Downloadable content

Downloadable content (DLC) is additional content created for a released video game. It is distributed through the Internet by the game's official publisher. Downloadable content can be of several types, ranging from aesthetic outfit changes to a new, extensive storyline, similar to an expansion pack. As such, DLC may add new game modes, objects, levels, challenges, or other features to a complete, already-released game. It is a form of video game monetization, enabling a publisher to gain additional revenue from a title after it has been purchased by offering DLC at low costs, frequently using a type of microtransaction system for payment.

In the case of episodic video games, a new episode may come in the form of downloadable content, whereas music video games utilize this media to offer new songs for the players. Downloadable content became prevalent in the 21st century, and especially with the proliferation of Internet-enabled, sixth-generation video game consoles. Special edition or Game of the Year re-releases of games often incorporate previously released DLC along with the main title in a physical package.

History

Precursors to DLC

The earliest form of downloadable content were offerings of full games, such as on the Atari 2600's GameLine service, which allowed users to download games using a telephone line. A similar service, Sega Channel, allowed for the downloading of games to the Sega Genesis over a cable line. While the GameLine and Sega Channel services allowed for the distribution of entire titles, they did not provide downloadable content for existing titles.

On personal computers

As the popularity and speed of internet connections rose, so did the popularity of using the internet for digital distribution of media. User-created game mods and maps were distributed exclusively online, as they were mainly created by people without the infrastructure capable of distributing the content through physical media.

In 1997, Cavedog offered for their real-time strategy computer game Total Annihilation free downloadable additional created content, a new unit every month.[1][2]

On consoles

The Dreamcast was the first console to feature online support as a standard; DLC was available, though limited in size due to the narrowband connection and the size limitations of a memory card. These online features were still considered a breakthrough in video games, but the competing PlayStation 2 did not ship with a built-in network adapter.[3]

With the advent of the Xbox, Microsoft was the second company to implement downloadable content. Many original Xbox Live titles, including Splinter Cell, Halo 2, and Ninja Gaiden, offered varying amounts of extra content, available for download through the Xbox Live service. Most of this content, with the notable exception of content for Microsoft-published titles, was available for free.[4]

With the Xbox 360 introduction in 2005, Microsoft integrated downloadable content more fully into their console, devoting an entire section of the console's user interface to the Xbox Live Marketplace. Microsoft believed that publishers would benefit by offering small pieces of content at a small cost ($1 to $5), rather than full expansion packs (~$20), as this would allow players to pick and chose what content they desired, providing revenue to the publishers. They also partially removed the need for credit cards by implementing their own Microsoft Points currency, which could be bought either with a credit card online or as redeemable codes in game stores to avoid the banking fees associated with the small price points.[5] This is a strategy that would be adopted by Nintendo with Nintendo Points and Sony with the PlayStation Network Card.

One of the most infamous examples of DLC on consoles was the Horse Armor DLC package released on the Xbox Live Marketplace in 2006 for the Bethesda Softworks game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion that fans criticized as useless and overpriced.[6] However, by 2009, the Horse Armor DLC was one of the top ten content packs that Bethesda had sold, which justified the DLC model for future games.[5]

Sony adopted the same approach with their downloadable hub, the PlayStation Store. With Gran Turismo HD, Sony planned an entirely barebones title, with the idea of requiring the bulk of the content to be purchased separately via many separate online microtransactions.[7] The project was later canceled. Nintendo has featured a sparser amount of downloadable content on their Wii Shop Channel, the bulk of which is accounted for by digital distribution of emulated Nintendo titles from previous generations.

Music video games such as titles from the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises have taken significant advantage of downloadable content. Harmonix claimed that Guitar Hero II would feature "more online content than anyone has ever seen in a game to this date."[8] Rock Band features the largest number of downloadable items of any console video game, with a steady number of new songs that were added weekly between 2007 and 2013. Acquiring all the downloadable content for Rock Band would, as of July 12, 2012, cost $9,150.10.[9]

On handhelds

Nokia phones of the late 1990s and early 2000s shipped with side-scrolling shooter Space Impact, available on various models. With the introduction of WAP in 2000, additional downloadable content for the game, with extra levels, became available.

