The Sad State of the Gaming Industry


Kid’s gaming

Jordan Petto, Journalist


If anyone has payed attention to the video game industry as of late, they’d notice a steep influx in things called “season passes” and “expansions”. Both practices attain to DLC (Downloadable Content), which is content that is stripped from the base game by either developer or publisher, to sell at a later date for a set price. Such practices have become very unpopular with gamers as of late, as companies continue to increase their usage of it over recent years. It’s ultimately led to many consumers boycotting and refusing to purchase games from certain parties, as their past escapades have shaped people’s opinions of them.

2014 was a year that was riddled with problems for video games, and especially on their set release dates. It was becoming apparent that more and more developers were releasing titles far too early, and DLC was not the only problem. Gamers were playing the ultimate price, on top of the 60 USD retail. One prime example of this would be 343 Industries’ “console seller”, Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The Master Chief Collection was an assemblage of four installments from the critically-acclaimed Halo franchise, pioneered by developer Bungie, Inc. in 2001 with Halo: Combat Evolved. Months of consistent advertisement showcased what TMCC was capable of, and offered longtime fans of the franchise a chance to once again delve into the original multiplayer modes, for all four games. It was almost too good to be true. Alas, when November 11 came along, that assumption became truth. Halo: The Master Chief Collection launched in an abysmal state. Load times on online servers took up to three hours to find a match, anyone who was able to find a suitable match was met with immense lag, and the campaign and multiplayer portions of the game were practically broken for some. Even while I’m writing this, 343 Industries continues to attempt and patch the game so it’ll work properly. It’s been almost four months since the initial release. There is absolutely no reason why the developer should still be trying to fix a game that was thought to be complete and “ready” for mass sale.

When asked what he thought on the matter of broken launches, Senior Sam Manning expressed that he thought it was “ridiculous that companies have came to this. If anything, they should be held accountable, because this cannot continue to happen. It’s a cancer on the industry; $30 for a form of extra content is idiotic.” Unfortunately, the blunder that was The Master Chief Collection wasn’t the only major fluke in terms of broken launches. Titles such as Driveclub, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare also suffered similar fates. “If developers continue to pull these stunts, and release games that are obviously not ready for release, than how can we trust them with out pre-orders? Let alone our hard earned cash.”

Senior Chris Grady going hard in First Period

Aside from broken launches, 2014 was also the year that truly endorsed and, for lack of a better term,accepted cosmetic DLC. Cosmetic DLC are pieces of additional, purchasable content that have no impact on gameplay in a video game. Titles that have embraced this practice can span from more recent release like Turtle Rock Studio’s asymmetrical shooter Evolve, to cult classics like Valve’s Portal 2. Ultimately, while cosmetic DLC may not have any sort of impact on the games it is selling for, it deteriorates the market exceptionally. Some developers have taken the practice too far, like Assassin’s Creed: Unity. On day one, it had a massive amount of cosmetic DLC available for purchase. Not to mentions parts of the game that were literally locked from players, and pricing of such DLC can reach extremely high levels. “I’m guilty of purchasing large amounts of cosmetic DLC”, said Junior Kristoff Robson. “I’ve spent almost $200 on it in Team Fortress 2, but Valve goes about it right. Other companies, like Ubisoft, have lost my faith with it in their games.” The practice itself isn’t an “evil” one, per se. But the way companies go about it is what really can make or break cosmetic DLC in video games.

Whilst all of this is happening, there are still those who’re a glimmer of hope. Developers such as CD Projekt Red (The Witcher series), and Monolith Productions (Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor) offer free additional content to those who’ve bought their product(s). Regardless, the shady ways of developers and, ultimately, their publishers, paves the way for even shadier acts to be committed. Sooner or later, physical disc distribution will be a thing of the past and digital will reign. If that becomes true, and these problems are still apparent, what happens then? Gamers will continue to buy DLC, but at what cost besides the already set price.