According to Firaxis producer Dennis Shirk, Civilization players are more interested in revolutionary new gameplay systems rather than bitty little extras, leading to them publishing proper expansion packs rather than regular DLC.
"Our fans love big fat expansions," Shirk told us as part of a Civilization V: Brave New World interview. "We did try DLC just to see what it would be like, what if we gave fans the option to buy a la carte, so after releasing Civ V we had a string of those to see if fans would like them more than expansions.
"Not even a little bit. They didn't like it at all. They wanted the gameplay more than new Civs, they wanted religion in the game, they wanted to see the World Congress, they wanted to see these big gameplay systems that you can't do with piecemeal DLC. That's why we course-corrected with Gods & Kings and Brave New World."
"The fans have been extremely happy so far. We loved the reception that we got with Gods & Kings; the attach rate for that was amazing compared to other Civilization expansions because they really loved the gameplay that the team put in the game. That really encouraged us to go a little bit further, this adds more new gameplay than Gods & Kings."
DLC has become one of the defining aspects of this generation, and done properly, can definitely provide good value and aftermarket replayability. But we certainly pine for the days of proper, meaty expansions - and applaud the developers who still deliver them (that said, we hope that XCOM: Enemy Unknown will get the same treatment...).