Through use of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection users can download DLC to the Nintendo DS handheld for certain games. A good example is Picross DS, in which users can download puzzle "packs" of classic puzzles from previous Picross games (such as Mario's Picross)[10] as well as downloadable user generated content.[11] Professor Layton and the Curious Village was thought to have "bonus puzzles" that can be "downloaded" using the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, however connecting to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection simply unlocked the puzzles which were already stored in the game.[12] Similarly, Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 had hidden costumes that were unlocked using DS Download Stations for a limited time.

Due to the Nintendo DS's use of cartridges and lack of a hard drive there is limited space for DLC and developers would have to plan for storage space on the cartridge. Picross DS itself only has room for ten puzzle packs, and Professor Layton's and Ouendan 2's DLC is already on the cartridge and is simply unlocked with a weekly code.

The Nintendo DS's downloadable content is distinct as it is currently being offered at no cost. However, the Nintendo DSi contains a Shop similar to that of the Wii that contains games and applications, most of which must be bought using Nintendo Points. It is also worth noting that, using the Wii's Nintendo Channel, various DS files, such as Game Demo's and videos can be downloaded onto the Wii console and transferred via wireless to a DSi handheld.

The Nintendo 3DS supports downloadable content as of update (4.0.0.7U), the first title to support it being Theatrhythm Final Fantasy[13] in the form of extra songs. Other games to support DLC quickly followed, such as Fire Emblem: Awakening, and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.

Starting with Apple's iPhone OS version 3.0 release, and Apple's iPhone 4, downloadable content became available for the platform via applications bought from the App Store. While this ability was initially only available to developers for paid applications, Apple eventually allowed for developers to offer this in free applications as well in October 2009.[14]

Controversy

On occasion, the use of DLC has been criticized by those who have questioned why the additional content could not have been included in the standard version of the game. One such example was when BioWare and Electronic Arts released Mass Effect 3 along with the DLC “From Ashes.” Many in the gaming community felt that they were cheated by BioWare and Electronic Arts. Many thought that BioWare, upon completing game development decided to remove a portion of the game that would eventually become “From Ashes.”[15] Michael Gamble, an associate producer for BioWare explained on Twitter the reason for the DLC's immediate release, “During that certification time, we had a small team of developers begin to craft the ‘From Ashes’ content, with the intent to finish production on it long after ME3 was out of our hands as a dev team.”[15][16] In an official statement to Game Informer, Electronic Arts explained why some portions of “From Ashes” were preloaded onto the disc. “From Ashes is a 600 Megabyte plus download with all new content... As stated previously, in order to seamlessly integrate Javik (bonus character included in “From Ashes”) into the core campaign, certain framework elements and character models needed to be put on disc.”[16]

Pricing

Pricing for downloadable content generally varies from free to $20.[17] Since Facebook games popularized the business model of microtransactions,[18] some have criticized downloadable content as being overpriced and an incentive for developers to leave items out of the initial release.[19]

In addition to individual content downloads, video game publishers sometimes offer a "season pass", which allows users to pre-order a selection of upcoming content over a specific time period, and ensuring the customer's ability to immediately obtain the content upon release. While a season pass is often a way to get a discount when compared to purchasing each DLC individually, critics argue that you are essentially paying upfront for something that you don't know what it will be. Downloadable content can also be included in a game purchase, such as with pre-order bonuses or bundled into re-releases of the full game, often branded as a "Game of the Year" edition or similar.

Certain items are provided for free. Providing free DLC can also provide revenue for game companies at the expense of users' convenience. For example, Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm for the PlayStation 3 was shipped with certain features disabled. However, users can freely download packs to re enable the missing content from the PlayStation Store. Consequently, users are exposed to advertisements and potential purchases. There is also the additional marketing benefit that users may believe that there is continuing support for the product if there is an apparent flow of such patches.

