The Do’s and Don’ts of DLC: A Plea to Publishers

By | 1 year ago 

Gamers, like any group of consumers, have a lot of power. Based on word of mouth and where they choose to spend their money, gamers hold the power to make the smallest indie game a giant success or the biggest AAA title a whopping failure. Because of this, production companies and developers carefully plot out their plans for revealing games in the way that will build the most hype in the community. In recent years, one of the hardest reactions to predict has been how well a game’s DLC plans will be received by fans.

An exciting DLC pack, like the one that offers Jason as a fighter in Mortal Kombat X, has the potential to keep fans buzzing about a game weeks after its initial launch. On the other hand, the early announcement of DLC, like Star Wars’ Battlefront’s movie tie-in level, has the potential to leave shoppers worried that the game will be rushed out in order to meet a tie-in deadline.

The only thing that is consistent about DLC is that reactions to it are inconsistent. Clearly, publishers haven’t quite figured out the right formula for announcing, releasing, and pricing this kind of add-on content, but we have noticed a few recurring trends. Based on gamer reaction and reception over the last few years, here are our do’s and don’ts of DLC:

DON’T: Announce a DLC’s price before its contents

'Batman: Arkham Knight' Season Pass Details Revealed - Batgirl

This should seem like a no-brainer, but gamers (and consumers in general) don’t usually like being asked for money before they have any idea what they are buying. Most recently, we saw Rocksteady announce a $40 DLC pass for Batman: Arkham Knight without any details about the length of the additional gameplay, features, or which characters would be involved. The fact that this particular instance was hot on the heels of a year’s worth of delays certainly didn’t help, but either way, many gamers were outraged at the idea of paying just $20 less than the full game on a poorly-described DLC pre-order.

On the other side of the coin, we’ve seen games like Mario Kart 8 receive fantastic reactions to DLC pre-orders thanks to detailed explanations of what’s to come. Wii U owners shelled out just under $20 months before the new tracks and racers were added to the game without any complaints thanks to a clear explanation of what they would get in return for their money.


Page 2: Destiny & Free DLC


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