As we begin the first few months of 2016, I was stopped today by a recent announcement by 2K games discussing the PC release of WWE 2K16. For the entry price of $49.99, PC gamers will receive the game, plus all of the DLC from the console version. My first thought was, ‘Well, at least PC gamers are getting something.’ Then I began to think about this a little more and something kept gnawing at me. Okay, so let’s break this down a little with some simple math (I know, everyone’s favorite subject):
WWE 2K16 – Released Oct. 27th 2015 – Digital Release (PS4, Xbox One) – $59.99
Additional DLC Content – Season Pass – $24.99
WWE 2K16 – Releasing March 11, 2016 – Digital (Steam) – $49.99
Now it doesn’t take much to see how you are getting royally screwed over on the front end. It’s also the case that 2K Games are not the only culprits of these practices in the world of DLC. Ultimately, this leads to the larger issue that we keep seeing in games, and I feel it likely stems from a few factors I will lay out here.
First, game developers are under an extreme amount of pressure. Now I have to preface this by saying that I have never worked for a game company myself, but since my degree is in this stuff, I may as well pull the whole ‘I know so because I went to college’ card (seeing as I hardly ever get a chance to do so…).
I have done some work here and there modeling props and assets, but nothing to the extent of what AAA games do. My point being that in college, we were explicitly told that we could expect to work a 70-120 hour work week. That’s insane. Now take that, and then mix in your publisher. The publisher is footing the bill for this game and their interests are most often: how do we do this game, how do we do it under budget, and how can we speed up this process?
Second, we have the endless churning of the Internet and the rabid fans clawing for just a scrap of news related to their favorite game. This hype train builds and builds until publishers begin to notice. Fans don’t receive updates so they often times get combative or lose interest entirely in the community surrounding the game. Publishers don’t want any of that, shoot, even developers don’t want any of that. They want to keep people interested as long as possible until the inevitable release date. What I think happens however is that fans are also to blame for why we’ve seen so many half baked games this past year.
So why do I break this all down to you? Well, this gets at another thing I keep hearing on comment areas of gaming websites, or even with close friends: Game developers will keep selling us DLC because they know that we’ll buy it. I hate that. I rarely say that, but I this is honestly some of the stupidest crap that gamers keep spewing to each other. Like that we’re mindless drones for playing the games in the first place, and that games need not entertain or drive us to feel some form of emotion, NO! It’s about selling you more shit.
I don’t subscribe to that. I also don’t think that this little article will change how we grant value to these games and their DLC (Shoot, we don’t even buy physical copies anymore!). But what I can hope for is actually pretty simple when you think about it. One, the best games are the games that are developed in a semi rigorous environment. However, with this environment, games need to be developed without the impending fear that publishers will chop the game up and/or rush the game to completion just to squeeze a few extra dollars out of the customer on the back end. Two, fans need to stop pushing so hard. Seriously, we all want great games, we all want the features a developer said we would have, but we (the consumer) do not make the game itself. I think often times great looking games that get overhyped fail so badly because we’re all expecting too much.
So ultimately, this is thepoorassgamer saying, go out there and play what you love. And honestly, respect yourself enough to know a product before you fall into that they know we’ll buy it sort of mentality.
As always, please feel free to subscribe below and thanks for listening!