Video Game Companies Are Making $5B a Year off DLC and Add-Ons

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Everyone knows why game companies are obsessed about DLC, as it is clearly a lucrative business decision, but some of you may find it amusing that they are literally making billions on this fluff alone. Big, bad EA is allegedly the add-on king, making a $1B annually. Noted is the supposed detrimental effect on franchises, as DLC—good ones, at least—compel players to keep at a title rather than play the sequel or the competition’s games. But with attention spans getting shorter and marketing overcoming gamers’ senses, I say that publishers are purely winning and just pumping out half-games at a steadier rate.

    The typical price tag for a full-fledged console or PC video game is around $60, but rare is the game that doesn’t also include an array of add-ons — everything from additional game content to new characters to outfits to in-game currency. It’s become such a popular practice that this “extra” stuff is now larger than some entire industries. According to the Wall Street Journal, video game makers are bringing in billions of dollars a year in these post-purchase add-ons, with at least one major distributor raking in more than $1 billion annually on its own.
     
  2. alpha

    alpha n00bie

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    They need to make money off DLC because they lose money to the used game market.
     
  3. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    They lost me as I never spend on DLC.
    Even on Phone games, I'll never pay a penny.
    We have no credit cards connected to our Google play accounts, so there's no way to accidently spend money.

    Either supply a complete game or I'll take my business elsewhere.
     
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  4. Bandalo

    Bandalo [H]ardness Supreme

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    If people keep buying it, they'll keep selling it.
     
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  5. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

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    'Member when the game you bought was the game you got?
     
  6. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons Argues with Teddy Ruxpin

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    OG DLC

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. lilbabycat

    lilbabycat 2[H]4U

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    >he typical price tag for a full-fledged console or PC video game is around $60

    $45, you can get (almost) any new game on PC for $45. First DLC puts it at expected price ($60), second DLC is where it becomes questionable.
     
  8. SvenBent

    SvenBent [H]ard|Gawd

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    i don't get why people complain about DLC or rather expansions in general its not something new.
    the main issue is is the main game worth the money its price for. or not. not whatever there is something extra or not.

    Expansions has been in the game industry for decades
    Quake, commander keen etc etc.

    i fell like people complaining about flc/expansion in general is like when my first wife bought stuff if it was on "sale"
    no no look at the price and the value. doesn't matter anything else, if it does not have an impact on what you are buying right here and now.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
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  9. Armenius

    Armenius [H]ardForum Junkie

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    DLC that you originally had to buy a separate floppy disk for and didn't require the original game? Sounds like a standalone game, to me.
     
  10. tetris42

    tetris42 2[H]4U

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    That was just a rebranded version of Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2. That's a localized re-release, it's a full game.
     
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  11. tetris42

    tetris42 2[H]4U

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    I like how it used to be a joke that they would sell you the game, then you have to buy the ending as DLC. Then Alan Wake came out. And Dead Space 3. And others.
     
  12. pgdeaner

    pgdeaner [H]Lite

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    Are we part of the problem?

    I can't speak for all genres of games but for MMOs specifically I've been playing MMOs since the 90's.

    These days I see people race thru all the content, completely ignore the story, and ignore the need for sleep to get to max level within days of release.
    Then the same people bitch that there is no end game content. Is it any wonder that DLC has become a necessity?
     
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  13. NickJames

    NickJames Viagra Required

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    DLC done right like The Witcher 3, Rainbow Six Siege, Fallout New Vegas, etc.. is a good thing. I have extended the shelf life of plenty of games by years because of it. DLC done wrong like Battlefield Premium, Call of Duty, For Honor, etc.. is just an obnoxious cash grab.
     
  14. Armenius

    Armenius [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I personally don't have an issue with DLC as game prices have not been affected by inflation at all for at least the past 20 years. I know there was crying when PC games jumped from $50 to $60. But it's my opinion that we should really be paying around $100 for a "complete" game these days to begin with. DLC is just the end result of companies trying to recoup their losses due to the general attitude of game prices among consumers.
     
  15. Comixbooks

    Comixbooks Ignore Me

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    Nobody buys the DLC on Steam I found that out since Duke Nukem Forever and Call of Duty games...

    Console games the DLC sells like crazy yet Destiny is a good Example.
     
