DLC for Dummies

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It seems like Mecha-Cricket needs to change, actually put in a way to counter this zero bombing that entitled arses seem prone to.

John Funk:
Do people really not understand the difference between DLC and microtransactions?

I think the problem might be the term DLC has become too ubiquitous, like band-aids or q-tips. Now too many people use it to mean 'anything downloaded on a console or for a game, ever'. Not to mention that DLC has been demonized as of late due to some of it being crap and now it's almost a knee-jerk reaction for most. Games=Art, New IP=Good, and DLC=Bad.

i disagree with them about the DLC but i don't understand why the review bombing is seen as childish. You can sit and complain and do absolutely nothing about it or you can actually go and try to change something. it doesn't matter that review bombing isn't likely to do much at least it's something.

That said i disagree with what there saying and they could have done something better then review bombing.

John Funk:
Do people really not understand the difference between DLC and microtransactions?

What exactly is the "difference" pray tell? "DLC" just means "Downloadable Content" and isn't really defined in any meaningful way. It has been used in conjunction with both Mini-missions, extra maps, songpacks, player character skins or simple items/mounts etc. as is the case here. Now and then it is also used for huge content packs that resemble more the "Expansion Packs" of old e.g. see GTA4: Ballad of Gay Tony. The payment model often being used are "microtransactions" (often they should be called macrotransactions though, for instance when you're supposed to pay double the price of the actual game for a pack full of "hats" and a few "emotes" - which are obviously also already in the game to boot or the character previews wouldn't work). Sometimes DLC can also be free (and in fact always was before Microsoft managed to monetize it back in 2002: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downloadable_content#On_consoles and apparently changed gaming forever.

Sir John the Net Knight:
DLC is not dishonest, because you have the option not to buy it. That's pretty much the long and the short of it.

Everything is "optional" but death and taxes and you could use that same justification if they give you just 2-3 missions and you'll have to buy the rest as "DLC" to finish the bloody game or in a more extreme selling drugs to schoolchildren... I don't see how that "invalidates" my argument regarding the morality of the practice.

I feel like an arse for commenting having not played the game myself, but I always take peoples play-through times with a grain (not a pinch) of salt as mine always seems to be significantly longer. I enjoy entering a new room/dungeon/city/area and spending however long it takes looking around at things - I can see this being shorter in a game like portal, but for games like Dragon Age and Fallout I would spent sometimes 10 mins in a new area, just running around and taking in the scenery.

Of DLC, I love DLC and don't mind forking out a bit of cash if it is worth it. I didn't mind Dragon Age: Origins directing me to the online store to purchase DLC, it let me know it was there and I didn't buy it on my first play-through. I enjoyed Borderlands DLC - well, most of them. I actively seek out Fallout DLC and can't get enough of it. DLC shouldn't be sold to complete a game - a game should be launched complete and any DLC should just add to the experience rather than complete the story.

Call me a douche if you will, but if you enjoy a game, why shouldn't you pay out a bit of extra cash for more game?

I'm always a fan of cosmetic DLC, as it doesn't affect the game at all, or give you a lead over other players.

I'm also a big fan of tiny viking hats and robots (or normal-sized viking hats and giant robots?) so Portal 2 DLC seems nice. Also, it gives me an excuse to play TF2 more - for the drops.

I think that if they put any (more?) DLC into Portal 2 (it's not really DLC, when you think about it? It's just hat-sharing) they could put in some more fun cosmetic stuff, you know, new skins, voices, textures, whatever.

Also, who wants to spend 60 on hats? Stop getting all annoyed about this, please. Metacritic-bombing for cosmetic DLC is just petty, vindictive and silly. If it was for Blood Dragon Chell, or Black Box Portal Guns, then yes, it would be (kinda) vindicated. But for hats? No. No hat is worth that much to anyone, is it?

