In a time where most downloadable content in games exists of microtransactions and paid customisation options, the additional expansion packs Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine of The Witchers 3 – Wild Hunt remain an exception. In the past, the release of larger, sometimes even standalone, expansion packs was more common.

Nowadays, most additional downloadable content is much smaller in size and and costs less. This change became more noticeable with the rise of the internet. The option to download additional content is convenient, but this resulted in the fall of larger expansion packs.

Back to the past

Due to technical limitations, these larger expansion packs received a physical release. As an exception to the modern standard, both expansion packs of The Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt were released in a physical version with a download code. It is a retrospective of a long-lost level of dedication to the product.

Most downloadable content released in this generation offers a more limited gameplay experience and is smaller in volume compared to the larger expansions from the past. Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine could be standalone games and stories set in the Witcher series, but the developers decided to release them as downloadable content.

More content to explore

The Blood and Wine expansion added a different region to explore in the game world. It is a fresh gameplay experience, even for gamers who already completed the base game of The Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt. The storytelling, quests and environmental changes made for a completely different experience.

The dedication of the developer to Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine added another hundred hours of gameplay experience to The Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt, depending on the dedication of the average gamer to explore the addition content.

Smaller downloadable content

Of course, there is a downside to the release of larger expansions. The development and investment cost may be considered as a large risk seen the limited financial return compared to the release of a prequel or sequel. The release of less expensive and smaller downloadable content reduces this risk.

This change is noticeable, but not problematic. The release of day one downloadable content on the other hand is a different story. There is a slight difference between releasing downloadable content on the same day as the release of the base game and announcing that the downloadable content will be released in a month or other period of time.

Released together with the base game

To make things even worse, it often seems as if the content was deliberately left out of the base game so that its creators could offer it as downloadable content on the day of release. At an additional cost, of course. This trend will spread from here.

Some games were even released with the paid downloadable content options available on the disc of the base game. This resulted in negative feedback from the gamers who had to pay to unlock the content on the disc.

Additional content and updates should be free

Downloadable content should be available for free and added to the base game at no additional cost. However, exceptions remain possible if the content of the downloadable expansion is large enough to compete with the content of the main game.

The additional expansion packs Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine of The Witchers 3 – Wild Hunt are good examples of paid downloadable content. Both expansions offer enough content for gamers and are available for a reasonable price where the content justifies the additional cost.

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Disclaimer. This post contains copyrighted images from The Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt, a video game developed and published by CD Projekt. The fair use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting or research is not considered as an infringement of copyright.

One thought on “Should downloadable content be added to the base game at no additional cost? | Opinion

  1. Yes, it should be free! But I’ll be afraid of the initial game being extremely expensive to justify anything extra being free.

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