Notes on News: DLC – fan favourite or financial fodder?

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In regards to the recent Fallout 4 PS4 mod delay, a question has arisen within the gaming community. What’s with all the broken promises as of late?

Too many games have been in this situation recently. Whether it’s from Street Fighter and its delay due to programming last month, GTA DLC being delayed a few months back, or Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 DLC being delayed due to low sales of the previous installment, and to hype it up at this year’s E3. Have gaming producers stopped caring about their fans and only about the money they’re getting from them, or is it simply down to a lack of pre-planning in regards to a realistic release date?

For me, the issue sways towards producers – such as Bethesda – not anticipating the trials and errors of creating DLC’s whilst being encumbered with a release date; in other words, a deadline. It’s like coursework. You need to plan, prepare, produce and submit – all within a realistic time frame. Keep to a schedule, you’ll hand it in on time with no repercussions. If you don’t, you either have the option to rush through it, and end up with a half-assed result (i.e. the frame-rate issues with Fallout 4’s ‘Far Harbor’ DLC), or end up with no ‘coursework’ at all.

It seems as though Bethesda have chosen the ‘rush-through’ option. Bethesda have stated on their website that the mod support is plagued with performance problems including: no sound file support, and a storage cap of 900 MB leading towards these memory problems. You’d think with having a release date already set, they would have been able to encounter and resolve these problems earlier in production. Obviously, game production and design is one of the most challenging jobs to undertake, but there has to be some level of pre-planning in place to avoid this particular situation.

Maybe gaming producers need to stop setting release dates so early in advance. Sure, it’s a marketing tool, but in the long run what are fans going to be more annoyed about: Not knowing when a game – or its DLC – will be released, or that said game isn’t performing to its full potential? All producers need to do is give updates – like Bethesda are doing with their current situation – eventually leading to a more reliable release date that isn’t plagued with problems.

It could be a sign that producers only care about the money, but it seems more likely that the culprit is poor planning. But when millions of dollars are at stake with any given game, why take the risk of false release dates and faulty games?

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A film student stuck in a 90s timewarp of FBI agents, UFOs, conspiracy theories, alternative rock and grunge.

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