At what point in the evolution of video games did blockbusters stop being complete packages and become mere sections of a pie? Before we get any new game nowadays, there are confirmations from developers about extra content coming after the game's launch. And what about games that are exclusive to specific platforms, or bundles and pre-order bonuses we can only get at specific stores?
Call me old-fashioned, but it was nice to live in the days before the digital age, when there wasn't this massive demand for more content, more features, more for your dollar. It was also nice when those game producers hadn't yet caught on to this craving, or at least hadn't realized its moneymaking potential.
So have we become lazier because of technology? I'd have to say yes, but I can't be too hard on this trend because, like everyone else, I have benefitted from easily accessible digital content. Recent reports indicate that a large percent of gamers still prefer to purchase physical copies of games, but that certainly doesn't mean that they're completely unplugged. How many serious gamers can claim they've never had an Xbox LIVE or PSN account, or have never downloaded mods or purchased digital games? There's nothing wrong with any of this; the problem lies with publishers that exploit our online addiction to fill their pockets.
You can expect that, at preliminary design meetings when developers and publishers get together, they discuss the entire game's story, and then throw out ideas for extra content. Maybe they even have their story thinly sliced and arranged in such a way that we think it's a perfectly cooked gaming soufflé. Only after purchasing it do we realize it was a little deflated.
Take Mortal Kombat, for example. Those who purchased the console version at launch felt like the content was fair enough for the price. Then four extra characters were revealed. And then came the Klassic Skins Pack. Soon we had a Komplete Edition with even more stuff. Then the Vita version came out—with all the previous content, as well as new minigames and an exclusive 150-mission tower—for twenty bucks less than the original. Now, granted DLC content is optional, but can you honestly tell me that after all the extra post-release content emerged, the poor sap who purchased the original doesn't feel a little cheated?
It's not just the games either, as game systems aren't always fully featured on the first try. Nintendo is the most notorious for this with their handheld devices. Granted, newer versions have upgraded specs, but I remember purchasing my DS Phat on day one, then later upgrading to the sleek DS Lite. More features and a better interface had me trade in that one for a DSi. The only reason I didn't purchase the DSi XL was because I knew the 3DS wasn't that far off. I've got my 3DS now, but wait, here comes the 3DS XL. Seriously?