ThisIsSnake:
Mecha-Cricket

Oh my god. Somebody needs to make a game or a movie about a Mecha-Cricket, that sounds amazing.

I can follow Shamus' argumentation most of the way, but where does he get the idea that Blizzards DLC is any less purely cosmetic than Valve's DLC in Portal 2?

If he's lashing out at Blizzard (again) for, like I saw someone in the thread mention, splitting up Starcraft 2 in several games, I'll (again) put forth the counter-argument of: How the hell did Starcraft 2 as it was sold now NOT feel like a complete game? Yes, it has only one single-player campaign, but it is a fairly long one, with interesting map design and customisability for the player through choices made and upgrades bought. The multiplayer is as complete and engaging as ever with Starcraft.

The only other thing I can consider DLC that Blizzard does is the items in the Blizzard store for WoW, and like I mentioned, I cannot consider those any less cosmetic than the items Valve offers. They do have other possible paid transactions, but I don't feel those can be considered DLC, rather, they're additional services that can be bought and in no part integral to the game.

Dexter111:

Sir John the Net Knight:
DLC is not dishonest, because you have the option not to buy it. That's pretty much the long and the short of it.

Everything is "optional" but death and taxes and you could use that same justification if they give you just 2-3 missions and you'll have to buy the rest as "DLC" to finish the bloody game or in a more extreme selling drugs to schoolchildren... I don't see how that "invalidates" my argument regarding the morality of the practice.

Because DLC is extra content and is not required to finish the game. No one is grabbing you with a choke chain and forcing you to purchase it. Which invalidates every possible argument one could make against it.

And you're comparing it to drug dealing? Wow, inappropriate.

mireko:
I don't get the complaints about the DLC at all. Does anyone remember the campsite guy in Dragon Age: Origins? The one with the PREMIUM CONTENT QUEST? (EDIT: Ah.. didn't see it was referenced in the article. So, well.. that. Anyway.) That was the most jarring thing I have ever seen, yet nobody 0-bombed for that. This is all just petty bullshit and everyone involved should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Instead, fans of Dragon Age: Origins started 0/1/2-bombing Dragon Age II the very moment it was released. With reviews based on hearsay and the demo version.

But that was treated as legitimate criticism, and the only ones who got any backlash for the bogus reviews were EA and BioWare.

Anyway... I do agree fully with Shamus on the Portal 2 situation.

Jedi Sasquatch:

ThisIsSnake:
Mecha-Cricket

Oh my god. Somebody needs to make a game or a movie about a Mecha-Cricket, that sounds amazing.

It can only be killed by micro-transactions! And the power of hearsay, bile and 4chan!

The brave forumites will stand up to take down the huge DLC monster, and make their malinformed voices heard! They'll even be a lesbian love side-story, but both of them will turn out to be guys!

Sir John the Net Knight:
Because DLC is extra content and is not required to finish the game. No one is grabbing you with a choke chain and forcing you to purchase it. Which invalidates every possible argument one could make against it.

And you're comparing it to drug dealing? Wow, inappropriate.

Who defines "extra content" and who defines the "finish/end of the game" exactly? I'm pretty sure that if there is an entire script with interactions between characters and spoken lines by about every other character to and from a "DLC character" and it is all done before the initial release (rather hard to get all the voice-actors back into the studio to speak another few dozen lines just for a "DLC character") it is a kind of clear indication that he was meant to be in the game (in Dragon Age 2 you're also missing a huge plot point and might understand parts of the "ending cinematic" less without).

