"well, I do push Steam and EA's DLC-based model, but that is because those benefit the users"
How does anyone benifit except the company that makes the game when there is 0 Day DLC? I just opened the box so I have not got anywhere in the game yet, can I get a chance to see how the game works before I get new shinies for it at more price?
Steam benefits the user in that we don't need to pop the disc in every time, we can install anytime we have a stable internet connection, and it provides a pretty nice supplementary system (the steam overlay/chat, and I think you can use Steam-proper as a server browser instead of dealing with the garbage in most games).
The DLC-based model provides incentive for the developers to continue to support the game, which means more patches (and content).
And tell me what the difference is here:
The developers were working on a shiny grappling hook gun. Unfortunately, they ran into a lot of issues, so they backburnered it. They then finish the game-proper, and had jack all to do while most of the beta testing was occurring (outside of making miniscule patches and tweaks, ignoring the occasional massive bug or rewrite). So they get started on the grappling hook again (because it was really nifty).
The devs actually manage to finish the grappling hook late in the beta testing cycle. They could have delayed the game by trying to integrate it again, but they all felt that it would be a good idea to do some more beta testing with the hook. So they aren't going to include it at release.
Now for the thing that sets these scenarios apart :p
A: They delay adding the really nifty grappling hook until a year or so down the road, when it is time for the first expansion pack. There is a lot more stuff they were working on that they included in the expansion pack, so it isn't too bad.
B: They polish the grappling hook and release it pretty early after release (possibly even on 0-Day). Just the grappling hook is in the DLC (free or otherwise), but more DLC is planned.
Am I saying that all DLC works like that? Hell no. Look at Oblivion: There is no way in hell I am going to believe that Bethesda didn't chop out The Orrery. But then you have things like Dragon Age, where the 0-Day DLC was only 0-Day because the game got delayed for console porting time.
This is another thing that I find funny. People don't say that all sci-fi shooters with vehicles are bad just because BREED was actually castrated AFTER the first demo was released. People don't say that all strategy games are bad because they played that one by sega (I forgot the name of it, but it came out a few years back), or that Joint Task Command (or whatever the one with news reporters was), or even that one based on Left Behind. Yet, I can't help but feel that a lot of the animosity has to do with Bethesda and Oblivion (which was arguably the first well-known case of premium DLC that wasn't an MMO).
In the long run, yeah, the DLC route will probably cost a bit more than the expansion pack route (for the same amount of content). But it will ensure that games continue to receive patches the entire time, it will encourage the devs to not just make a sequel (or to actually make a sequel, depending on the game :p). And it will allow for games to be expanded in new and entertaining ways (since most expansion packs, excluding those for sandbox games, tend to be entirely new worlds or adventures).
And if you don't think a DLC is worth buying: Don't buy it. Generally, if it was successful, it will be on the GOTYE or Gold edition. And if not, who cares?
As for 0-day patches (or patches period) which can cause long install/update procesresses (generally happens when you install a game a few months after release): Yeah, they get annoying. But you could take the route that so many others have taken, which is to just stop supporting the game after release :p
The problem is that beta testers can only catch so much. A private beta test restricts the available hardware. A public beta test can damage a game's popularity/credibility, and is likely not any better (because people will just stop playing if they run into a major bug). So, much like with an OS, not every bug can be found until post-release.
Then there is the shadier angle. Let's say you have a few bugs left, but you have to send off the version to be printed on discs. You can either delay the game (annoying most gamers, and your publisher) to fix a bug that affects a relatively small portion of the market (or, if it is Saboteur, your entire targeted market :p)., or you can plan for a 0-Day patch.
But yeah, that is why I tend to push Steam and DLC-based incentive models. Because it is the best alternative, as far as I can see. You get the DRM that makes publishers (and likely most devs) happy, but you also get a lot of conveniences for the user. There IS the problem with you "renting" the game, but I don't see a huge problem with that (especially because digital distribution is already an accepted medium, and it has breathed life back into indie games).
As for the 10-Years Down The Road angle? Take a look at where we are. If it was really that easy to play ANY game 10 years after release, GoG wouldn't exist. Just instead of running DOSBox or a crapload of glide wrappers, we'll run a Steam wrapper (and a crapload of DirectX9 wrappers :p).
Hell, I refused to adopt Steam until I examined how easy it was to bypass. Why? The 10-Year Rule. But it IS pretty easy to bypass, so I no longer have any problems. And if i have to download a game in 10 years, rather than grabbing a disc: I already do that, because I don't like digging through boxes to find my CyClones disc :p.