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Why Is There So Little In The Way Of Single-Player DLC?

I've been thinking about this for a while, and I think I've discovered a few explanations as to why single-player add-on content is rare.

I almost never get DLC, primarily because I almost never play online. Well, I play online plenty when reviewing games but I don't do it during my leisure time; I still prefer to think of gaming as a stress-reliever and I relax by being by myself. Anyway, I know the downside to this: Multiplayer entertainment lasts a lot longer than single-player campaigns; even if you played a campaign ten times through, it probably won't amount to the number of hours people dump into the multiplayer.

And if that's the case, it means people are still playing the same game many months down the road. Logically speaking, DLC makes more sense because the fans are still playing, right? If it's just a campaign and it's over in the first few days of playing, are you really going to be that interested in extra story-based content a few months - or even a few weeks - later? Typically, there are more than enough games out there; rarely are we looking around going, "gee, there's nothing to play." So with the sheer number of entertaining titles that arrive in any given year, single-player DLC releasing for a campaign-oriented title a month later is...well...

That's one point. The other point is bound to annoy people; I know the multiplayer fans are going to hate me for saying this, but it just seems that multiplayer is far more addictive. The only games that I believe truly cause people to become clinically addicted are all multiplayer driven; it began with MMOs and in truth, I don't think the online portions of some games like CoD are any different. It all generates a certain...mania...in gamers that I find borderline disturbing. Maybe it's just because they're playing with humans, or maybe because they're lost in a virtual world for such extended periods of time. It's merely a personal observation, guys.

To that end, I think multiplayer DLC will invariably be more successful, because multiplayer lovers play way more in terms of hours. At least, it appears to me that they do. Granted, they may be playing the same damn game over and over for months on end, but the number of hours is often through the roof. Lastly, I imagine it would take developers a great deal longer to produce story-driven DLC; putting out a new map or two isn't a huge deal, but expanding on a complex plot requires more writing, probably new locations and characters, etc. It just might not be feasible and it certainly isn't practical all the time; they'd probably have to charge more for story-based DLC.

I still wish we had gotten those extra Heavy Rain episodes, though.

Tags: dlc, downloadable content, single player dlc, multiplayer dlc

5/6/2012 9:04:24 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (47 posts)

TheAgingHipster
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 9:27:10 PM
Reply

"I know the multiplayer fans are going to hate me for saying this, but it just seems that multiplayer is far more addictive."

I don't see why anyone would have a problem with you saying this. To my knowledge, all of the known cases of gaming "addiction" (if such a thing truly exists) are associated with online gaming, particularly MMOs or competitive gaming (e.g., StarCraft). That's just the nature of the thing.

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xenris
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 9:43:56 PM

I think technically you can be addicted to anything even if it's not a substance. My fathers a psychologist and analyzed a boy who was addicted to call of duty, his parents took it away and he ran away. 2 weeks later or so he was found dead because he fell out of a tree broke something and froze to death. Something along those lines. My dad was on a local tv station talking about it. I think it is very real and kind of scary how addicted we can get to a virtual world.

I agree though multiplayer games are addictive. MMOs are addictive for several reason, and shooters seem to be addictive because people like to compete with each other.

I find myself jumping on Tribes:Ascend a lot just because when your playing with other people is unpredictable and your always going to be tested or challenged in some way. Or if your awesome you dominate and other players praise your skills. I think thats the part that gets people playing them more than SP games.

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Beamboom
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 1:10:56 AM

Multiplayer is *definitely* more addictive. I'd rather say it the other way around, I don't really understand how anyone can be as addicted to a single player game (although some single player fans will maybe hate me for saying that, too? :) )

There just is something about real people that AI just can't replace.

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TheAgingHipster
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 8:33:50 AM

Yeah, it's the "real people" part that makes me dislike multiplayer.

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 10:03:21 PM
Reply

You're probably right, Ben. I think that, anything that can really engage players and keep them interested is more likely to sell on the DLC front. It's why games like Fallout, Skyrim and Borderlands get constant expansions, while Heavy Rain and Enslaved only got one each.

Maybe it's just that campaigns naturally close themselves off, meaning that it doesn't necessarily feel right to add to them, while the more open-ended nature of the aforementioned RPGs allow near endless play. Unless you do like Assassin's Creed and actively leave pieces to be unlocked by DLC. Ugh...

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 10:14:21 PM

Did you get Pigsy's perfect 10? I never did but I'm curious if anyone likes it.

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 10:23:06 PM

Nah, but I would have if I could have in a heartbeat. It's supposed to be quite good if the reviews for it are any indication.

