Monthly ArchiveDecember 2015

The Business Exploitation of DLC

As a gamer who grew up in the age of the PlayStation 2, the concept of DLC (Downloadable content) exited me. The concept game that my experience with a game could be expanded upon and improved, without needing to purchase an entire new game, was what a lot of people wished for. However it appears that as the years go by, that DLC is actually a curse to gamers everywhere rather than the blessing.

Unfortunately for me, the PlayStation 2 did not have an in built network adapter, and so DLC was not available on the console. It was only after I bought the 8th generation of console, the PS3, was I able to purchase DLC for the games I owned. The bonus material was fun, however never seemed like a necessity for the games, or for a game to be good. I felt like the best kind of DLC was for a game that was already complete without it.

This is bonus material that can be purchased to add extra content to your game. A good example of how DLC content can vary is the DLC for the Video Game “Red dead Redemption”. “Red Dead Redemption has had two types of DLC. The first was called “Undead Nightmare”, an addition of an entire new story, with new enemy types, weapons, character skins and game modes for multiplayer. The game offered a new experience for the player in terms of story and gameplay. This type of DLC is often regarded as the best type of DLC, as it continues the game with the implementation of new features and gameplay experience. However, another DLC pack for Red Dead Redemption is the Liars and Cheats DLC. This DLC adds multiplayer improvements, adding poker and liars dice to multiplayer as well as new gang hideouts and hunting grounds. What is wrong with this DLC is that it feels like something that was left out of the main game. Players were already able to play poker and liars dice in single player. What would have been so difficult to add these mini-games to multiplayer originally? The addition of new gang hideouts sounds promising, however, if playing online, only one person needs to have bought the DLC for the hideout to start. This does not seem fair to me to the person who bought this extra content that everyone is now allowed to access it. What was the point in buying this extra content if some people can access it for free?

The game “Destiny’s” DLC, most notably “The Taken King, was designed to be unfair to those who had not purchased the new DLC. The taken King ended costing twice the amount of the two previous DLC, at $40 upon release. The Taken king was not included in the Season Pass or the Expansion Pass. It also made some original material in the game locked for those who failed to buy the new game. When first published the DLC was included as part of a new copy of the game, forcing some gamers to have to buy the game twice

Some DLC is just there to unlock material that is already available on the disk like “Street Fighter X Tekken”. When something is available on the disk there is no reason why it should have to be paid for again. The whole point of DLC, is that the content is newly downloaded from the internet. DLC is not supposed to unlock items which are already owned and already paid for on the disk.
The latest and most prolific game to do face condemnation for their DLC exploitation, is EA latest video game title, EA’s Star Wars Battlefront. Like most people my age, I am used to a game being complete when buying it. However EA has offered a season pass costing €50, for game that costs €60. Basically in order to get the whole Battlefront experience, you have to buy the game twice. There is also a strong likelihood, the material offered in the season pass is not worth the price of another game.

How can we value DLC though? What makes one game worth more than another? One view is that the more expensive something is, the more quality and quantity it should, however quality is interpreted by differently people differently. This scenario is similar to what occurred in the music industry when iTunes was introduced. All music was made to coast 99 cent. However how is that fair when some music costs more to make than others? Well its not very fair to the industry, however it was the only way for people to stop pirating music. Even though they have scince raise the price to €1.29, I feel that the idea is still there and that it can be reapplied to the video game industry. In this respect, one way to stop business from exploiting people is to have DLC priced maximum at a low price, maybe around €5. Main games are already accepted to only be 1t most €60-€70 euro, why not cap the cost of DLC? This way if business wish to make more money from DLC, they will have to produce more content in order to justify a separate DLC pack, or they will have to break up their DLC into smaller bits, this way consumers can more effectively purchase the type of DLC they want, without having to pay €50 in order to discover that they do not enjoy the DLC. Hopefully this will help highlight how exploitive some DLC packs are, as often the quality does not match up with the price.

Sources:
Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar Games, Take 2 2010
http://www.rockstargames.com/reddeadredemption/
Jeremy Jahns, “Why I Refuse To Buy Star Wars Battlefront!”:

Cinema Blend:
http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Why-Disc-DLC-Bad-Crime-Gamers-Make-It-Out-48109.html
Machinima – Inside Gaming:

Prices for Star Wars Battlefront, EA 2015:
http://starwars.ea.com/en_GB/starwars/battlefront/buy
Angry Joe, “Star Wars Battlefront Angry Review”:

iTunes Pricing Article:
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/making-sense-of-apples-itunes-new-prices/?_r=0

Warfare 1917 – Flash Game Review

With Adobe no longer supporting flash, I thought now would be a good time to review one of my favourite flash games, Warfare 1917.
Warfare 1917 is a flash game that came out on September 19, 2008. The game was developed by ConArtists and published by Armor Games. Warfare 1917 is also available on many sites such as Kronegate and AddictingGames.com. The game itself is categorised as a World war One strategy game. The game offers two campaigns, each nine missions long, with the German campaign being locked to only ArmorGames.com users. As of December 2015, the game has been played over 39 million times on ArmorGames.com with a 95% approval rating

Historic Setting:
As the name suggests, the game is based during the First World War on the western front. The game deals exclusively with trench warfare, and different types of weapons in use at the time.

Simple and Accessible Gameplay:
In terms of gameplay, the game succeeds with its simplicity. The objective of each mission is to get at least one of your units to the other side of the map, where the enemy units spawn in. Upon reaching the other side of the map, you win. Another way to win a battle is to deplete the enemy moral, by killing enemy units.
The game does take some strategy in terms of choosing the right units, depending on whether you wish to defend or attack, and how to deal with enemy tanks. The HUD in the game is very simply laid out as is its menu screens. The game also allows for a lot of replayability with the use of the custom battle mode, which allows players to set the game rules and redesign the map.
The gameplay is simple yet addictive, and as the campaign progresses does become more strategic and compelling.

Great Visuals and sounds:
The artwork of this game, helps to capture the feel of the Fields of Flanders during the war, such as the barren trees and the smoke off in the distance. The units are pretty detailed, each with their own design. The death animations are also particularity well animated, as is the explosions and bullets effects.
The intro music to the game is fitting of the times and sets you in the mood. No music plays during the battles except for a victory. The units themselves are often heard giving orders to each other such as “let’s go men” or “forward”. They also shout when enemy artillery is incoming, such as mortars or gas, and is the only way of Knowing of an artillery attack before it hits. The sound effects for weapons sound very realistic, with different types of weapons having different sounds.

Annoying game restrictions:
The game is designed to only allow three units of men into a trench at any one time. This does not account for the amount of men in each unit, as some units only have one man, while others have six. Also it is impossible to have your units retreat, and if they are walking towards a trench that is full, they will more than likely be killed if alone. The campaign also lacks any type of narrative, with the main focus being on gameplay.

Conclusion:
The game is simple and addictive. It has superb artwork and sound. Its simplicity in design allows anyone to access the game. While the disadvantages mentioned are annoying, they do nothing do take away the enjoyment of the game and add a layer of complexity to it. For a game with no restrictions is only fun for a couple of minutes before you get bored. The game is free-to-play, yet is actually of better quality than some console games. It is an excellent feet of achievement, and is a game that any fan of flash games should play.

 

References:
Adam Clark Estes, Adobe Is Finally Killing the Flash Name, gizmode.com: http://gizmodo.com/adobe-is-finally-killing-the-flash-name-1745473766
Warfare 1917, Armor Games: http://armorgames.com/play/2267/warfare-1917

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