Remember a time when buying a game meant you only received the content that was in the game itself. Love it or hate it, the game you bought was not going to add or change the experience in any way, shape or form. I can't say that I miss those days, before reviews you could only judge a game by its cover. It always felt like you were taking a risk no matter what you got. Then consoles began incorporating the Internet into their design. Game developent started to change, it wasn't immediate, this was a slow process which slowly got introduced to the consumer. I remember buying a game on my PS3 putting it on and not have to install a patch. Then patches started to be more common place, they fixed bugs, sometimes they changed how a game played and very few times they would add additional content to the game, at no cost!
There are many variables that affect how a game and it's DLC is perceived. To me the key components that define whether or not I'm to pursue buying DLC are the following:
- How good the initial product is.
- How much is the DLC adding to the experience.
- What my initial investment was for the franchise.
- The price of the DLC.
The second one for me is meant to capture the substance of the DLC. What will this DLC add to the game, and it doesn't necessarily have to be hours of gameplay, but if I decide to buy this DLC it's because purchasing this item will add something I want to experience. The perfect example of this is Red Dead Redemption's Undead Nightmare DLC. It came in a time where everybody was doing Vampires and Zombies DLC for their games. Leave it to Rockstar to do a decent piece of DLC. I wanted to experience more Red Dead, I mean who doesn't, and I wanted to see what Red Dead's world would look like during a zombie apocalypse. It was a one two punch for me when it came time to buy it. Again I may be a little bias with Red Dead, after all I've bought the game 3 times… Let's not speak more of this.
The third is meant to capture how I view games with respect to money and it's overall investment value. Typically if my initial investment of the game is low then I will be more compelled to buy the DLC for the game, as opposed to me buying the game at full price. I mean the game would have to be really good or I would have to suspect that there wouldn't be a "Definitive Edition" release for it. Overall I budget on how much I plan to spend on a game, I consider $30 a typical fair price for a game. If I buy the game for less than that and I like the experience then I have absolutely no problem in using the remainder of that money for that game's DLC.
And finally the last thing I look for in DLC is the price. Season passes tend to look lucrative because they bundle all the DLC into one low price, but do they really. I've found that most these season passes include things I'm not interested in at all. Season passes that include a large amount of skins, taunts and other features that don't change the way a game plays are the ones I avoid. Additionally, many season passes don't tell you what the DLC is going to be. To me they feel dishonest and depends a lot on how much you trust the team behind the game.
That being said with the way I have carried myself with DLC, I really can't say l have purchased a lot given the amount of games that I own. The times that I have purchased DLC are typically tied with games I've downloaded for free from my PS+ account. In my opinion $5 - $10 is a fair price for DLC, that is after I screen for the previous three items. Furthermore, if I see a game that has DLC available and I feel like it should have been part of the original game release I don't buy it. A good example of this was the RE5 VS Mode, I bought every other piece of DLC except that one… and yes I enjoyed RE5… a lot actually.
DLC is a key component in today's games, it has evolved significantly with this last console generation into something that, love it or hate it, we all expect to receive. They key in all of this is where is gaming going with this, we are seeing a shift in gaming media where episodic releases are more common place than before. These are not the majority for sure but is this where we are headed? Just like the introduction to DLC was a slow and steady process, are we simply accepting this business model