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GuyverLT
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 3:35:44 PM

World if you got the change o spare get dude you'll be glad that you did that goes for you to Lawless it's probably one of the better single-player DLC besides infamous 2 blood festival, (these are the only dlc I currently own though lol).

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 10:19:39 PM
Reply

The biggest problem is the we call them out for SP DLC and say it should have been on the disc because... well if it's releasing at or around the time of the game then it should have been. But if it releases later then everybody has moved onto a new game by then. So that's kind of why it tends to be extra weapons and outfits instead of full campaign add-ons.

I tend to buy DLC for underappreciated games like Alice: Madness Returns, Dante's Inferno, and Hyperdimension MkII. I was tempted to get the outfits for Tales of Graces F but they are like $4.00 a piece!

The new campaign for Duke was fun, I think that's how SP FPS DLC should be: extra stories with more stuff in it. Hell sequels to most games these days are just full price add-ons.

I want the Two Worlds II expansion but it's $30, more than the friggin game. Anyone got a code sittin' around I'll give ya 10 bones.

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Rogueagent01
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 8:19:52 AM

I've wanted to get the Two Worlds II DLC myself but the $30 dollars for the single player and then another $20 for the multiplayer has kept me from buying it. That is just way to expensive, especially now that the game is getting older. If they ever drop the price I will probably pick it up though.

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Highlander
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 12:59:41 PM

Namco likes to overcharge for their DLC Worlds, look at Ridge Racer on the Vita. you pay for a game that's nothing more than a skeleton and then buy the rest of the game piece by piece. In the end to get a full Ridge Racer on Vita you'll probably end up paying twice the price of a regular game.

Typical for Namco.

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Freedom Or Fire
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 10:24:13 PM
Reply

I agree with you Ben. I don't care for playing multiplayer either. I love a good lengthy sp campaign. I preordered Max Payne 3 which I believe will be good. Then Rockstar announces multiplayer dlc for it. That took a little air out of it for me. I enjoyed LA Noire with all that dlc. I just hope games I have my eye on like Dishonored,Far Cry 3.Bioshock Infinite will have meaty sp campaigns with some good sp dlc. I can at least hope. No offense to anyone who likes multiplayer,to each his own. I know these companies know multiplayer dlc can rake in the dough for them. I wish they could balance the multiplayer and sp campaign out a little better anyway. Oh and hello to Ben and everyone else. Im glad to be here with my ps3 friends.

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tes37
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 10:31:08 PM
Reply

I have some friends that play online multi-player a lot, with what I believe to be some of the lamest games I've ever seen. I'm not saying all of them are lame, just the ones they play. I'm not sure if they buy DLC.

I think a small number of single player games could have made DLC without hurting the main story. Heavy Rain was definitely one of them. I was looking forward to getting additional content for it more than any other single player game.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 10:41:30 PM
Reply

I recently played Dead Island online with my bestest pal and I can definitely see what happens to people. We turned on the speakers of our cell phones to coordinate attacks and stuff. We killed over 3 hours in what seemed like no time, then a couple other pukes came into our game and it wasn't fun anymore.

MP with strangers is no good, and I can't be killing time that fast.

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Palpatations911
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 11:52:37 PM

Someone needs a bluetooth for their birthday...

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Beamboom
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 1:14:37 AM

World, there is a setting for allowing unknowns into your game, or just friends. The first thing I look for when starting a coop session is that setting. That ensures you and your buddy to keep playing without interference.

And Dead Island is a great game to get introduced to coop play! It's a decent implementation of a full storyline coop (imo the ultimate coop gamestyle), it's the real deal.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 3:56:16 AM

It's givin me a hell of a time, there public and private slots do I set one of them to 2 and the other to 0?

Sometimes I can't find my buddy in the list or the thing won't even let me into the game lobby. It's fun when it works...

Some arsehole ruined a big mission by staying in the game but not advancing with the rest of us. Just stood there 300m away and wouldn't move. People suck.

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Beamboom
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 11:18:17 AM

It's been a while since I played it but it sounds about right with the public vs private slots. But I also remember the game to be quite buggy, maybe that's what struck you.

Anyway I also think there is an option to kick players if you are the host. It usually are.

And yeah random people is not fun. It could be anyone from a 5 year old kid who don't even know how to handle the controller, to some noob who isn't even aware he's online. Random players are seldom fun to coop with.

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maxpontiac
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 10:47:58 PM
Reply

That is a great question Ben. I for can't stand the fact that Uncharted 2 and 3 recieved multiplayer DLC galore and zero singleplayer content.

