DLC is a real hot-button issue for gamers and the industry as a whole. People don't like having to pay extra for add-on content, and while some companies freely hand out extra content, the truth is that gaming is a business, and companies like money.
Unless you're Valve, and then you like your fans and money equally
CD Projekt Red director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, one of the minds behind the critically-acclaimed RPG The Witcher, thinks that gamers aren't getting much bang for their buck when it comes to downloadable content.
"If today's DLCs offered the same amount of content they would be worth paying for, but in most cases players think they are overcharged for what they receive. That’s why we offer expansions to our game for free. This is also a way of saying 'thank you' to the people who decided to buy our game instead of copying it from an unauthorized source."
Tomaszkiewicz also brought up something from ye olden dayes of gaming that console gamers may not be as familiar with: expansion packs.
"Back when retail games were dominant, we had expansion packs. These were really large chunks of content, which were worth their price."
When Starcraft was originally released in 1998, it was already a very complete title that provided great multiplayer in addition to a ridiculously long and in-depth campaign. Later that same year, Blizzard released a $30 expansion pack titled Starcraft: Brood War, adding a lengthy new campaign in addition to new units, upgrades and abilities. While it used the same framework as the previous game, there was so much new content it might as well have been a sequel.
Now, let's look at Mass Effect 2, one of my favorite games of all time that also happens to have a lot of DLC (that I bought all of--shut up, I know I have a problem).
-Mass Effect 2- $60 at launch, around $20 now--new copies come with Cerberus Network DLC for free
-Cerberus Network DLC (includes new character Zaeed, two quests, new weapon and new armor set)- $15 if you didn't buy a new copy of Mass Effect 2
-Alternate Appearance Pack 1 (three new costumes)- $2
-"Kasumi: Stolen Memory" story DLC (includes new character and quest)- $7, included free in PS3 version
-Equalizer Set (new armor set/parts)- $2
-"Overlord" story DLC (lengthy quest)- $7, included free in PS3 version
-Aegis Pack (one new weapon, five new armor parts)- $2
-Firepower Pack (three new weapons)- $2
-"Lair of the Shadow Broker" story DLC (lengthy quest)- $10, included free in PS3 version
-Alternate Appearance Pack 2 (three new costumes)- $2
-"Arrival" story DLC (quest that bridges ME2 and ME3)- $6
So if you bought Mass Effect 2 brand-new on 360 or PC (it took a while for the game to hit PS3) and paid for all the extra content as it came out, you would have spent a cool $100 for everything, give or take a little depending on whether or not you bought it new or pre-owned. All of Mass Effect 2's DLC was free for a little while before the release of the third game, but that's another rare case of publishers offering extra content for free.
Mass Effect 2 was a very complete game on its own, but all the extra content really does make a difference. Unfortunately we know there are plenty of less-complete games that rely on DLC to make steady revenue. What do you think? Would you be more willing to support companies through DLC if prices were lower and you got more for your money?