The DLC model is undoubtedly successful – as consumers are generally only too happy to pay extra money to pad out their games. Unfortunately, that success has been followed by exploitation, as many greedy publishers have started locking out complete sections of games, including them on retail discs, and selling it later under the guise of downloadable content – or Disc-locked Content, as angry punters on the internet have branded it.
The indomitable Michael Pachter has weighed in on the on-disc DLC practice – saying it’s nothing more greed.
“Yeah, it’s just plain greed,” he said in the latest Pach-Attack. “The answer is that simple. I think that DLC has been so successful that publishers are trying to get a jumpstart and if you put it on the disc it allows them to unlock it when they feel like it. A few years ago, we didn’t see DLC for typically six months after a game launch and I think it was Red Dead Redemption, but Take-Two kind of pioneered and launched DLC like a month after the original title and it was super successful, now you’re seeing a lot more guys do it.
“Some guys get it right, some guys take a long time to get it out, putting it on the disc allows the publisher to determine the optimal moment to launch it. All DLC is great, games are getting shorter, DLC is keeping people engaged, it’s a profit deal. I don’t think it makes much difference how it’s delivered.”
As far as those people who’ve unlocked disc-based DLC through hacks, Pachter believes they could be in the clear.
“The stuff on the disc, some gamers feel entitled to because they bought the disc, so they should have a right to anything that’s on the disc,” he said. “And that’s a dicey one, you actually do own the disc and I think, theoretically, if you could crack the code on the DLC you probably would be allowed to access it without paying. And I’m not even sure that’s stealing because you did, in fact, buy the disc. That’s about as close as you can get to legal piracy.
I agree with Pachter and wholeheartedly believe that on-disc DLC is a cash-grab – but what it’ll likely be replaced with is even worse. Developers will now hold back content that’s completed before the game gets mastered, charging you for it later and making you download it. Here’s the whole episode, courtesy of Gametrailers.
Last Updated: May 29, 2012