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Before I get started, I need to make peace with some readers. Last week I lambasted the people who review-bombed Portal 2 because of the DLC. Specifically, I called them idiots. Usually I reserve my name-calling for industry leaders, and some people walked away with the impression that I was putting the name of "idiot" on everyone who objected to the Portal 2 DLC. I thought I was pretty clear in the article about who I was talking to, but for the record: I was talking to the protesters who review-bombed Portal 2 and pretended it was a horrible game because it had the audacity to sell hats they didn't want. Sorry if you thought I was calling you an idiot. (Unless you're a review bomber, in which case I'm sorry you're an idiot.)
But there's still a conversation to be had with the more reasonable folks. So let me gather up the various objections to the Portal 2 DLC and address them here without any further name-calling.
1. I don't like being made to pay more money for stuff that's already on the disk I paid for.
One of the problems we have in this conversation is one of definition. DLC supposedly means "DownLoadable Content", which is a really broad and nebulous term. Not everything called "DLC" is downloaded, and not everything that's downloaded is called DLC. The World of Warcraft expansions are all content that you download, but we call them expansions, not DLC. In-game pre-order items are downloaded, but we call them pre-order items, not DLC. Calling something DLC tells us more about how the thing is marketed and priced, as opposed to how it functions.
On one hand we have DLC for single player games. This is something like the Horse Armor for Oblivion. You pay a few real-world dollars, you download the thing, and it's added to the game.
But the other kind of DLC is multiplayer DLC, which works a bit differently. In a multiplayer game, you download the goodies even if you haven't paid for them. Your copy of World of Warcraft includes the Celestial Steed data, even if you haven't purchased that particular add-on. It has to. Without that data, you couldn't see other people riding it. The World of Warcraft expansions are the same way.
You could call these things "unlockables," but we already use that term for stuff that you unlock through in-game activity. We need a new term for "thing which you already have on your computer but must pay money to use in multiplayer world".
The Portal 2 DLC is this latter kind of DLC, whatever you want to call it.