  16. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons Argues with Teddy Ruxpin

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    To be fair I never actually played it...i thought it was just harder levels that the Japanese thought American gamers wouldn't like
     
  17. Armenius

    Armenius [H]ardForum Junkie

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    It was a standalone game, but it was never brought state side until the All Stars collection. Even the Japanese thought the game was too hard. It's funny that people generally think that the Japanese like more of a challenge. The Resident Evil series is an example of games that were made harder when they were localized for western markets.
     
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  18. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons Argues with Teddy Ruxpin

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    Curious then, what was the first DLC...
     
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  19. Koolthulu

    Koolthulu Gawd

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    If I see that a game is going to have paid DLC, I just wait a while for the "Game of the Year" edition that includes everything for a reasonable price.
     
  20. tetris42

    tetris42 2[H]4U

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    The Oblivion horse armor and Knights of the Nine are the first I remember, but it's probably older than that.
     
  21. MarkVI

    MarkVI Limp Gawd

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    The counter example is Ninja Gaiden III. The American version limited continues, got rid of the password save, made you go back further when you die, and made the enemies deal much more damage. Tecmo really gave you the middle finger when you died in the last boss fight and it tossed you all the way back to 7-1 instead of the 7-3D like it should have.
     
  22. Darunion

    Darunion Chin Poon Specialist

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    Wolfenstein spear of destiny is the first 'dlc' i remember. But you had to go to the store and get the floppy discs to install it. Dlc and expansions for me at least have always been the same. I think the term 'dlc' came about when it was only available via online download.
     
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  23. NickJames

    NickJames Viagra Required

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    That's how I see it. There has always been DLC since games started being installed.
     
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  24. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons Argues with Teddy Ruxpin

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    Ha the stupid horse armor, almost forgot about that.

    I'd almost argue The Sims really got the add on profits rolling in
     
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  25. Scizyr

    Scizyr Limp Gawd

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    I believe Ultima 8 had the first "day 1 dlc" with their speech add-on pack for which they charged extra.
     
  26. tetris42

    tetris42 2[H]4U

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    Well if you count expansions as the same thing, sure, but I don't. That was a stand alone game and had 20 levels. In my eyes:

    Expansion = something resembling a full game. At least 60% as long as the original, sometimes longer than the base game. Some just feel like an extension, others add so much you wouldn't think of going back to the original.
    DLC = something you'll be done with in 2-3 hours or some item you're buying

    Of course there's a lot in between nowadays, but I don't consider expansions the same thing at all. I LIKE expansions.
     
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  27. Business6

    Business6 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I liked it better when they were called Expansions and not DLC. Like when The Core Contingency was released for Total Annihilation it pretty much doubled the unit count in the game and added another 20-30 maps as well as a campaign. And shit, back then they released free units and maps. I know that's practically suicide in the industry today and that Expansion is rarely a term used today and certainly entails a bit more than just a shitty term like DLC but it was pretty great.
     
  28. DejaWiz

    DejaWiz Oracle of Unfortunate Truths

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    It's the modern day version of the old FDD/CDROM expansion packs dating back to the retail boxed era. Nothing new, in essence. Just a more efficient way to trigger impulse purchases.

    EA was king of this during the Sims and Sims 2 days. Then just about everyone jumped on board. Look at Flight Simulator, as another prime example.
     
  29. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    I member. I have no desire to return to those days. Back in the day expansion packs didn't come out for a lot of games and usually cost $20 or $30. These days companies recognize that they can keep a game fresh for a lot longer with some periodic content additions. Yes there is a cost to them but it's up to the buyer to determine the value of that DLC. I'll buy DLC if I think its worth while. I do my research, watch / read reviews and make my decisions accordingly. It's rare for me to purchase DLC I didn't think was worth while. Then again I don't buy a lot of it.

    Games are also much more likely to get additional content then they were back then.
     
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  30. Darunion

    Darunion Chin Poon Specialist

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    I guess terminology isn't relevant, call it whatever anyone wants.

    The expansions at that time also varied in price from $10-$40 when the games would only cost $40 new. You gotta remember too, doom the entire game was only a few hours long to begin with.

    Also new levels and items back then took a lot less people and time to create.

    I do agree that some give underwhelming content for the price, but this has always been so, some people are happy with it and some are not. How do you really quantify DLC vs expansion? Is it play time given? Lines of code? File size? Hours spent creating it?
     
  31. britjh22

    britjh22 Limp Gawd

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    I would be interesting to see what share of that money is from mobile games and "free to play" games, versus full priced titles.
     
