I’m sick of people associating dlc with expansion packs. Most of the time, this analogy is like comparing apples and oranges. If the last two sentences describe you, either The Sims has blinded you, or you’re truly out of the loop. Downloadable content in video games is supposed to enhance the experience. On the PC, retail expansions have served the same purpose for years. It is only in the online era that video game consoles have finally gained the same functionality.
The problem is, companies are going about it the wrong way. Game series that used to have tons of secret unlockables now make you pay extra for them. The recent Tales of Vesperia has extra costumes for dlc, whereas they were obtainable through in-game tasks in previous Tales games. Capcom is an even worse offender, having released a total of 2 extra characters for Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and many more costumes. Instead of releasing more dlc, they put out a whole new game. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 completely alienated the multiplayer community in an era of online play.
On the other hand, most expansion packs provide worthwhile content to the existing game. Bioware is a great example. Their expansions for the Baldur’s Gate series not only added new character classes, but also additions to the storyline and game world. Even in an age of dlc, they are among the few doing it right. Mass Effect’s dlc adds new characters and missions. They actually expand the story and gameplay. At it’s core, downloadable content is supposed to at least one of these things. Do the video industry a favor. Only buy the good kind of dlc. Don’t pay extra for what should be included to you on the disc. (Don’t even get me started with on disc dlc.) Treat paid costume packs and extra weapons like rabid raccoons, or else the Capcoms of the world will keep trying to sell them to you.