The most expensive gaming DLC ever – value for money?

In Feature on December 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm


A couple of weeks ago I played through a piece of single player downloadable content for the game Mass Effect 3, which is called Omega.

The sci-fi action RPG has in fact been subject to a lot of downloadable content, also known as DLC of course, since the title first launched back in March 2012.

For Mass Effect 3 we’ve seen several expansions and add-ons for both the multiplayer and single player segments. The recently launched Omega expansion was an example for the latter.

Anyway while some of the DLC for Mass Effect 3 has come free some of it, mostly the single player add-ons have instead required you to pay with some cold hard virtual cash from your debit/credit card in order to download.

Omega is ME3’s most expensive example of this yet, costing me £11.99 to play on my Playstation 3 (or the equivalent of 1200 Microsoft points if I was on Xbox 360).

While I would say the gameplay from this single player expansion was fine, I couldn’t help but be slightly startled by the price to gain this extra piece of content, and the thought still lingers with me now.

You see, to play through the whole extra story segment which Mass Effect 3: Omega offers took me about a few hours to complete once. Earlier this year a similar single player expansion was made available for Mass Effect 3 called Leviathan.

The Leviathan add-on cost £7.99 on the Playstation Store (or the equivalent of 800 Microsoft points for Xbox 360 players) and in terms of length that felt like it took about the same amount of time to play through as Omega. The Omega DLC does also give the player a few extra weapons for gameplay, but then again so did Leviathan.


Ultimately I expected the DLC which cost an extra £5 to buy to feel significantly larger (I know, first world problems etc.)

I guess you could use this for the basis for a frothing-at-the-mouth rant about gaming DLC being overpriced and so on.

The whole area is already a subject of controversy; Mass Effect 3 courted such attention by making some parts of the game from launch accessible only as paid DLC (or by buying a collector’s edition). Certain developers, particularly Capcom springs to mind, have been subject to lots of rage-fuelled anger for locking bits of on disc game content as DLC which require extra money to unlock.

But all that business aside, the modern trend of gaming DLC has got me wondering just how far game developers have gone so far when it comes to prices for downloadable content. How do the priciest examples stack up in comparison to the Mass Effect 3: Omega add-on I played for a few extra hours gameplay on my single player campaign?

So out of curiosity I went searching on various gaming online stores: the Playstation Store, Steam and more* to find the most expensive single pieces of downloadable content for games today.

Now just to clarify I’m not talking about bundles which combine several pieces of DLC which can be bought separately. Nor am I going to include things like “season passes” which are commonly required now for accessing online gameplay (an obvious method by developers to extract money from used game buyers).

I’m looking at the priciest individual piece of downloadable content which can (or can only) be bought on its own, and is designed to enhance your single player or multiplayer experience with some sort of add on or extra bit of gameplay (such as an extra mission).

See what they offer and decide whether they can be considered value for money…



Hearts of Iron III – Their Finest Hour


What kind of game is it?

A World War II based grand strategy wargame for the PC featuring three factions (the Allies, the Axis and the Comintern) as the player looks to take control of all European nations.

The game is centered around maps and resources plus making decisions on several factors including armed forces, production, diplomacy, politics and espionage.

How much does this DLC cost?

£14.99 from the online Steam store

What do you get from this piece of DLC?

To quote the official description:

  • New unique, elite units for each major nation’s army – Ghurkhas, Rangers, Imperial guards and more.
  • A deeper naval invasion system with the ability to develop specialized landing and assault crafts.
  • Increased control over strategic warfare with a new lend-lease system for lending your industrial might to allies.
  • Leaders are now able to gain traits and allocating them is more important than ever with a new combat tactics system.
  • New game mode for single and multiplayer. Start with a clean slate and instantly produce units, research technologies and affect political alignment.
  • Two new detailed battle scenarios, the Finnish Winter War and the Spanish Civil War.



Age of Empires Online – Steam Starter Pack


What kind of game is it?

A free-to-play real-time strategy PC game, in which players try to build up a mighty historic civilisation in terms of economy and military power.