Also every second game ends on a cliffhanger today anyways, the other two examples I had... for instance Mass Effect 2s "Arrival", which is an "in-between" and will (as far as I heard) be featured at the very beginning of the next game in a "trial", in which Shepherd will have to answer for what he has done (whether you played it or not). In Assassin's Creed 2 both Sequences 12 and 13 (which featured major plot points, characterization and were basically two entire chapters left out in-between before the end of the game) were sold as "DLC": http://www.joystiq.com/2009/12/16/assassins-creed-2-dlc-detailed-fills-in-missing-chapters-adds/

Do you really not see a problem with this? Companies basically telling you what is "extra" and what is in the game you're supposed to get for your money (especially seeing as they often do not announce anything of the likes before release, if people knew that a game has an "in-game shop" in the main menu or chapters missing they might not have bought it or pre-ordered it in the first place). A few years ago you didn't have that problem and yes when you bought a game you were "entitled" (that word you keep using as if it is something negative) to the full product therein without any hidden costs or sales hooks.

It's both "business" and there to make money, if you don't like the drug comparison then how about gold farming and child labor in 3rd world country, the resulting products are both optional also and bought/enjoyed by a lot of people... I'm not trying to compare the practices or the gravity but your and other peoples argument that if something is optional (and it makes a company money, because everyone knows they are and should be only about the money and nothing else it somehow makes it completely right and non-debatable). As I said... almost anything is "optional".

Ugh. I can never understand how people can be such entitled dinks. "Oh no, this game offer the ability to buy a goofy hat for my online character for a small cost. IT IS THE EVILZ!" Bleh. Play the game; does it suck? Does it rock? Rate it on that. Don't get your panties in a knot just because the creator of the game had the nerve to include microtransactions or DLC or whatever.

Personally, I'll even go one better; I love DLC. Love it. LOOOOOVE it. Give me more missions. Give me an expanded world map with stuff it took an additional four month plus to program and hammer out. You can keep the online FPS map packs and super-weapons & armor, but anything that adds up to more bang for my buck, I'm all for. If it's a game I like, then yeah, I love the idea of getting more out of it a few months down the line. Would I buy cosmetic doodads for my co-op robot? Probably not. But I wouldn't begrudge someone who chose to.

I love the fact we live in a world where what is on the disc doesn't have to be the end of the story. Can and have some companies taken advantage of this? Well, yeah. But the reason why is because it worked for some of them. Dudes buy enough $15 map packs to take it to the top 10 downloads, that tells a company the price is right for what they're providing. Meanwhile, if that's not -your- cup of tea, you find a game with free map packs, or $5 ones, or you play the game with the $15 map packs and just- gasp! -don't buy them and play with what is provided.

Long story short, if you bought Portal 2, played even an hour or two of it, hated it viciously, and rated it zero... kudos to you, making sure your voice is heard and sticking to your honest opinion, whether or not it's a popular opinion to have. If you never bought Portal 2, never played a minute of it, but heard it had day one DLC and decided to rate it zero for that... do us all a favor and take a fire axe to your router. The internet would be better off without you.

I only have 3 rules:

1) DLC should not be a code that unlocks something that is already on the disk.
2) DLC should not affect balance in multiplayer games (weapons, armor, stats).
3) DLC should not be sold in the game world.

So I'm pretty much with Shamus on this one. Valve did nothing wrong.

I can explain this really easily.

1. poor people hate market segmentation

In this case the people who are unwilling or unable to spend "extra" money are being discriminated against, just like in every single other aspect of commerce. The "rich" people aren't really getting anything more other than the ability to feel superior because they can afford to spend more money. This particular DLC is no different than first class plane tickets. The fundamental service is the same for first class and cattle class but the first class people get perks that the poor people don't. The most important perk is the ability to look down on the people you can't afford to join them.

2. people put valve on a pedestal

For some reason I don't understand people think of valve as something more than gabe newell's hooker and blow funding mechanism. They see valve as a kind of messiah delivering them out of the servitude to cruel EA and Activision masters. When the worshipers are reminded that valve is a corporation like any other they are disappointed and angry that their expectations aren't being met.

That said DLC sucks. (adjusts onion) Back in my day we had things called Expansion Packs that allowed a company to make money off the same engine but were actually a good value, as opposed to the blatant segmentation pandering of the nickle and diming fluff we see today.

