By Christian Loeffler
Since the turn of the century, when Pokémon Yellow was released in 1998, Nintendo would add new content to a Pokémon game by releasing a souped-up sequel – a new game, built from the original, but with new features. However, just this past 9th of January, Nintendo revealed that the recent Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will be releasing downloadable content for the games instead of releasing a third entry or sequel – breaking from the two decade precedent set by Yellow.
It begs the question – does this shift represent a logical advancement in the modern era of gaming? Or, does the pervasiveness of downloadable content (DLC) – which are items, areas, accessories, levels, and other additions to a video game following initial release – represent a diminishing of video games’ artistic merits?
Senior Jessica Marino thinks that “there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about [DLC]."
"DLC should be a thing that developers put in afterwards based on fan feedback or maybe just something they thought would add to the experience, but [it should] not take away from the original story or gameplay,” she said.
“If it's just to add a little bit more to the game, then I think they should add DLC," said sophomore Caitlin Machuta. She explained, however, that a game should only have DLC if there is a sufficient amount of content in the original game.
I know there is sometimes day one DLC, where you have to purchase DLC or a certain pass or something before you even play the game I think that's kind of ridiculous, because it seems like they are just leaving content out of games. - Jessica Marino
Martin de Ribeaux, senior, argued that developers should be allowed to sell DLC.
“I just wish game developers were more like 'you bought the game already – we'll give you this content for free’ instead of ‘I'm going to charge you another $20 to play this extra thing,’" he said.
Depending on the case, DLC can be free to the consumer or available for purchase. One such example is the availability of extra fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a fighting game that has been releasing new characters for over a year.
According to Marino, video games should “exist as art outside of possible DLC.”
“I know there is sometimes day one DLC, where you have to purchase DLC or a certain pass or something before you even play the game. I think that's kind of ridiculous, because it seems like they are just leaving content out of games,” she stated.
The only DLC she has purchased is for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a game that is part of her favorite series.
“I spent all of 150 hours on that game before I bought the DLC and the DLC gave me an extra 50 hours,” she said. “So, for $20 to $30, I would say that's definitely worth it, because you're getting a high amount of [content].”
Machuta, who said Super Smash Bros. is one of her favorite series, said the DLC is too expensive to grab her interest. Also, the extra fighter DLC for the most recent game can cost almost as much as the original game, she said.
De Ribeaux stated that he very rarely buys a game and then the DLC.
"Usually, I'll wait until a deluxe or ultimate edition goes on sale that includes the DLC, and then I'll buy that instead,” he explained.
Marino and de Ribeaux both expressed interest in removing the price tag from DLC altogether.
"[It's] not like other people are pressuring you to do it, but it's self-pressure." - Martin de Ribeaux
"Grand Theft Auto V has been out for years, [and] they keep adding [DLC] onto it; number one: its free, [and] number two: people are still enjoying it,” Marino stated.
De Ribeaux explained that he plays the pirate-themed adventure game Sea of Thieves and “every couple of months, they release new stuff and it's completely free.”
Machuta, on the other hand, argued that DLC should cost some amount of money if consumers enjoy it and want to support the company.
De Ribeaux alluded to an inescapable presence of DLC – whether a consumer likes the idea or not.
“I know friends of mine who are 100% going to [purchase] it. They're going to talk about it,” de Ribeaux stated, “it's not like other people are pressuring you to do it, but it's self-pressure.”