Tuesday, 9 February 2010

£280 of DLC (and counting) - meet the game with the most add ons ever!

DLC has been with us for a while now - it's not going to go away quickly and everyone has their own view on whether DLC is good or bad for gaming.

Personally I think of DLC as expansion packs and as long as the price reflects the content I'm all for it.

The soon to be released Dragon Age DLC for instance is priced at £20 (UK) which is how much you could potentially get Bioshock 2 for (if you have 3 other mates who want it) or the new Aliens Vs Predatory game (if you get it from play.com or amazon.) That doesn't mean it's not good value, if you read the feature list which includes 5 new allies and a whole playable campaign (by the look of things anyway).

What I wouldn't want to see is "weapon packs" or multiplayer "map packs" sold for that type of cost. I just don't see that as value for money.

Using Bioware as an example again, I'll probably be getting any Mass Effect 2 based DLC because I'm just so into it. This is why, for the most part, I can understand why people buy DLC for the games they really love.

But there's one game that I don't understand the DLC strategy for, a game I shall probably never play because it makes as much sense to me as football.

Railworks is a train simulator game, and is described like so:

RailWorks: a new concept in train and rail simulation. Drive 13 different locomotives along 8 different routes in the UK, North America and Europe. Download new routes, locomotives and rolling stock or create your own design and share it with friends

It currently has 28 "pieces" of downloadable content, all priced between £2.49 for a scenario pack and £19.99 for new areas to explore. If you bought Railworks and all of the available DLC, it would currently cost just over £300!

I'm curious to whether anyone owns the full set, or if they're targeting specific sub-sets of locomotive enthusiasts. Perhaps some only buy the British trains, and they are the target market for the Isle of Wright set?

On the other hand, I don't understand MMORPGs and their costs. Anyone who plays WoW spends £300 in just over 2.5 years in subscriptions, so perhaps this isn't so unusual.

As usual it feels like it's geared towards what some people will pay rather than what it's actually worth. And I have to admit, if a £20 DLC comes out for Mass Effect 2 I'd probably have a hard time resisting it! Emotional responses are a bugger.

Luckily it's all been free DLC so far! The best kind...


  1. I think a lot about railroads are collector items. If you look at model railroads and how expensive they are yet they get bought it makes sense to try to monetize on that with software.

    I've rarely seen any other niche product being so popular and widespread. Railworks isn't the only Railway simulator, there's the ones from Microsoft and Rail Simulator (i think) from EA plus lots of model railroad modelling programs. A lot of them implement DLC. I'm actually a bit surprised Sid Meier with his Railroads! didn't go that route as well, i would have loved to pay for some more extra content like new goods, scenarios, or rolling stock.

    As an alternative, software railroading is still a lot cheaper than model railroading, which is why i believe it works so well. If you consider the price for the real model the software DLC looks so much cheaper. For example, for the 300 you can get a model locomotive plus 4-6 waggons in a set, or even just one very special locomotive.

    That said, i also think DLC for a game i love and already spent hours with is a no-brainer. I got all the Fallout DLC despite the mediocre reviews (what do they expect? I just want new story and maybe some new areas, i'm completely happy with that). I also got the Trials HD level pack and bought all N+ level packs even though i never actually played them but i still feel good because i just spent so much time on the game already, so i think they deserve my money whether i use that content or not.

    Besides, the whole point of DLC is to have people spent as much as they're willing - in some cases that works incredibly well since the few who buy everything more than make up for those who don't ever buy DLC.

  2. Absolutely, I think I was just shocked at the sheer amount that was on offer for a game of this genre.

    I'm certainly no expert on model railways although after seeing a tv report on it today I can see how expensive that can get! On the other hand you've got a real life item in that case?

    My benchmark for bad DLC is BattleForge where you pay for the cards that give you new types (or repeats!) of units to send into battle. It was bad at the time because I paid £35 for the main game to start with, you had to pay extra for more units that were already made for the game and then...then they released it for free! I think that left a bad taste in my mouth for DLC in general.

    But like you I was extremely tempted by the fallout 3 dlc (if only it didn't keep crashing my machine) And like I said, I would snap up any Mass Effect 2 dlc in an instant.

    Thanks for the well thought out comment!