Dexter111:

Sir John the Net Knight:
Because DLC is extra content and is not required to finish the game. No one is grabbing you with a choke chain and forcing you to purchase it. Which invalidates every possible argument one could make against it.

And you're comparing it to drug dealing? Wow, inappropriate.

Who defines "extra content" and who defines the "finish/end of the game" exactly? I'm pretty sure that if there is an entire script with interactions between characters and spoken lines by about every other character to and from a "DLC character" and it is all done before the initial release (rather hard to get all the voice-actors back into the studio to speak another few dozen lines just for a "DLC character") it is a kind of clear indication that he was meant to be in the game (in Dragon Age 2 you're also missing a huge plot point and might understand parts of the "ending cinematic" less without).

Also every second game ends on a cliffhanger today anyways, the other two examples I had... for instance Mass Effect 2s "Arrival", which is an "in-between" and will (as far as I heard) be featured at the very beginning of the next game in a "trial", in which Shepherd will have to answer for what he has done (whether you played it or not). In Assassin's Creed 2 both Sequences 12 and 13 (which featured major plot points, characterization and were basically two entire chapters left out in-between before the end of the game) were sold as "DLC": http://www.joystiq.com/2009/12/16/assassins-creed-2-dlc-detailed-fills-in-missing-chapters-adds/

Do you really not see a problem with this? Companies basically telling you what is "extra" and what is in the game you're supposed to get for your money (especially seeing as they often do not announce anything of the likes before release, if people knew that a game has an "in-game shop" in the main menu or chapters missing they might not have bought it or pre-ordered it in the first place). A few years ago you didn't have that problem and yes when you bought a game you were "entitled" (that word you keep using as if it is something negative) to the full product therein without any hidden costs or sales hooks.

It's both "business" and there to make money, if you don't like the drug comparison then how about gold farming and child labor in 3rd world country, the resulting products are both optional also and bought/enjoyed by a lot of people... I'm not trying to compare the practices or the gravity but your and other peoples argument that if something is optional (and it makes a company money, because everyone knows they are and should be only about the money and nothing else it somehow makes it completely right and non-debatable). As I said... almost anything is "optional".

No, I don't see anything wrong with this. It's their business and their game. They choose to run it how they see fit and I don't have a problem with this at all. And god forbid anyone make money buy selling things, oh god we can't have that. So let's compare them to child labor sweat shops and drug cartels. ZOMG money is evil.

Get a life, Trotsky. No one gets anything for free, someone has to pay for it. And if you don't want to pay for it, that's your decision. But let's not pretend you're owed something for nothing. Vote with your dollars/pounds/euros/yen/pesos/soverigns/rupees/credits/caps/gil/gella/mesos/clams whatever currency you use.

Don't like the idea of DLC? Don't buy it. It's as simple as that.

Traun:

Wicky_42:

The point is that, as Shamus says, Portal 2 handles DLC the best I've seen - it's basically like a "donate" function; a paint job or extra animation for a couple of bucks, and only if you go out of your way to find them. Compare that to your list. Now ask yourself why the one game that gets it right deserves all this hate compared to all those other day one DLC titles that lock away quests, characters etc etc.

It doesn't, that's the whole point of the article. Many people ARE up against Portal 2 for no good reason. Shamus isn't defending DLC, he's defending a game that's being targeted for no good reason, and you seem to have missed that point with your post here.

But this ISN'T about Portal 2, at least not the anti-DLC outcry. Sure, you buy an extra skin now, but how long before every non-vital skin costs money, how long before every secondary animation costs money? It doesn't matter if you do it right or wrong, the problem is that you're doing it.

Again, with this game Valve's doing fine, only slightly different to TF2 in that not everything can be unlocked through endless grinding. What about all those games where you already are asked to pay for non-vital skins and unbalanced weapons? Why wasn't Mass Effect 2 bombed for its DLC? What about the Horse Armour? Portal 2 doesn't deserve this. A future game might, but not this one.

