Note: This opinion piece reflects the views of the author and not PlayStation LifeStyle as a whole.
While Titanfall 2 offers up a lot to be impressed about, it’s not the amazing campaign or the fantastic multiplayer that has me most excited. No, it’s something far less exciting on the surface: the game’s downloadable content (DLC) model. In case you don’t know, Titanfall 2 will not have a Season Pass worth of DLC, nor will Respawn Entertainment be charging for any maps or weapons down the line. Instead, every major update to the multiplayer game will be absolutely free to anyone who bought the game.
This is vastly different from its competition as other first-person shooters such as Battlefield 1and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare both charge for maps either by buying ’em piecemeal or with each games’ Season Pass. This is terrible for users since DLC maps end up splitting the community between those that have the core game and those that purchased the extra content. This leads to those with the DLC having a hard time getting into matches to play the content they paid for, and core users feeling left out.
While games like Battlefield and Call of Duty can survive this type of split due to the sheer number of players, other games can’t. As someone who actually enjoyed some of DOOM‘s multiplayer modes (although not enough to pay for more content) and would like to play them occasionally, that game’s DLC has made it far more difficult to find a match and has other players using powerful weapons that aren’t at my disposal. Even the original Titanfall suffered from a fragmented user-base, and Respawn eventually made the decision to make the DLC permanently free after they saw the game suffering from the outdated model they were using.
This Model Works
Titanfall 2 isn’t the first multiplayer game to use this model, as it has proven very successful in the past. Valve’s über-popular Dota 2 took the MOBA world by storm largely due to every character in the game being free-to-play. Incredibly, it’s totally possible to spend hundreds of hours playing the game and not give the developers a dime. That’s not what players like to do, though, as they want to show their support for something they appreciate. Thus, Dota 2 has become a money making machine by selling cosmetic DLC, voice-over packs, and other items that don’t impact the in-game action.
Another example that is more familiar to PlayStation 4 owners would be Rocket League. The mashup of automobiles and soccer has seen huge updates in the past year, and it almost everything has been completely free. This has included multiple modes (such as hockey, basketball, and experimental mutators), and several different maps. What developer Psyonix has charged for is new cars (which all play identical), and these small pieces of paid DLC (typically going for two or three dollars) also come with Trophies to earn.
This model has proved incredibly successful for Psyonix to the point that they’ve sold over five million pieces of DLC. This is what happens when a developer manages to have a connection with their audience and then get support for doing a great job. Despite being someone who has never bought cosmetic DLC in the past, I’ve bought almost every piece of Rocket League DLC so far. I don’t even think about it anymore, as I’m more than happy to reward the developer for giving me month after month of enjoyment. I’m speaking with my wallet, and my money is going towards the correct model.
That said, it’s time for other gamers to start speaking with their wallets as well. That doesn’t only mean that players should be supporting games, like Titanfall 2, that do things the right way, it also means not spending money on games that try to split the player-base and don’t have the player’s best interest in mind. Anyone who purchases the DLC for games like Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 are only encouraging publishers not to change, and are therefore hurting the industry.
Consumers often don’t realize the power that they actually have. These disgusting DLC models can be a thing of the past if gamers support better practices and actually vote with their wallet. Creating useless petitions online won’t make any publisher change their business model, but a lack of sales will cause a shake-up immediately. We’ve seen EA drop the price of Madden to $29.99 after NFL 2K5 had a huge launch at $19.99, and that was due to consumers being heard. Gamers have another chance to change the industry for the better, and this time no publisher can purchase exclusive rights in order to stop change from happening.
If multiplayer gaming is to get better then it starts right here. Support games that actually value their players, and don’t let fear over a “small” community of online players dissuade you. Not buying a game because “nobody” is playing is just feeding into the issue, and I believe that Titanfall 2‘s player-base will grow over time since the gameplay is top-notch and the model will retain users instead of lose them. Gamers should support games like Titanfall 2 if they want to make an actual difference.
Tyler Treese is ComingSoon and SuperHeroHype's Editor-in-Chief. An experienced entertainment journalist, his work can be seen at Sherdog, Fanbyte, Rock Paper Shotgun, and more. When not watching the latest movies, Treese enjoys mixed martial arts and playing with his Shiba Inu, Kota.