A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

Downloadable content

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Downloadable content 1The introduction of online connectivity and a hard drive has allowed patching, updating, and publishing of additional content after a game is released. Downloadable content (DLC) comes in various types and forms including new game modes, objects, levels, challenges, in-game outfits, and new storylines.

DLC is used to guide players to networked service relationships and to uphold these services, while prolonging players’ time with the game through offering more content. Small in size, DLC is quickly developed and can be used to bridge the gaps between bigger franchise installments and to better answer the needs of the fragmented niche markets.

It is notable how DLC ties physical and digital game cultures together. As games can be used again after consumption, it is in the interests of the gaming companies to artificially limit this second-hand access to them. DLC provides a solution to this, as DLC is bound to the first buyer and cannot be sold forward. To get the “full experience”, second-hand users, too, must pay. With DLC players can be enticed to buy new game copies, coaxed into service relationships, and leveraged towards other franchises. A central method is to utilize DLC’s fragmented form and use DLC packs for rewarding players when they conform to the marketing plan.


Author: Heikki Tyni

Heikki Tyni is a researcher at Tampere University Game Research Lab. His work concentrates on the game industry, and specifically on game production studies.

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