The choices of civilisations available depending on what your prepared to pay for includes the Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Celts, Babylonians and Norse.

How much does this DLC cost?

£14.99 from the online Steam store.

What do you get from this piece of DLC?

A “premium Celtic civilisation pack”, a “skirmish booster pack” to give your civilisation an advantage, and finally a “celebration bundle” which gives you firework stands, rare buildings to build, plus other gear for the people of your civilisation.



ARMA II – Operation Arrowhead


What kind of game is it?

A large-scale and modern tactical first person shooter in which the US Marine Corps fight terrorists in a fictional Eastern European country.

How much does this DLC cost?

£14.99 from the Steam online store.

What do you get from this piece of DLC?

A massive standalone expansion pack which can actually be run without the original ArmA II game. Additions from the original title includes:

  • A new story campaign for both single and multiplayer, plus new tutorials and multiplayer modes.
  • Three brand new large maps based on Central Asia.
  • New infantry units, new weapons and new vehicles, totalling to over 300 additions in total.
  • A mission editor tool.
  • A game modification tool suite (freeware SDK kit).
  • Multiplayer connectivity for co-op in campaign missions or competitive battles of up to 50 players.
  • Cheat protection software.
  • Dedicated server for multiplayer.



Moon Breakers – Big Cheese Bundle


What kind of game is it?

A free-to-play, 3D multiplayer space combat game set in a futuristic setting mixing sci-fi with a World War II inspired theme. The player takes the role of a Government or Pirate pilot and fights others in space dogfights around the galaxy for the resource Helium-3.

How much does this DLC cost?

£22.99 from the Steam online store.

What do you get from this piece of DLC?

Five new ships to use in gameplay, plus a large x10 boost in your in-game money or “Cred” as its referred to in Moon Breakers.



Rocksmith – Alternative Rock


What kind of game is it?

A guitar and bass playing game, think Guitar Hero and other similar titles.

How much does this DLC cost?

£23.99 from the Playstation store

What do you get from this piece of DLC?

The chance to play five extra songs, including the following:

  • ‘Tom Sawyer YYZ Limelight Red Barchetta Subdivisions’ (Rush)
  • ‘Cousins’ (Vampire Weekend)
  • ‘Gold on the Ceiling Mind Eraser Just Got to Be’ (The Black Keys)
  • ‘Jeremy’ (Pearl Jam), ‘When I’m Gone Loser’ (3 Doors Down)
  • ‘Come Out and Play Self Esteem Gone Away’ (The Offspring)



Treasures of Montezuma Blitz – 1M Crystals Mega Pack


What kind of game is it?

A free-to-play puzzle game for the PS Vita handheld. The player uses the device’s touchscreen to combine and earn crystals together and try to collect as many as possible.

How much does this DLC cost?

£57.99 from the Playstation Store.

What do you get from this piece of DLC?

Gives the player an additional one million crystals, which can be used to rent and upgrade bonuses that give you a better chance of achieving a high score when playing the game. So like a cheat code only it requires cold hard virtual cash to activate rather than a button combination.



Dust 514 – 200,000 Aurum plus 25,000 Aurum bonus


What kind of game is it?

A free-to-play tactical first person shooter which can be compatibly linked directly to a PC-based MMORPG called Eve Online, a popular space ship simulator game which requires a paid subscription.

Dust 514 is actually in a closed beta stage at the time of writing, one only accessible to Playstation Plus subscribers. The full verison of this game will be released at an unspecified time during 2013 but some DLC content has already been released for the game.

How much does this DLC cost?

£84.99 from the Playstation Store.

What do you get from this piece of DLC?

The player receives 225,000 Aurum (the ingame currency) which can be spent on new weapons, vehicles, skill boosters and other upgrades to benefit performance in gameplay.


On a further note I’m not including any examples from the Xbox store because I found no easy way to navigate it online, in regards putting things in order of price. Also Microsoft lists the Xbox 360’s downloadable content in their own fictional currency, “Microsoft points”, rather than in real British pounds or dollars etc.


Written by Stephen Goldasz. For more you can follow the Gaming Kick Twitter account.


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