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what is dlc in gaming

What is DLC in Gaming?

Kirstyn Amanda
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Reading time: 7 minutes
What is DLC? DLC, or downloadable content, refers to additional content gamers download for video games after their initial release. This content may include new levels, characters, weapons, or skins.
DLC in video games keeps things fresh, exciting and challenging for gamers to keep them coming back for more, thus extending the game's lifespan. Additionally, it provides game developers and publishers with more ways to monetize their games.
You can download DLC in games from within the game or through the relevant gaming platform, such as the PlayStation Store, Google Play, or Steam.

Types of DLC that games offer

The types of DLCs that games offer vary depending on the game. Let’s explore some examples:
  • Game modes: DLCs may add new ways to play a game, such as a co-op or competitive play in multiplayer mode.
  • Cosmetic items: DLCs may offer new skins, costumes, stickers, dances, or emotes.
  • Season passes: Some games offer season passes that grant early access to upcoming DLCs at discounted prices.
  • Expansion packs: These DLCs add new features to video games, such as new levels, challenges, or storylines.
  • Bonus content: DLCs may offer a new outlook for games by providing bonus content such as soundtracks.

The history of DLC

The concept of DLC in games stretches back to the early 1990s with the GameLine service, allowing gamers to download full games via telephone. It was then followed by the Sega Channel, which allowed gamers to download full games to the Sega Genesis via cable lines. These two services did not provide DLC for existing titles.
During this period, some publishers sold expansion packs with DLC perks, such as additional levels or maps. The fact that gamers were willing to spend money to get something extra once they had purchased a game propelled the rise of DLC.

When did DLC take off?

The rise of DLC began during the internet boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s. During this period, gamers distributed game mods and maps online, bolstering the adoption of DLC. In 1997, the computer game “Total Annihilation” contributed to the rise of the DLC concept by distributing free new monthly downloadable content.
In the late 1990s, Sega Dreamcast became one of the first video consoles that could connect to the internet. These online capabilities allowed gamers to access DLC via their consoles. In the early 2000s, Microsoft’s Xbox, more so the Xbox 360, offered expanded availability of downloadable content through its Xbox Live Service. They also had more game titles with DLC content, such as Halo 2 and Splinter Cell. Eventually, Sony followed suit with their downloadable hub, PlayStation Store.
The evolution of DLC continued in the late 2010s as Facebook normalized the concept of microtransactions. Microtransactions allow gamers to download new content with a single tap. They also incentivized developers in the gaming industry to add new features that gamers can buy, which has become a topic of debate. Nowadays, as more games become digitally available, DLC's popularity keeps rising.

Pros and cons of DLC in gaming

gaming dlc
Let us now look at what some gamers like and what others do not about DLC in gaming.

Pros

  • Extended gameplay
  • Variety
  • Supporting developers
DLC provides gamers with new content to play. Gamers can download expansion packs with new storylines or challenges to keep playing. Thus, extending the lifespan of a game as they keep playing the same games.
DLC in games introduces new weapons, cosmetics, or soundtracks that change the gameplay experience to make it enjoyable.
By purchasing DLC, gamers can show their appreciation to game developers for creating engaging games, allowing them to continue making games in the future.

Cons

  • Costly DLC
  • Unfair advantage
  • Unfinished games
While some game publishers offer free DLC packs, others require gamers to pay. Sometimes, these DLCs are very costly, with some costing as much as the original game.
Some premium DLC offers gamers an unfair advantage by giving them features like unlimited power-ups and loots, allowing them to beat their opponents easily. Those who cannot afford these DLCs are then at a disadvantage.
Gamers have often accused developers of unscrupulous practices, such as releasing unfinished games so that they can profit more by selling additional content in the form of DLC to complete the game.

The best PC specs that support DLC in gaming

Before buying a gaming PC, you should consider specs such as the type of processor, graphics card, storage capacity, and the pre-built model of the PC. Let us briefly explore the importance of these specs for DLC.

Processor

The processor receives data from different components and executes basic instructions. It is important for DLC in games when it comes to performance. An ideal processor should be powerful and have high clock speeds to ensure games run smoothly and respond quicker to player inputs.

