It took a while to really take hold in Japan, a place where network connectivity on consoles traditionally lagged behind the West, but it appears that downloadable content is well and truly "A Thing" over there now.
According to polls published in this week's issue of Famitsu magazine, 60 percent of Japanese developers are actively pushing DLC in their console games, with another 30 percent saying they've offered DLC at least once in the past. Half of the devs polled also said that the number of gamers who take advantage of DLC are increasing, with the rest divided between having no opinion and thinking the audience hasn't grown or shrunk at all.
"DLC provides a catalyst for gamers who have stopped playing a title to pick it up again," one anonymous dev told Famitsu. "DLC also makes things like special collaborations and other projects possible, and it lets users try all sorts of things that aren't in the main game."
Other developers brought up the cost-performance aspect of DLC ("It lets us use off-time in the development line to create goods to sell"), while some liked how it gave them a closer connection to gamers: "We can gauge gamers' reactions as well as dig deeper into the game and its world. What's more, content that veers a little away from the main game is more easily accepted and enjoyed by players. Having more to do after completing the game keeps them more satisfied."
Meanwhile, about 30 percent of gamers polled by Famitsu said that they "often" use DLC, with another 45 percent claiming they occasionally do. The most preferred content was extra story scenarios, followed by new characters or costumes, and gamers seem willing to pay at least something for all of it — only 13 percent said that they use nothing but free DLC.
That's not meant to say that Japanese gamers are without complaints, though. "I think there's a problem with the timing at which game companies release DLC," wrote one poll responder. "I feel like the publishers have the wrong idea about the amount of time spent on games by the sort of hardcore people who download DLC."
"I wish they'd get rid of so-called 'DLC' that just consists of unlocking data already in the game," added another. "If I'm actually getting something new from it, then I'm more than welcoming to that."