Where a normal software disc may allow its license sold or traded, DLC is generally locked to a specific user's account and does not come with the ability to transfer that license to another user. For instance, non-transferable DLCs were used in EA's "Project Ten Dollars" as mechanism to fight the used games market.[20][21]

Microsoft has been known to require developers to charge for their content, when the developers would rather release their content for free.[22] Some content has even been withheld from release because the developer refused to charge the amount Microsoft required.[22][23] Epic Games, known for continual support of their older titles with downloadable updates, believed that releasing downloadable content over the course of a game's lifetime helped increase sales throughout, and had succeeded well with that business-model in the past, but was required to implement fees for downloads when releasing content for their Microsoft-published game, Gears of War.[22]

As of 2010 the sale of DLC makes up around 20% of video games sales, a substantial portion of a developer's profit margin. Developers are beginning to use the sale of DLC for an already successful game series to fund the development of new IP’s or sequels to existing games.[24]

Availability

While some content is delivered exclusively through online services, other extra content may already be on the game disc. Extra content on a game disc is inaccessible until it is unlocked by an online service (named "disc-locked" content[25]). Some criticism stems from the fact that many of the items sold on sites like Xbox Live Marketplace are not downloadable content at all, but are instead content keys used to unlock content already on the game disc. Because of this, many people feel as if they are paying to unlock content they already purchased when they bought the game itself. For instance, criticism arose over the downloadable characters for Street Fighter X Tekken, which were found to already be on the game discs.[26][27]

Publishers may also choose to re-release certain titles with previously available downloadable content bundled. There is also criticism concerning the exclusivity of downloadable contents, as some of these contents are frequently added to new disc version of the game. Buyers of the Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition would have access to contents previously exclusives as downloadable content without having to pay any extra fee.[28] The Star Wars: The Force Unleashed re-release "Ultimate Sith Edition" featured an additional level that was later released as DLC, despite LucasArts stating it was exclusive to the re-released version.[29]

There have also been cases where DLCs were intended to be part of the main game, but they were later stripped out of it in order to be sold as a separate feature. Tomb Raider: Underworld has been criticized for providing two DLCs, exclusive to the Xbox 360, that were supposedly removed from the original game.[30][31] The Sims 4: My First Pet was likewise criticised for containing items that had seemingly been removed from the Cats & Dogs expansion, with the DLC requiring the downloadable expansion pack in order to work. PCGamesN described it as "a stuff pack for an expansion pack".[32]

In other media

While video games are the origins of downloadable content, with movies, books and music also becoming more popular in the digital sphere, experimental DLC has also been attempted. Amazon's Kindle service for example allows updating ebooks, which allows authors to not only update and correct work, but also add content.