To me and countless others, that is what Uncharted is all about. I know the multiplayer component in Uncharted is great, but nothing beats the thrill ride of the campaigns in that game!

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 11:06:41 PM

I think Naughty Dog have the right idea, though. They've said that they've tried to temper their ideas to create what can pass for DLC, but imagination gets the better of them and it ends up being too massive for what they'd like to achieve.

That being said, I'd like to see an episodic version of Uncharted. That could be amazing.

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Qubex
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 4:24:51 AM

Lawless... I like the idea of an episodic version of Uncharted...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Highlander
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 1:01:55 PM

Episodic Uncharted would work, like an old time movie serial.Maybe a new episode a month. but they would still need to deliver a game worth playing to justify the initial purchase. Having compelling online multiplayer to play around with while between episodes is a good idea too.

But with each episode it would kind of need to end in some kind of cliff hanger to keep people coming back for more.

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ulsterscot
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 10:53:23 PM
Reply

I absolutely love it when new COD maps come out - it really freshens the game up. Its certainly addictive - but i only play 1 night - maybe 2 a week if im lucky

I enjoyed Pigsys perfect 10 - I really wish enslaved had sold better - i really liked the game and would love a sequal

Lair of the Shadow Broker for ME2 and Rams Shadow for GOW3 are other singleplayer DLC I really enjoyed.

I wish naughty dog would give us singleplayer DLC for UC3 as i really dont like the multiplayer

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Killa Tequilla
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 11:02:55 PM
Reply

I just wished GTA's DLC wasnt a seperate story/multiplayer game of its own. I wish it was just adding to the story/multiplayer of its current state at the time. After DLC was announced for Max Payne 3, for 30$, I was very dissapointed because I knew then that I will not experience the WHOLE game. DLC, especially multiplayer DLC, has ruined games in my experince because I dont get to play the WHOLE game of said game. I do believe that developers plan for DLC while working on their title. It's just a way for them to make quick bucks and it's just business. That being said... Games no longer are only 59.99$. If you want an experience it'll cost you 59.99$ but if you want the full experience it will cost you up to 35$ plus. I also agree with Ben on why theres a lot more multiplayer DLC.

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 11:10:28 PM

I like that the Episodes of Liberty City gave us a different viewpoint on events from IV while also delivering their own stories. It makes the world feel a bit more involved, rather than extending the story of Niko and the people that he'd met. I think that IV was just so conclusive that it wouldn't have been good to prolong it and as such, R* made the right choice in what they did.

Expansion packs > DLC.
Just my opinion.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 11:41:58 PM

I guess I still consider all multiplayer to be an "extra" so it seems the logical place to charge for more. Maybe that just dates me.

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Palpatations911
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 11:55:53 PM
Reply

Single player games tend to get sold immediately after completion while the game still has some monetary value.

Multiplayer games have more replay value and are less likely to get sold as a used game, thus creating more opportunities to cash in on additional DLC.



Last edited by Palpatations911 on 5/6/2012 11:56:36 PM

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, May 06, 2012 @ 11:58:52 PM

Interesting statement, but given the amount of consumers that buy used as a result of the slightly better prices, might not they also be tempted to purchase SP DLC? A used game can be bought again and that's a second shot for developers to sell their DLC.

Hmm... Maybe SP DLC could be used to recompense used game sales... Or not.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 12:18:58 AM

That is not necessarily true. In fact, the opposite might be true.

In my estimation, those who tend to only play multiplayer care nothing for video game collections/libraries. Those who really value the campaigns tend to be older, and that group tends to appreciate their libraries.

The kiddies and teens trade in left and right, and that just so happens to be the group that I hear shrieking online a lot.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 3:58:54 AM

I only sell games that aren't worthy of my collection or that I know for a fact I'm just never going to play again.

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Qubex
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 4:27:45 AM

Think Ben has got it spot on... whilst I don't have a huge game library by any stretch of the imagination... the few I do have are absolutely AAA and worth keeping... I think for collectors the best games do hold some value, especially if the system becomes an antique...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Highlander
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 1:02:47 PM

I agree with Ben completely. I am far more fond of single player games and won't sell a single one of my collection.

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ulsterscot
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 12:41:43 AM
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If a game is crap (Socomm4, DNF) then i trade it whether it is campaign or multiplayer based - crapness is the determining factor for me - and Im old

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jimmyhandsome
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 9:31:56 AM

Socom 4 online > CoD online...IMO. Its the only game outside of Halo that I've really spent alot of time online with.

