Welcome my controller wielding warriors! In this week’s blog, I am going to be discussing season passes and asking the question “Is there any point in having them anymore?”
So for those who may not know what season passes are I’ll explain this for you. Season passes are extra content that is released after the game has launched and usually has extra levels, items and game modes that you can play at a cost.
Cost? That sounds ominous…
Yep, you got me there! Most season passes cost almost as much as the game itself. This is what really gets my blood boiling because when you pay upwards of £50 to £60 and then you have to fork out an additional £35+ surely this is exploiting the gamer and their “love” for the game they’ve purchased?
That’s true why should we pay even more for content! Isn’t this just developers releasing half-finished games and making additional money?
I cannot defend or deny this because there are times when games have launched with season passes and it is blatantly obvious that the game was rushed and the season pass is a “defence mechanic” and allows developers to carry on and bring in the finished article.
Don’t get me wrong this is not the right thing to be doing and sadly does happen all too often. For me when I think about season passes I think there has to be a limit on how much season passes cost if pushed for a figure I would say no more than £20.
I know that this will still feel like it’s too expensive for some but of course, there has to be a happy balance. I have had my fair share of season passes that have been pretty crappy, then I have had some that I’ve been awesome or at least worth their value.
For example, The Division 2 year 1pass gives holders 7 days early access and exclusive classified missions which don’t really seem justified for £32.79. Whereas the far cry 5’s season pass was £25 but introduced 3 different game modes, weapons, outfits as well as a classic edition of Far Cry 3. Based on just these two games alone you can see that you don’t always get good value for money and yet we still find ourselves drawn to them, it all comes down to the fact that gamers like to be able to have something cool and to be approached by other games to be asked “that’s cool! Where did you get that?”.
So why bother with season passes then?
So more and more these days players want longevity and more from their games, let not forget it can be extremely costly to make a game and then continue to add more content. This isn’t just a case of updating and then you downloading the game, you have the level designers, the press teams, the voice actors, the coders and game testers all this soon adds up.
Let’s look at Assassins Creed and more so Black Flag this game when it released cost $100 million dollars and over 900 staff to create and develop the game, it is insane to think that something that we take for granted in the gaming world can cost so much. But when you take that into consideration and then think of the season pass side of things it almost (and I stress “almost”) seems reasonable, after all, if you want more content and you want those extra levels and awesome looking weapons why shouldn’t you pay for them?
I have witnessed first hand where there is a belief of self-entitlement when it comes to content releases. Where gamers feel that they are “owed” the content, after all, they have shelled out the initial £60 after all so why should they have to pay out more?
The thing is they are not totally wrong because sometimes season passes really do not represent value for money and it shows. For me as a gamer when a game is announced and they explain what is coming in the core release and what is going to be additional content, that’s when I make my choice on whether I want to invest in the game and a season pass or is there an alternative where you can pay a little more (but not as much as the season pass alone) and get a different edition of the game that includes the season pass.
I think season passes need to be “fairer” in their cost and what they offer as content because the term season pass is loose at best and is interpreted in several ways.
But are season passes needed? That was the question right?
I think the answer is no… and yes, you see most games (if not all) recuperate their overall costs of making their game pretty quick, if you want an example GTA 5 cost $100m and in the third week of sales it topped $1billion in sales this beat Iron Man 3 in the cinema’s which too just shy of $800m. I’m not saying that all games are as successful as GTA but developers need to be wiser when it comes to season passes as they can help to improve the game and longevity, they just have to get it right.