I want to explore the concept that there is a one definitive version of a game that we bought with our $60. Aren’t some of us complaining that the developers/publishers are breaking up this definitive version into DLC? First of all, how many entities that we purchase have this well defined version? I cannot think of many examples. And with the specific cases that do, I think it is more likely a default of the limitation defined by the medium. We don’t have such a thing when we buy a car. Each make of car have different trims and accessories that we can add. Buying a house was brought up one time in one of the thread. Anybody ever buy a new home? Those builders can nickel and dime you with tons of feature. You want the cheap countertop or granite? Do you want the house to come included with plain refrigerator or the bigger one with stainless steel exterior? It is only when we buy used cars or used house that we have fewer choices. Most physical objects that we buy have wide gradation of pricing based on quality, features, and perceived demand.
How about artistic entities such as literature or movies? We don’t expect Pride and Prejudice to have a DLC to further expand on one of her sisters’ exploits do we? Literature and movies are normally limited by the fact that they are linear. Without making the consumer experience the story from the beginning to the end over again, it is hard to add or remove elements. With games, however, it is possible since gamers have the freedom to get off the linear path and explore sidequests. Whether the sidequest is “integral” to the main story can be rather grey like case with the infamous DLC in ME3.
Videogames used to be available in one version because we did not have the ability to get the DLC. The NES and PS1 games were stuck with that one version burned into the disc or cartridge. The consoles did not connect to the Internet at its infancy. The publishers did not have the ability to add stuff to the game. So that concept of adding stuff afterwards did not even exist. Why do we cry foul when a game element created before the game is published get held back for DLC? This was never done before mainly because this concept did not exist. I know all of this sound elementary or obvious. It was not because the publishers were "moral" or that the concept were somehow sacrosanct that these "violations" did not exist before. It simply was not practical. What other things we buy in the world follow these “rules” which we are placing on videogames?
Now back to the comparison to literature and movies. The concept of definitive version is probably going to change for these mediums too. How many versions of Star Wars do we have? Do we want the theatrical release version or the director’s cut? Even before the digital age, some literature can exist with no illustration, color illustrations, deluxe binding, special appendix, or comments by the author. Now books are going into ebooks which connects to the Internet. Contents of a book can be updated frequently. When these mediums can be changed afterwards, there will be more ways to “break” the convention and new ways to tier the pricing. Is this a paradigm shift or violation of some immutable principal?