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  32. Advil

    Advil [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yes the way the game industry has gone in the last 10 years I just finally broke myself of buying any game at release. Sure, maybe if the game is multiplayer only and won't have any dlc I'll go ahead and get it to play with friends if we all agree to buy it... but any games that are DLC based? I'm running a good year behind now. Which is perfect because I get to play games that are totally amazing and I never spend more than $20 for the complete editions anymore. Usually a lot less.

    It's nice being able to enjoy 20-30 games that aren't that old per year and still spend under $200 total.

    In the early days of PC gaming, tech was moving at an amazing pace and there were only so many AAA titles that were must have every year. It was expensive, but not nearly as bad as the tidal wave of games we have to choose from now. It makes more sense to spend less and play more of them. Especially since at least for me with so much to choose from and the general quality and playtime so low it's good to only value each game for a few hours of playtime before it's played out.
     
  33. tetris42

    tetris42 2[H]4U

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    I guess my point is horse armor is not an expansion. Some addon where you're done in 2 hours isn't an expansion. There's no one single metric as it varies upon the game, but I think the cutoff is "does this feel like a whole game in and of itself, or does it feel like some extra mission tacked on?"

    The former is expansion, the latter is DLC in my eyes. There's a few exceptions that blur the line, but they're rather rare. I'm usually satisfied with an expansion pack. DLC almost always feel like a cheap addon to me that I wish I either got in the original game, or was part of something larger like an expansion.

    When I think of expansions, I think of Warcraft 2: Beyond the Dark Portal, Homeworld Cataclysm, Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna, Wages of SiN, Warhammer Dawn of War: Winter Assault, Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne, etc. etc.
     
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  34. CaptNumbNutz

    CaptNumbNutz Bulls[H]it Master

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    The first time I ever came across what would be considered a modern "DLC" and not a full expansion pack was with Battlefield 2 in 2006...a little over a year into it's launch.

    They came out with "Booster packs" for $15 that included a few maps and a handful of new weapons and vehicles. These Boosters were also available by download only, and initially required an "EA Download Manager". Prior to this, Battlefield 2 had an actual expansion pack called "Special Forces". These "Booster Packs" were called Euro Force and Armored Fury and all they had were a handful of maps, weapons, and vehicles. They called them "boosters" because they didn't have enough content to warrant the label "expansion pack". Up until this point, expansion packs had been the norm providing a side story to the main plotline, a considerable amount of new content, and sometimes fundamental changes to the game's playstyle.

    So, I'm going to give credit for the creation of DLC to the current king of DLC...EA. Fuck you EA, fuck you very much.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  35. Master_shake_

    Master_shake_ 2[H]4U

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  36. nightanole

    nightanole [H]ard|Gawd

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    I seem to remember that comic not having a hand pop out of the console, but something else...

    Now im not sure which is the original.
     
  37. DrBorg

    DrBorg Limp Gawd

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    Games now hold back the editor, so you can't make actually good levels, and make playing a Miltiplayer FPS feel like grinding a Diablo run.

    At least they released the Arcade mode for DOOM; it gives you back your Actual Skill Level, and lets you play the game with all your stuff.

    If Gamespy was still running, no one would be buying new games since they suck so badly; we'd be playing mods of 20 year old games, modded by players to run on new modern engines.

    Black Mesa had the right idea; I hope it gets finished sometime, lol.
     
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  38. hesho

    hesho Limp Gawd

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    isn't this the consumer's fault? If they are dumb enough to spend money on dlc and such.. i don't blame the publishers then for constantly putting it out. I do blame the publisher/developer for cutting things from the main game to release as dlc though.

    anyone remember when dlc was just starting how every company was saying dlc was never meant for the main game as they will never cut content from the main game to release as dlc? Pretty obvious that isn't the case anymore
     
  39. tetris42

    tetris42 2[H]4U

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    Yes, this is why "vote with your wallet" is meaningless, because for every person not supporting a bad practice, there are 20 who buy anything shiny. This comic sums up the situation:


    [​IMG]
     
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  40. kju1

    kju1 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I hated the way they ruined the Sims with DLC for everything. I mean damn I was expecting them to start saying "You want to have more than one sim? DLC!" Not counting all that crap in the store the Sims 3 is something like $500 with all their DLC.

    The sims isnt even the worst game...some train simulator costs like 3k+