Remasters and DLC: What exactly are we paying for?

Purchasing downloadable content and remastering old-generation games for new consoles is the norm for gamers, but what exactly are we paying for?

One of the most beloved game series for geeks of all ages, the Batman: Arkham Series, was re-released yesterday with many fans eager to see the game’s upgraded graphics. Personally I am keen to see what Virtuous, the studio responsible for the re-vamped graphics, has to offer.

Amongst my excitement, it struck me that I will essentially be paying for something that I already have. Yes, it can be slightly annoying switching from my PS4 to PS3 to play these older games, but, again, I already have purchased them – why would I spend more of my money for high definition?

Gamer frustration is understandable, as it is not just pre-existing games being displayed as new items for sale but also downloadable content (DLC), which has become an increasingly painful thorn in gaming culture. Unlike remasters, DLC allows new content of a game to be bought and played; seemingly a good idea, until you realise the over-arching truth of the matter.

The adjacent graph taken from is an indication of what areas are rapidly growing in the game industry, reflected through the established corporation of Electronic Arts. Extra content had a year-over-year growth of 21 per cent quarterly from 2014.

In a report from, EA’s chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen explained, during a conference call to investors, that most of the profit is coming from digital sales. “Seventy-seven per cent revenue came from in-game purchases, subscriptions, game downloads, and internet services”, Mr Jorgensen said.

It’s clear the trend of dolling out cash for additional content and updated graphics are paying dividends for the gaming industry. One would think that gamers everywhere would be up in arms about this clear exploitation. Withholding good portions of games just to gain an influx of money certainly seems wrong, considering 10-15 years ago new content could be unlocked by completing the game or earning an achievement.

A valid point must be made in favour of DLC and remasters though as some can truly add valuable, and re-playable, worth to the game it’s attached to. Not all game companies make fantastic DLC, every gamer can attest to this, but there are some which are certainly worth their weight in gold.

This brings me back full circle, why should I pay for something I have already purchased? All gamers should be looking into what content the company, be it EA, Ubisoft, or another are presenting you with. If it is an extra map which will be enjoyed by you and your mates for only a few days, then it’s probably not worth the $40 they’re asking for it.

If you can clearly see the ability to replay the downloadable content or if you are passionate about a game being re-done for the next-gen consoles, then by all means spend that money. But if you are being persuaded by flashy YouTube ads promoting DLC which will cost $60-$70 for a new outfit for the character, or one of two maps which can be conquered in less than an hour – it’s probably not a good idea to put yourself out of pocket this week. What you pay for has to have value for you, not what is being dictated to you by a board of corporate directors.

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