Coffee Talk #459: Measuring the Value of DLC

I’ve been reading a lot of complaints about the “Sazh: Heads or Tails” DLC for Final Fantasy XIII-2. I totally understand people not liking the story elements or not digging Sazh, but I don’t see how people can criticize it for being a poor value. For $4.99 you get some cute touchscenes…

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Verve’s El Salvador Izote, the Windows 8 consumer preview, or rooting for Heejun Han, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I’ve been reading a lot of complaints about the “Sazh: Heads or Tails” DLC for Final Fantasy XIII-2. I totally understand people not liking the story elements or not digging Sazh, but I don’t see how people can criticize it for being a poor value. For $4.99 you get some cute touchscenes, two casino games, and a character crystal that can be used for the whole game. While I enjoyed the story (not enough single-father-as-the-hero angles in gaming), being able to get Sazh as a support character was more than worth the $4.99. He’s one of the best synergists in the game!

Seeing all the whiners complain about the DLC made me think about how DLC value is measured. Obviously it’s very subjective, but the medium is so new that publishers are still learning how much digital add-ons are worth to gamers. For story-driven add-ons, how many hours of gameplay do you expect from DLC? What’s the right price for in-game outfits? What factors do you use in determining whether or not a certain batch of DLC is worth your money?

Author: RPadTV


  • tokz21

    I'm only upset with DLC is available launch day or a week after the game is out. It makes me think that they wanted it to be part of the game originally and decided to milk us, the gamer. As long as it adds more to the story or offers more replay value I'm good and will pay for DLC.

  • I resent being nickle and dimed. Major DLC – something that adds over 25 hours of play time – is one thing. 30 minutes here, an hour there, and I never buy it.

  • Smartguy

    Seeing as how I'm a huge advocate of the F2P model of League of Legends I am in support of your purchase.

    Also I will give my thoughts tomorrow on Win8 preview. I want to use it some more tonight. Preliminary thoughts are that OSX is tremendously more productive for end user use.

  • bsukenyan

    You wrote " but the medium is so new that publishers are still learning how much digital add-ons are worth to gamers." I feel it should have been written- "but the medium is so new that publishers are still learning how to exploit digital add-ons and see how far they can push the limits without gamers refusing to purchase."

    • I think I'm generally more positive about the gaming business than you are. For example, I'm pretty sure you think Bobby Kotick is evil.

      • I for one, don't think Bobby Kotick is evil. But I can see how his rather unappolagetic demeanor can rub people the wrong way. Some Gamers don't like to be reminded that there's a business behind the curtain. His public perspectives usually are very frank about what makes his company money.

      • lceman


        This is not an opinion. Allow me to demonstrate:

        Cancer is evil.
        The video game industry is inherently awesome.
        Bobby Kocklick is a cancer on the video game industry.
        Bobby Kocklick = evil.

        I believe that Principal Victoria sums it up quite nicely:


  • DLC is completely subjective. I'd never pay $15 for 3 multiplayer maps, but someone else might think it's an absolute bargain.

    Honestly, a $5 for the quantity of the content you get in the Sazh DLC is probably a fair amount. Now, if you want to criticize it on the content's quality I completely understand (and in this case, empathize).

    I do feel like 240 MS Points for an in game outfit is probably a reach. I look at that and say, "That should be like 80 points."

  • Thundercracker

    The mass effect 3 DLC is a joke. DLC which is integral to the story line and released on the first day for 10 bucks.

    • I guess the question is "is it REALLY integral to the story line?" We haven't actually seen the content yet, so we don't know if it is, or if it's just a cool add on that the Collector's Edition folks are getting as part of the package, and is being offered up for everyone else. If it's something that the game can get by without, then the blowback will have been much ado about nothing, frankly. I mean, if it's just a new character like Zaeed or Kasumi, then people need to chill out.

  • It's interesting that day-one DLC is getting so much heat. I understand why gamers feel that it should be included with the game, but there are two things to consider. The minor issue is that developers sometimes need a bit more time and aren't able to include everything when the master disc ships for copying. The bigger issue is that games are getting more expensive to make. For better and worse, some publishers are using day-one DLC to help make up for the rising costs of game development.

    • tokz21

      I understand your position on day one DLC but I don't agree with it. I, likeTC, have issues with DLC when it's announced it's coming out day one, part of the story, and it's hidden in the game which just needs me to enter a code to unlock it. Especially the last one because it's part of the game already it just needed me to pay. It's like wtf! I paid for the game! Why do I need to shell out more $$ for DLC that's already on the game.

      • Actually, I never stated "my" position on day-one DLC. I appreciate both sides.

    • Smartguy

      Then those devs need too:
      1) Offer the content free if it was intended to be on the master but excluded for time constraints
      2) Day 1 DLC should never be integral to the retail experience such as ME3 DLC. That is such a dick and blatant move.

      Granted there are further complications involved and this new revenue method needs to be adjusted via the online stores really. I'm not willing to concede that their costs merit the methods they are using when Riot and Valve aren't hurting for money.

      Aesthetic DLC day 1 is fine though.

      • BigBlak


      • Riot uses a much different model than console-game publishers. Valve also enjoys revenue sources that most game publishers don't have. Those are two pretty exceptional comparisons.

