Up For Debate - Do You Prefer Multiplayer Season Passes or Cosmetic Monetization?

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Feb 25, 2017 3:00 PM
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Over the last couple of years we’ve seen a real fork in how developers want to be continue providing content for a full-priced AAA multiplayer game post launch. On the one hand you’ve got the traditionalists. The grizzled old stalwarts like Call of Duty or Battlefield. Churning out a rigid year of premium content with 4 or 5 packs, effectively doubling the price of the game.

Then you’ve got the new wave. The enterprising youngsters looking to change things up. I’m talking about the likes of Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League and For Honor. All of these games are similar in that all gameplay affecting content is free of charge, whether that be new maps, modes, arenas or playable characters. In the case of Siege you’re going to have to work a bit of earn some of the unlocks, but it is all there for free if you put the effort in. With these games, the biggest priority is clearly to never split the playerbase up. Every map pack and expansion for COD or Battlefield fragments the player base yet further, and it’s little wonder why the likes of Star Wars Battlefront have become ghost towns on PC.

I believe one of the major selling points of games with free content is that they tend to have much longer lifespans. The old season pass model is heavily geared towards releasing a new boxed title every 12 months. Again, look at Star Wars Battlefront. DLC support has halted completely as DICE prepares for Star Wars Battlefront 2. Compare and contrast to Rainbow Six Siege, which launched a fortnight later and is now into its second year of free content and with a playerbase that has more than doubled since launch. Keep gamers entertained with a great game stacked on top of lots of content updates and it’s no wonder they’ll stick around for longer.

When it comes to free content, the benefit to publishers is that development costs for this new model are drastically scaled down. The Call of Duty franchise requires three development teams and potentially billions of dollars of investment just to keep it ticking over for three years. Blizzard just needs to concern itself with balancing Overwatch and adding the occasional map, character, or season event. What they’re sacrificing are those $60 game sales and $50 season passes, although this is in part counteracted by cosmetic DLC which can be purchased.

Of course, there are also those who prefer the older model. You could buy Battlefield 1 with the Premium Pass on day one and know that you were absolutely set to play the game forever. It may have cost you $110, but neither EA nor DICE would be asking you to hand over any more cash for content. And talking of content, because Premium Passes have a high value attached, they’re often much larger packs than the free drops in other games. In the case of Battlefield 1, your $50 will get you 16 new maps over the next year. In Overwatch there have been just two maps added in the last 9 months. In Rainbow Six Siege it’s six in about 15 months.

So which method do you prefer? Are we seeing a total shift towards free maps and modes? Is the DLC map pack a dying breed? Let us know your thoughts!

Which DLC plan do you prefer?

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16:39 Feb-27-2017

The title is like asking "do you prefer throat cancer or lung cancer"?


(joking of course) :P

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08:45 Feb-27-2017

With the way games are losing their value with every next release and still cost 60€, they have huge balls to release paid DLC. And the consumers, however, have lack of judgement and pay right up.
GTAV is still my benchmark on how to provide massive single/multi player quality content at release and provide free stuff after.

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21:54 Feb-25-2017

One of them locks content up and divides the community. One doesn't.


It's pretty open and shut.

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21:21 Feb-25-2017

I like the Rainbow Six Siege system.Any DLC is optional,and eventually all the maps and operators are available to everyone.Also,microtransactions are just cosmetic and for boosetrs,which just boost your in-game currency earnings.

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20:03 Feb-25-2017

If you don't have a huge playerbase then map packs split the community too much. Paid cosmetics all the way.

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18:00 Feb-25-2017

IMO it depends mostly on the nature of the game, a game you pay 60€/£/$ for it should NEVER charge you for anything else except giant expansions that almost count as another game (Witcher 3 DLC is a good example) but free-to-play games .

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18:01 Feb-25-2017

need to charge for cosmetics and it's understandable because we already play the game for free so they need to have some way of getting money.

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18:00 Feb-25-2017

None, but the industry is shaped into this mess, where the content that should have been there in the first place is being praised for being released as a ''free map/mode''
However post launch expansions (Skyrim, Witcher 3 etc) are nice

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16:47 Feb-25-2017

If it were a perfect world dlc and paid cosmetic items wouldnt exist.

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16:27 Feb-25-2017

Well, as long it dosent affect the gameplay, and i mean it dosent become a "pay to win"kinda game, im happy eighter way

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16:11 Feb-25-2017

I would most prefer a 90$ price standard with all the content that can be had included in that price tag.
Otherwise IF I have to choose one of the above, I would choose paid cosmetics without season pass or just ubisoft R6 style season pass and you can get all the cosmetics you want then.

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16:10 Feb-25-2017

I prefer a full fledged expansion pack over both.

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16:13 Feb-25-2017

Expansions are a different category.

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15:29 Feb-25-2017

Why is this even a question? Who the hell prefers to pay the price of 2 games for one?

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15:07 Feb-25-2017

"Free modes, paid cosmetics..."
No one mentioned Titanfall 2???

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16:30 Feb-25-2017

Agree. From what I heard Titanfall 2's approach to this seems like the most consumer friendly one.
But if I have to mention different models I'd say the classic expansion pack from 2000s is a 10. Also, Elite Dangerous season passes deserve a mention. The first one contains MASSIVE updates, 3 of which are out already and we have an overview of what's to come. And it costs $25 and as far as I know are there to let the devs have some profit since they're not a publishing juggernaut which covers all expenses with the initial release, correct me if I'm wrong

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