References

  1. ^ Giskard (2012-10-12). "Total Annihilation: An RTSG Classic". The Engineering Guild. Archived from the original on 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-06-18. Total Annihilation was one of the early adopters of the DLC releases and every month Cavedog would release a new unit for free to try with the game.
  2. ^ TA downloadable units on cavedog.com (archived in the Internet Archive on March 30, 2001)
  3. ^ gamesindustry.biz (2002-08-15). "Sony confirms PS2 online plans". Theregister.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  4. ^ Goldstein, Hilary (2004-07-16). "Ninja Gaiden Hurricane Pack Vol. 1 Q&A - New details on the enemies, AI changes, and camera fixes. Exclusive screens show off even more enemies and a second costume!". Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  5. ^ a b Williams, Mike (October 11, 2017). "The Harsh History Of Gaming Microtransactions: From Horse Armor to Loot Boxes". US Gamer. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  6. ^ Sterling, Jim (March 13, 2011). "Oblivion's Horse Armor DLC still selling!". Destructoid. Retrieved 2013-06-18. The "Horse Armor" downloadable content for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has become notorious as the premier example of bad DLC. It's a pointless waste of money that gives something totally useful to a non-character you'll barely use.
  7. ^ "Gran Turismo HD will be a barebones release". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
  8. ^ "Guitar Hero II for Xbox 360 to have most DLC ever". VideoGamer.com. 2007-02-15. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  9. ^ "Rock Band is an EXPENSIVE Hobby, but HOW Expensive?". Rockbandaide.com. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  10. ^ "IGN: Picross DS". Retrieved 2008-06-24.
  11. ^ "1UP: Picross DS Review". Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
  12. ^ "Professor Layton and the not so downloadable content". 2008-03-20. Retrieved 2008-09-24.
  13. ^ "First 3DS game with paid DLC is Theatrhythm Final Fantasy".
  14. ^ Chen, Brian X. (2009-10-15). "Apple Allows In-App Purchases in Free iPhone Apps". Wired. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  15. ^ a b "BioWare Responds to Mass Effect 3 DLC Controversy". PCMAG. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  16. ^ a b Kain, Erik. "BioWare And EA Respond To DLC Controversy". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  17. ^ Martin Robinson (2012-07-06). "Molyneux: $50,000 Curiosity DLC "nothing to be ashamed of"". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  18. ^ Chris Morrison (2008-10-29). "A popular Facebook game enrages players by adding micro-transactions". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  19. ^ Ransom-Wiley, James (2006-04-03). "Download Oblivion's horse armor, for a price". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  20. ^ Raumer, Daniel (2010-02-18). "Electronic Arts - …kämpft gegen gebrauchte Spiele". GameStar. IDG. Retrieved 2011-07-11.
  21. ^ Adam Satariano and Cliff Edwards (2010-02-10). "Electronic Arts: Lost in an Alien Landscape". businessweek.com. Retrieved 2013-12-17. "Project Ten Dollar," a coupon program to reward people who purchase a new game with downloadable content and upgrades. People who buy used games pay an extra $10 or more for the same goodies.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  22. ^ a b c Game Informer, April 2007
  23. ^ Earnest Cavalli (2007-03-26). "Microsoft hearts capitalism, shiny rocks; does not heart free content, sunshine". Retrieved 2013-12-17.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  24. ^ Lizardi, Ryan. "DLC: Perpetual Commodification of the Video Game." Democratic Communiqué [Online], 25.1 (2012): n. pag. Web. 1 Aug. 2017
  25. ^ "CAPCOM'S DISC-LOCKED CONTENT COULD COMBAT USED GAME SALES". www.cinemablend.com.
  26. ^ Dransfield, Ian. "Capcom Includes Paid DLC On The Disc, Hilariously". Play. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  27. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (March 16, 2012). "On-Disc DLC Outrage Is Off the Mark". GameSpot. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  28. ^ "Snow" (November 18, 2009). "Announcing Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition". Capcom. Retrieved November 27, 2009.
  29. ^ Thorsen, Tor (2009-07-24). "Force Unleashed unleashing more DLC, Sith Edition". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  30. ^ Tomb Raider Underword DLC Was Meant To Be In Original Game - Kotaku
  31. ^ Tomb Raider DLC content meant for original game - BitGamer
  32. ^ Hood, Vic. "Buy the other half of your furniture with the latest Sims 4 Stuff pack". PCGamesN.
2007 in downloadable songs for the Rock Band series

The Rock Band series of music video games supports downloadable songs for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii versions through the consoles' respective online services. Users can download songs on a track-by-track basis, with many of the tracks also offered as part of a "song pack" or complete album at a discounted rate. These packs are available for the Wii only on Rock Band 3. Most downloadable songs are playable within every game mode, including the Band World Tour career mode. All downloadable songs released before October 26, 2010 are cross-compatible between Rock Band, Rock Band 2 and Rock Band 3, while those after only work with Rock Band 3. Certain songs deemed "suitable for all ages" by Harmonix are also available for use in Lego Rock Band.The Wii version of Rock Band does not support downloadable content, but Rock Band 2 and Rock Band 3 do, with DLC first made available in January 2009. Songs from the back catalogue of downloadable content were released for the Wii weekly in an effort by Harmonix to provide Wii players with every previously available song.Following the release of Rock Band 4 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, all previously purchased downloadable content for Rock Band 3 and earlier is forward compatible (with the exception of any downloadable content purchased for The Beatles: Rock Band) within the same system family at no additional cost.32 downloadable Rock Band songs were released in 2007, 15 of which appeared alongside the launch of Rock Band on November 20, including song packs for Queens of the Stone Age, Metallica, and The Police.

