By Grant Stoner | Staff Writer
With modern video games, it is rare for developers to not include post-release content. Full expansions, upgrades to arsenals and even cosmetic additions have dominated virtual markets, slowly but surely draining the bank accounts of players. Gamers may find themselves spending an egregious amount of money, just to receive the latest features. However, one game is going against the norm: “Titanfall 2.”
Electronic Arts, a company notorious for offering season passes for upwards of $50, issued a statement last summer, noting that their newest title will not feature paid downloadable content. Rather, all forms of expansion for “Titanfall 2” will be free to download, allowing gamers to fully enjoy the mech-shooter for a flat fee. Through this gesture, Electronic Arts hopes to unite the “Titanfall 2” community, instead of segregating players by charging for maps and game modes.
While this decision may be economically confusing, it does, in fact, affect the longevity of the title. Often times, servers will only run certain features from expansions, such as maps on “Halo 3” and “Battlefield 3,” thus alienating those who are unable to afford the latest downloadable content. As a result, standard servers will gradually see a decline in their population, ultimately causing a dull online experience. By offering free downloadable content, “Titanfall 2’s” player base will hopefully remain strong.
Yet, gamers should not expect this phenomenon to become the norm. In stark contrast, Electronic Arts’ World War I shooter “Battlefield 1,” which released a week before “Titanfall 2,” includes a season pass worth $50. That means that players expecting to enjoy every mechanic are forced to pay a total of $110, just for a single game.
The outrageous prices of downloadable content have certainly raised questions amongst gamers before. Why should we be paying for features that should have been implemented in the base game? Is a $50 price tag necessary, especially following a $60 game? Why should players be forced to purchase possibly unappealing content, just to play on populated servers?
Unfortunately, paid expansions will continue to be sold from a majority of publishers. The simple fact of the matter is that downloadable content is profitable. Over time, players may find themselves becoming bored with the mechanics of a base game. Utilizing the same weapons, on the same maps capturing the same objectives becomes tedious and lackluster. Through downloadable content, developers are able to entice gamers to once again enter the battlefield with new and exciting features. If that game was once enjoyable, a few extra dollars can easily revitalize an old favorite.
DLC can be a controversial topic. On one hand, expansions have the capability to introduce additional layers to an already solid game, whether it be through new stories, weapons or even stages. Yet, the cost of certain downloads can be alienating, preventing gamers from experiencing various add-ons.
Electronic Arts’ approach with “Titanfall 2” is certainly unique, especially considering their business practices related toward DLC. However, this may be a step in the right direction. If “Titanfall 2” manages to be profitable, Electronic Arts could institute this policy on future titles.
While it is still too early to tell, this gesture is proof that Electronic Arts wishes for their customers to enjoy their games based on accessible content, rather than spend money to polish an incomplete shell.