Like it or not, downloadable content has become big business this generation of video games. Where games used to ship as completed products, now they come in pieces with additional material sold to us via online marketplaces on top of the actual cost of the game itself. Some of this expansion content is worth a few extra dollars, but an alarmingly increasing number of it are basic cash-grabs from greedy publishers. Cracked has a list of the ten most insulting pieces of DLC that includes everyone's favorites such as Elder Scrolls horse armor, Street Fighter III color packs, and in-game Godfather money.
In 2006, Bethesda Game Studios used their popular open world game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion to test the waters of DLC, and decided to go about it like they were trying to capture drunk fish with wallets. The first DLC they rolled out invited players to "Protect your horse from danger with this beautiful handcrafted armor." Unfortunately, it turned out that the armor didn't serve much of a function within the game, so they were asking you to spend $2.50 on pretty virtual horse-clothes. While this was an enticing offer to anyone who had accidentally installed Oblivion instead of My Little Pony, none of those people were clever enough to steal their mom's credit card.
The trend continues as Sony has announced more DLC for its recently released Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. Prior to the game's release, Uncharted fans were encouraged to save money on future then-unannounced DLC by buying into a season pass called the Fortune Hunters' Club. Unfortunately, so far the majority of the DLC in that package has turned out to be repurposed content from Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The first two multiplayer skin packs were rolled out on Uncharted 3's release day, both of which contained skins for characters from Uncharted 2 that many fans of the series bought last time around. Of course, owning that content for Uncharted 2 doesn't enable it for Uncharted 3. Another skin pack is due today that includes content based on Killzone 3 to replace/augment the Killzone 2 add-ons for Uncharted 2, while the first actual multiplayer map pack is dubbed "Flashback Map Pack #1". As the name implies, it features returning maps The Cave and The Fort from Uncharted 2 and is apparently not the only throwback DLC on the way. It would seem that the plans for Uncharted 3 DLC involve charging players again for content from the previous game in the series.
Publishers are taking the cheap and easy way out on DLC these days, yet are still charging high prices and offering up incomplete games at full cost. The situation will only start to improve once the gaming community declares that enough is enough and stops buying these overpriced insults. We should expect more from the industry than extra colors and map reruns.