During the recent years, a new trend has emerged among game developers: charging extra fees for the downloadable content, also referred to as DLC. The theoretical concept behind this procedure initially seemed a commendable initiative, considering that players would be able to purchase the original game content for a more reasonable sum and, if they enjoyed it, be able to purchase an additional component.
However, things got out of hand when developers realized just how much easy money could be made with DLC through unorthodox and sometimes downright outrageous practices. Let’s examine a few borderline scams pulled off recently by game development companies.
1. A new purchasable suit of armor for your mount in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
Oblivion constituted the first game in the Elder Scrolls series to introduce the downloadable content back in 2006. While the purchasable horse armor represented nothing more than a customization feature that was probably addressed to the cross niche RPG-My Little Pony fan base, Bethesda marketed this DLC as an unique way of protecting your favorite mount from the dangers, emphasizing on the fact it was handcrafted (yeah, in Photoshop!). When gamers figured out that the armor presents no functionality whatsoever, a virtual riot started in the community, forcing Bethesda to include a lot more content to the DLC pack.
2. Varied “skins” for the weapons in Gears of War III
Possibly blinded by Bethesda’s “success” with the horse armor, Epic Games decided it was time to launch their very own scamming campaign. In theory, there is nothing wrong with paying for the hard work of artists who create a new cool-looking customization option for a weapon. However, in practice, all players who purchase this GoW III add-on received a sloppy paint job, featuring rainbows, flowers and many more similar clichés. It was like their research department determined the sexuality of the players based on the insults shouted over Xbox live chat.
3. The speed boost of certain weapons in Dead Space
Electronic Arts is the company that brought about the destruction of virtually every game franchise they took over with the introduction of poorly crafted, repetitive content accompanied by outrageous fees. In the case of Dead Space, they managed to rip off a lot of gamers by marketing a $2.25 add-on that provides a slight acceleration of the firing speed for weapons like the Plasma Cutter, the Line Gun or the Force Gun. The velocity boost only applied selectively and in order to gain the same benefits for the other weapons, you would also have to purchase the Scorpion Pack add-on.
4. One of the hidden DLC’s in Dragon Age Origins, namely Warden’s Keep
Dragon Age, one of the games Electronic Arts utilized to milk the DLC most, feature a myriad of expensive add-ons with content that takes you about an hour to complete. Warden’s Keep however, is part of the content that you have no idea it’s DLC until you talk to NPC that actually gives you the quest for it. To put it simply, it’s a DLC marketed as an integral part of the original game content. Warden’s Keep was completed before the launch of the 1.0 version, but EA simply chose not to include it.
5. The zombie mod that has been sliced off and reattached in COD: Black Ops
It’s rather surprising how the COD franchise manages to sell copies of the “new” games without actually improving the engine, graphics or gameplay in a significant manner. In fact, keeping track of the number of Call of Duty games released constitutes an incredibly difficult task. In this perspective, it is hard to imagine why the zombie mod that was offered to players for free with the World at War variant of the game suddenly became a paid DLC for Black Ops.
6. Every last bit of content in Railworks
Unless you are a very passionate train conductor who can’t get enough of these vehicles at work, then purchasing Railworks: Train Simulator 2012 doesn’t make much sense in the first place. The level of details is staggering and the routes are in accordance to their real counterparts, but come on, where’s the fun? Now, let’s assume that in addition to the actual game, you would also be forced to purchase every single train you plan to utilize for $20 each. That’s pretty standard, right?
7. Alternative skin colors for characters in Street Fighter 3
Midway should totally sue Capcom for plagiarizing their idea of conferring the characters different colored versions of the same clothing and pretending they’re brand new. However, at least Midway never considered charging $3 per color set for the ability to modify the scheme of the character’s clothing. And of course, if you want an additional set, that will cost you an extra $3.
8. Virtual money in Godfather
In general, when you get tired of not being able to afford nice weapons or vehicles in a game, you simply enter a cheat code or download a free trainer. Well, not for Godfather, another offspring of EA that’s meant to harness the infinite potential of human naiveté. And, unlike Word of Warcraft where the in-game currency enables players to advance through the multiplayer ranks, this offer is exclusively for the single player version of Godfather.
9. Leveling up in Tales of Vesperia
Why bother “having fun” developing your character in Tales of Vesperia when you can always skip ahead to the part you want by paying with real currency? The DLC concept in this case is very loosely utilized, considering the term actually refers to acquiring 5 or 10 levels, depending on how much you are willing to invest (to be read waste). In addition, crafting materials that you would otherwise have to farm can be purchased, but not the actual crafted item.
10. The Avatar-to-Jersey Shore character transformation (hairpiece)
Another failed cross niche example comes from the Avatar game that, in spite of theoretically addressing a different fan base than the Jersey Shore drivel, provides players with the unique opportunity to customize their characters with the “Snooki” hairpiece for $2. Don’t think that the similarities between the design of the Avatar hairpiece and the one of the beloved reality TV show actress is purely coincidental either!