2013 in downloadable songs for the Rock Band series

The Rock Band series of music video games supports downloadable songs for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii versions through the consoles' respective online services. Users can download songs on a track-by-track basis, with many of the tracks also offered as part of a "song pack" or complete album at a discounted rate. These packs are available for the Wii only on Rock Band 3. Most downloadable songs are playable within every game mode, including the Band World Tour career mode. All downloadable songs released before October 26, 2010, are cross-compatible between Rock Band, Rock Band 2 and Rock Band 3, while those after only work with Rock Band 3. All songs that are available to Rock Band 3 will be playable in Rock Band Blitz. Certain songs deemed "suitable for all ages" by Harmonix are also available for use in Lego Rock Band.The Wii version of Rock Band does not support downloadable content, but Rock Band 2 and Rock Band 3 do, with DLC first made available in January 2009. Songs from the back catalogue of downloadable content were released for the Wii weekly in an effort by Harmonix to provide Wii players with every previously available song.Following the release of Rock Band 4 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, all previously purchased downloadable content for Rock Band 3 and earlier is forward compatible (with the exception of any downloadable content purchased for The Beatles: Rock Band) within the same system family at no additional cost.

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 is an open world action role-playing first-person shooter video game developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It is the second game in the Borderlands series and the sequel to 2009's Borderlands. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and OS X on September 18, 2012. It was ported to the PlayStation Vita on May 13, 2014, and released for Linux on September 30, 2014.Borderlands 2 allows players to complete a campaign consisting of central quests and optional side-missions as one of four (six including downloadable content) treasure seekers, "Vault Hunters", on the planet Pandora. Key gameplay features from its predecessor, such as online collaborative campaign gameplay, randomly generated loot, such as weapons and shields and character-building elements commonly found in role-playing video games are in Borderlands 2.

The game received critical acclaim and was a commercial success. Downloadable content for the game was released, including new characters and storylines. The Game of the Year Edition of the game was released on October 8, 2013 in the U.S. and October 11 internationally, including all the previous downloadable and upgrade packs except for the new campaign. A PlayStation Vita version was released in May 2014, and was developed by Iron Galaxy Studios in collaboration with Gearbox. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports of Borderlands 2 and its DLC were released as part of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection on March 24, 2015. Borderlands 2 had sold over 13 million copies, making it 2K's highest-selling title.

Disney Universe

Disney Universe is a co-operative action-adventure video game developed by Eurocom and published by Disney Interactive Studios. It was announced at E3 in 2011 and was released on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, and Microsoft Windows on October 25, 2011 in North America and October 28, 2011 in Europe. It features the ability to suit up as characters from multiple Disney franchises, including Aladdin, The Lion King, Monsters, Inc., WALL-E, Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean, Phineas and Ferb, and The Muppet Show.

Fallout 3 downloadable content

There are five pieces of downloadable content (DLC) for the Bethesda action role-playing video game Fallout 3. Each package of downloadable content adds new missions, new locales to visit, and new items for the player to make use of. Of the five, Broken Steel has the largest effect on the game, altering the ending, increasing the level cap to 30, and allowing the player to continue playing past the end of the main quest line. The Game of The Year edition of Fallout 3 includes the full game and all five pieces of downloadable content.The downloadable content was originally only to Xbox Live and Games for Windows. Although Bethesda had not offered an explanation as to why the content was not released for PlayStation 3, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian speculated that it may have been the result of a money deal with Bethesda by Sony's competitor, Microsoft. When asked if the PlayStation 3 version would receive an update that would enable gameplay beyond the main quest's completion, Todd Howard responded, "Not at this time, no". However, in May 2009, Bethesda announced that the existing DLC packs (Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt and Broken Steel) would be made available for the PlayStation 3; the later two (Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta) were released for all platforms.

