RPGWatch Forums - View Single Post - The Rise and Fall of Expansions & DLC
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December 24th, 2013, 17:22
Personally, I believe that Expansions & DLCs are pretty much the same thing,
but what differs both is the creator's / publisher's approach to both.

In earlier times, an Expansion could be considered a Bonus, something for the real fans, those who dug that main game. They got kind of rewarted. Sometimes even by an increase in difficulty (Incubation comes to mind).

At one point within the last 10 years ( I think it was rather in the second half of the last decade ), the creators and the publishers - I almost always always blame the publisher, almost never the original creators ! - came to a point where someone had the idea of using the DLC as a kind of tool not to give the players some kind of reward - no, instead to use it as an additional way to "milk" them.

This shift or change can be felt. Personally, I don't think that the infamous Horse Armor was the beginning of that - but to me it was the start of that. In my opinion, the Horse Armor was merely an experiment, an Versuchsballon, an afterthought.
And then, someone else in "the industry" must have analysed that Horse Armor.
And came to the conclusion that it was THE PERFECT way to milk people even more !
A third shift or changed to that appeared only within the recent years.
This was when another analysis took place, and someone came to the conclusion that DLCs can be used as an "indirect DRM" tool - because ONLY legit users/buyers of a game would be able to install it ! Especially if the DLC encompasses some checks whether the game spcimen was legit at all. Microsoft and their "Genuine Check" come to mind.

So, in my opinion, Expansions / DLCs changed by three steps :

1. Named "Expansion", acted like an reward to the hardcore players
2. Named "Downloadable Content", acted like an additional way to get customers buy something which is connected to that game
3. Named "DLC", acted like an indirect DRM, because checks were made to determine whether the game is legally aquired or not.

And I personally believe that it is step 2 & 3 which makes people have so negative emotions towards DLCs. Because of their usage as "tools", and the absent "reward factor", so to say.

Because DLCs of now have become mas market things, and are no longer aimed at an select group of die-hard fans of certain, special games.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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