There are all sorts of DLC out there, but one kind is the best. It’s cosmetic DLC, in case you were wondering. Opportunities to customize characters can be great for many reasons. But having it as the add-on, instead of forcing people to buy more things that could make the game longer or their characters better, has some real benefits.
Let’s be clear, there are some very obvious pros with cosmetic DLC. It doesn’t have any negative or positive impact on the game. The purpose is to change the appearance. This means it becomes entirely optional. You don’t need to have it. You only have to opt in if you really want to. It also could make developers and publishers seem less greedy, since it’s not like important elements are being withheld. The playing field stays level. No one’s being left out. It just works.
It also means developers get to get goofy. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE had so many cosmetic options that called back to Atlus games. For example, outfits based on Shin Megami Tensei IV, Devil Survivor, Persona Q, and Etrian Odyssey all appeared as DLC for the original version of the game. Considering how all of these series influenced this RPG in some way, it seemed appropriate. It was a salute to what came before it. And of course now, they’re all free in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore.
Speaking of tie-ins, cosmetic DLC also lets us bring in references to things that are popular and cool in places where they wouldn’t otherwise belong. Ghost Recon: Breakpoint crossed over with The Terminator. One of the things you can get is face paint that makes you look like your skin is being torn away to reveal the T-800 underneath. It’s amazing. When The Joker was being shown off for Mortal Kombat 11, the trailer had Cassie Cage in her Harley Quinn outfit.
Most importantly, cosmetic DLC can serve a greater purpose. It can be charitable to help people out. Let’s look back at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. When the Australian wildfires were ongoing, Activision and Infinity Ward made the Outback Pack into the Outback Relief Pack. This has cosmetic, themed items. Once the announcement was made, all of the proceeds from past sales and through January 2020 went to relief efforts. The same sort of thing happened with Overwatch and the Pink Mercy skin. Except with her, it helped benefit breast cancer research.
You can’t lose with cosmetic DLC. There are no hard feelings like with extra campaigns or story segment add-ons. It’s not like you’re paying $20 more for more game. You also don’t see people getting an edge with special weapons. You just get an option to stand out. It’s pretty great.