Downloadable content is an interesting proposition for games these days. Having additional game content available for download after a game has been released is a proven way for publishers and developers to add more revenue and value to their products. It is not uncommon these days to get new character skins, expanded or new single player levels, multiplayer maps or new weapons and vehicles for games that you have already played. This is usually good for the game publishers and developers, but it's not always good for you.

Take a look at the game add-on content available for Live or PSN and you will see the good, the bad and the ugly of the gaming world. The good, as I see it, are the additions of content that extend the playtime of a game. Adding a new area, level or multiplayer map is an excellent way to keep gamers playing long after the in box content has been exhausted. There are several good examples of this in action, such as Mass Effect, Fallout 3 and (of course) Halo 3. Both Mass Effect and Fallout 3 added new side quests for the player to complete. What makes these quests interesting and attractive for purchase is that even though these additions were not necessary for completion of the game, was for the simple fact that the content added more of what the core game was about. Contrasting this was Halo 3's content additions, no big story updates or single player enhancements were released. Simply put, more multiplayer maps were added, and for Halo 3 fans, that was all that was needed. Single player content for Halo? That's the unnecessary add-on.

There are plenty of examples of bad out there too. Music games are all the rage these days, and that means no shortage of new music downloads to accompany them. Downloading music tracks are a hit or miss affair, after all, it all depends on your taste in music. A definite miss seems to be the case for the tracks available for Rock Revolution. Compared to the other titles in this genre, Rock Revolution's track set is just plain anemic. All that is available for download from Live is a few covers of a very small group of old Pantera songs. Now, I like Pantera as much as the next man, but covers of the songs? If I'm going to pay for a track I would hope that it was from the original artist.

And now for the ugly. Looking through the add-on list I came across the 2K series of games. What caught my eye about these particular games was the very small size for the add-on content offer for them, chiefly, a "powerful replay editor". Seeing a 108 KB download for something described as powerful suggests only one thing to me-the content was already on the disc and you are paying an additional cost to be able to access it. My opinion on this type of tactic is simple. Since I paid the publisher in good faith for the game disc, all content on that disc should be available for play out of the box. Having to pay more for something that I, technically and physically, already own is pretty foul.


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