At a panel last week during the Game Developers Conference a former Mass Effect designer pleaded with the public at large to stop complaining about downloadable content and to judge developers like BioWare on their work instead. The comments were made by ex-BioWare designer, Christina Norman, who now works at League of Legends maker Riot Games. She spoke out during the panel discussion to stress the need for downloadable content to follow a game's release in rapid fashion.
"There's no point in releasing DLC a year after your game has come out when most people have already sold your game back to GameStop three times," Norman claimed. "That means getting it out early; that means even day-one DLC."
Of course, some would argue that there's plenty of money to be made well after a game's release. Companies like Bethesda can certainly attest to that; Oblivion DLC did very well; Gearbox Software released a continual stream of DLC for Borderlands; and EA Sports, THQ, and Activision offer "seasons passes" so that users can pay for months worth of DLC content in advance. Basically the argument can be countered.
"[Day-one DLC] is a terrible thing to some players. Players rant – they know nothing about this DLC that's coming out except its name. But then it's 'oh this game must be incomplete, the game must be ruined.' Game developers are not evil. (Some are evil.) But most are not evil."
"We just want to release awesome stuff," she added. "Players please, give us a chance. Judge our games based on what they are. Judge the DLC based on what it is. Stop thinking you're a producer and telling us when and where we should be building our content."
I'm not sure that players are all that bothered by Day One DLC unless the company in question offers it in a way that is disingenuous (it's already on the retail disc, for example) or it is locked behind some sort of code pay wall that punishes used game buyers..