Capcom has earned itself a bit of a reputation for charging for DLC that is quite clearly already on the disc. A lot of the time you're just paying for a digital key to unlock it. Obviously, this has angered gamers who understandably feel that if they've bought a lump of game code that contains that content already, locked or otherwise, they should be entitled to play it without paying again for the privilege.
Above: Aaaargh, I'm not the disc! Get off me! Etc
Well, Capcom has heard this. And, despite having made a perfectly rational explanation for its on-disc DLC policy (in terms fighting games at least) that clearly states the reason for it is to make sure people who don't have DLC can still compete against people who do (because they can still load the related character data to view), has now gone on-record to state its re-evaluation of the whole situation. In other words, it's bowing to public pressure.
Capcom US boss Christian Svensson has posted on the company's community forum Capcom Unity that things are about to change. Not in time to affect upcoming RPG Dragon's Dogma, which will have a mix of on-disc DLC and proper downloadable content post-launch, but almost certainly in games after that. He said:
We've been getting several questions, here and elsewhere about the future of on-disc DLC.
We would like to assure you that we have been listening to your comments and as such have begun the process of re-evaluating how such additional game content is delivered in the future. As this process has only just commenced in the past month or so, there will be some titles, where development began some time ago and that are scheduled for release in the coming months, for which we are unable to make changes to the way some of their post release content is delivered.
One such title is Dragon’s Dogma, where the decision to include some additional (but not all planned additional) game content for the game on disc was made at the beginning of the game’s development cycle as at the time this was determined to be the most efficient way of ensuring certain content was made available. Owners of Dragon’s Dogma will be able to further their gameplay experience with the release of additional quests, weapons and other items in the months following the game going on sale.
Dragon’s Dogma’s post-launch content will extend the lifespan of a title that already offers around 30-40 hours of gameplay by following the main story thread, but if a player was to complete all the side quests Dragon’s Dogma ships with, that increases to around 100 hours. Players will also be able to add to the stock of 100s of weapons and 1,000s of customization options to create not only their ideally equipped, but also their most elaborately designed character.
Just wanted people to know in advance the whys, wherefores and where we're going in the future. You are being heard. Thanks.
So, future Capcom DLC is more likely to be actual downloaded content. But if that extends to fighting games, wouldn't it contradict Capcom's list of seemingly strong reasons for taking the on-disc approach, by taking up more room on your hard drive, possibly taking longer to load, and meaning the 'withouts' can't compete online against the 'withs'?
But if it makes people happier about exactly what percentage of the 0s and 1s on their shiny plastic discs they actually get for their money, then who are we to argue? But then of course there's the other issue about the kind of additional content often being offered in Capcom's games. In days gone by (when all this was 8-bit fields, no less), extra content like unlockable characters or alternate costumes was a standard part of the main game, accessed with cheats or by playing well.
These days? You can buy the Value Pack of alternate costumes for 47 characters in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 on PS Vita for... £15.99. And that's on top of £3.99 apiece for Jill and Shuma-Gorath. Oh, and £39.99 for the game itself. Surely that's a bigger issue than whether or not the data for this stuff was always on the disc in the first place.
Above: And yet it gets a 4.5 star user rating? Those must be some AMAZING costumes
So - does this announcement make everything better? Or was off-disc DLC delivery not really the panacea we all hoped it would be? Let us know what you think in the comments.