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Old 03-26-2014, 03:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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DLC or Expansion Packs?

Something I thought would make an interesting discussion.

Which do you prefer, today's DLC, or Expansion packs of old?

For me, it's expansion packs. Sure, they're less convenient to have to go out and but, but older expansion packs generally used to add what I felt like what was close to another game. Hey, even some Expansion Packs felt like they had a longer Campaign than the core game (Rollercoaster Tycoon). DLC today just feels like, "hey, here's a map or two for multiplayer... yay".

Discuss.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: DLC or Expansion Packs?

They're both really the same thing.

Expansion packs are from an age when internet distribution of content wasn't feasible. You had to have it manufactured, which brings all of the costs associated with it - manufacturing, distribution, promotion and retail deals. This limited it to only big games or big companies who had the money to play ball.
Expansion packs also were priced just as much as, or slightly less than, the base game itself.

DLC is just an online distributed version of this. The cost of entry is much lower, so more games/companies can utilize it. This can include really small games/companies that don't have the funding or access to manufacturing facilities. Of course, with the easier access, companies will make small things like maps and etc, but this would have happened in the past if manufacturing was free.

In the end it really depends on the content in both cases, and the perceived value you place on it.

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Old 03-26-2014, 04:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: DLC or Expansion Packs?

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Originally Posted by Seahawk View Post
They're both really the same thing.

Expansion packs are from an age when internet distribution of content wasn't feasible. You had to have it manufactured, which brings all of the costs associated with it - manufacturing, distribution, promotion and retail deals. This limited it to only big games or big companies who had the money to play ball.
Expansion packs also were priced just as much as, or slightly less than, the base game itself.

DLC is just an online distributed version of this. The cost of entry is much lower, so more games/companies can utilize it. This can include really small games/companies that don't have the funding or access to manufacturing facilities. Of course, with the easier access, companies will make small things like maps and etc, but this would have happened in the past if manufacturing was free.

In the end it really depends on the content in both cases, and the perceived value you place on it.
Well said. I guess it does make sense in that case, but what I don't get is the bigger companies now making small DLC map packs for a quick buck, something these smaller companies may be doing more you'd think.
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Old 03-26-2014, 05:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: DLC or Expansion Packs?

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Originally Posted by Cam3ron36 View Post
Well said. I guess it does make sense in that case, but what I don't get is the bigger companies now making small DLC map packs for a quick buck, something these smaller companies may be doing more you'd think.
Mildly-educated guess:

Big companies have a lot of resources and manpower they're able to divert. When it comes down to big budget games that can take a lot of years and a lot of money to make, the idea of doing something manageable and profitable has considerable appeal and nowhere near as much stress.

An indie studio consisting of only one or two dev teams is probably more inclined to get another wholesome product out rather than dividing the few people they have capitalize off of games that didn't net them a huge profit or publicity in the first place.
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Old 03-26-2014, 05:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: DLC or Expansion Packs?

Maps are quick and easy to make. Nowadays online multiplayer games are popular (the recent Titanfall is multiplayer ONLY) and this style of game lends itself naturally to new maps and arenas for players to battle on.

Sometimes maps lend themselves good to the game too, especially when the game is based just on clearing stages. Sanctum 2 is a fun tower defense game. Yumi's Odd Odyssey is comprises entirely of just navigating stages. New levels? Sign me up. If Yoshi's Island back on the SNES got new stage packs back in the day I would be totally down for it.

That's not to say that larger story expansion DLC isn't made still. Several series of disliked big first person shooters/open world games usually get content updates down the line. That's a whole different beast though, since designing a new or continuing scenario can be just as costly as making the original one. Remember, with DLC, you are limited to the audience who has already purchased your game. You are not going to have 100% of the base game owners buy the new content, so you have to predict the market and budget accordingly. Although this does apply to expansion packs in the past as well, DLC is usually sold for far less than a retail expansion.

Expansion packs are still made also. Go to any store with a PC section in the electronics department and you can drown yourself in expansions for The Sims. And other games too (but mostly the Sims. And Spore. EA loves expansion packs).
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: DLC or Expansion Packs?

I just can't recall too many Half Life: Opposing Force type things in recent years. Arguably a game that could have been a game in itself. Long (About as long as Half-Life in fact) entirely different campaign that occasionally crossed paths with Half Life for a different Perspective on the story. This expansion pack also provided lots of new enemies and weapons and scenarios that Half-Life did not have. This to me, is what I think of, when I think of a perfect Expansion pack, although, again arguably it's, its own game really. An expansion pack handed off to Gearbox opposed to Valve as well, but it's a dang fine Expansion Pack. Can't recall too many DLC packs like this.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: DLC or Expansion Packs?

I would consider Opposing Force to be its own game and not an expansion pack.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: DLC or Expansion Packs?

I miss expansion packs really. It wasn't the best system and now it's outdated but because they had to win you over with it they usually packed it full of content and made it worth your while. Now with DLC they can just toss out tons of garbage and hope some of it sticks. I'm not saying it's all bad of course, games like Civ5 have some very meaty DLCs(the main ones at least). I guess I just miss the excitement of exploring a big content pack all at once.
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