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How to do DLC right

There are absolutely two ways of delivering Downloadable Content to add an extra dimension to a current game - the right way and the wrong.

Above: A trailblazer in how 'not' to do DLC. The Oblivion horse armour   

While most publishers see this as an opportunity to squeeze a few more pennies out of their public... <cough> 'Activision' <cough>... there's the heroic likes of Zipper who've just announced a stack of new stuff for MAG absolutely free. 

But it's not just free stuff that makes DLC more appealing as there's a lot of gratis free content that's essentially balls. So here's a handy list for devs and publishers alike about the Do's and Don'ts of creating exciting DLC...


Don't

 
... over charge for basic content. Having not played the MW2 Stimulus Map Pack it'd be unprofessional of us to say it's not worth the money but 1200 MS points is rather steep for three new maps and two old ones.

Do


... create worthwhile extra missions, stories for the single player. Not everyone cares about a few new places to shoot each other online, most people will gladly take some DLC that prolongs their game for a few more hours.  

Don't


... put an extra price on stuff that was already going to be in the game. EA did this with the original Bad Company whereby they offered you the guns that were already in the game for extra cash. All you had to do to earn them was to rank up to 25 or more.


Above: An extra few quid for guns that are in the game anyway? No, ta

Do


... chuck in a new move or weapon for free as a little surprise, like Infamous' Gigawatt Blades. If your new tools are game changing - like enabling you to reach another area or defeat a certain boss then we're willing to pay hard cash.


Don't


... make out we're missing something from the game if we don't download the content. Resi 5 did this recently leaving a gaping plot hole on how Jill escaped from Africa only to release it in DLC form. Can you imagine a film doing this? Answer: No.

Do


... tease us with new stuff in game. Burnout Paradise showed Big Surf Island but had a roadblock up so you couldn't get it. Cue excitement about when it would finally be available to get into the area.


Above: Criterion knew how to stoke interest with their DLC island 

So what do you think worthwhile DLC should contain? Is it simply a pricing matter for you or don't you mind paying for something a bit extra? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook or on our Twitter.  

22 comments

  • Clickshark - March 22, 2010 7:15 a.m.

    Fallout 3 is really the poster child of how this is effectively done.
  • UltimateZeldaFanboy - March 22, 2010 5:04 a.m.

    For halo: reach, they need to male it so we can purchase new armor
  • bepster - March 21, 2010 9:31 p.m.

    "Above: An extra few quid for guns that are in the game anyway? No, ta"(ta...isnt that maltese?) anyways great article
  • philipshaw - March 20, 2010 12:10 p.m.

    The way Burnout done DLC is the way to go, offer most stuff for free and then charge small amounts for the big things like a whole new area of the map
  • LizarDAZZLE - March 20, 2010 9:03 a.m.

    what, no mention of VALVe and what they've done with TF2? For shame! New weapons, new maps, player created maps, and just recently, valve added a few player created weapons to the game!
  • Cyberninja - March 20, 2010 12:35 a.m.

    but without horse armour we cant protect buttercup.
  • RebornKusabi - March 19, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    I honestly feel that ANYTHING that is already on the game disc should never be locked to the customer and should be free after you payed for the disc to begin with. Even if SOME of it is on the disc but it wasn't finished in time and your downloading the completed form of it should STILL be free.
  • JackSkellingtonsSkin - March 19, 2010 10:59 p.m.

    I'd like to bring it to the reader's attention that ActiVision isn't the worst for this, only the most recent.
  • JackSkellingtonsSkin - March 19, 2010 10:52 p.m.

    Read this article Ubi
  • Cogglesz - March 19, 2010 10:24 p.m.

    i must say burnout paradises dlc was my favourite, everything felt like it was worth it and i can't say that for many games that i've purchased dlc for. apart from: GTA IV Fallout 3
  • Memph - March 19, 2010 9:34 p.m.

    Bioshock 2 has done this incredibly badly. charging for cosmetics is one thing, but actually charging to level past the standard multiplayer cap and access better loadouts than players without the DLC. now that is just ludicrous.
  • jackthemenace - March 19, 2010 9:06 p.m.

    anything little for DLC, however stupid and pointless, is good, as long as it's free. and the darkforest expansion for antes inferno is absolutely terrible ¬____¬
  • TheHolyHandGrenade - March 19, 2010 7:37 p.m.

    Do: make it free Don't: make us pay Please?
  • avantguardian - March 19, 2010 7:03 p.m.

    ok, this goes out with all due respect to gamers of all budgets, but really the mw2 15 dollar thing is no big deal (yes, i understand the "principles" involved)...look at it this way, if you will: if you consider playing games to be a hobby of yours, the equivalent of two hours of work traded for what will be possibly dozens to hundreds of hours playing these maps shouldn't feel that steep...i gues its all in direct proportion to what the individual derives from the content..it makes it seem like the vocal majority that are outraged by this are kids on allowances, or something, in which case they should mow some lawns or something and stop complaining... don't want to come off like an a$$, i'm just saying...
  • NanoElite666 - March 19, 2010 6:41 p.m.

    Being someone who primarily plays single-player aspects of games, I love DLC that lets me get more out of those parts of games. Stuff like extensions of the game's story or world (Fallout 3's or Borderlands' DLC) or shorter adventures in an established series between major releases (Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty), I'll eat that stuff up. Maps and stuff for competitive multiplayer, not so much since I don't frequent those modes as often.
  • Maiestas777 - March 19, 2010 6:24 p.m.

    @loonyman978 uhh...You do know that the DRM prevents you from using the maps that are not registered to your account. Well, the first system they are downloaded to can share, but after that the DRM kicks in and only the purchaser can use it. Anyways, great feature, as always. I agree with every single point here.
  • Gene - March 19, 2010 5:59 p.m.

    @loonyman978 "doesn't count as stealing as they should be free anyway"? Don't be so fucking ridiculous. That's your basic opinion, which means nothing. If the person selling names a price which you don't pay but take what is being sold regardless, that's stealing, ideology be damned. That's not to say the map price isn't a rip-off, but your argument is stupid.
  • Jacob816 - March 19, 2010 5:25 p.m.

    Activision's money grubbing ways, and more recent clustershart with IW and now their overpriced MW2 DLC has made me hate them so much that I refuse to buy anymore of their products. I know one gamer boycotting such a large company won't do anything, but hopefully others will grow as weary has I did, and stop supporting Activision.
  • OnyxOblivion - March 19, 2010 5:21 p.m.

    SEAMLESS integration into the game. Fable 2's DLC was "meh", but if you started a new game, the quests unlocked in sequence. You couldn't run straight through them, each have to be unlocked via story progression. SEAMLESS. You'd never know it was DLC. It felt...natural.
  • Oddeh7 - March 19, 2010 5:19 p.m.

    Uhh, first? I hate the idea of paying for stuff already in the game (see also, Skate 2 and Burnout Paradise's "Time Is Money"/"Time Savers" DLC. And horse armour? seriously? reCaptcha: States backups

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