The Was v. The Will Be [ COMIC ]

Notice that I used the font Futura for “The Way It Will Be” title?

Downloadable content (DLC) has definitely changed the face of gaming. And unless you’re GameStop you’ll probably say for the better. I’d go on a huge diatribe about DLC, but I already did that once before.

So go read that now, pretend I just wrote it and if you have anything else to contribute to the discussion please do below. Or if you want to talk about how much easier our society has it now over the past, you’re welcome to do so, as well.


  • Sheldo

    I for one don’t like DLC for a number of reasons:
    – ISP’s like to cap bandwidth and throttle Torrents (big stink in Ontario, Canada recently because WoW uses Bittorrent to roll out updates and Rogers admits it caps speed on them indiscriminately)
    – I can’t resell a downloaded game
    – developers relying on DLC too heavily and selling you the “light” version of the game so you’ll be forced to buy the add-ons

    • Even DLC aside, the bandwidth caps are a pain in the arse for EVERYONE. It’s just another way to collect money. My ISP does cap bandwidth, but it’s at a range that’s WAY outside the scope of a normal user, even one who downloads Steam games all the time. You could almost say that capping bandwidth and requiring payment for extra is like a DLC all of its own!

      As to the reselling of downloaded games, however, I have to disagree. I’m not too familiar with the way other systems do it, but Steam puts games on ridiculously cheap sale all the time, and I’m perfectly glad to be unable to sell my games to someone if I buy them at a quarter of their price in the first place.

  • Tom

    Almost.. except in the future they won’t be wearing small “data” like sunglasses. They’ll do something we’ll consider outrageous.

    “Dad, but all the cool kids have one!”
    “I don’t care, you ain’t gettin a titanium plates nailed to your forehead!”

  • KitFisto

    I sadly agree with this, not just for video games but for all things digital. Games and movies are the two things I still owning a physical retail copy of.

  • NickNackGus

    “Will be”? For some, yes. Let me just check a few things: I downloaded Portal 2 through Steam, I can buy songs for a dollar each on iTunes, or free from the artist’s website. I use Ubuntu now, so all of my software comes from the Internet. When installing Ubuntu, I download a CD image from the website and burn it to a physical disk (or USB stick). I’m reading a comic, and it isn’t printed in a book or newspaper. All this, and some people are now downloading physical objects to their computer and using a 3D printer to print coat hangers and tools. People can have conversations or perform surgery from across the world. NASA is driving robots around Mars over the Internet (with lag that would drive gamers mad)…and all that has been happening for years now! Speaking of 3D printers, I wonder when they will be affordable and useful enough that a child could print out a new Nintendo hand-held game system?

    • Someone who was a kid when video games first entered the market in the ’70s would still not be old enough to be the grandfather in this comic.

  • Pie

    I already feel technologically old, and I’m still in college! I can say “Back in my day…” for lots of things without a hint of sarcasm. I had a single phone line for the household, and a single family computer, making the household dynamic far different than it is now. And those stupid, obnoxious beeps of dial-up. Ugh! Video game consoles also had cartridge games, which in and of itself is a wholly different experience from CDs (blowing into the cartridge to get out the gunk), and now CDs are leaving the picture too.

    I can’t even fathom what other changes are in store for us this next decade. Holograms maybe? That’ll be cool.

    @NickNackGus – I’m using Ubuntu now too! Trying to bring my Steam account over via Wine, which is proving difficult for some games, but besides that I’m glad I made the switch.

    • ThePeebs

      We didn’t have a “family computer” until I was in the 11th grade.

      And people still pay for music? Movies? Software?I remember taping someone’s CD to not pay for it. Even most PC Games I don’t pay for.

      As for DLC, it’s one of those, “it depends on what it is” to buy a lite version of a game, absolutely not. I can wait a week or two, play it at a friend’s house and see if it’s work my money to invest in. Buying versions of old games? I do on occasion. Especially if I don’ t own them on cartridge. IE: Link to the Past., I bought this. I didn’t buy Ocarina of Time, because I own it, and it takes me about 5 minutes to set up my N64 and play it. I don’t feel 10 bucks of convenience is worth my dough.

      On a “feeling old” to technology, I do, all the time. I keep myself VERY informed (I am a networking tech), but what never ceases to amaze me is kids’ toys. Comparing my childhood to my children’s is something else. Seeing the electronics, seeing young kids on EXPENSIVE gaming equipment, laptops and seeing them use it correctly is incredible. Example: My husband owns an Iphone. After watching him call my father, my 2 1/2 year old knows how to and on occasion, if she can get her hands on his phone calls “Gampy”. I think at 3 I was playing with play-doh.

