Street Fighter V and a Different(?) Approach to DLC

Image by Flickr user Dan Klimke (CC)
Image by Flickr user Dan Klimke (CC)

Several days back, at the EVO 2015 fighting game tournament, Capcom announced that its newest Street Fighter game, Street Fighter V (SFV), would essentially be released as a “complete” game with free (or mostly free) content becoming available down the road.  So unlike with Street Fighter IV (SFIV) and its “Super” and “Ultra” upgraded versions on disc, Street Fighter V will be the only version of the game on disc, ever. Also unlike with SFIV, new SFV characters will be unlocked FREE, FREE, FREE to players through gameplay. Interestingly, in its statement Capcom noted:

By releasing new characters on a regular basis, it will ensure that there is always new content to look forward to in the short term, and it prevents the competitive environment from ever becoming stale.

Because by the time all the content for SFV is released, presumably everyone will be all excited about Street Fighter VI. Or maybe I’m just being cynical.

But the reaction of my skeptical self notwithstanding, with Street Fighter V, Capcom is introducing a relatively fresh approach to DLC.  Granted, there will be microtransactions requiring real world money should a player become tired of waiting for characters to become freely FREE, but there will also be in-game “cash” to be earned for FREE content as well. All of which brings to mind any one of a number of freemium games that I recently deleted from my tablet because, no, you will not take my real money for virtual stuff, thankyouverymuch.

(Real talk: Okay, there was that one…no, two times in The Simpsons Tapped Out where I gave in and paid actual money in order to fully complete a could quests. In the end, the purchases meant absolutely nothing. Lesson suitably learned.)

And again, apologies for the sarcasm. Or not. Because frankly, I’ve been solidly anti-DLC ever since…well…ever. And I’ll admit that part of that is because I’m cheap. But mostly it’s because I’ve honestly never felt the need to continue any game experience beyond its original boundaries. This isn’t to say that I won’t take a poke at free extensions or use free codes to obtain a little something extra to enhance a game, but what I absolutely will not do is give away my actual dollar bills for extra game content after already paying sixty bucks for a game.

Now maybe that line of thinking puts me in with the early-bird special crowd, but is it alright that gamers have seemingly gotten used to developers releasing incomplete or, worse, broken games, only to offer up fixes, patches, and “new experiences,” for, in some cases, nearly the cost of a “full” game? I get it, gaming is an industry, and industries need to make money to survive. I will gladly give money for games that I want – physical or digital, regular version or Game of the Year, broken or not – but that’s it.

Only here comes Capcom with this new model – get what rightly appears to be full game off the bat, and then build up fake cash reserves while playing to garner new FREE players in the future. Yes, it sounds freemium, but it seems like a more decent way to go than to ask players to buy new, upgraded, and “full” games again and again. And the release of SFV is still a ways off, so should this model not test well, who knows? Maybe things will go great, and SFV will change the way developers approach DLC. Or maybe things will bottom out and players will end up shelling out cash like they have since DLC became standard.

Here’s for change, a least a little bit.

Let’s rev up the old/new argument about DLC – are you for it, against it, or willing to consider it depending on the game? Is Capcom moving in the right or wrong direction with its approach to giving out new content for Street Fighter V?

P. S. Be sure to check out the original article from Capcom that inspired this post: Street Fighter V: A New Way to Play.