Graphics card

The graphics card is responsible for rendering images and videos. It is important for DLC because it enables video games to display hyperrealistic visuals. An ideal graphics card should be powerful to handle visually intensive tasks to allow games to run smoothly.

Hard drive

A hard drive provides storage space to store and retrieve data on a PC. It is important for DLC because it stores DLC files after they are downloaded. An ideal hard drive should provide value for money, finding the right balance between performance and price. SSD is preferable as it loads games faster than HDD, but you can get away with HDD if it has adequate capacity to store your games.

Pre-built model

A pre-built model is a PC built, tested, and configured by a manufacturer. The importance of a pre-built PC model for DLC is that they are usually built to meet the minimum system requirements for video games.

The best gaming PCs from HP

Statista estimates that there are nearly 1.8 billion PC gamers worldwide, highlighting just how popular PC gaming is. Here are four popular HP gaming PCs that we recommend for gaming.

OMEN Gaming Laptop 16-k0797nr

OMEN 16-inch gaming laptop
Our OMEN Gaming Laptop 16-k0797nr has an absurdly powerful 12th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-12700H processor with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 24MB L3 cache, 14 cores, and 20 threads that will take your gaming experience to the next level. This processor will handle and fast refresh all your Triple-A (AAA) titles and most graphically demanding games, allowing for a smooth performance.
We have equipped it with the integrated Intel Iris® Xe and the discrete NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3060 graphics cards, with a dedicated 6GB GDDR6. This will ensure that you only experience superb quality graphics with realistic shadows and lighting when gaming.
This gaming laptop has an immersive 16.1-inch screen with TUV eye-safe low blue light that maintains the vivid color of your screen while allowing you to play video games for extended periods without eye fatigue.

Victus by HP Gaming Laptop 15z-fb000

Victus 15-inch gaming laptop
The Victus by HP Gaming Laptop 15z-fb000 is a peak-performance gaming PC. We have designed this 15.6-inch Full High definition (FHD) PC with a sleek and stylish design to ensure you only experience stunning visuals and vibrant colors when gaming.
This HP gaming laptop has a powerful AMD Ryzen™ 7 5800H processor with 16MB L3 cache, 8 cores, and 16 threads that will allow you to run the latest games and DLC at high settings without any lag.
It also has an AMD Radeon™ RX 6500M graphics card with a 16GB DDR4-3200 SDRAM that delivers peak performance, even on the most visually intensive games. Additionally, we have equipped this gaming laptop with thermal technology that keeps your system cool and quiet when playing video games.

OMEN by HP 25L Gaming Desktop

OMEN 25L Gaming Desktop
The OMEN by HP 25L Gaming Desktop is a powerful gaming PC designed with a cutting-edge modern asthetic that you’ll find easy to set up.
This gaming desktop has a 12th Generation Intel Core i7-12700 processor, with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 25MB L3 cache, 12 cores, and 20 threads to ensure that even your most demanding games run smoothly.
Tailor this PC to your liking with OMEN Gaming Hub tool-less access to internal components. We have fitted this energy-efficient DIY gaming tower with a 120 mm front fan to keep the system cool, in addition to fully controllable RGB lighting that puts you in control of your gaming experience.

Victus by HP 15L Gaming Desktop

HP Victus bundle PC
The Victus by HP 15L Gaming Desktop is a versatile gaming desktop with plenty of storage and high-speed input/output ports to provide the best gaming experience.
We have equipped this gaming desktop with a powerful AMD Ryzen 7 5700G processor with a 16MB L3 cache, 8 cores, and 16 threads. We have also added integrated AMD Radeon Graphics and discrete AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT Graphics cards with 8GB GDDR6 dedicated. In combination, they will ensure that all your visually intensive games run smoothly without lag and respond quickly.
It is also energy efficient and offers unmatched control to elevate your gaming experience through the OMEN Gaming Hub.

Summary

While gamers like the additional content that comes with DLC, some label it unfair as it provides an unfair advantage to some gamers. Monetization of DLC also makes some developers release unfinished games. But if you’re looking to extend your gaming journey further, having an HP gaming PC will surely ehance your experience.

About the Author

Kirstyn Amanda is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. She has a background in tech and a keen interest in emerging trends in the tech industry.

Disclosure: Our site may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.