    • NickNackGus

      “Holograms maybe?”
      I’ve already got a simple concept of the designs for a holographic multimedia system, but I’m not ready to share it yet. (I’m thinking about Linux support first, when I’ve built a prototype.) I’m confident it will work, having asked several people who have years of experience in science and engineering. That and I’ve seen two different approaches to compatible cameras, “flash LIDAR” and “stereoscopic”, the later being used in the 3DS, and the former was demonstrated to Google.

  • i have a love/hate relationship with DLC. i hate it in terms that i would rather have a physical copy of an object than digital as there are too many “easy” dangerous variables that can happen to a digital file. but i also like it when after you beat everything there is in the game, you can get somethings to download and add to the game to make it re-playable. like a said love/hate.

  • David

    The thing that bugs me the most about on disc DLC is that on the surface it’s exactly what I want. Pre-planned DLC released early enough that I’m still really enjoying the game. Support for the game/community right as it leaves the factory door. Particularly in multiplayer games where holding the attention of the audience early on can make or break the online components. I’m happy to pay (overpay?) for that.
    It’s only when I dig a little deeper and discover that it was intended to be included in the main game that I start getting annoyed.

    I understand that even if DLC is ready before the game goes gold it could still have been created separately with it’s own budget and whatnot. If a release is delayed based on technical reasons then the DLC team, which is usually just working on models and maps, probably isn’t going to get slowed down. So it makes sense that aiming to release DLC a month after launch will usually result in the DLC being ready before launch.
    I also understand that sometimes 25 levels and 12 maps is a complete game. Just because you’ve made 24 maps doesn’t mean the game needs them at launch. The developers (and their multiplayer following) are better off releasing four new maps every two months. You aren’t ripping anyone off by releasing a game with $70 worth of content for $70, then selling them more content later (provided the more content price isn’t outrageous).

    I think that’s what makes the whole subject so messy. You can’t measure the value of a game in MB which makes it incredibly hard to define what’s fair here. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for pre-made DLC to exist, but the groups that get most of the attention are the publishers who drool at the idea of selling games level by level and the gamers who feel anything less than a sequel has already been paid for in their initial purchase. The people who are playing fair and being reasonable aren’t getting any of the spotlight so we’re not establishing any sort of etiquette. Instead of exploring the reasonable balances the entire debate falls apart and we’re stuck going over the same rehashed arguments between with people who think bringing the cup back in a week later entitles them to free refills and people who will beat you to death for the change in your pockets.

  • Da Mighty Camel

    lol @ Geordi-glasses.

  • Taroni

    I hate those dlc that force you to use a code for multiplayer. You know the ones, those “crusade against used games” codes that may be a gamble to use. I read and seen people having difficulties with them and either returning the game or biting the bullet and pay the 10 for online. So many generations (technology speaking) people have bought used games and it never hurt the market, hell me and my friends first played Baldur’s game on 5 (or was it 7) burned cd and the gaming industry was doing fine. Now it’s all mainstream, there are game companies expecting to make big on the same old tactics as EA did with sport games (I’m looking at you Activision) and is expecting the focal point on dlc and onlne play.
    Don’t get me wrong though I love some games with dlc, like Bethesda does it well. Bioware … kinda… sometimes it feels you need their dlc to fully enjoy the stories now.

  • I’m not even going to ask you how long this one took;P

    I like that the future has Geordi glasses. If I can trade in going to a game store for Geordi glasses, I’d take it!

  • MediaDuke

    Alrighty, it looks like I’m gonna be in the minority here: I actually -like- DLC. Not in terms of “Here’s a game you already paid 60 bucks for; now to get the rest of the stuff you thought you were going to get from the get-go, pay us an additional 10-15 dollars,” but in regards to indie publishers and, yes, add-ons like playing as Knives in Scott Pilgrim, the fact that it’s even a possibility without buying another cartridge or CD ala Sonic vs. Knuckles (yes, I count that as additional content), it’s rather astounding to me. One of the biggest obstacles in the way of independent game developers is the price it would take to produce the game on a large enough scale in a physical format that they could actually break even, let alone make profit, without having to sell themselves to the big boys. But by being DLC (which I’ve never classified them as before, but I’m going by Steve’s definition in the comic description), some games have come out that wouldn’t have had a chance otherwise and have done extraordinarily well. A friend of mine actually just got hired for a small company to do exactly this kind of work, so…yeah!

  • Kaci

    I was thinking about this the past few days, actually. How I would explain to my sons about how growing up was, and what things that seemed common place to them would be crazy to their brood in about 20 more years. This about sums it all up.

  • DLC is a godsend for third world backwaters like mine. For years, PC games were either:

    1) Expensive due to exchange rates and shipping (equivalent of twenty square meals, minimum!) and limited to big titles e.g. Warcraft III


    2) Crappy quality pirated discs with no guarantee of running.

    Some time later, we also had

    3) Torrenting

    Outfits like Steam with their discounts mean that I can get niche games at reasonable prices and with a clean conscience.