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As the title suggests, this is just an anecdote, not any kind of comprehensive economic analysis. Frankly, the data needed to perform any meaningful analysis of the effect of DLC on profits or sales just isn’t available; trust me, this article took a major downgrade in scope after a lot of apparently fruitless effort. But I hope it should still illustrate why having a lot of DLC can lose some fans and sales, and why some gamers really don’t like it, even disregarding the problem of once standard content now being locked behind a pay wall.

The crux of this is, games are expensive. $80 of expensive here in Canada. At the cost of just one new game, I could get the entire Sundome manga series (don’t look it up) or two anime series, which, given the name of this blog, is kinda more down my ally. While developers certainly have the right to charge whatever they like for a game- they have no obligation to sell their games at the price I would like- at $80, most games just are not worth the cost for me.

So why should this matter? Well, because of the rare occasions that it is worth it. Fallout 4 is a recent example of this. I’ve been a big fan of the Fallout franchise for a while, and while I’m generally an RPG fan, my favourite installment of the series was Fallout 3, which 4 seems to be in line with. This is a game that, even at the $80 price tag, I would have happily bought on day one. Except for the Season Pass.

I hope this is more than the internet whining of some dumb gamer, and that some of you can sympathize with me on this point, but when I really like a game, I don’t want only part of it. I’m not accusing Bethesda of sectioning off main-game content as paid DLC; I will fully accept that the Downloadable Content for Fallout 4 will be entirely peripheral, worth the cost bonus content. That is something that Bethesda has always been good at to my knowledge. However, even knowing that, I would not be as satisfied playing just the main game of Fallout 4 without the DLC, as I would be if there was not any DLC. It is a very completion-driven feeling of “I want all of this thing, and if I can’t have all of it I want none of it.”

Does that make me a petulant child? Yeah, a little bit. But that’s how it feels. It does lessen my experience even if it doesn’t actually take anything away from the game, and as a result the main game is not worth the $80 price tag for me without the DLC. To also get the extra content would be an extra $40 Canadian using the Season Pass, knocking the overall game price up to $120, which is quite extravagant and well out of my budget for these things. So because of the inclusion of DLC, Fallout 4, a game that would be worth buying for me, is not worth buying for me.

What is there to take away from this? Should companies not make DLC for games like Fallout 4? No, that would be ridiculous. The game will be better to, I assume, the vast majority of consumers because of DLC. And I’ve already made clear that I don’t think Bethesda should have to lower its prices to accommodate me somehow. Honestly, there is no “solution” to such a trivial problem, and I don’t think anyone should bother wasting their time looking for one. The point of this is only to say that, when some of us gamers are upset over perfectly reasonable uses of post-release content and decide not to buy a game because of it, it is not because we are perfectly unreasonable.

Don’t Lose Your Way

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