Bethesda recently announced that Fallout 4 would have a season pass. This is not surprising since in the past Bethesda has offered a decent amount of DLC for Fallout 3 and Skyrim. Also Bethesda said that Fallout 4 was going to be “unending” in a way and continue through DLC. They are hardly the first company to go the way of the “season pass” in order to encourage people to buy access to DLC before it comes out. With that I thought I would do a quick break down of what I consider some of the Pros and the Cons of the Season Pass.
Con: Some companies stop doing regular patches between DLC
Some companies see season passes as a way to pass on regular updates and patches. They know that they are putting out DLC on a certain schedule, so any fixes for bugs and other things can just be put into the DLC. It’s great to have a time frame for updates and patches, but some can’t wait for the next stage of DLC. Companies can be tempted to take advantage of the system though to make gamers wait for important fixes.
Con: For multiplayer games they devalue the experience for “new players”
This is already a pretty big problem in games that emphasis multiplayer anyway. If you can’t buy the game on launch day then you will be behind with map knowledge, ranks, and just general understanding of how the community plays. Add into this gamers that have to wait until DLC price drops and they are pushed even further behind the community.
Con: They mean the game was always meant to continue through DLC
Some games depend on DLC to complete the experience. This bothers me, DLC is supposed to add to an already complete game, not complete and unfinished game while charging more. Season Passes often include DLC that should frankly be included in the main game. It is asking gamers to pay for something they already paid for, not extras.
Pro: They mean the game was meant to continue through DLC
Unlike the above (the same con) not all companies actually take advantage of the DLC and Season Pass system. As long as the original game feels like a complete experience, worth the amount that games cost in this day and age, season passes and DLC are great. In Fallout 3 the game itself felt complete, and whole. DLC just expanded on that experience. A season pass for Fallout 3 would have been reasonable because it was offered by a company that used the idea of DLC right.
Con: Some companies fill the Season Pass with crap in order to make them worth more
Bethesda said that their first season pass will be sold for $30 (a fairly average price) but will be worth at least $40. Without actually knowing what they are considering Season Pass worthy DLC it’s hard to say how this will go. Some companies will offer a few map packs (or story extensions) then fill up the value of the Season Pass with a lot of smaller armor and weapon pieces. This means that while the actual dollar amount might be worth more gamers get a whole lot of small things that frankly they might not want anyway.
Pro: You usually save money with them
I am always about saving money on gaming. It’s not a cheap hobby to have so the real joy of season passes comes in the chance to get all your DLC while saving some money. If you can afford a season pass in one go it will usually end up more than worthwhile in the long run.
Pro: It’s nice having a schedule of new things coming your way
While some people hate the pay now get rewarded later system I rather like it. It’s nice paying and knowing that at least for a few months there will something new coming your way. It allows gamers the chance to know that they will get to go back to their favorite game soon for something new.
When it comes down to it whether or not a season pass is worth it comes down to the game/company that puts them out. It’s easy for companies to take advantage of the system and gamers themselves. However with the right company, and the right DLC, the advantage really goes to the gamer. Here’s hoping that Bethesda will treat us well with their Season Pass.