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E3 Innovation Unveiled… with DLC

There was a time when I wanted to attend E3, years upon years ago.  I wanted to walk the halls and get some time with yet unreleased titles.  Get the great swag.  The booth babes did not hurt either.

Now as I am in my late 30s it is not as appealing of a prospect to me.  Flying across the country.  Being crowded into a building like beef cattle.  Paying $7 for a water, god knows how much for a stiff Jack Daniels.  The booth babes are still appealing though.

Needless to say I have been taking in the event through the wonders of online streaming and the comfort of my desk, Jack Daniels is much cheaper by the bottle this way and I do not have to contend with those pesky TSA agents at the airport.  I must say I am more thankful this year then any years past that I did not attend… no need to fly across the country just to be told our title comes out on this day, and you can get the DLC on this date!

We have all seen the focus on DLC over the last few years increase, but the emphasis on DLC this year on display at E3 is just sickening to me as a gamer, and just a little bit sad.  Mind you, this is not a rant about DLC being exclusive to a console for 30 days which is something Microsoft has become well known for.  I have no issue with a developer making some extra cash by releasing DLC on a certain platform first, it may not be a great choice but it is not the end of the world.  The issue I have is when a title such as Tomb Raider is pushed back till March of 2013 yet during the E3 press conference they talk about the DLC that will be coming for the game.. a game that is still almost a year away.

It has long been the industry mantra that DLC was either one of two things:

1) A way to increase revenue on an already released title and keep staff employed and avoid the layoffs that most studios undergo after a launch.

2) The DLC is content we really wanted to get into the final game but were unable to do so before launch

Both of these reasons could be legitimate, and honestly I have never held much of a grudge against a studio for saying them.  I do however see the announcement that a game almost a year away is already scheduled for DLC as a sign that the monetizing of content is a clear objective from the studio.  It will be very difficult to convince gamers in 2013 that any DLC content that comes out within a month or so of release was intended for the final game but just did not make the cut.

Ironically as I was finishing up the final points on this post the news that the Skyrim DLC Dawnguard is scheduled for a June 26, 2012 release.  Now this is to me a more reasonable way to market DLC.  Skyrim has been out since November 2011 and selling a DLC content pack 6 months after release that adds new quests, locations, abilities and story is understandable.


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