Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Season Pass Conspiracy

Microsoft has already begun employing the Season Pass DLC philosophy across a host of games.

Gears of War 3, Forza Motorsport and Mortal Kombat already have this 'pay up front' tactic successfully implemented. And while it's key advertising pull is to essentially save a lump sum from the total DLC cost in the long run, there are factors that you need to consider before you dive in and sign up to this up and coming DLC marketing strategy.

I'm writing this post specifically because of something I've witnessed with RAAM's Shadow, the next DLC pack by Epic Games for Gears of War 3.

RAAM's Shadow was due to be released today. However, the launch was anything but smooth, as with even the greatest of Microsoft related launches. But what really is a kick in the teeth is the Season Pass and how it operates.

Season Pass holders are entitled to this piece of DLC for free. Reportedly, Season Pass holders are NOT able to download the DLC while non Pass holders are happily downloading and enjoying the DLC for the one off price of 1200 msp.

For me, this brought to light a critical flaw in the way the Season Pass works.

As it stands, the marketplace can not magically list a DLC that is free as part of a Season Pass for well, free..., otherwise everyone and their grandmother will just snag it.

The actual way to obtain Season Pass DLC is to go through an ingame menu system, circumventing the marketplace itself.

In Epic's case, that system has malfunctioned, rendering Season Pass user's indefinitely stuck in the mad while single purchase users can easily pay the 1200 point price and enjoy the DLC immediately.

The truth gets darker than this.

Could Epic have done this to secretly stagger the release of their DLC, reducing loads on their servers and subsequently avoiding a large scale crash?

Or maybe Epic have done this so people are tempted to still pay the non-refundable 1200 points out of a lack of patience. God knows that Season Pass holders have been known to pay the one off price through the dashboard despite their entitlement to the DLC for absolutely no extra cost. And they will continue to do this for years to come.

The jist of this is to remember that when you pay for the Season Pass, keep your eyes and ears open and critical. The corporations are in control of you and the money you payed. You'll only get what you payed for when they "make" it available for you.

The cost of savings is never free (I know that doesn't make any sense). So don't pay twice for what you already payed for. Know what you bought, and that is a full entitlement to DLC with the Season Pass, not a mere discount.

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