You like games! We like games! But does anyone like games enough to pay this much? Time was, when video games were released, developers frontloaded them with the best possible content they were capable of producing. This is because back in the pre-online days, once a game was finished, it sat on a player’s shelf gathering dust.
But internet-connected PCs, PS3s and Xbox 360s put paid to all that; in the last decade or so, a game’s street date is merely the beginning of a quest for the darkest recesses of your wallet. Once the game comes out, publishers now fill their coffers by supporting it with downloadable content (DLC to its occasional friends). You know this, you’re well used to paying for in-game content after your initial purchase now. Why else would you be reading this article?
But there are some instances in which DLC costs, quite frankly, take the piss. We don’t mind forking over a few quid for the odd map pack, and if you’re prepared to be fleeced by fellow MMO players, that’s your own problem. But who would really pay the amounts asked for the official DLC below?
1.) Curiosity – The £34,000 Diamond Chisel
Over-promising game dev Peter Molyneux has come in for a lot of flack recently and critics will say there’s plenty in the man’s history to justify all of it. There’s the man’s track-record for announcing content for his games – such as the Fable titles – that never materialised to consider, and then there’s the small matter of the bloke who finished his first indie game, 2012's Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube?, being promised a "life-changing" gift for his efforts, which also never materialised.
For our money, however, the biggest bone of contention the gaming community has to pick with Molyneux is the DLC for the latter game: a diamond-tipped chisel they could purchase to chip away at the cube. The cost for this? Three billion in-game coins, or $50,000 (£34,000).
Yes, you read that correctly. For the cost of a deposit of a house in London's Zone 2, you could buy an in-game doodah that helped you win. Although, fom the sounds of things, if you had been stupid enough to drop the requisite cash on this item, you’d still be waiting for your prize anyway.
2.) Train Simulator 2015 – £3,000 for Everything
If you fancy yourself a virtual rail mogul, you’d better have a decent real-world job. Rail improvements cost quite a bit on Train Simulator 2015 and if you drop in to its Steam page, you will see a veritable shopping list of in-game content for sale – with items priced from £3 for a very realistic-looking Network South East train.
Now, that doesn’t sound like a lot, until you factor in a few things: first, the individual prices for piecemeal content go up to £25 for the "Liverpool-Manchester route" (a must-buy, surely?); second, a lot of the DLC for Train Simulator 2015 was the same DLC offered for Train Simulator 2014 and Train Simulator 2013.
And third, if you want every item in the shop, you need nearly three-grand handy, because that’s what the final tally looks like when added to the £20-£30 you've dropped on the game in the first place:
Hey, if you’re willing to drop that much on a train set, why not go out and buy a real one?
3.) EVE: Online – The £47 Monocle
Anyone who has ever played EVE: Online knows that CCP’s spaceship MMO is essentially Ayn Rand in space. They’re a prickly bunch at the best of times; these are players who, in the past, issued threats and sent freaky pictures of players' houses to each other, and reportedly tried to knock out each other’s internet connections on the eve of big battles. So you’d think a developer who depended on such a hardcore fan base for its income would know better than to mess with them. And you’d be wrong.
At the same time CCP released the Incarna Expansion Pack, it released a line of in-game clothing for players’ avatars. That in itself doesn’t sound like a rip-off – after all, in-game clothing is par for the course in MMOs. But when you factor in the reality that, in EVE, your human-looking avatar doesn’t interact with any other player – all of the interaction is ship-based – it seems kind of shady.
However, then you see that the clothes CCP was flogging cost more than real-life clothes. Most clothes cost around $20 (£13); T-shirts in the game cost about $15 more than a real-world counterpart in CCP’s official store and a monocle cost $70 (£47) straight. Fans, unsurprisingly, got a little hot under the collar.
When they complained on the forums, CCP ignored them, so they decided to torch the joint, resulting in the Jita Riots. Factions that traditionally loathed each other in EVE joined forces en masse to blast the hell out of a monument in the game until they ran out of ammo. Then tonnes of them cancelled their subscriptions. As a result, 120 CCP employees lost their jobs. Go DLC!
4.) Forza Motorsport 5 – The £32.50 Lotus E21
Sometimes DLC takes the form of micro transactions, which, if priced unfairly, can be every bit as frustrating as DLC packs. Case in point is Forza 5, easily the best launch exclusive on Microsoft’s Xbox One. It boasted swoon-worthy graphics, an amazing score, superb handling and the innovative, if stupidly named, Drivatar aspect that meant players were always racing against other Forza players in their skill bracket.
What it also included was the ability to buy cars with in-game credits. The thing was that some vehicles were eye-wateringly expensive, such as the Lotus E21 F1 car. In-game, it cost six million credits, which equated to 10,000 tokens. Or, if you were feeling lazy, £32.50 for one single virtual car.
Sure, you could argue that the purchase was optional, but if you didn’t spring for a better car, you spent ages tooling around in a BMW to earn the cash. All the while, players were reminded that they could purchase tokens on the segue screens. The message seemed clear: open your wallet or sit at the bottom rung of the vehicular food chain.
5.) Gears Of War 3 – £30 Weapon Skins
We don’t know why anyone would want to own a neon-pink gun in a game like Gears Of War 3. Oh sure, there’s the hipster argument you could make that blasting the frack out of opponents with what looks like a My Little Pony accessory punctures the game’s neck-snapping machismo vibe somewhat.
You could even take the tack that you’re simply injecting a little lively colour into Epic’s shooter, which, for all its baroque grandeur, mostly looks like it’s been bathed in soot and gravel. But was 3600 Microsoft Points (around £30) really worth it for the snark factor and no added firepower? Really? Really??
But maybe it was, and we're way wrong – what do you think? What's the most expensive game add-on you've fronted for, dear readers? Let us know down below...