I'm a game programmer trying to get into the industry. I'm working on several projects at any given time. I play and review mods all the time because I love to see user made content.

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It's time for a brief explanation of the new craze that Valve seems to feel they need to exercise since so many console gamers have come to Steam with the release of Left 4 Dead. Really what I would like to do is first explain what "Downloadable Content" is and kind of explain why companies are now coining it and abusing it as a marketing term. Then explain why I think it's absurd that valve of all people are trying to push support for it in such a rogue market.

The Beginning
The problem started with consoles many years ago. While PC gamers were enjoying custom content with mods for Quake and other games of it's time consoles were just coming into the next gaming revolution with support for TCP/UDP multiplayer and other basic features. As consoles grew, console developers realized that they could limit and monitor what content users were receiving, after all consoles were and still are very closed and limited platforms when it comes to custom content. (Except for a few exceptions such as UT3 for the PS3). So what is downloadable content really? It's anything that people can download over the internet and is independent of who it is created by. It does NOT have to be created by the developers of the game, in fact downloadable content has been available since the beginning of time and there has been FAR more downloadable content by the average joe shmoe than any game company could ever hope to release. It could be a skin, a sound pack, a new level, all the way to a full conversion mod or a no-cd crack. So why is it just now that people are trying to use this new propoganda term and sway their marketing non-sense onto such a free reign market as PC gamers?

Well, the problem exists in the fact that DLC has been so successful on the console since companies like Microsoft know they can limit and monitor exactly what the gamers are being fed, they have been forcing console gamers to pay for DLC for years and therefore console gamers have just come to "accept" the fact that new content should simply be paid for. It only makes sense why console games have no mods. Why allow developers to make better mods than the games own developers because they can Charge their users for it? Console gamers are sheep, and they have simply come to accept it. However it's much more complicated when it comes to PC gaming.

You can't just monitor and limit what PC users receive. We've been making and creating this so called, "downloadable content" and distributing it amongst ourselves for years before all these new game companies thought to start requiring you to pay for it. Which means that PC gamers have higher expectations and free downloadable content is simply the norm.

So, my whole point of this is that companies need to stop miss-labeling their products as "Downloadable Content" so they can simply abuse the fact that so many new gamers misinterpret what DLC actually is so they can boost their sales.

Infact The Maw is a prime example of such a company who seeks to abuse the ignorance of the new generation of gamers. If your going to release addons to your game, call it what it is, a new product, addons, an expansion, but don't call it downloadable content. By doing so your giving the word an entirely different notation than what real gamers understand it to be.

Times have Changed (L4D)
The times have changed and prime example of this is back a few months ago, valve announced that Left 4 Dead will "have free downloadable content for it's PC users and XBox users". Ok hold on right there, lets analyze that statement. With that single statement, Valve has changed forever and moved into a new realm of which they can never turn back from again. I hope they realized what a huge decision it was just to add the word free, in that sentence. Most gamers who read it would probably stop, look back and then say to themselves, "Wait, free? Thats kind of repetitive. Of course it's free."

The truth is that Valve only announced "Free" downloadable content because of the Xbox release, and since Xbox users are used to being shafted and forced to pay for DLC they might actually be surprised to look forward to the oasis that is free DLC in a desert of companies who are greedy and couldn't even possibly begin to comprehend how much free DLC can benefit a game and keep it going years after it's release. (Half-life 1, Half-life 2)

Also, even if valve decided to try to charge people for the new content theres nothing they could have done to stop people from decompiling new maps and campaigns and simply recompiling them as free versions. While I wish to make it very clear that I do NOT support this, I'm simply being truthful and explaining what WOULD happen. Infact, a month after release someone had converted the other two campaigns to support versus many months before Valve had. Thats because in the PC world, the users and the community decide how successful the game is, not the suites who run the company who are only interested in how much money they have in their wallet.

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Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 17)
mikejkelley Feb 12 2011 says:

BTW, I'm currently creating a small DCD side project for the tigsource.com versus competition. Two DreamCasters' Duel characters + one level + XNA MUGEN. Characters will be 3d pre-rendered (we'll EASILY have the best graphics in the competion) into 2d.

I've already done all the animations, I just need to get them working in game and I see you're a programmer with professional aspirations (like me), was wondering if you'd be interested in lending a hand?

Holla back!

+2 votes     reply to comment
NullSoldier Creator
NullSoldier Mar 2 2011 replied:

Ah, if you wanted to get my attention you probably should have sent me a message. Send me a message again if you're still looking.

+2 votes   reply to comment
mikejkelley Feb 12 2011 says:

Re: DreamCasters' Duel animation; Thnx! The city scene doubles as a panel in the comic book I'm concurrently creating.


Bcs it's black and white, there's a moire effect that ruins the artwork on the computer. It looks tons better in print. :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
thorbahn3 Jul 18 2010 says:

My god your website made me jump.

+2 votes     reply to comment
DangerousCat Mar 4 2010 says:

xD hi there! yar! xDDDDD

+2 votes     reply to comment
DELTΔ Dec 18 2009 says:

You are a god =D.
(p.s. Im saying this because your actually making a good Pokemon mmorpg, and because your a dedicated programmer, both of which I find quite rare =D)

+2 votes     reply to comment
Elementalist Oct 19 2009 says:

Randomly visited your site.

The intro was equally, if not more, random. But predictably, as per your style, awesome.

/random comment

0 votes     reply to comment
BunnyJen Oct 12 2009 says:

"Console gamers are sheep, and they have simply come to accept it. However it's much more complicated when it comes to PC gaming."

Bit of an over generalisation there eh? I don't think every single console gamer will pay for downloadable content, I know several who have not bought the new L4D DLC. Calling every console gamer a sheep is very belittling of you and not a very intelligent/well backed up remark really.

" I more or less hate consoles and feel sorry for anyone who uses them because they miss out on alot of great games/mods."

I wouldn't feel sorry for all console gamers, some console gamers play on PC as well, it is possible to use both. ;) There are some truly amazing games which are on console only, I think a true gamer should be open to ALL platforms.

+6 votes     reply to comment
Feared Dec 29 2009 replied:

I have to agree and disagree. ;)
Personally myself I think that strictly console gamers ( no pc gaming affiliation ) are either wannabe hardcore, casual, and or people whom are killing gaming.

Note when I said 'killing gaming', I don't mean anything literal obviously, I do mean that console gamer's are lowering expectations and are seriously hurting how game developer's think.

Game developer's now feel they can take much more risks( so to say ) without a worry. Developing game's has turn more into a business than a hobby and or a passion.
Don't get me wrong, there are still some great indie developers and only a few ( if that much ) good commercial developers ( iD Games, Lion Head, and Bioware, these are the only I can think of at the top of my head ).

But in the end it doesn't matter much as Console gamer's will still be there and nothing will change that.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Hitez Oct 3 2009 says:

I agree. with everyone.

+2 votes     reply to comment
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