A much better method of protest would be to dissuade others from buying the items - if Valve don't make much cash off them then there's less reason for them to pursue that idea in future games - though I'd expect its inclusion to be because of the success of the shop in TF2.

Bloody good article, and he is absolutely right about the entire portal 2 review score on meta critc fiasco, just ignorant spoiled brats sounding off (most of whom will fall over one another to get latest cod map pack)

Levethian:

Raiyan 1.0:
So a professional writer like Shamus goes out and uses expletives against the subjective reviews of a certain group of consumers who are well within their rights to voice their opinions - gah, poor attempt at trolling, good job Shamus!

But their reviews aren't subjective. The game is longer than they said it was. The price is in-line with other games. The DLC is inconsequential to every rational human. It was also a concentrated smear-campaign rather than a group of consumers 'coincidentally' sharing the same opinion. This opinion would never have come to light without zealous leadership by some head-honcho on 4Chan.

We need to live in a world where idiots can be called out for what they are, when appropriate.

Doode, I revised my original post hours before you quoted me to make it more clear. Poor attempt at trolling on my part. Take the clue, my post ended with a smiley. I was kidding. Kinda ironic, since I've spending the whole day pointing out that the Steam timer is broken, and the 4-hour completion claims were bullshit.

JediMB:

mireko:
I don't get the complaints about the DLC at all. Does anyone remember the campsite guy in Dragon Age: Origins? The one with the PREMIUM CONTENT QUEST? (EDIT: Ah.. didn't see it was referenced in the article. So, well.. that. Anyway.) That was the most jarring thing I have ever seen, yet nobody 0-bombed for that. This is all just petty bullshit and everyone involved should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Instead, fans of Dragon Age: Origins started 0/1/2-bombing Dragon Age II the very moment it was released. With reviews based on hearsay and the demo version.

But that was treated as legitimate criticism, and the only ones who got any backlash for the bogus reviews were EA and BioWare.

Anyway... I do agree fully with Shamus on the Portal 2 situation.

That was also compounded by the games many and severe problems which in that case, were completely and utterly true, I didn't beleive them myself until i actually played the game.

It was a terrible game, I can't even force myself to finish it, knowing that I've got to do once again more pointless sidequests, visit the same place over and over, involving myself in combat that is designed to be fast, but counterintuitvely introduces waves which slow it down and I could keep going on with this, but I'll stop here

In this case though the reviews of Portal 2 on metacritic were either lies or misrepresentations of the game, thats why people are taking a stand against it.
I've played the game and finished it and I can tell you right now if you can somehow beat it in 4 hours, you are either cheating or you are a genius of unparralleled proportions and if its the latter I can only question why are you spending time on Portal 2?

So let me get this straight. Valve places an uninvasive microtransaction system within the game that let's you pay some money to have a shortcut to cosmetic things that can also be unlocked within the game? In other words, it includes a bit of replayability to the game, some motivation for meta-challanges and a way to skip the challenge part if you're not that able/determined/have the time.

I don't know anything about the pricing of it all, but from where I stand, I'm baffled as to why people aren't praising this as the best business move in gaming ever. I see the experience completely analogous to wanting a flower on your dinner table - you can put in effort and grow one yourself, or you can buy to the flowershop and buy one.

I think that Shamus just successfully managed to bitchslap people through the medium of text.

Rednog:
Just to comment on the time played, I talked to my roommate this morning and he said he finished it in about 4 and a half hours his first play through, 2nd play through in about 2 and a half. And I've been hearing from various other people on my steam friends list that they've done it in 4-5.
I personally have yet to get a crack at the game because my copy is somewhere in the mail...

Yeah http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/04/20/portal-2-in-4-hours-the-steam-timer-is-a-lie/

Mass Effect 3 should have BIOWARE at court for their attrocious DLCing!!!

