Masahiro Sakurai, creator of the Super Smash Bros and Kirby series, launched an attack on the “DLC scam” in his weekly Famitsu column. In his column, Sakurai touched on the recent practice of video game developers intentionally gimping video games so that pieces can be sold later as DLC:
These days, the “DLC scam” has become quite the epidemic, charging customers extra money to complete what was essentially an unfinished product.
Selling a video game with day-one DLC is a successful business strategy because it relies on the fear and impatience of the customer. Existence of DLC suggests to the customer that the core game he already purchased is incomplete, and to have the entire experience, he must buy all the DLC packs or risk missing a key part of the story or an important gameplay element.
I completely understand how aggravated players must feel. After all, a game should be 100% done at the time of release, and I would be livid if it were split up and sold in pieces.
There is a legitimate purpose for DLC: after a video game is complete, there is usually a large quantity of assets that were created at some point in the development but haven’t made it to the final version of the game. Instead of simply throwing away this content, the game developers can collect it, polish it and sell as optional content (i.e. different costumes). In this way, everyone gets extra value out of the creation process.
The problem arises when the DLC is planned from the start of the game development. It makes the game feel rushed and made just to squeeze a few extra cents from a popular franchise.
Why, then, do you think so many titles provide premium DLC on or shortly following a game’s release? It’s because that’s the easiest way to make money.
The solution is to never trust the hype and never buy games on day one, let alone pre-order them. The video game industry is the only one where people will gladly pay for a product they don’t have. Simply be patient and wait for the dust to settle before you whip out your wallet.
The full article in Japanese with English translation can be found here.