List of songs in Rock Band

Rock Band is a 2007 music video game developed by Harmonix and distributed by MTV Games and Electronic Arts. The game is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and Wii game consoles. Rock Band is based on Harmonix' previous success with the Guitar Hero series of video games in which players used a guitar-shaped controller to simulate playing rock music. Rock Band expands on the concept by adding a drum and microphone peripheral, allowing up to four players to participate in the game, playing lead and bass guitar, drums, and vocals. The gameplay in Rock Band is comparable to that in Guitar Hero along with elements from Harmonix' Karaoke Revolution.

Rock Band for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 and 3 shipped with 58 songs on disk, while the Wii version, released at a later date, contained 5 additional songs that were released as downloadable content for the game. The European version of the game also includes 9 additional songs that have since been released as downloadable content for other regions. The player can expand their music library on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions by purchasing new songs offered on a weekly basis through the consoles' respective store systems. A full list of downloadable songs is available. For the PlayStation 2 and Wii versions of Rock Band, Harmonix has created Rock Band Track Packs that contain a selection of the downloadable content already offered.

With Rock Band 2 and Rock Band 3, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 players can export a majority of songs from the Rock Band soundtrack to their console's storage device by purchasing a "transfer license". Additionally, certain songs rated as "Family Friendly" by Harmonix are playable in Lego Rock Band. "Enter Sandman", "Moonson", "Paranoid" and "Run to the Hills" cannot be exported to any other game in the series. The original recording of "Run to the Hills" was made available as a downloadable single and also in Iron Maiden Pack 01 on June 9, 2009. While initially not exportable to Rock Band 3, "Black Hole Sun" and "Dani California" were made available via a patch released on November 8, 2011. On the European version, "Hier Kommt Alex" & "Rock 'n' Roll Star" can be exported to Rock Band 2 but not Rock Band 3. Exports of the Rock Band soundtrack (with the above exclusions) into Rock Band 4, for those that have already exported them into Rock Band 2 or 3, was enabled in January 2016.

Mass Effect 2 downloadable content

Mass Effect 2 is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. It was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 on January 26, 2010, and for PlayStation 3 on January 18, 2011. The game features a variety of downloadable content packs that were released from January 2010 to May 2011. The downloadable content ranges from single in-game character outfits to entirely new plot-related missions. Notable packs include Kasumi – Stolen Memory, Overlord, Lair of the Shadow Broker, and Arrival. The downloadable content of Mass Effect 2 was generally well received by critics and some packs were nominated for Best DLC (downloadable content) at the Spike Video Game Awards.New purchases of the game are provided with a one-time use card granting access code that unlocks the game's Cerberus Network, an online downloadable content and news service that enables free bonus content for the game. However, users who buy the game used have to pay for the Cerberus Network separately if they want access to the bonus content. Some downloadable content packs were originally only available for the Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 versions of Mass Effect 2 through limited promotional opportunities. These were then made available on the PlayStation Network when the game was released for the PlayStation 3.

Mass Effect 3 downloadable content

Mass Effect 3 is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on March 6, 2012, and for Wii U on November 18, 2012. The game features a variety of downloadable content packs that were released from March 2012 to April 2013 on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and BioWare's Social Network. The Wii U version of the game does not support downloadable content but includes several packs. The content listed as promotional content was only available to the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game through limited promotional opportunities.

Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X is a fighting video game developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Running on the Unreal Engine 3, it is the tenth main installment in the Mortal Kombat video game series and a sequel to the 2011 game Mortal Kombat. It was released on April 14, 2015 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. NetherRealm Studios' mobile team developed a version for iOS and Android devices. High Voltage Software developed the PC version of the game, with Polish studio QLoc taking over the work on it shortly after the release of Kombat Pack 1.

