College Retrospective

April 13, 2010

Expansion packs and cheap people

     One thing I don’t like is how people think they are entitled to certain things based on their own logic. We, as a culture think we’re entitled to much more than we really are. Just as in the “isomd” post about a prom being cancelled (isomd.wordpress.com), it shows our culture twists what we have and need for what we want, for our own selfishness. I’m using the example of expansion packs for games to illustrate this.

     Let me explain what expansion packs are. They are “expansions” on the game that it is attached to. Simple. They add content to a game so the shelf life can be prolonged. This, in my opinion, is a win-win for consumers and for business. Consumers get extra content without having to buy a completely new game for full price. And then businesses get more revenue between sequels. It’s like an adrenaline shot that just gives everything a little extra push. Expansion packs are usually in the form of downloadable content which is relatively new in the video game industry, initially used for pcs which were the only systems that had hard drives. Now they expanded to the ps3 and Xbox 360 and even onto the psp system. It was popularized by “The Sims” franchise.

     Anyway, I’ve found all throughout the internet, that the consensus seems to be that they should already be in games, when looking at “Call of Duty” and “The Sims” and games mostly all games that have DLCs.

     Oh how soon we forget the age before expansion packs. People forget what a game is. I have to say Call of Duty is a beautiful game. The thing that shines most about it, is the multiplayer. The game got near perfects and for a couple of critics, perfect 10s. And the main reason was because how well it handled multiplayer so flawlessly. And this wasn’t with an asterisk saying “call of Duty: MW 2 got a 10/10(if you wait for the DLC). No, CoD got the near perfect ratings for what it was, not what it wasn’t or what it may bring in the future. CoD is a great game with what it has to begin with. The expansion pack is just extra. The game didn’t skimp on anything just so it could sell it to you in parts.

     Another argument I’ve heard on the internet is that developers are trying to sell the game in parts now. That is not really true, or smart if it were true. If a game was terrible to begin with because it was short-sold to sell you more down the road, then it wouldn’t make money to begin with, and then you’d need the game to get the extra content, and not everyone who bought the game would get the content, especially if it was a terrible game. So that wouldn’t be a feasible marketing strategy. Let’s look at CoD for the “short-sold” argument. It has 17 original maps that come with the game in multiplayer. 17 is a very good number of maps, all uniquely designed and made. This is nothing to look past and definitely not skimped on.

     Another thing about expansion packs, they add a new concept or whole other thing to the game that wasn’t apart of the original telling. Such as in “The force: Unleashed”. It gave a side-story and a lot of extra little things. And in “Fallout 3”, it gave a whole new setting in each of the expansion packs, nothing recycled. “The Sims” franchise gives a whole new concept to the gameplay which almost makes it a brand new game within your sim’s world.

     The Sims too get put under fire, with people arguing “they should’ve put all these things in the original game”. When in reality, if you look at the expansion packs, they are brand new things that are different from “the sims” formula. Like the new “world adventures”, outside of getting new furniture and balancing your sim’s mood, it’s a whole new concept og the game, which, if you don’t want you don’t have to buy.

     One thing good it creates is versatility and choice. It creates a sort of buffet line of concepts and features and extras. You just don’t buy what you don’t want and lose no money over unwanted expansions and extras. So expansion packs shouldn’t be something to complain over.

     And expansion packs shouldn’t necessarily be free. Under one argument, people think so. The argument is: “Since I bought the game, the developers should give the expansion packs to me”. That is not profitable and has no incentive from the developer’s side. Games take a lot to produce now. And it takes even more money. So to give another piece of content, developers should profit off these things. It takes work just like any game.

    Also, the way to change developer’s minds aren’t to complain online, because if profits are still up, they’ll keep doing it. If you really feel expansions are a waste of time, then don’t buy them and they won’t change how it was before they came out. Same for games, if you feel they’re shorted on content, don’t buy them either and you save money and you won’t get something you don’t like. COmplaining isn’t a flattering side of us, but we do it too much.

     The final word is, people are really cheap, and really selfish. This is a sad truth and why people all across the internet are angry, and for the rest of them, they just like the sound of free expansion packs or just want to jump on the bandwagon in the chatrooms and posts. You need to look at it from a marketing point of view and from an economical point of view. It does do good to consumers and makes the game industry better. The games that are initially released are full games in themselves, and they should be appreciated as so.

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