Of all the many recurring dosmetic spats 'twixt Mr Games Industry and Mrs Game Buying Public, the row over day-one downloadable content is surely the fiercest. Pundits accuse studios of 'carving off' main game content to make more money or penalise pre-owned players. Developers (e.g. 38 Studios' Curt Schilling) and publishers insist that work on DLC only begins after the game itself has been completed, and argue that they're entitled to explore all available revenue options.
The bust-up reached crockery-shattering proportions at GDC this year, when a BioWare ex told Mass Effect 3 players to "stop telling us when and where we should be building our content". Where do you stand on the matter? Read both halves of this month's Hot Topic, then let us know via the glorious medium of tickable squares.
Matt says: No!
How do we know it hasn't been left out on purpose to make more cash?
As a man who writes stuff for a monthly magazine, I'm painfully aware of the reality of deadlines. Developers can't keep working on their games indefinitely, and at some point they have to draw the line and give the thumbs up for the big men to start burning them on to discs.
It's great to see them using the time before launch to create day one DLC, but deciding to add a price tag to this sets an uncomfortable precedent for the future. Without sending in a squad of DLC cops, how can we be sure that publishers aren't lying? If they're expecting us to pay for bonus content, it's important that what they're offering feels strong, which will no doubt lead less scrupulous companies to purposefully hold meaty stuff back for the sake of grabbing a few extra coins.
Day one DLC will only be okay if we're able to see a lot more transparency. If it really is just stuff that's sitting on the disc already, developers need to release the game first, then focus on the bonus guff. If they can't do that, then we simply can't trust them.
Flip the page for Ed's rebuttal, then place your vote.