Ok i found the DLC to portal a little funny and wondered if it will go anywhere, but then there are possible updates in the near future, so people who did buy the hats and so forth can truly show off there bling later i guess.

And i must also say as someone that has finnished portal 2 story and co op modes id prefer the game to be 4-8 hours long then to drag such a great game any longer, the puzzels were well thought through and not to mention the story so i dont see the point of badmouthing such a great game.
Not to mention great marketing of the game.
Well done valve.

when I completed both campaigns, I've played for 20 hours. I really chersished the SP experience on my first playhtrough but still, and 2 and a half hours is physicly impossible because you can't move that fast especially because the game won't progress the lift to the nextlevel until you listen to the sound cues.

Dexter111:
]

-snip-

It's both "business" and there to make money, if you don't like the drug comparison then how about gold farming and child labor in 3rd world country, the resulting products are both optional also and bought/enjoyed by a lot of people... I'm not trying to compare the practices or the gravity but your and other peoples argument that if something is optional (and it makes a company money, because everyone knows they are and should be only about the money and nothing else it somehow makes it completely right and non-debatable). As I said... almost anything is "optional".

Yeah, the suggestion that a game can be somehow objectively determined to be "complete" nowadays is pretty much unsupportable, as are the the opinions that "as long as it's not on the disc, it's okay." Seriously, think that last one through - if that's a rule we're going by, what's to stop them from making the content on the same schedule, having it ready for release day, and just not putting it on the disc, choosing instead to pretend that it was something they made post-release and dropping it via a download a week or two down the line? I get the principle of what people who dislike the "unlock code" setup are opposed to, and I'm with them on it, but y'all need to understand that DLC being a big download doesn't prove **** about whether or not it could have been included in the standard release game. It's easier for them to distribute it via the disc and use an unlock code, yeah, but if you all make a point to only buy DLC that's a few hundred megabytes or more all it's going to do, really, is give them incentive to distribute it via download instead of on the disc and be less upfront about when that content was actually ready to go.

With that said, there are inherent differences between gold farmers and Portal 2's items. The biggest one, for our purposes, is that gold farmers do not provide "optional content." Gold (at least in the vast majority of cases) is necessary to progress in the game, and even if it's not strictly necessary, it still provides identifiable benefits in terms of player ability. At the same time, the act of gold selling disturbs in-game economies, upsetting the balance for all players, effectively penalizing those who do not buy gold. Cosmetic items, such as those for sale in Portal, do not affect gameplay at all. They do not unfairly advantage one player over another, nor does their presence impact the experience of those who do not have them. Given that the core gameplay and player-to-player balance of Portal 2 remain entirely unaltered by the DLC, and if anything the replay value for people who buy the things from the store has been decreased, it's clearly one of, if not the least intrusive form of DLC we've seen yet. Sure, games used to have extra, unlockable costumes in them, but seeing that go is a minor gripe at best, which is fine, because we need to meet somewhere in the middle.

Ultimately, developers are facing rising production costs and they have to find SOME way to make an extra buck or two from their customers. Since there is no definable point at which a game is "complete," it's on them to experiment with different definitions of "complete" and for us to respond with our wallets as to what definition we're willing to accept. We need to meet them somewhere in the middle, or they'll be left with just one way out: cutting costs, which they're not likely to succeed at. The problem there is that, since games already cost so damned much to make, it only takes a handful of losses to sink a studio. They'll go broke before they figure out how to make games cheaper. But I'm getting side-tracked. The point is that there is nothing wrong with letting companies give us games with various levels of content, so long as we talk with our money and tell them at what point it's no longer acceptable. If we're unwilling to do that, then the problem is with us and our willingness to just buy whatever they put out, not with them. But on the flip side, if we just never buy any game because it has DLC and we're afraid that they didn't give us the "complete" game by the definition of the pre-DLC era, then we'll quickly find that they can no longer afford to make games of the quality they do now, and may even kill a few companies in the process.

