Meet Dovetail Games' Train Simulator -- currently the most expensive video game on Steam. The asking price isn’t much: a mere $30 depending on the region you’re in. It’s what comes after, if you want to get a good set of trains to play with, that makes the game run up a whopping total. (This is not counting gambling programs or being a whale in a mobile game like Clash of Clans, of course, where you can throw away millions if you'd like)
As calculated on Steam itself per November 3, 2019, you're going to need a grand total of $9,765.47 to own every single piece of downloadable content (DLC) for Train Simulator. In contrast, it’ll only run you $510 to own all the DLCs in The Sims 4, including the micro expansions.
At this price level, you might as well buy real train sets and have something to show for your bank statement. At least higher end physical toys tend to eventually become prized collectibles (according to American Pickers, and those boys don't lie).
On the plus side, you’ll only need to buy each DLC once, as they’re fully compatible with the yearly iterations of the game.
Just to show you precisely how ridiculous it costs to own everything in this game, a redditor named u/Shahar603 posted a graph comparing Train Simulator DLC to real world items. Yes, you can buy a brand new car for less.
But just because you can buy all the DLCs, doesn’t mean you should.
Fans of the Train Simulator franchise say that there's nothing particularly eyebrow raising about the price tag because train enthusiasts can focus their purchases on specific train collections; like UK trains, or American continental trains. For players on a budget, just get an odd route or two and add a few trains you like into the mix.
The idea behind Train Simulator’s business model is that it’s designed to be a lot like a model train set. It could cost you millions of dollars to own every (physical) model train available — so you’ll just want to stick with a few.
Similar debates have cropped up over games that suffer (or are enriched by, depending on your perspective) an abundance of DLC. The Sims 4’s selection of available content has prompted many a fan to ask for advice on what the best DLCs are worth picking up. (In that game’s case, most Redditors suggest picking up Seasons as a must-have and to watch overviews of the other full-priced DLCs before buying them. Skip the “stuff’ packs, as they’re overpriced junk you can get free fan-made alternatives of.)
The same goes for games like Hearthstone. In Blizzard’s overwhelmingly popular collectible card game, it’s a good idea to crib deck ideas from professional players and simply acquire the cards you need to fill out your pre-planned deck instead of spending thousands of dollars unlocking random card packs. (Thankfully, you can get every card you want to build up a few good decks with less than a hundred dollars by disenchanting gold cards and Legendaries you don’t need.)
Most players aren’t going to blow almost $10k on Train Simulator, but you might be wondering what owning every single piece of DLC in the game might look like. To that end, YouTuber Kwebbelkop — the absolute madman — bought each and every one of them last year. Total cost at the time: $8,546.72.
We should note that some members of the Train Simulator steam community say that the YouTuber cut his video before making the purchase and only did it for clickbait. Regardless, many members of the forum can attest to owning a huge chunk of the DLCs, and their reports aren't all positive. Buying all the DLC and activating them before launching the game lengthens load times.
Also, some say that despite spending hundreds of hours in Train Simulator, they haven’t even touched a large chunk of their more modest collections. Even owning all of the “factory” routes and missions, according to one player’s estimation, would take upwards of 2,000 hours to "play".
So why would anyone spend this much money on the game? Unless you’re a huge YouTuber with 11 million subscribers, there’s absolutely no point in owning all the content for Train Simulator or any other game that costs upwards of a thousand dollars to buy DLC for. Doing that makes you a whale, and you don’t want to be that as much as companies want you to be.