Have you ever paid for a game and suddenly been offered more content at an additional cost? Learn more about the different types of paid content available after buying a game, how they relate to the base game, and how to best analyse the value of additional content.
Downloadable content (DLC) is the most common way for publishers to add some more playtime to their games. It can introduce extra cars and tracks to a racing game, new weapons and maps to a first-person shooter, or a whole new storyline to a role-playing game. Nowadays, almost every major release has post-purchase DLC. Releases are often spread throughout the year, and most of the time you can decide whether to buy certain parts (as not all content might appeal to you) or all of the content in a package deal.
In most cases, developers create a valuable chunk of extra content that adds an amazing amount of replayability to their game, often good for tens or even hundreds of hours of extra entertainment. Checking online reviews is a good way to learn about the quality of DLC and if you already know your child is interested in a complete DLC package, it’s smart to check if there is a Season Pass available.
Since a lot of games have a lifespan of a year (especially with popular series like FIFA or Call of Duty that get an annual release), publishers release around two to four chunks of content after the release of their game. In many cases you can grab a Season Pass, which grants access to all extra content, often at a reduced price. Season Passes give the player a few additional extras, for instance the option to start playing the new content a few days ahead of the pack. A Season Pass is usually a great deal, but always inform yourself on the amount of content a publisher promises to release later on.
Do take into consideration whether your child is likely to still play a certain game a year or even half a year down the line. Staying up to date on what your kids are actively playing and how into those games they truly are can prevent you from making the wrong purchase.
In-game items is a term that refers to anything a player can buy for use within a game to improve their character or enhance their playing experience. The virtual goods that the player receives in exchange for real-world money are non-physical and generally created by the game’s developers (some games allow user-generated content too). Apart from being a very popular way to generate revenue for free-to-play games they can also be found in a lot of games that you pay for.
Another popular form of extra content is the special pre-order bonus. This means that if you make the jump and pre-order the game ahead of its actual release, you’re rewarded with digital goodies. In some cases these bonuses even allow you to start playing the game a few days prior to its release date, or give you an extra game for free. Most of the time pre-orders grant access to a demo or test phase of the game, or a unique cosmetic item that cannot be obtained in any other way. Always make sure these bonuses really provide something valuable when pre-ordering a game. Your trust in a developer should be properly rewarded.
It’s a lot to take in, but getting to know the different types of extra content on offer will go a long way when you are making future DLC decisions.