Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

EA charging for disc-based DLC

Posted in Opinion, Video Games by Jacob Zinn on January 31, 2010

A brand new video game often costs around $60 to $70, and in having the latest consoles connected to the internet, companies are offering additional content for download.

Electronic Arts has a number of games with supposed downloadable content available in the PlayStation Store. New characters, maps and weapons for games such as Brütal Legend, Burnout Paradise and The Godfather II are available for a fee.

But gamers end up paying $5.00 or more for a 100 KB file to retrieve extras hidden on the disc they already bought.

Essentially, they’re downloading a key to unlock these characters, maps and weapons. Depending on how much “DLC” is supported, the price of the entire gaming experience can add up past $100.

Can it still be called downloadable content if it’s on the disc?

If I’ve already paid for the game, why should I have to pay more for hidden content on the disc? How is that fair?

Admittedly, download times for files from the PlayStation Store can be rather slow and the additional content would take up considerable hard drive storage. But new PS3s hold 120 GB to 250 GB–plenty of room for DLC.

A 100 KB file makes for a near-instant update to the game rather than a lengthy download, but to unknowingly have that content already within the game feels like a rip off to gamers–if I’ve paid for the disc, I want to access everything on it right away.

It’s not right to call it downloadable content when it’s not being downloaded. At best, it’s hidden content and should be marketed as such. That way, I’ll know just how much I’m paying for the disc beyond the marked price and taxes.

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