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Nintendo Does DLC Right


2014 has had a few DLC controversies. Fans were outraged in September when they found out some of Destiny’s Season Pass DLC was already on the game’s disc and that each DLC pack would cost $19.99. That wasn’t the first nor will it be the last instance of DLC that is planned for before the final game is finished getting a negative reaction from gamers.

More and more it seems like publishers are planning on ways to milk their fanbase with paid DLC before the main game is even finished. While this is understandable from a business perspective, it will never cease to frustrate fans who want to get the full package for their money.

Nintendo began to embrace the concept of DLC more this year and they’ve done a fantastic job with it. Mario Golf World Tour had a $15 season pass with three $6 course packs. This was a little new for a 3DS title but Nintendo wisely reduced the price of the game from $39.99 to $29.99 at launch. So with the season pass and all DLC the game costed only $5 more than a standard 3DS game.

Nintendo’s Kosuke Yabuki, a developer who worked on Mario Kart 8, recently stated how the dev team didn’t even start working on the game’s two DLC packs until the game’s development finished this past spring. He said:

Our goal here was to have people play Mario Kart 8 for a long time to come. Releasing DLC is a very effective way of achieving this, and we figured going with that would make a lot of gamers happy. However, building an ample amount of volume for the retail version was our first priority, so we began developing the DLC only after work on the retail package was finished

Nintendo’s desire to truly bring something new to their games with DLC and to not rush it out is commendable. How they’ve handled Mario Kart 8’s DLC in particular is worth applauding. Not only do they not seem keen on the idea of starting DLC development before the main game is finished, they also want to take their time with the actual DLC development. Yabuki said:

We need an ample amount of development time in order to create polished, high-quality content. I know the second pack is coming half a year from now, but it’ll definitely provide some very satisfying DLC content. I hope everyone will wait patiently for it.

It is hard to disagree with Nintendo’s approach to DLC. They may keep a little longer with their DLC than other publishers but so far most of it appears to be worth it.

Nintendo has been given numerous opportunities to exploit consumers with paid DLC. Can you imagine how much any other publisher would monetize the Pokemon series? The complaints from gamers would never stop.

Thankfully Nintendo has shown restraint with their DLC. There is no guarantee they won’t become a publisher who ships games with paid DLC on disc and charges $35+ for season passes but for now gamers should appreciate their current view on DLC while it lasts.