Pay $20 DLC for the Rest of this Essay: DLC and Micro-transactions in Gaming

The gaming industry is huge. Triple A companies and indie studios making games for the populace to play (and make money from). Companies make lots of money from games like those based on films, a sequel to a popular game (Final Fantasy and Call of Duty) and such. Grand Theft Auto V sold 45 million copies making it the highest selling game in the series. So with results like that companies find more ways to line their pockets with cash. Enter DLC. A way to not make a new game but could make just as much money for it. This has mixed reactions from gamers (mostly negative) because there are lots of ways DLC could rip them off. Like this comic humorously shows the supposed mentality companies have towards their consumers http://www.dorkly.com/post/65536/how-every-awful-video-game-thing-was-born. Phone apps are a big culprit squeezing money out of gamers for in game items or having them pay for extra lives or wait a day to play again. The app Final Fantasy: All the Bravest was guilty of this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mYd12L4iE4. You pay to resurrect your characters but also there are 35 characters you can get from other Final Fantasy games such as Cloud Strife. However these DLC characters (which cost 99 cents) are given to you randomly so you may have to buy all 35 bonus characters for a sprite with yellow spiky hair. So this 4 dollar app has the ability to squeeze more than 5 times than the original cost from players. There are other games that go down that middle line like League of Legends which has many different characters to play. These can be free if you grind enough in-game cash, but if you are impatient you can buy them with real money. They also have custom sprites for their characters which can only be purchased with real money (although you can compare this to buying a toy and there is nothing wrong with that).

Buying with RP (real money)
Buying with RP (real money)
There also is World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm which has exclusive mounts for those who can pay for it like a unicorn for 20 dollars. So you don’t need to pay, but you see someone else flaunt a new fancy sprite with custom animations and it feels a little unfair. Smite like League of legends has champions and skins you can use cash to pay for, but what Smite does right is they allow you to grind for gems (in game cash that you can buy) through different methods. There are daily log in rewards so if you log in every day for a week you can earn 50 gems, they also have dedicated weekends that give you gems for winning all the game modes. DLC can be really good for games, it’s expanding the stories and the things you can do with a game without making a full on sequel. It continues player interest in a game that normally could to hold attention. Skyrim’s Dragonborn or Dawnguard expansions which were received positively because it gave more missions to play and new mechanics like being able to ride dragons. There are other games with good DLC like this list I found http://gamerant.com/best-video-game-dlc-expansions/ . The Extra Credits are game designers who make a show talking about game design, have videos talking about micro-transactions, DLC, and their effect on games, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mhz9OXy86a0. They talked about how the designer should make the game first and think of money next. Making it a way for players to not feel pressured into buying things. Hearthstone does this really well. Hearthstone is an online card game, and you can buy packs using real money or in game gold. There is tons of ways to get in game gold though. You can go on daily quests, win 3 times in a row, or win in arena mode.
You can have 3 missions total getting one a day
You can have 3 missions total getting one a day
You never have to pay money but if you are impatient you can spend 2 bucks for a pack or spend 10 to buy an entire single player campaign which also gives you cards. Another good part of Hearthstone is that they limit you to 2 of the same cards so if you ever get the multiple copies of the same card you can convert these extras into “dust”. This dust if you grind enough can be converted into any card you want including a fancy legendary card.
Turning dust into a new card
Turning dust into a new card
Which gives you reason to buy more packs because no matter what you do you are a winner. You can get new cards or convert them into dust. So DLC is staying but hopefully developers will use this for more than a cheap way to make money. As a bonus I want talk about a game that I found during my research. DLC Quest is a game that comments on the principle of DLC. It has you pay just for basic gameplay features like paying 10 (in games) coins for the ability… to move left. So you collect coins just to be able to play this game, http://goingloudstudios.com/games/dlc-quest/. Ironically this game also has DLC called Live Freemium or Die. I haven’t played the game myself, but the idea of buying basic mechanics is an interesting way to talk about it. It has mostly positive reviews.