      • Smartguy

        Riot released a new Champ on Tuesday who can be purchased with earned points or $$. This champ also has 3 skins (Day 1 DLC) which can be purchased with $$ only. This does not change the packaged experience. I think the comparison is fairly reasonable. Valve on the other hand releases content for L4D free of charge since it was in the original vision.Furthermore it shouldn't matter how exceptional they are. They have adapted and executed a new strategy whereas console game devs simply get more draconian and blatant. Really a function of the online console stores and closed systems. The console market in general needs to find a better way.Don't get me wrong, DLC is fine. Day 1 DLC integral to the experience is a sham though.Sent from my iPad

      • It's not on "devs", it's on publishers. Valve has more freedom because of the money it makes with Steam. What Riot does is impossible on PSN or XBL; Microsoft and Sony aren't going to allow free points.

      • Smartguy

        Devs do count. Hence Schilling's defense of Kingdoms' or ME3.Nothing stopping them from using other platforms either.Sent from my iPhone 4

      • The publisher controls the business model. At the end of the day, it's a publisher decision, not a developer decision.

      • Smartguy

        Sorry but I'm not giving devs a free pass. Considering they march out and tow the publisher line. I understand that you are friends with lots of these people and know them differently than I ever will.

        Analogy: President and Congress. Both are the problem.

      • lceman

        Not that I'm siding with anyone (day one DLC is deplorable, in my opinion), but if a publisher gives a developer a truck-load of money to do a game, they (the publisher) are now calling the shots and I don't think that the developer has much ground to stand on since they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them. Look at movies: whoever the producer(s) is/are gets to call the shots. Case in point: Spiderman 3 was not supposed to have Venom in it. The fans bitched and whined. The producers told the director to put Venom in. The director shoehorns Venom in. Spiderman 3 = teh suck.

        I think I remember back when Gears of War (1) was released and Cliffy (Epic) was so grateful that the game was a hit, that they decided to give away some free multiplayer maps for the fans as their way of saying "thank you". Microsoft (their parent on the Gears franchise) said "no" and MADE them charge for content that was being distributed over XBL.

        These are the kinds of examples that make me think that the one holding the bag of money is the one in charge regardless of anything else. After all, if I wrote you a check for $8 million to make an awesome MMO game, would you tell me to GTFO if I told you that I would be taking your finished product and be breaking it up into seven smaller "episodes" so that I could charge $25 for each one instead of $60 for the "whole" game?

        This is why I feel that developers should all get together and form their own independent publishing company. Publishers are nothing without developers and it’s time that the creators of content start being smarter when it comes to the business end of the gaming industry.


      • Smartguy

        I agree. Digital distribution helps to avoid the publisher. No reason it shouldn't be utilized.I understand the pay for performance aspect. It gets funny when the art argument is introduced haha.Sent from my iPhone 4

  • If the ME3 DLC turns out to be nothing more than a new character with a one or two missions based solely around that character's back story, then all this talk of "integral" will sound really, really stupid. That's not integral. That's an extra. I know the internet doesn't react sensibly to anything without first overreacting, but still, let's see what it actually is before we get out the pitchforks and torches.

    And no, that character's species has nothing to do with whether it's "integral" or not, unless the plot of the entire game revolves around that one character that you have to pay extra for.

    If you play through Mass Effect 2 and never picked up the Kasumi or Zaeed DLCs, you'd be missing out on a cool mission and a cool character or two, but it's possible to complete the game and never know you were missing out on something. I know this, because I beat the game at least twice before the Kasumi DLC pack came out.

    The choices you make determine your version of the Mass Effect universe. If you choose to save Ashley, then there's a whole section of content related to Kaiden that you'll never see. You're not getting gypped, you made that choice and now you have to live with it. So in this case, if you choose not to buy that Day One DLC, your Shepard choose not to go to where ever and meet whomever. You had more important things to do. Like stop Reapers.

    • Smartguy

      Disagree based on what you mentioned wasn't DLC for the main story. This however is and would be part of the ending theoretically. I like this series and have grown to like Bioware products but cannot get past an obvious cash grab of uber loyal fans.

      If you buy this Day 1 DLC and the character doesn't play any part in the story at the end then I'm not sure that vindicates the act of having it available Day 1.

      Integral might be too strong of a word granted.

    • Having now played the DLC missions (I got the N7 Collector's Edition), I can tell you that anyone calling this DLC pack "integral" is just looking for a reason to bitch about EA. The character is a more fleshed out version of the Zeead DLC that was launch day DLC for ME2. It's comparable to Shale in DA:O. Does it add something to the experience? Yes, it's kinda neat. Is it "integral?" No. Absolutely not. It's a Collector's Edition bonus that they opened up to everyone else as a paid DLC.

      • lceman

        Why are you here typing this instead of playing more Mass Effect 3?

        Those fingers better be bleeding.


      • Yeah, I'm over 25 hours into the game already.

  • Smartguy

    How does everyone feel about the DLC on the SF v Tekken game?? There are 12 fighters on the disc that you will have to pay to unlock but won't be available for purchase on Day 1? To me that is DLC that should be Day1. That doesn't make it any better but it's a different angle for sure.

    Capcom says it's for "compatibility". ::shrug::

  • lceman

    THIS is the dark side of day-one "DLC"

    [youtube zRRpGlmtws8&feature=player_embedded youtube]

    Gamers should not allow this. We should collectively NOT buy this because we've already "bought" it. Why do some people out there think it is O.K. to pay extra for content that is on a disk that you already bought?! It's borderline consumer fraud. Can someone tell me what other goods you can buy that is already included in your initial purchase, but you have to pay more for?


    • Meh, I'm more pissed off about the lackluster out of left field ending that feels like it belongs in some other game.