Like previous Mortal Kombat games, Mortal Kombat X's gameplay consists of two players, or one player and the CPU, fighting against each other with their selected character, using a large, varied array of character specific attacks. The game contains several modes, such as a story mode, which takes place twenty-five years after the previous Mortal Kombat game, several 'Tower' modes, which feature dynamically changing challenges, numerous online modes, and the 'Krypt', a mode played in a first-person perspective where players explore the areas unlocking a variety of in-game items.

The console versions of Mortal Kombat X received critical acclaim upon release. Most praise was directed at the game's controls, overall gameplay, graphics, story, and characters, with some reviewers calling it the best game in the Mortal Kombat series. However, the PC version of the game was met with mixed reception, with reviewers blaming numerous technical issues (including frequent crashes and slow netcode) for severely hindering the experience. Selling more than 5 million copies, the game was the fastest-selling game in the franchise and the ninth best-selling game in 2015.

An upgraded version of Mortal Kombat X, titled Mortal Kombat XL, was released on March 1, 2016 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, including all downloadable content characters from the two released Kombat Packs, almost all bonus alternate costumes available at the time of release, improved gameplay, and improved netcode. This edition was also released for PC on October 4, 2016. A sequel, Mortal Kombat 11, is set to be released in April 2019.

Rock Band

Rock Band is a series of music video games developed by Harmonix and MTV Games, and distributed by Electronic Arts for the Nintendo DS, iOS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PSP, Wii, Xbox One and Xbox 360 game systems. The series, inspired by Harmonix's previous efforts on the Guitar Hero series, allows up to four players to simulate the performance of popular rock music songs by playing with controllers modeled after musical instruments. Players can play the lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, and drums parts to songs, as well as sing into a USB microphone. Players are scored on their ability to match scrolling musical notes while playing instruments, and by their ability to match the singer's pitch on vocals.

The concept for Rock Band was formed while Harmonix was working on the Guitar Hero series, with the idea to expand the note-matching gameplay into multiple instruments. When their Guitar Hero partner, RedOctane, was acquired by Activision, Harmonix was acquired by MTV Games, a division of Viacom, allowing them to pursue the title. The first game in the series, Rock Band, was released in 2007 and its sequel Rock Band 2 was released in 2008. As the rhythm game market began to flounder in 2009, Viacom put Harmonix up for sale, but investors were able to buy the company, making it an independent studio. Harmonix would go on to expand the series, including obtaining the lucrative licensing needed for The Beatles: Rock Band in 2009.

Rock Band 3 was released in 2010 as an expandable platform for that console generation, expanding the game's realism by introducing critically praised "Pro" features; which allow for connecting and playing real world MIDI keyboards, guitars, and electronic drum kits simultaneously with legacy (button) controllers locally and through Rock Band Network online.

Following saturation of the rhythm game market, Harmonix opted to wait on releasing another main title for several years, and development of Rock Band 3 as a platform stopped prematurely several months after release. Rock Band 3 remained the current title in the franchise for nearly five years.

Upon the release of the next generation of consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Harmonix released Rock Band 4 in October 6, 2015; the company does not plan to release further versions of the game for these consoles but instead sees the reformulated Rock Band 4 as a "back to basics" platform they can continue to expand on through game patches, slowly re-adding selected previous features over time.

Each Rock Band game comes with approximately 40 to 80 licensed songs from across all ranges of rock music and spanning from the 1960s to present day. Up until the release of Rock Band 4, in nearly all cases, songs released for one game could be exported to be used in future games in the series. Harmonix provided 275 consecutive weeks (between 2007 and 2013) of regular downloadable content, in the form of additional downloadable songs including 300 songs charted note-for-note for "Pro" guitar/bass and over 600 charted for "Pro" keys; with the release of Rock Band 4, Harmonix has restarted regular content releases, with the exception of "Pro" guitar/bass upgrades and keys. Harmonix has also created standalone Track Packs that contain either a selection of downloadable content, or a selection of band-specific songs.

