• 51% of HD Console Owners Bought DLC in 2011

        TNL News avatar shirt only $4.98.

        A lot of you said you'd never do it. I remember you decrying the evils of downloadable content quite vividly. "I'm not gonna get nickel-and-dimed" you said. "Put it on the disc or no sale," you challenged.

        How wrong you were. First, you were way, way off on the nickel and dime stuff. These items can get pretty damn pricey. But the thing that you were most wrong about is that you could hold out as your friends flaunted their extra playable characters, capacious new maps, and game-breaking BFGs. Game publishers got us all, and they got us good.

        According to a report by Electronic Entertainment Design and Research titled "Deconstructing Downloadable Content: 2011 EEDAR Report - Market Overview & Barriers to Growth," "DLC" might also be spelled "$$$." For the first time, more than half of HD console owners purchased DLC over the previous twelve-month period: 51% in 2011, compared to 40% in 2010 and a mere 34% in 2009. This translates to about $875,000,000 in North American sales in 2011 and a projected 2012 North American DLC revenue of a cool $1,000,000,000.

        Of course, you might see that as a lot of extra money, but from the other side it just looks like a lot of money left on the table. EEDAR thinks another $600,000,000 could have been gained if the other 49% were engaged enough to buy DLC.

        So what's keeping the sales from reaching their full potential, given the greater accessibilty of broadband Internet and the tighter marketing methods of video game publishers? More often than not, it's privacy concerns. This was the top barrier even before the breach of the PlayStation Network this past spring. As it stands now, the top three reasons (of fifteen listed) that HD console owners do not purchase downloadable content are:

        Privacy concerns - 47%
        The no-return policy - 38%
        The high cost - 32%

        It will be interesting to see how game companies try to address those issues. Other reasons, like inadequate descriptions and a complicated storefronts, are much easier to take on but aren't cited by as big a percentage of gamers.

        If I had to guess, I'd say the fourth reason will be the first to be resolved: "Enough free DLC." I am the 51%.

        Comments 4 Comments
        1. Pineapple's Avatar
          Pineapple -
          DLC is a good way for companies to extend the life of a game with content they either couldn't fit into the game in time for launch or just happened to think of a little later. And the content ranges from extremely well done to never-shoulda-happened. If you really enjoyed a game and wanted a little more out of it, then that new map or playable character might be the best news you've heard all week. If your only interest in the game is to maybe go back to it one day and play it for an hour when you're feeling nostolgic, chances are the game still works fine without the new DLC. So as always, it comes down to the choice of whether you liked it enough to pay more to play more, and usually the DLC is not that expensive (as far as the original game was concerned). At the same time, when I hear a company talking about their planned DLC for a game before they've even released yet, I get really mixed feelings. My first thought is almost always "why isn't it in the game already?" Most DLC that I can think of doesn't require a new disc, usually just a download that's a couple of MBs that my brain says should be able to fit on the retail disc. Then I usually follow that thought up with "well it's nice to see they are really supporting their game post launch". Now what's this about an avatar shirt? $5?! My Xbox guy needs a new shirt...
        1. YellerDog's Avatar
          YellerDog -
          DLC is a great concept all around; it's too bad a lot of that stuff is straight-up on the disc still.
        1. Some Stupid Japanese Name's Avatar
          Some Stupid Japanese Name -
          I don't condone piracy so I don't really follow it. With all the modding and crap that people have done, has anyone made a program that will unlock dlc on the disc?
        1. Frogacuda's Avatar
          Frogacuda -
          Now that Microsoft has relaxed its policies about limiting DLC download size, you don't really see as many companies putting DLC on the disc. You still see it with like Valve hats and what-not, but it's generally frivolous stuff like that that you'd never buy anyway.

          I've been pretty impressed with how high quality a lot of DLC has gotten. I don't buy it often because I usually move on from games pretty fast after I beat them and don't look back, but when I have gotten DLC episodes, I usually have a good time.
      Games.com logo