The games industry has changed quite a bit, hasn’t it? Before the online revolution, all of a game’s content was available in the retail box. Now, though, it’s deteriorated to its lowest lows, because not only are developers and publishers announcing DLC before a game’s even released, they’re now putting said DLC on the retail disc, only to be “unlocked” later, forcing you to pay for it. Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter thinks is “greed”, and we couldn’t agree more.
“Yeah, it’s just plain greed,” he said in response to a related question on his show, Pach-Attack. “The answer is that simple. I think that DLC has been so successful that publishers are trying to get a jumpstart and if you put it on the disc it allows them to unlock it when they feel like it.”
He added: “A few years ago, we didn’t see DLC for typically six months after a game launch and I think it was Red Dead Redemption, but Take-Two kind of pioneered and launched DLC like a month after the original title and it was super successful, now you’re seeing a lot more guys do it.
Some guys get it right, some guys take a long time to get it out, putting it on the disc allows the publisher to determine the optimal moment to launch it. All DLC is great, games are getting shorter, DLC is keeping people engaged, it’s a profit deal. I don’t think it makes much difference how it’s delivered.”
Pachter then spoke on the issue from a consumer’s point of view, suggesting that players who hack discs to access locked DLC early may be entitled to do so since they own the disc.
“The stuff on the disc, some gamers feel entitled to because they bought the disc, so they should have a right to anything that’s on the disc,” he said. “And that’s a dicey one, you actually do own the disc and I think, theoretically, if you could crack the code on the DLC you probably would be allowed to access it without paying. And I’m not even sure that’s stealing because you did, in fact, buy the disc. That’s about as close as you can get to legal piracy.”
Pachter says the practice won’t last too long, and will not catch on because gamers will “push back”.