The first Bioware game that I ever played was Dragon Age: Origins. Don’t judge me – I went back and played their older stuff after the fact, but Dragon Age was my introduction to their storytelling and gameplay. I loved the Dragon Age experience, but even then I remembered quite a bit of acrimony around DLC. People were upset that extra story elements and even characters were only available if you paid to download additional content.
This became the norm with Bioware games, to the point where I found the best experiences with their titles came a few months or even year after release – wait until all the content was available, buy a definitive version of the game and enjoy. While season passes might allow access to all content, when that content includes side missions or extra characters, you can only really appreciate them when you play from the beginning, which would then only improve the replay experience. But fans were still always upset and moaned about the presence and price of DLC, but that seems to be turned on its head at this point.
Last week, rumor started circulating that Mass Effect Andromeda’s DLC had been canceled. Bioware and EA slammed the rumors, but it came out over the weekend that more sources confirmed that the single-player story DLC had been canned, albeit for a different reason than originally rumoured. Many fans were outraged at the original rumour and continue to be furious at the idea that EA and Bioware isn’t continuing to support the franchise in the coming months and years with DLC.
I totally understand the outrage, and I can get on board with it. I’ve finally started playing Mass Effect Andromeda, and it’s a lot more fun than I was led to believe when previews and reviews first started dropping for it. It’s a gaming universe that I adore and I want to see more and more content for it. I’m also a serious fan who is currently sad I can’t justify buying five different hoodies from the Bioware store. But this all points to a shift in the gaming industry.
Fans are happy to spend money on games and franchises that they enjoy. Games are bigger and more costly to create than ever, and fans are increasingly aware of this. They no longer expect the game bought at retail to be the full experience. Instead, they budget and plan to spend money on the same title for a few months in order to get maximum game time. They are willing to spend money on merchandise to support developers they like, to buy DLC. Games are increasingly viewed as a service, one you pay for periodically in the form of microtransactions or DLC purchases. Of course we will all get up in arms if DLC is overpriced or micro transactions are too pervasive, but it’s intriguing to think that maybe EA was right, maybe this was the future all along. Plus, the fact that people are now moaning at EA and Bioware that they must release DLC feels far too ironic.
Wait, was this all just a ploy to get us to ask for DLC so that EA could finally be vindicated? Was this all just a giant manipulation?
Last Updated: July 4, 2017