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Sunday, August 10, 2014

How Much Does All of the Sims 3 DLC Cost Together? [/rant]

In preparation and excitement for the newest release in The Sims series, The Sims 4, I have been playing with The Sims 3 over the past couple of weeks. It's been exciting to play what I once played day after day on my Xbox 360 now on my computer.

Electronic Arts has been feeling a bit more generous with their older titles on Origin and has been giving them away for free or for very low prices. I received my copy on Origin for $4.99 a few months ago (had a disc based version first) when it normally costs around $19.99.

Over the past few weeks of playing, I've been wondering about what DLC I should purchase to add on to my Sim's collection. Many games that have DLCs launch a version a year or two after its release usually entitled "The Sims Game of the Year Edition" that contains not only the game but also all of the DLC that was included after launch. At this point, the game, by itself, will cost around $19.99 or sometimes even $29.99 and the GOTY version will cost $59.99.

I had never heard of any Sims game being released with GOTY edition before but I wondered if one even existed. EA has released other games with GOTY editions (Mass Effect, Dragon Age, etc.) so it's not as if the publisher is ignorant to the idea.

The Sims is probably one of the only games out there that has as many DLCs as it does for each game. Each DLC costs $29.99 at launch and usually lowers down to $19.99.

So I did a little searching and found no such thing as a GOTY edition. Instead of that, I added all of the DLC that I could find in Origin and Steam to a cart for purchase to see how much it would all total up to.

On Origin, I found 24 DLCs and here's how much they would cost:

To buy all 24 DLC from Origin for The Sims 3, it would cost you $479.76. This is at the price of $19.99 for each DLC. Remember that DLCs are more expensive at launch so this number would be higher a few years ago.

On Steam, I found 18 DLCs and here's how much they would cost:

To buy all 18 DLC from Steam for The Sims 3, it would cost you $359.82. Again, remember that this is at the current price of $19.99. You can save $9 if you purchase some special edition packs like "The Sims 3 Plus Pets" which includes both The Sims 3 and The Sims 3 Pets together. However, this is only for people who do not already own The Sims 3 standalone. Also, there is sales tax for Steam customers who live in Washington state which is 6.5% and can be as much as 9.5%. With that said, add an additional $23.39 at 6.5% or $34.18 at 9.5%.

This is quite ridiculous when you get down to it. What makes it even more infuriating for gamers, like myself, who enjoy game after game in the Sims series, is that DLCs are supposed to be ways for developers to release content that they thought about after the game has already been released or is in its final moments prior to release. Instead, companies like EA have decided that they'd rather take advantage of this system to milk their customers for all that they've got.

When the original The Sims game was released, it was fun for players but it was missing some things such as pets for their Sims to play with. EA got the idea to release extra content to gamers through The Sims: Unleashed which was basically DLC for its time, although not available for download, through an extra disc that had to be purchased like it is now. (The term "DLC" stands for downloadable content.) At that time, it was okay in customers' eyes for them to do this as it's easy to give them the benefit of the doubt that, "Well, they might not have thought of the idea of pets at the time in development, so they released it later for us to use."

However, this was certainly not the case as they did it again when The Sims 2 was released and then again when The Sims 3 was released! After the first game, its evident that this should have been added into the game. The only reason for making it available as a DLC after the fact, is that they wanted to maximize their profits by stripping the game of what should have already been.

For some DLC, mainly the special edition packs like Diesel clothing line for Sims, I can see these being added after the game has already been released. For one, not every Sims 1, 2, 3, or 4 customer will use these clothing for their Sims so it's a waste for the developer to pay royalties to the Diesel brand for being used in their game...that is, if they are the ones paying royalty.

If Diesel pays EA to have their merchandise featured in the Sims, it doesn't quite make sense for EA to then charge customers for the same content. In EA's defense, they have given free content to users with company's products and logos. A Ford Focus and Fiesta were officially added into The Sims 3 and given to users as a free download. Perhaps, Ford's deal with EA was that Ford pays to have the car put into the game as a way of promoting their product while Diesel was paid by EA to be featured. That would explain why they would charge for one and not the other. But, if EA was paid by Diesel, it would be unfair to charge as it would be double dipping into profits. In the end, it's their deal and they can do what they want. All I'm saying is that it's unfair to consumers to charge us for something that is meant for promotional, commercial purposes.

When searching online for a GOTY edition, I came across a forum where people were discussing the prices of the DLC and a GOTY edition. One user made an interesting point, and that was that EA wouldn't release a GOTY edition for a game like this because players are less likely to shell out hundreds of dollars for the entire pack than they are to just buying each DLC separately. It's true, for many gamers, they may stay away from a GOTY edition and it may even cause them to realize how much they really spent on their game in whole.

Typically, when big sales happen like this, especially on Steam, players are given a discounted rate. Rather than pay the $350+ for all of the DLC, players might only be required to pay less than $350 which would give them one or two of the DLCs at $0. This is certainly the case for many titles on Steam, such as the Valve Complete Pack that gives customers access to every Valve game for $99. By buying this pack, rather than each game individually, Steam tells you how much you will save.

Normally, the price would cost you $205.80 but buying the pack will save you $105.81! Doing the math based on how much each game costs will tell you how many games you would receive virtually free.

Knowing all this, it seems that EA doesn't want to give users a deal. It would cut too much into their foreseen profits by continuing to charge people per DLC than for all of them at once at a slightly discounted price. Not only that, they probably realize how much better it is for them to keep charging these prices than all at once as it doesn't really occur to people how much they truly spend.

Then again, buying DLCs individually could be best for the consumer. As I was looking through the various DLC packages available, I kept thinking to myself, "That one isn't really appealing." Only a few caught my eye such as the Pets and University packs. But I don't really care about the future one, the car pack, or many of the clothing packs. Perhaps, if I only got what I wanted, I'd probably spend a little less than $100 in DLC purchases. Although, who knows? I might actually end up enjoying the other DLCs.

In your opinion, what do you think of DLCs in general? Do you think that they're a good idea or are they just a way for companies to make some extra bucks on us even though we've already paid for the game? Did the total amount for the DLCs surprise you or did you have a feeling that it would be that expensive?

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