Season pass (video gaming)
A season pass is a discounted package for current and future downloadable content (DLC) packs for a video game. Its name originates from the concept of a season ticket. The idea has caused controversy due to the fact that they seldom divulge their contents beforehand, and the fact that some season passes do not contain all planned DLC, with some season passes being called scams by the gaming press.
One of the first season passes in video games was used by Rockstar Games with L.A. Noire in 2011. Later the same month, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment continued the trend with Mortal Kombat, Electronic Arts released their EA Sports Season Ticket in August 2011. By the mid 2010s, season passes had become common in AAA games. By the end of the decade, season passes continued to be offered for many games, although some publishers began to forgo offering them in favor of free DLC due to the negative publicity created by their announcement shortly after release. The rising popularity of loot boxes also played a role in the decreasing popularity of the season pass, although the gaming press has speculated that this may result in less post-release content overall.
Season passes have been criticized for being anti-consumer, as they psychologically pressure customers to spend more money. It is also impossible to know if they are worth buying since they cannot be reviewed until they are released, and the discounts they offer are sometimes offset by poor-quality content that the player would otherwise not have bought. Additionally, if a game performs poorly in the market, the prices of the DLC for it can fall faster than any discount people would have received by immediately buying its season pass.
Andrew Reiner of Game Informer called some season passes "scams coming from money-hungry corporations" because so little information is divulged that consumers can be subject to bait-and-switch tactics, like using a lower-quality studio to develop the content, or delaying the content's release significantly.
GamesRadar+ criticized multiplayer season passes as splitting the community of online games, praising games that had instituted a different model that was more dependent on cosmetic DLC rather than downloadable maps, such as For Honor and Titanfall 2. Shacknews criticized a number of games for having disappointing season passes, such as Evolve and Aliens: Colonial Marines.
- "Take-Two Interactive Software - Investor Relations - Take-Two News Release". ir.take2games.com. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
- "L.A. Noire Rockstar Pass". PlayStation™Store. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
- Orland, Kyle. "Warner Bros. To Offer 'season pass' DLC Bundle For Xbox 360 Mortal Kombat". Retrieved 12 March 2018.
- Arts, Electronic (1 August 2011). "EA SPORTS Season Ticket Announces Today". Retrieved 12 March 2018.
- "Dear everyone: it's time to stop buying season passes at launch". PCGamesN. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
- "With the apparent death of season passes and $15 DLC, did we actually end up with a worse deal? - VG247". VG247. 2017-07-10. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
- "season passes Are Starting To Sound Like Scams". Game Informer. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
- "The multiplayer season pass is almost dead, this is how For Honor and Titanfall 2 are killing it". gamesradar. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
- "The Most (and Almost) Disappointing season passes of All Time". Shacknews. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
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