Friday, April 20, 2012

Save money: buy discs!

In my rants about DLC and how it ends up being such a raw deal for customers, I like to make Forza 2 my poster child. I bought the "Platinum Hits" edition of this game, new, from Best Buy, for the retail price of $20. The game came with a disc that included all DLC. I used that disc once, to install the DLC to my Xbox, and have never had to remove it from my DVD binder again. On Xbox Live Marketplace, the total cost of those DLC packs totaled $25. So, I ended up buying all the DLC and the game for less than just the DLC itself.

What I found interesting as I was writing this was, when I looked up Forza 2 on the Marketplace to see if the prices are still consistent, I couldn't find the DLC packs anywhere. Which means someone looking to buy that DLC now, wouldn't be able to. Unless, of course, they found a disc copy. Heck, I could even sell them my disc copy.

Since then, I've made two more purchases that just go to show how completely french toasted DLC pricing is.

A while ago, I purchased the Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition. Again, I bought this new, and it included all DLC packs. While I don't recall the exact price I paid, I'm reasonably sure it wasn't over $30 (Amazon is selling it now for $25). On Marketplace, Dragon Age: Origins is available as a digital download for $20. Awakening, the largest of the DLC packs, sells for $30. (That's right; even in Microsoft's own economic world, the DLC costs more than the actual game.) The remainder of the DLC packs totals up to $53 (and that's if you buy both "Feastday" DLCs in a bundle, saving you a whole buck). I only had to install the DLC from the second disc, which was not only (I'm sure) faster than downloading, but also didn't count against any bandwidth cap — and it left me with a physical product I can loan, trade, or resell later when I've finished the game.

Today, a new game is added to the ranks. I walked into GameStop and asked for Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition. They said they didn't have a used copy, just a new one. I said I was ok with that. I wasn't sure if the included DLC would be on disc or as download codes, and I didn't want to risk getting codes that were already used. Turns out, the DLC is on a second disc. Like Forza 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, all I had to do was install the content from the second disc, and then go on about my business. Like Dragon Age: Origins, this game is available as a digital download for $20. Each of the four DLC packs are also available for digital download, at $10 apiece. When you consider the game alone probably originally retailed for $60, and now you can get the game plus all DLC for that price, it doesn't seem like that bad a deal. When you consider I paid half of that for all of the same content, that I can have the exact same experience (minus the oh-so-difficult addition of pulling the disc from my DVD binder and putting it in the tray), and I have a physical product that I can loan, trade, sell, or even put in a replacement Xbox without having to "transfer licenses"; the DLC seems like a very bad deal indeed.

There's a reason I get so worked up about DLC and why it actually makes me angry to hear people talk about going all digital as the inevitable future: because for us lowly consumers who aren't made of money and don't think three games should exceed the cost of the console itself, it sucks.

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