way for developers to milk even more money from gamers after paying roughly $60 for the game to begin with. In the past, DLC was content that was in development along side of the main campaign of a game, but for whatever reason was not ready to include on the disk when the game was released. Some DLC was developed after the game was finished and shipped; allowing the developers to continue working on a game and allowing players to dive back into some of their favorite franchises. However, recent discoveries have shown that DLC is being shipped on the original game disc, but is locked until the players pay an additional fee to unlock the content.

After looking through the files included with the disc, one hacker found that the day-one DLC for Mass Effect 3 was already stored on the disc. The “From Ashes” squad member was included with the on-disc DLC and that the character was completed before the game went gold.

Escapist Magazine first broke the story thanks to Crystal Prison Zone who had a file investigator dig into the on-disk content. The file sizes, sound files and voice files are stored on the disk, the files, however, are encrypted which makes it difficult to tell how complete they are. This proves that Casey Hudson lied about the content not being completed when the gold version of the game was shipped.

This is looks to be very similar to what Capcom did with Street Fighter X Tekken. The full extent of the on disk DLC will not be known until the rest of the encrypted files are decrypted. However, it is looking like the “From Ashes” DLC was as complete as the rest of the files on the game’s disc.Street Fighter X Tekken

The Official Xbox Magazine reported that  former BioWare employee Christina Norman, now with Riot Games and working on League of Legends , defended the day-one DLC, saying: “

“Building good DLC is really hard, and developers are constantly trying to find a way to develop that DLC better, get it out to players, and to reach players” she told the audience. “There’s no point in releasing DLC a year after your game comes out when most people have already sold it back to Gamestop three times. So, that means getting it out early. That means day one DLC.”

One thing she forgot is that Rockstar released DLC for Grand Theft Augo IV a year after the game was released. A better argument would have been, if you make the game complete enough, developers would not have to worry about gamers trading it in at GameStop three or more times within the first six months after release. The fact that a gamer trades in a game within the first six to 12 months after release tells a lot about the game.

Bethesda usually waits three to six months before any DLC is released for their games and said DLC is usually well received by gamers who have not traded in their copy. It is also very telling if gamers still support a title by purchasing DLC six months to a year after a game is released.

Norman continued by saying:

“Game developers are not evil…we just want to release awesome stuff. So players, please give us a chance, judge our games based on what they are, judge the DLC based on what it is and stop thinking you’re a producer and telling us when and where we should be building our content.”

Tim Schafer of Double Fine Productions doesn’t seem to mind if gamers tell him where or how content should be delivered. Especially since gamers have already given him $2 million up front for their next project and trusting that Double Fine will deliver.
It seems like the trend gamers have feared of DLC being included on the disk and having to pay to access it has become reality. It seems that gamers have even less of a say on ownership of content they purchase in the gaming industry. If gamers are not careful, we may end up paying $60 for half of the content that is already contained on the disk and even more money to access the rest of the game.

[Via Gaming Blend]

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