We live in an age where our consumption of popular culture is changing. We used to rely on cable television or movie theaters for entertainment. Now we have streaming services and home theaters are much more common. Why pay an arm and a leg to see a movie in theaters when you can go over to your best friend's house and get wine drunk at the same time? Changes are not only happening in the film and television industries. Things are changing in the video game industry as well. We have video game streaming services, virtual reality is becoming more and more common, and post-release downloadable content is the norm.
I ponder that last change fairly often. There have been many times that I've balked at it. I sometimes miss the days of my youth when I would buy a game once and have hours upon hours of playtime. Then there are other moments where I realize I have adapted to this new release schedule. Just yesterday, I valued a game based on its downloadable content. My father was showing off some gameplay in Steep and I tried to recall if they were still updating the game. He has the Season Pass, but hadn't checked out any new additions in a while. I considered Steep a great game in that moment, because it was continuing to release new content.
Whether you're like me and your opinion on DLC changes depending on the situation or if you have a strong permanent opinion about it, there is one thing we can probably all agree on. Downloadable content is here, it's most likely here to stay, and we've got to remember one of the virtues we learned as a child: patience. Downloadable content can release anywhere from the day after a game comes out, to years down the line. Just recently Capcom announced a Gold Edition of Resident Evil 7 that will have two unreleased add-ons included in it in December, almost a year after its release.
I think of it like this: I generally have to wait months to a year to buy a game because I generally can't afford it when it first comes out. Sometimes that means waiting all the way until a “Game of the Year” version releases. This isn't always a bad thing, because GOTY versions generally include all the DLC that were released. If you want to enjoy a game as a full experience, rather than piecemeal as things release, you just have to remember that patience is a virtue.
Wait until a game seems to be nearing the end of its update timeline or after its expansions are out. In so doing, you'll be able to play the entirety of a game and its DLC at one time, rather than waiting around. It's the same concept that causes my boyfriend to wait until three seasons of a show are released before he starts watching it. Why wait through all those horrible cliffhangers when you can just throw away two weeks of your life in a row binge-watching?
The game release hype is absolutely real, and I can understand that it's hard to resist sometimes. The last game I bought at full-price at launch was No Man's Sky. I saw a friend and co-worker playing it, and it was at that moment I knew I couldn't wait. Then the monotony set in. After countless fixes, updates, and expansions, No Man's Sky is actually not that awful of a game. I can go back and play it now with all of the updates, just like anyone buying it new. But I could have avoided all that sadness and judgement I got from others who found out I bought it brand new.
Be patient if you can. Video games are awesome to play no matter when you buy them. But nowadays, with innumerable bug fixes and DLC released for nearly every game, you can wait and play the whole experience at once. Being patient does pay off. Some might say that is an overload, but I say it's awesome. Get those games on your Steam watchlists and wait. It'll be worth it in the end.