Shooting Sketch PForPistol

What does DLC stand for anymore? Patch, Patch, Patch

Compared to even just a few years ago, our industry is starting to get dreaded growing pains again. The jump to 9th gen consoles has seen some great exclusives but not as many as we would like. The promise of bigger, bolder Unreal Engine 5 games has fallen flat and recent game execution has gone about as well as a 15th century botched hanging.

Rarely are games delivered with polish nowadays.

"We’ll just patch it," they say

In fairness, patches are a great asset of modern gaming as well as having a different opportunity compared to a dlc. They are a quick and easy way to add performance fixes, community feedback improvements and so on. However, as is with all good things, too much of one is a curse. Instead of using this sparsely, like back in the day when patches and even dlc were an option for improvement, now they are used as the go to business model.

Release an unpolished, half finished game on launch day? Nevermind! Patches will fix it, right?

In the AAA space, there have been a truckload of examples of this business practice in action. Cyberpunk 2077, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, The day before, redfall. The list really does just go on.

Yes, controversy is sparked by these releases but it would be relatively acceptable if a) these games were few and far between and b) these games were fixed with patches, not just pledged to be.

Unfortunately, all of these games and many more have come out since 2020/in a span of just 4 years and some of these like Scarlet and Violet are yet to receive any substantial patches.

Yes, bugs have been squashed and minor balancing changes administered, but this is nothing new. Many, many games have contained bugs going right back to the 90s. What they didn’t contain though is 20fps gameplay and terrain textures held together by the cheapest and most rushed quality tape the Pokémon company could find.

Fortunately, not all game patches are horror stories. There are many games that receive patches to add additional content with no issues and there are games like the aforementioned Cyberpunk 2077 that, with time, are polished up to be more in line with what was promised.

Was it worth the wait? That is up to each consumer, but it was better late than never.

Due to all of this, a widely discussed culture is growing amongst gaming communities in which things like day one patches and dlc updates are almost feared in a way. Before, they were an exciting way to add new content.

Now, they are the biggest red flag for a game. A day one patch tends to go hand in hand with, ‘We forgot to finish the Alpha build. So, should there be new regulations on patching games or should we embrace this practice as the future of accessibility?

I honestly think neither.

Gaming has always been about being involved with the times and with the tech. Whether that is hardware leaps or the introduction of the internet, games need to stay relevant to succeed

I hate the way patches are being abused nowadays as much as the next person. In fact, this culture has practically destroyed my love for the pokemon games because I was disgusted by the way Pokemon Scarlet and Violet were/are being handled.

But I also see the positives like additional content distribution and genuine response to player feedback.

If properly used, patches can bring a new level of polish and content volumes to the gaming landscape, without taking anything away or harming the current gaming ecosystem.

Here’s hoping the community feedback and backlash against misused patches leads to great things riding out this generation and entering the 10th generation in the late 2020s. Hopefully by then, enough time has passed to make thorough changes.

(This article was written by a contributor)

Don't get scammed when releasing your indie game

Chicken Wants To be A Dinosaur

Game scams are an incredibly common issue in the world of indie game development. If you fall prey to the Steam Key Scam or Influencer Scam don't worry, here are some ways to handle it.

How to make a game and stay motivated

The Pistol Running Sketch - PForPistol

To make a game is very similar to running a marathon, its difficult but there is a path forward.

Tips For Modern Indie Game Developers

Mock Gameplay PForPistol

Being an indie developer does not mean only making a game on your own. Here are 5 critical tips from an indie game developer.