Remember in the old days of gaming (PC gaming in particular), months or even years after a game was released, the developer would release an “Expansion Pack” that added a ton of new content to the base game? You rarely see “Expansion Packs” anymore nowadays. Now it’s all DLC; downloadable add-ons ranging from laughably superfluous, (Oblivion Horse Armour) to massively huge. Of course, just making and selling a DLC piecemeal wasn’t enough. Publishers then came up with the idea to sell DLC not only in bulk, but before release. Welcome, to Season Passes.

season pass


The idea behind the Season Pass (for video games) is to sell a bunch of DLC in bulk for a slightly discounted price. Aside from the worrying amount of DLC that modern games are getting, this isn’t a half-bad idea. One of the problems is that most Season Passes are sold in advance of any DLC actually being available to purchase. In fact, we’ve reached the point now where Season Passes are announced alongside or sometimes even before the actual game is announced. “Hey yeah, we got this awesome cool game coming out in 6-12 months, you should totally pre-order it even though we haven’t finished it yet. Oh and when you do, you should also pre-order all this DLC that we wrote down a couple ideas for, but haven’t actually started making yet.”

Are you, frelling with me?

It’s bad enough that every game & retailer is constantly begging us to pre-order the Next Big Game when all they have to show is some fancy CGI trailer or heavily scripted gameplay sequence. Now nearly every game announced comes with an ethereal promise of “more DLC” that you can pre-order as well, and if it’s not vague promises of more “stuff,” then it’s content or features that should’ve been in the base game to begin with.

Dark Siders 2 DLC

Wait, so which ones come with the Season Pass again?

Then there’s also the issue of Season Passes, despite implying that they would include all to-be-released DLC, they often only include a handful of the content to be released. Borderlands 2 was notorious for this; there’s dozens of DLC add-ons for the game but only a small handful are actually included in the Season Pass. And Borderlands isn’t the only one, lots of games take this Season Pass plus extra route with DLC. Games like Darksiders 2, Saints Row and others release a Season Pass that includes three or maybe four DLC add-ons but then also release fifty gazillion other add-ons that are not part of the “Pass.” If a person wanted to actually buy DLC for these games, they would likely have to do in-depth research to find out what DLC comes with what. It’s insane.

It’s one thing if your Season Pass is an all-inclusive ticket to any and all DLC for those who just can’t get enough of your game. But when you’re pushing pre-orders for Season Passes before the base game is even out, and you release a metric crap-ton of other DLC not included in the Pass, you’re just breeding confusion and greed.


Borderlands 2 DLC

I don’t even….

About The Author

Joshua Caleb

Joshua Caleb may be a bit of a retro gamer at heart but he still enjoys playing many of the latest and greatest video games. If there's one thing he likes to do as much as playing games though, it's beating them with a big stick for their stupid ideas & mistakes. Cause that's how you learn. Follow his frequent outrages on Twitter @JoshuaCaleb75.

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  • I completely agree, Joshua. The Season Pass thing is deceitful and unforgivable. I was so confused when I bought “The Full Package” DLC for Saints Row: The Third only to discover that the DLC I actually wanted was not included. How can they call it “The Full Package?”

  • Larry_Chupacabra

    Personally I find that if Im on the fence about trying a game series. Seeing “Season Pass” turns a potential sale into no sale.

    Think I said this in another article. But Watch Dogs had to be the worst offender. There was literally NO package with all the content on any system. It wasn’t even that it was console or system exclusives either. You had to buy the game multiple times to get everything. That or buy the expensive season pass. Just so you could get the full experience that should just work out of the box.

  • Joshua has this dead on. Season passes are stupid. Your DLC articles are great.

    Larry, the worst part about buying Watch Dogs is that you have to own Watch Dogs.

  • I got out of modern gaming right before Season Passes exploded…when I first heard of the, I thought that getting a discount on DLC is nice, but buying it is a dumb move on the consumer because it will encourage publishers to drive the concept into the ground and really take advantage…and apparently, that’s exactly what happened.

    I swear, for the few times I’ve walked into a GameStop over the last two years, “season passes” really have been advertised more than the game itself on printed material, by employees, and that damn TV with the volume turned up too loud.