The company also designed the Rock Band Network to allow bands and labels to publish their songs as Rock Band tracks that can be purchased by players; the service was discontinued in September 2014 to allow Harmonix to focus on other projects, but has not returned with Rock Band 4.

To date, over 13 million copies of Rock Band titles have been sold netting more than $1 billion in total sales. Over 4,000 songs representing more than 1,200 different artists are available in the franchise library, and over 130 million downloadable song purchases have been made.

Saints Row

Saints Row is an action-adventure video game series created by Volition and published by Deep Silver, that tells the story of a gang called the Third Street Saints; the title comes from the name of the district of the gang's home territory. Typically, gameplay is presented in an open world format because of the mixture of nonlinear gameplay with action-adventure and racing sequences. The series is known for its comedic elements. The games' stories are written as comedies that feature popular culture homages and parodies, as well as self-referential humor.

After completing Red Faction II in late 2002, developer Volition began work on the original Saints Row game in mid-2003. The game was released in 2006 to critical acclaim and commercial success. The sequel, Saints Row 2, was released in 2008 to similar acclaim but greater commercial success. The series' third entry, Saints Row: The Third, was released on 15 November 2011. The series' fourth entry, Saints Row IV was released on 20 August 2013, with an expansion called Gat out of Hell released on 20 January 2015 in North America and 23 January 2015 in Europe. As of September 2013, the series has had unit sales in excess of 13 million, making it one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time.

Saints Row IV

Saints Row IV is an open world action-adventure video game developed by Volition and published by Deep Silver. It is the fourth title in the Saints Row series. In the game, the playable character is the leader of the 3rd Street Saints, a street gang that has become the world's most powerful and popular organization, and must fend off an alien invasion after becoming President of the United States and receiving superpowers. The player is free to explore their environment while completing main and side missions at their leisure. The game incorporates elements from science fiction video games and films, and continues the series' reputation for over-the-top parody. It was released in August 2013 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, and was later ported to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Linux in 2015.

The game was Volition's first after its sale to Koch Media in early 2013. The supernatural and superpower concept for the game started in Enter the Dominatrix, a cancelled expansion planned for Saints Row: The Third, which the team expanded into Saints Row IV. Volition later released a "director's cut" of Enter the Dominatrix as downloadable content for Saints Row IV alongside How the Saints Saved Christmas, other weapons, costumes, and vehicle packs, and a standalone expansion, Saints Row: Gat out of Hell (which serves as the epilogue to the story). Saints Row IV received several limited and summative edition releases, and was briefly banned in Australia. Critics praised Saints Row IV's humor and character customization options, but criticized its lack of challenge. It sold over one million copies in its first week.

Undead Nightmare

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare is a standalone expansion pack to the 2010 video game Red Dead Redemption. It adds a zombie horror-themed single-player campaign, two multiplayer modes, and cosmetic additions to the environments and characters of the open world Western action-adventure game. The alternate timeline story follows the returning protagonist and former outlaw John Marston as he seeks to find the cause and cure for a zombie plague that has infected his wife and son. Marston liberates towns overrun by the undead and assists other non-playable characters with quests along the way.

Rockstar Games, the game's publisher, had a long-standing interest in creating a zombie game. They found the Red Dead Redemption universe and its American countryside to fit the cinematic heritage of the horror film genre. Rockstar wanted their additional content to function outside rather than within the base game's story, but draw on its characters and atmosphere. The company released Undead Nightmare as downloadable content for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms on October 26, 2010, and as a retail disc bundle with other downloadable content packs in late November.

Undead Nightmare received generally favorable reviews at its release, and the retail disc sold two million copies by 2011. It was praised as a model for downloadable content and named among the best of the year, with top awards from the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards and Shacknews in this category. Critics praised its production values and handling of the zombie video game motif, and noted its lightheartedness compared to the main game, although some reviewers struggled with the game's character movement controls and found the combat unvaried. It is retrospectively considered to be being among the best downloadable content packs on record. Through backward compatibility, the Xbox One supports Undead Nightmare.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.