Industry analyst Michael “horse sponge” Pachter has chimed in on the controversial practice of shipping games with “downloadable” content locked on the disc. While he said that he didn’t think the delivery method mattered in the long run, he did admit DLC was simply a case of greed, and that unlocking content on a disc without paying for it just might be legal.
“Yeah, it’s just plain greed,” he said on Pach Attack. “The answer is that simple. I think that DLC has been so successful that publishers are trying to get a jumpstart and if you put it on the disc it allows them to unlock it when they feel like it. A few years ago, we didn’t see DLC for typically six months after a game launch and I think it was Red Dead Redemption, but Take-Two kind of pioneered and launched DLC like a month after the original title and it was super successful, now you’re seeing a lot more guys do it.
“The stuff on the disc, some gamers feel entitled to because they bought the disc, so they should have a right to anything that’s on the disc, and that’s a dicey one, you actually do own the disc and I think, theoretically, if you could crack the code on the DLC you probably would be allowed to access it without paying. And I’m not even sure that’s stealing because you did, in fact, buy the disc. That’s about as close as you can get to legal piracy.”
Pachter said that he doesn’t believe on-disc DLC will spread much more since gamers will “push back,” and he might be right there. Capcom recently backpedaled on disc-locked content after consumers responded furiously, so hopefully that can keep happening when companies try to sell us stuff that we essentially have to buy twice. It’d be nice, anyway.