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Beamboom
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 1:19:48 AM
Reply

Funny, I don't really see it is that little single player dlc? Maybe it's just my focus, but most all the DLC I buy are with single player content?

All the Saints Row DLCs (I got the season pass), the Borderlands DLCs, Kingdoms of Amalur DLC, if we look further back in history we got the GTA4 DLC who all were single player I think(?), the Fallout expansions, Dragon Age DLCs...

I'd say single player DLC is alive and well, with a steady pulse!


Last edited by Beamboom on 5/7/2012 1:23:47 AM

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GuyverLT
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 3:57:23 PM

Don't forget about Red Dead and L.A. Noire

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Excelsior1
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 5:14:44 AM
Reply

I don't see anything to complain about. There is plenty of single player DLC to be found out there, Games like Fallout3, New Vegas, ME2, ME3, Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2, Kingdoms of Amular, Resident Evil 5, GTA4, RDR, Castlevannia: LOS, Heavy Rain, Borderlands, Final Fantasy 13-2, The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, and Skyrim all have sp DLC. That's just the games I know off the top of my head that contain sp DLC. That's just way too many games that enjoy sp DLC to define it as "rare".

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 9:44:42 AM

At least 90% of all new DLC is multiplayer-based. You seem to be the only person on earth who doesn't recognize that.

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Underdog15
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 12:20:22 PM

That entire list comprises of less than 1% of all DLC out there, though, ya know Excelsior? (and everyone that agrees with him)

I mean, it's the same as you giving me a list of 5 thousand people that have Wilson's Disease. That might not seem small, but it doesn't change the fact that it's rare. Know what I mean?

"Rare" doesn't mean it's not out there or you don't have a selection. It means, in terms of percentages, it represents a discrete minority of what is available overall. And in that sense, it really is very rare. It's not really a debatable idea, ya know?

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/7/2012 12:22:42 PM

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Beamboom
Tuesday, May 08, 2012 @ 3:07:37 AM

But if we put aside what qualifies for the expression "rare" or percent estimates, is it really that dominated by multiplayer? That's what he and I ask.

Again, my perception may be heavily colored by my personal focus when it comes to DLC, but I don't really think it's that rare with single player dlc. The upcoming Skyrim dlc, the upcoming Amalur dlc, the upcoming Saints Row dlc... It doesn't seem to be that rare. What upcoming multiplayer dlcs have we got? The upcoming Uncharted DLC, but then... I don't know of many more? Surely there are more of coure, but I don't think it's that rare? It probably reflect the balance of multiplayer and single player *games*?


Last edited by Beamboom on 5/8/2012 3:09:01 AM

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Underdog15
Tuesday, May 08, 2012 @ 11:26:19 AM

I'm not sure that changes the fact most DLC is multiplayer dlc. Most single player dlc on games I play are almost entirely cosmetic changes, as well.

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___________
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 5:40:56 AM
Reply

thats the misconception that developers are having.
id kill to be able to go back to some of my favourite games and experience a short new chapter.
reasons are simple.

1 developers have this misconception that ok people have finished the game there not going to want to go back and play any more.
which is BS!
expansion packs have done so well in the past so i really cant understand where that ideas come from, it has NO evidence to support it!

2 developers are becoming really lazy!
instead of adding DLC they will keep it out and use it as a sequel instead.
allot of sequels these days are less and less sequels than they are expansion packs!

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ethird1
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 7:11:48 AM
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Play KIngdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Best single player game I have played in along long time. Action rpg at its best. They have 2 dlc that is godly.

Oh, by a psp, or even better, a VITA! You can get quite a few rpgs and srpgs that you can get DLC for, single player style.

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wackazoa
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 9:18:36 AM
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Nice article. I agree.

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TheCanadianGuy
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 9:57:35 AM
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i like what Rock★ did with lost & damned and gay tony. making 2 new 20$ 12 hour games thats how you do it. i like the idea of episodes to spred it out and tell a story like that. i could definitely get into that kind of like that new walking dead game is doing.

as far as the heavy rain episodes don't even get me started i'm still fuming over that one

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gray_eagle
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 10:25:23 AM
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sp dlc imo does'nt always have to be about extending the story.
just look at RDR, its pretty cool riding around in the ole west on the
war horse with gold guns

naughtydog could release sp dlc for uncharted. different weapons
and or different costumes for drake.

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GuyverLT
Monday, May 07, 2012 @ 3:47:33 PM

it doesn't have to extend the original story the game but it can have an story of it's own which is what undead nightmare was. It had a standalone sp story adventure of it's own just like infamous 2 blood festival.

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