Epic Games' director of production Rod Fergusson says that plans for DLC extend back far into a game's development. It used to be that DLC was meant as a way to encourage continued interest in a product months or even years after release, but with a movement towards fighting against used game sales using pay walls like online pass codes, the definition of DLC has changed.
"What people need to understand is that extra content is something that you have to plan," said Fergusson to Game Informer. "There are people who think that the first day of DLC development is the day after you launched. That's not the way it works. A lot of it is that you have to prepare and plan and manage your resources and your people and everything to allow for that.
Fergusson also says that DLC can be an alternative to the "Online Pass" system companies like EA, Warner Bros., and THQ, have integrated into many of their games.
"I think that as the industry has matured we've gotten more into that," Fergusson continues. “It's less about shipping what's left over. It's not about, 'Oh, we had this map left over'... it's keeping the disc in the tray. In a used game culture that you have to actively fight against, I think DLC is one of the ways that you do that."