Content for More Dedicated Players
Season Passes have garnered split opinions since they released. While some consider them a great way to immerse themselves in a world that they love for even longer, others deem them a means for the developer to unduly make more money from their newly released title. Whichever side of the fence you fall down on, the reality is that the Season Pass will probably be around for quite some time.
Quality season passes can give developers the chance to explore ideas in the form of extra side missions and other content that didn’t make it into the base game. At the end of the day, developers aren’t going to spend a ton of time making content that may only appeal or be experienced by a small section of the audience, normally the more dedicated fans. It’s a business decision, one that weighs time against cost efficiency.
By shipping off the best content and experience as the base game, and then putting extra content in a season pass for fans to pick up and enjoy as and when the content releases, developers can keep their most loyal fans happy by giving them more content, while ensuring that the product that is shipped is the best experience for a wide, general audience.
In some cases, season passes allow fans to invest in a beloved title ahead of time. Players with loyalty to a brand or solid interest in the game typically plan to drop a fair bit of money on merch, extra content or maybe even a special edition. Season passes allow these fans to pick up inevitable DLC and expansions in a bundle to ensure they’re not going to miss out on anything, along with any bonus bits of content like character skins or extra weapon packs that get thrown in.
In a world of DLC, season passes continue to sell because they offer the easiest and most cost-efficient way to ensure the entire experience. Sales equal staying power, even though the existence of DLC content in the first place is often debated.
Despite the fact that season passes offer extra content for the game, they’re not compulsory to pick up, which is a large contributing factor to their continuance. Companies often see little issue with offering completely optional paid products, and typically this isn’t an issue when the content justifies its price. The Witcher 3’s Expansion Pass and Dying Light’s The Following expansion were definitely worth the cash, but if you bought the Arkham Knight season pass, you may have been left somewhat disappointed.
Like with any game, season passes and additional downloadable content never have to be bought right away, if at all. Next time you’re contemplating buying a piece of DLC or a map pack and are unsure of whether it’s worth it, hold out for reviews. Regardless of what some of the staff at GameStop or EB Games say, you don’t have to pick that Season Pass or any expansion right away. Wait a while and make sure you’re getting a good enough bang for your buck.
One downside, however: multiplayer content such as maps or game modes that are released in season passes and as standalone DLC packs may divide the install base of the servers. With some luck, though, you’ll still be able to join a lobby.
Additional Income for Developers
Even disregarding the reasons fans may like season passes or why companies don’t interpret a large negative effect, they basically make money, and this is a large part of why developers love them so much. Game development, at the very least for publishers, is a business. Releasing a season pass alongside the title means that ultimately developers will obviously be bringing in more money than without it.
The amount of players who pick up a season pass will, of course, impact the amount of money coming in, however, it’s still extra income to be made from the title. Developers and publishers will be reluctant to stop season passes primarily because they generate additional income. Ultimately, the season pass is an optional purchase that allows the biggest of fans to receive the complete package with all the trimmings and yields the creator some extra cash for extra creations that, for one reason or another, someone deemed unnecessary to the base game.
Great Value (Sometimes)
Though this may not apply to all season passes out there, some of the best ones offer truly great value for players. Examples such as Borderlands 2’s and Witcher 3’s Season/Expansion Passes brought large chunks of extra gameplay to players that seemed a genuine value. These additions were large developments in their own, rather than extra tidbits.
Some season passes will continue because developers use them to fund fantastic content, sometimes enough hours of playtime to serve as an entirely new (and slightly smaller) game.
In the end, season passes look to be staying, for better or worse. What are some of your least or most loved season passes? Feel free to let us know below.