Sure, as a consumer I want everything I can conceivably get from Valve for the same amount of money. What we need to open our minds to, though, is that the amount of content we once got in a game is no longer something we can conceivably get. Not when costs have risen as much as they have. This is the bad sort of entitlement, the sort that wants to cede no ground and still take more in return. We shouldn't just cave to the companies, of course, and buy whatever they put out - but neither can we continue to expect them to make games with production values that cost exponentially more to achieve than they used to and comparable levels of content without also expecting a commensurate increase in price. And sure, the average game price has increased by ten dollars in recent years, but we need to accept that this may not have been enough (indeed, it wasn't).

The real dilemma is in trying to understand what the least costly middle ground will be that still allows them to do what we want them to do. Given that we don't really know their costs (and they have little incentive to tell us), this is a real problem. But this is exactly why we should applaud Valve for doing this. By taking a step towards making the game more profitable that has such a minimal impact on the average player's experience, they're extending a pretty big ****ing olive branch to the consumers. They're starting their "what level of content will consumers accept?" experiment from the opposite end of the spectrum from pretty much everyone else. While Bioware, etc... seem to be starting from the "most obtrusive and game-altering" end of the spectrum with the intent of working their way backward (assuming, of course, they get told by consumers that this level is unacceptable), Valve is treating us with a bit more respect and starting with the least obtrusive method, instead. Pretty much the only thing they could do to be nicer would be to have a "donations" button where you could volunteer to give them money for nothing in return. Of course, this does mean that, if we accept this, they may go a bit further next time, but if we don't accept it for fear of that, we need to understand that as a result they may just have to stop investing so much money into development. It's a risk either way, and it's up to us to decide which way we want to go. But honestly, given that DLC isn't going to just disappear, I'd lean more towards rewarding the companies that implement it the best, rather than punishing them just as much as, or worse than those who implement it the worst.

So far I'm up to 3 hats and a flag in terms of cosmetic items in portal 2. One hat I got from playing the game. The other 2 hats I got from having them in TF2. The hats I got in TF2 I got from SURPRISE! playing the game! Well that's not actually true I only got 1 from playing the game. The second I got from opening the Christmas crate that everyone got for free. People need to stop getting worked up over these cosmetic items and play the game. The DLC is hurting anyone this isn't battlefield heroes where you need to buy cashshop items to actually kill people nor is it Spiral knights where you're on a timer and have to buy game time to keep playing. You're not paying for map packs like CoD. If you're too jaded to enjoy a game because you can't have some crappy hats or some stupid skins I think it's honestly time to stop gaming.

Review-bombing Portal 2 is stupid and spiteful.

On the other hand, Day 1 DLC it likely content that they could have included in the full game that we've already paid for, and I think people are perfectly entitled to decry it. Y'know how we try to stop developers doing this kind of thing? By being vocal about it. Now, doing this on meta-critic, by review-bombing what is otherwise apparently a very good game is not the way to go about it, but I can appreciate the sentiment. Too many people are letting this slide because it's Valve doing this. Bullshit. We have every right to decry Day 1 DLC, even if it comes from a developer/publisher who has an otherwise good record.

As I first though when I saw about the Day 1 DLC, too many people are shrugging their shoulders simply because this is one of their favourite companies. Sure, the DLC is simply cosmetic, but embracing practices such as this could lead to a dangerous precedent

Exactly what I think... I really see nothing bad with portal 2 store.

But what do you mean "start with Blizzard"? They don't have any DLC for their games... Diablo, Starcraft... These franchises don't even have microtransactions :P

If you want to compare various forms of DLC, think of it in this way: would the game be any less of a game if the DLC had simply never existed?

For things like Dragon Age 2, the answer is clearly yes, as we're talking about quests and things here, things you actually do inside the game.

