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Hate DLC? You know Microsoft’s Xbox 360 created it right?


Agh…DLC, DLC, DLC look what you have  done to the game industry.

Most gamers share a common attitude toward DLC (Downloadable Content) and it’s of the negative nature. Not because we don’t like extra content but because of how DLC has evolved into a petty way for Publishers and Developers to extract money from consumers — the very consumers who support their product to no end. Well…you can thank Microsoft for that.

Ok created may be too strong of a word as “DLC” was around  to some degree prior but for something that was originally intended to be used sparingly the Xbox 360 surely made it a household practice. What started off as a innocent way for developers to prolong our adventures and give gamers more content (or all content)  started to become a trendy business practice and adopted a “Cause I can” business model. How you say?

This is how I believe the 360 platform ushered in what DLC has become today.

Every great invention may have very well started off as an accident and this case may be no exception. Almost every invention begs the same question —  how can I solve this problem? So what problem did DLC solve?

Problem: (Developer) I want to create this huge gaming world packed with an overwhelming amount of  content but don’t have enough space to work with, this current generation hardware only allows 512 MB of memory.

Solution: (Developer) I know!…Instead of throwing it out why don’t I take the extra content that can’t fit, break it up and make it available to gamers anyway, which will still allow them to experience the closest thing to my original vision.

I truly believe in this current generation  games were set to be HUGE. I think developers were genuinely excited to get these new consoles in their hand and let their imaginations go. Their expectations were “through the roof” but really might have been too high. What was told to them as far as the console’s capabilities ultimately fell short.

So why is it 360’s fault that DLC spiraled out of control and not PS3’s you ask? Medium choice is what ultimately separated the consoles, Xbox 360 – DVD 9 and PS3 – Blu-ray. You see, the DVD 9 that 360 supports total amount of disc space  is about 9 GB, in comparison Blu-ray which the PS3 supports produces 25 GB on a single layer but can go up to 50 GB on a dual layer. Do you think a developer’s vast imagination can fit into 9 gigs of disc space?

That move by Microsoft proved fatal, not for the console itself  but for the generation because ultimately whether gamers know it or not or want to admit it or not I believe going DVD handicapped this generation in more ways than one. In my opinion not only do I believe we didn’t experience the biggest (and best) games possible but it also, unbeknownst to them created this thing called “DLC” which now is becoming less and less about the content and more and more about how developers can make an extra buck. Charging us for content already on the disc is taking it to far.  And sure the PS3 is displaying these very same shameful practices on its platform but the 360 made it possible. In a perfect world DLC should’ve never existed.

To put things more into perspective Hideo Kojima made Metal Gear Solid 4 a 50 gig game!!! Guerilla Games with ‘Killzone’ I believe made a 30 gig game and Naughty Dog’s very first  Uncharted game, forget what they did with future titles I think was in the range of 18 to 25 gigs. All exclusive titles that would not fit on a DVD 9 disc ( not saying that’s the reason they went exclusive).  Sacrifices had to be made, coming in the form of multiple discs or receiving content months or even in some cases a year later.

I remember the urban legend regarding the development of GTA IV whereas Rockstar was seemingly having space issues on the 360 side and allegedly threatened to go exclusive (speaking of, I wonder how many discs GTA V will need). Regardless of what they say I believe in the end sacrifices for that game were made — a more condensed version of New York — no Staten Island.

Look, again this thing most likely started off pure. Xbox 360 limitations spurned on by Microsoft’s choice to go the DVD 9 route gave developers no choice but to cut the size of their games and create this thing called DLC, now it’s become a full fledged business monster.

So you wanted to know the real reason why you’re frustrated at this generation’s ongoing trend? Look no further than the Xbox 360.

CCU wants to hear from you.

 

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One Comment

  1. This is actually incorrect
    whilst DLC most likely became popular on the Xbox 360 it wasn’t a limitation of either the storage space or the system RAM.

    If you’ve ever extracted an Xbox 360 game you would notice that the disc is rarely maxed out

    DLC is a way for developers to make extra cash by releasing a game early and selling extensions later.

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