In the last few months, starting with the introduction of an ability to pre-purchase content with the Rockstar pass that was introduced with LA Noire earlier this year, more and more companies are exploring this concept of season passes. There are a few things that are done right with this idea and a few things that might not be the best for consumers in the end if all the details are not laid out in advance.
So the idea behind these DLC passes is to entice the consumer to purchase the content in advance essentially, with a promised discounted price in the long run from buying the content one piece at a time and wait for content to become available. These passes will initially give you some content to start with and exclusive items that can only be made available for those season pass holders. So with a few major franchises starting to use this season pass method such as Gears of War and Forza 4 they have stated that there is content packages that will be released in the next year for the pass holders. Now this is where I start seeing a problem for some consumers who might initially think that it would be a great idea to get this season pass to save money, but there is a few key details that need to be pointed out that might not favor them.
The first problem with purchasing a season pass is that the consumer has to wait a full year to see the full return of their investment and it isn’t guaranteed when they will see the different content drops though the year, but my best guess and prediction will be a content drop every three months since the launch of the game unless otherwise specified. The reasoning I can see behind this is about the average time for a person to migrate to a new game and maybe wanting something new is about a few months, so by the time people are starting the leave the game’s population, here comes a DLC pack to bring interest back to the game.
The second problem is that there might not be enough details on what the content packages will include in the releases which leaves it to be part of the mystery and the consumer has to have faith in their purchase when it comes to the season passes as they are putting a good deal of money into it, the two passes for Gears 3 and Forza are 2400 Microsoft Points or $30. Also the fact that there are many different types of consumers that may want to purchase this content, there are some who only play the single player experience, some who only play multiplayer, and the combination of the those who enjoy both.
The third issue is that the consumer might not enjoy each piece of content that is made available with the DLC that is released. So now it becomes the scenario of purchasing the season pass to initially save money, but after a year waiting for the content to be released that they only liked one or maybe two of the content pieces which might leave them feeling like they wasted money. The argument to this is that they still have all this other content available to them, but it might not be played.
So with this topics being brought up, let’s take a look at the possible positive aspects of purchasing a DLC season pass for these games and future games if they are made available.
First is getting the DLC at a discounted price and not having to worry about always having points/credits available to make these purchases. Just pay the one time price and just wait for the announcements of the next DLC package to be released and play.
Second is that with community feedback the developers should be able to have time to create the content that is being asked for the most, which could be single player, multiplayer, or the combination of the both.
Third is that getting some exclusive items that are not available anywhere else gives the incentive to purchase the season pass and might encourage others to make the purchase when they know that they can unlock something special.
So while the initial discount of getting the DLC is favorable, but what about providing this content first to those season pass holders? For a certain amount of time release the content to the season pass holders and then have the public release a little after that to purchase it.
At this time based on the current and fairly new concept of having a season pass of content streams for games it will need to be evolve a little more and be presented stronger in the future before I personally can think about purchasing one when a new game launches. I would like to know exactly what I will be getting with my purchase just like any other consumer product, I want to know what I am paying for and not risk disappointment in the end.
So what does everyone think of this idea of the season pass for games and DLC being released over the next year for the games? Let us know in the comments or shout out in the forums!