The moment you get a new game is one of sheer joy- you just can’t wait to load it up and start a new adventure, puzzle, or murder-spree of great, virtual proportions. But then comes the wait time. What are you waiting for? First, the game now has to download straight to your console before you can play it, (but don’t you dare hope that it means you don’t need the disk every time you want to get your game on, unless you download it directly, no disk required- makes sense, right?). Then you have to wait for the patches and updates to download because developers- somewhat correctly- assume that we gamers cannot wait any longer for a game to come out and will pay for an incomplete mess of bugs and glitches. We expect these updates now, and the worst of them are the day one DLCs that cause you to question both your purpose in life and whether or not you really need another outfit for Harley Quinn (of course you do). I can’t say that I am not wholly tempted to grab at all the packs made available when purchasing a new game. But it still irks me to think that I paid for something, only to find out it is not the best possible version, unless I shell out another five, ten, maybe thirty bucks for all the additional content that was likely always in the coding of the game.
“So I already paid for it, now you want me to pay you to ‘unlock’ it? Why not just make it a quest in the game and really immerse me in your evil plan to take all my fun-money?” I have a tendency to wait on a lot of game releases, even if I have been chomping at the bit to play for however many months or years after the announcements are made. That’s called “patience” (PAY-shents), but I admittedly don’t have a whole lot of it when it involves my money. Games are released too soon, before the developers are truly finished with testing and patching, and since the internet is now almost a requirement for us to play even a single player RPG, companies are seemingly getting lazier and throwing out last minute patches, or simply fixing bugs as time goes on. Largely thanks to user feedback letting them know where they dropped the ball. But is this the future of gaming? Are we all going to be unpaid beta testers from now on, hoping that the Gods of the gaming industry will smile upon us and ensure a better experience in days to come? I wait because I know that several months down the road, a more complete version of the game I want will become available and maybe even (gasp!) less expensive. But it can be hard to wait out an industry so hell-bent on making money off of every little thing they do.
It was a very pleasant surprise to see that Bethesda was offering console mods for free; I had thought for sure they would attach another fee of at least $10 for this amazing assortment of add-ons that definitely change Fallout 4 in some seriously dynamic ways. I probably would have paid for it (joke’s on you, eh, Todd Howard?). It didn’t cost anything though, because Bethesda would then have to pay the modders, and let’s be honest, that’s the real reason they couldn’t make money off of it. Expectations are usually pretty high upon release of any AAA game, and there is a common misconception that every gamer out there is incapable of waiting for the final product, but what it all boils down to is that it’s not about the gamers, it’s about their cash. It’s about how much money the publishers can squeeze out of a title, even after it’s been on the market for over three years.
I’m not saying that DLC is bad, I actually really enjoy the occasional injection of new content to a game I’ve been playing for a few weeks or months, but if I buy a new game, pre-ordering it, even, and still have to pay out the price of another new game just to enjoy content that should have already been made available, well then, I might just have to hunt the programmers down and charge them for every word I use to express my disdain for their business practices. Day One DLC is trifling, even while providing a fun incentive, it costs us as consumers far more than we might be willing to admit to ourselves. If the industry’s intention is to dishearten those of us with little disposable income, then bravo, mission accomplished, because if this practice continues, they might find that the only people playing their games and buying all the add-ons are trust-funders. And on that note, I have to get ready for my minimum wage-paying job so I can save up for the newest shoot-em-up title.