Friday, 6 April 2012

Expand No More

Back in the not-so days of yonder, times not-that long past; we had these delightful things called expansion packs. A while after I'd finish a game, I'd think to myself, "that was a barrel of fun. If only I could continue my adventure in Morrowind as the great hero ToasterBane". As Todd Howard has the ability to read the minds of mere mortals, he listened in and decided he'd bring out an expansion pack. What this was is an extension to the game that added new story, gameplay and adventure. Not quite a sequel, not quite a patch.
Somewhere along the line of the last 5 years or so, it occurred to developers that they could start making more dosh in the form of bite-size updates to games, called DLC. At this point, gaming had long since shifted its focus to consoles as opposed to PC, so expansion packs were becoming more and more rare as the younglings who'd gotten a 360 or PS3 for their birthdays used their pocket money to buy a different coloured gun for their Cowadooty character.
I'm getting ahead of myself. Due to the popularity of bite-size updates, expansion packs were all but deserted in favour of microtransitions; better known as one of many firm but steady kick to the bullocks of the gaming community. No longer could ToasterBane fight the tyranny of toasters for another good 10 hours at least of gameplay, rather he'd fight but a spork for an hour if he's lucky with the purchase of the Spork Add-On Pack for only $12.95. The soul-crushing part is, the likes of Spork Add-On Pack is actually the better side of D.L.C. nowadays. That'll take a post in it's own to get through, mind you.
Now, we stand together peering down into the grave of expansion packs as the final shovel-fulls of dirt are thrown over the casket. The murderer's still at large, everyone has their theories. In the end, it comes down to the ultimate question in the downfall of the gaming industry: is it the fault of the developers, or is it the fault of the players? Is it on their heads because they cut the content, or is it on ours' for watching as it happened?

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