At $60, games can get really expensive. Sure, if you play 100 hours worth of multiplayer, you're only paying $0.60 an hour, but we're no fools. You've got a disc in your hands, so shouldn't you have access to everything?
Not so, says Epic Games. Gears of War 3's Horde Command Pack launched on Xbox Live for $10 but only netted buyers a 1.4 MB download. With new maps, skins, and weapons in the pack, gamers realized they had just paid for content that was already residing on the physical media they'd been using this entire time.
Speaking with Kotaku, Gears of War 3 Executive Producer Rod Fergusson reasoned that the DVD you bought at the store doesn't entitle you to everything on it:
We're not saying that everything on the disc is the product. The disc is another delivery mechanism. I can definitely see the counter-discussion.
We had begun DLC packs early enough, and with the extension to our schedule, it meant we had that stuff done before we shipped. One of the concerns was we would have to have people download a compatibility pack because, with a big emphasis on the extra characters and weapons skins, that whole thing is a vanity play.
Epic says they're not the real bad guys because at least they didn't pad the download size and lie to gamers who purchased the DLC. It was plain as day that the Horde Command Pack didn't involve much data.
We felt it was a win/win, because no one is going to have to download anything huge when the DLC comes out. I think the thing that makes it muddy for people is when it's on the disc. We could have left it off and said "Hey, here's another disc."
To me, it all sounds like a lot of explaining away the fact that gamers bought and paid for a piece of media, been playing it this whole time, and instead of giving the first bit of DLC away for free (or just including it in the game in the first place) Epic Games and Microsoft decided to get greedy, wall off the extraneous content, and charge people $10 to interact with it.