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.
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.
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.
TL;DR: SEASON PASSES ARE GREEDY AND CONFUSING AND THEY SUCK! STOP IT GAMES INDUSTRY!