At Microsoft's keynote at CES this year, it was announced that an timed exclusive expansion pack for "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" would be coming to the Xbox 360. The news that exclusive content would be coming to the 360 was initially detailed at last year's E3, when two timed exclusive map packs were announced for release in 2010.
But the map packs weren't mentioned in Microsoft's CES keynote. Instead they spoke of an "expansion." Interesting, but probably not in the way you think. After all, it seems that companies are starting to ditch the term DLC in favor of the more old school "expansion pack," which conveys a meatier experience.
Take "Dragon Age: Origins," for example. Just this week, Bioware announced that an expansion pack for the fantasy RPG is on the way for a March 2010 release. On the same day, the first planned DLC episode for the game, "Return to Ostragar," was delayed indefinitely. It seems likely that the DLC will be rolled into the forthcoming expansion pack.
So will this trend continue? Are companies seeing bigger successes with large content packs, or are small, bite-sized pieces of DLC the way to go? Or is this all just a branding exercise because some people in a focus group said that "expansion" sounds more valuable than "DLC"?
Bringing it back to "Modern Warfare 2," though, I seriously doubt that this new label will affect the actual planned content. While two map packs were initially announced, I wouldn't be surprised if they were just rolled into one expansion and Infinity Ward closed the book on new additions to the game. After all, that's what they did with the first "Modern Warfare" title.