The videogames industry is a business - quite obvious, yes - but at times forgettable.
Understandably forgettable when at times you're having as much fun as you are. But sometimes new business tactics arise, business tactics that should be questioned on a wider scale than they are.
And I'm not just talking about marketing physcology, or the science of persuasion and advertising. I'm talking about things a little more blatant than that.
Downloadable content, or DLC, is definitely a modern way of squeezing an extra few dollars out of you for a game you already bought.
“But it's new content,” I hear you say.
There have been multiple instances of a phenomenon called Day 1 DLC, in which
DLC is released on the first day of a games release, for a fee of course. Basically the developer cut off a piece of your game and sold it to you seperately. Cute though, you thought you had purchased the whole game.
“But that's the worst example,” I hear you say.
You want to know what's worse than Day 1 DLC?
An excessive amount of DLC for a single game. And I have my reasons for this statement.
Allow me to coin you this question.
What is a large selection of small purchases for a game called?
An item mall, oh woops I mean, “DLC”.
What kind of a game is buy to play AND has an item mall?
A game designed to squeeze every dollar out of you.
It should make you really appreciate companies like Runic Games and Re-logic having released completely free content updates for their games Torchlight 2 and Terraria. (Two games I highly
recommend, by the way)
But there seems to be a new trend emerging with the rise of crowdfunding and early access games. It's a payment model that makes you pay more, for earlier access, and not just a little bit more. Developers are charging big money to have you... test their game for bugs?
A fine and recent example (recent as of my posting this) of this nightmarishly reversed business model is Uber Entertainments Planetary Annihilation.
Purchasing the game in the alpha time frame cost $90, in the beta time frame it's $60 and then the finished product costing only around $40.
As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for,” what a laugh.
A similar but less extensive business model was also used by recent games Akaneiro: Demon Hunters and Solforge, in which early access to the game was a flat price of around $10 to $20, but the game on release was actually... free.
And I think this is intentionally misleading because you might have your own judgements about the quality of a free to play game, and you shoudn't have to dig for that information.
All these games are very recent, we're talking 2013. If this trend also becomes normal then who knows what the future of games will be like. At the least we should be prepared for any kind of sick sales gimmick, hoping we can at least find decent value in smaller, more appreciative games
companies. Because those backwards prices for early access indicates to me that, as a player, I should appreciate the developer for letting me test their game, instead of the developer being appreciative that they have customers that are also beta testers.
Give your money to companies that appreicate you and care about their playerbase. If you have money to spare still give your purchases meaningful thought because bad comsumer habits fuel even worse business ethics.