For things like Portal 2, the answer is clearly and unequivocally no. As I said before, we're not talking about DLC in the traditional sense at all when we discuss Portal 2's hat store. We're talking solely about merchandising - cosmetic items that you can use to show your support for a particular brand. You can buy the hats and clothes if you want, but only for the bragging rights, not because they change or improve your game in any way.

If you're bothered by the price, consider how much you might pay for a band t-shirt at a gig, and then compare it to how much you might pay for the same band's album in a store. Consider how much the average teenage gamer might have spent in his or her lifetime on the Sin City posters that adorn his or her wall, compared to the one-time cost of the DVD (or more likely, the zero cost of yarrrring it). Consider how quickly the merchandising for a game or film is released, compared to the film or game itself. The only difference between the Portal 2 store and a traditional merchandising store is that now it's your in-game avatar that wears the band t-shirt, which is nothing to do with greed and everything to do with the fact that we live in an increasingly digitised world, and frankly it's amazing this isn't the case more often. The same people who choose to buy things in the various Valve in-game stores are the same people who pay for the limited edition pre-order versions of every big game, and it's their choice to do so. They want the extra tat.

Valve is quite clearly not heading down a slippery slope. Here's a snippet from Robin Walker, way back in 2007:

Robin Walker @ http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/valve-wont-charge-for-dlc:
You buy the product, you get the content. [...] We make more money because more people buy it, not because we try and nickel-and-dime the same customers.

Do you know what Valve have released since then? 2 additional free campaigns for L4D, 3 additional free campaigns for L4D2, about six million free content updates for TF2, a complete free overhaul of everything that was wrong with CS:S, an entirely free game in the shape of Alien Swarm and free engine updates to every single Source game since 2004 to build upon 6 years' worth of technological advancement. They have never, ever charged for any of it, and they've made no suggestion that they ever intend to do so. Do you know what they have charged for? In-game merchandise.

And that is why people who zero-bomb games like Portal 2 deserve every expletive that Shamus decides to throw at them. Sure, it might be an easy target, and he might be the latest in a long line of celebrity game enthusiasts to do so, but that's no reason not to. The idiots need to be called out for what they genuinely are. That's not to say that Portal 2 didn't have faults, but the faults that were there warranted 2, maybe 3 points knocked off the score - not 10.

DeadDodo:
Maybe I wasn't paying attention, but I didn't even know Portal 2 had a DLC system, didn't miss [any of the game] at all.

Same here. I have it (and love it) on the xbox, and when I saw many people bashing the game on metacritic, I instantaneously went to the marketplace to find the DLC, to only come up empty handed.

And regardless, the skins really shouldn't matter, and you unlock all of the gestures through regular gameplay. Gah! Internet people...

The one problem I have with buying cosmetic items is that it can mess up player-driven stuff. In COH, they have player-run and -rewarded costume competitions. While the char creator provides most of the costumes, there were certain items you could only get as a reward for succeeding in certain missions or task forces, and people would use them as part of their costumes in costume competitions.

Far from being viewed as unfair, it was viewed as a mark of personal achievement that you'd gotten that item, and of course you were judged on how well you used it in your costume as well.

Of course when RMT came into the game, those items appeared in the store, and that killed that - now that you can just buy the item, you can't separate the players from the ebayers (so to speak).

I'm not a huge fan of microtransactions, but funny outfits for a character is probably the least harmful kind I've ever heard. People should be more outraged at content that comes locked on the disc, or the slew of MMOs with game altering content only available in the online store. Not a goofy costume that doesn't affect anything, even I'm guilty of buying those from time to time.

I find this absolutly hilarious.

"My game experince is ruined unless I buy a two dollor hat thats red instead of blue"

Priceless

This reminds me of the arguments for and against adult themed media aka porn. while it all lies under the "If you dont like it, dont buy it" logic umbrella, thats the flaw. Its not a logical thought for these people. The root problem they have with it is the fact it exists in the first place.

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