  6 comments for “Pay $20 DLC for the Rest of this Essay: DLC and Micro-transactions in Gaming

  1. April 2, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I’m a huge fan of the sims and have definitely spent real money to purchase DLC like new furniture or another hairstyle option. I totally understand why people would spend real money on something like that, however, I don’t understand the exorbitant spending that often occurs. I think it’s interesting that you’ve pointed out that there are games that parody or play with the concept of paying for DLC. What do you think those games say about DLC or the players who spend lots of real money on DLC?

  2. ZoraofWater
    April 2, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Since I’ve never really gotten DLC except in Fire Emblem: Awakening, I can’t really vouch for that at all. However, I can say about micro-transactions is that I agree with what you say. From what I can tell (especially in MMORPGs), they are unnecessary and one can play a game without needing to pay a single dollar. However, some games offer character configurations/accessories/extra things to make the game more enjoyable. One thing I noticed when I went back to Maplestory (an old MMORPG) is that they apparently changed the stats requirements for all classes. Now, unless I pay a little bit of money to buy myself an Ability Point Reset, my character is stuck being much weaker than she really should be (well…she’s a cleric…so I guess it doesn’t matter too much). I can only think of one or two items that one might NEED to buy and should be able to find a way to buy it without using real life cash. Also, as an added note, none of your URLs are hyperlinked so I have to copy and paste them into the browser…Maybe change it so that we can just click on them?

  3. mgaughan
    April 2, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    The issue about most freemium games is that they are designed to addict people right from the start. A Youtuber known as MatPat actually did a video on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BTGgCEFuQw and I recommend giving it a watch. Extrapolation on his theory on how these games addict, it makes sense that players would want to pay to get extra lives at least the first time they run out. Their dopamine receptors are still high after all so they want to continue feeling happy about the game. It makes sense as a business practice but as a gamer, I agree that these practices are infuriating. The only thing left to do is wait… and wait… and wait…

  4. ztruex
    April 2, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    DLC is not inheritly a bad thing. However in todays gaming, mainly what I see in the triple A industry, is the introduction of premiums and season passes that are currently in devolopment and advertised before the game is even release. What also creates a problem for this is that some games game out with horrible releases like the beginning of Battlefield 4 or Destiny in general. One game had terrible net code problems and the other was simply incomplete campaign wise. The problem comes in when people begin to pay 120 bucks for a game and the game flops. I myself enjoy DLC, but season passes and premium is poisoning it.

  5. Sweetman
    April 3, 2015 at 2:04 am

    I think that this is a good summing up of what DLC is now. However, DLC use to be to add on parts and tie ins such as giving you a not full game length story which would transition you from Game 1 to Game 2. Sadly, with the industry becoming more profit than quality oriented they have sprung for a more barbaric and heavy handed approach. This being the above which gives you more of this bland locked parts of the game that SHOULD have been in the game rather than giving you more world building. However, I can’t say I side with you on DLC such as buying skins since I feel this is cosmetic. Could you explain why you list this as DLC rather than addons to the game since they don’t add anything besides a pretty new dress or flying cat in WoW’s case?

    • holyguava
      April 15, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      That is a good note. Mostly it was just a mistake on my part. Should have said mirco transaction in those cases. Honestly i should have distinguished the difference between the two since I globbed them together. Thank you. Honestly I am not a huge fan of DLC (and by extension microtransactions) but as I looked it up there were more pros then cons to it just companies screw it up. Yes I have seen that game theory video but that one applied more to apps rather than console or PC games. The addiction of those apps are an excuse for companies to squeeze money out of customers for more time and I am not a fan of it. Feels to dishonest. It is like dying in Mario and waiting an our to spawn. People who spend a lot of money on DLC and microtransactions like the LOL skins (or sims furniture) isn’t bad. It is just a free to play game and you are paying 20 dollars on a singular sprite. What it is shows is that people want to invest in the game more and like the mix up the look of the character and I can’t blame them. I have a few league skins as well they make me feel fancy just they are expensive and there is no alternate way of buying them (since you can use in game points to buy champions so they could just make them use IP to buy skins but make them really hard to get). Also Zora of water, how do i hyperlink?

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