Yesterday, undoubtedly due to the large success of the free beta, EA announced their plans to offer a season pass for its upcoming Stars Wars Battlefront, an online only Battlefield type game set in the Star Wars universe. The info stated that for $50 players will receive early access to four planned expansions and a fancy emblem. No other info was provided but one can assume since, again, it is a multiplayer game that these expansions will be maps and maybe new multiplayer modes or character perks. That seems pretty ballsy to come right out and offer people the chance to pre order content for a game that isn’t even out yet and with no info on what the new content will be and then go ahead and charge almost the same price for the original content on top of it.
Sadly this seems to be the norm for the video game industry these days . Offering incomplete games and then charging players to get the whole experience is par for the course and EA isn’t the only culprit. The last two major releases from WB, Batman Arkham Knight and Mortal Kombat, both saw the inclusion of overpriced and often useless DLC, from vehicle skins to easy fatalities. For a meager $2.99 you can purchase a new costume for Sub Zero in Mortal Kombat that does absolutely nothing, sounds like a deal right? If useless DLC was the worst of it, I might be ale to over look it, but companies have also been known to add pay to win micro transactions to their games. Essentially with pay to win style micro transactions, you are paying to make the game easier.
Not all companies are guilty of this and some are trying to actively distance themselves from these type of schemes. After Bethesda took flak for offering cosmetic horse armor in Skyrim it seems they will now be offering free regular DLC updates in Fallout. The recent release of The Witcher saw developer CD Projekt Red offer a slew of free DLC content with their first major expansion only costing $10 and offering a large story mission with additional romance characters and items.
I’m not saying that I am against DLC, not at all. If I am truly enjoying a game and the developer is offering DLC to extend my time in a world they created, I will fully be on board to buy it and help support further development of their games. There is the aforementioned Witcher 3 content which boosts an already amazing story. Borderlands 2 had some of the best DLC in recent memory for only $30 and that clocked in around an extra 15-20 hours of content, not to mention the new characters and items. These were great full games, different from the a la cart pieces offered in Batman or Battlefront.
Look, I get games are getting more expensive to develop and market. The piece of the market is getting smaller with so many great indie companies offering new and exciting gameplay. Even we, the consumer, can take our share of the blame for continually supporting this method of game development. But maybe, just maybe, if developers focused on delivering fun, unique AND complete experiences in the first place they wouldn’t have to worry about up-selling the fans that do buy and play their games. And truth be told, I am clearly not the only one who feels this way. Word of mouth travels and if a game is truly worth my hard earned $60, I’ll buy it and support it, but now it just seems that I have a little more free time and money to put into The Witcher 3 or Fallout 4 since I won’t be buying Battlefront.