DLC: Perpetual Commodification of the Video Game


  • Ryan Lizardi


The United States video game industry has become a multi-billion dollar-a-year business, due in large part to the explosion of downloadable content (DLC). Video game DLC includes handheld gaming and additional content not found on software discs. The DLC trend is examined for its increasing exploitation of video game con-sumers through a perpetual form of commodification. This article will show that video game DLC is a cyclical form of commodification, though not simply imma-nent or intertextual. Meaning that players are not paying for a commodity that springs from a previous product, but continually coming back and paying for the same product over and over again. DLC multiplayer maps in the first-person shooter, additional music tracks in rhythm games, and MMORPG microtransac-tions are explored for the ways they exist to fill the monetary gap between game software releases, but end up simultaneously exploiting consumers and their free/immaterial labor.

Author Biography

Ryan Lizardi

: Ryan Lizardi is a Ph.D. Candidate (ABD) in the College of Communications at Penn State University. He will finish his Ph.D. in May of 2012 through completion of his dissertation on contemporary nostalgic media. Among others, Ryan has published works on slasher hor-ror film remakes, first-person alien shooter games, and places a research emphasis on the connection between ideology and representations of the past in media.