There are a lot of questionable things happening in the industry right now. With E3 coming up, there will be plenty to talk about on upcoming games that will be arriving in the coming years. Some are coming out this year like Call of Duty: Black Ops III, next year with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End or games we don’t know the release date for, such as Persona 5 or The Last Guardian.
The thing that we do know is what the publishers are going to do. You can bet that Activision is already getting ready to announce its season pass for Call of Duty: Black Ops III. If not soon, then at E3 along with a gameplay presentation. Because The Last of Us had a season pass, you know that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will have one also.
Sometimes a season pass can be a good thing, but most of the time it’s not. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a rare instance of when a season pass is a good thing. The whole thing is $24.99 and will come with two massive expansions for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. CD Projekt RED has said that there would be 30 hours worth of new content once both packs are released. One is coming out in October, while the other one is coming out early next year. This lets us know that they are working on it and taking the time to do it right. Then there are the really shady ones like Batman: Arkham Knight’s season pass. While we have details on what the season pass hold, like playing as Batgirl, we don’t know the size of the content. For $39.99 I could get a new copy of an older PlayStation 4 game or the complete series of Pushing Daisies on Blu-Ray and still have enough money.
What do The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Batman: Arkham Knight have in common? I’m pre-ordering them. I don’t have much left on The Witcher 3 and once that is paid off, I’m putting some money down on Arkham Knight. Do I think the Arkham Knight season pass is ridiculous? Yes I do, it’s absurd. Will that stop me from pre-ordering it? No. I knew I was going to pre-order Batman: Arkham Knight long before Arkham Knight was first announced based on the great games Rocksteady has made with Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. There is a trust there within that developer to make a great game. I was going to pre-order games this year regardless of ridiculous pre-order incentives. I was going to pre-order The Witcher 3 regardless of if I get a necklace or not. I am going to pre-order Batman: Arkham Knight regardless of the Harley Quinn DLC. You don’t need incentives for me to pre-order your game. I’ll be pre-ordering Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain once Arkham Knight is paid off. I’m going to pre-order Persona 5 once a release date is announced. I’m already planning on pre-ordering Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End regardless of if I get a gun or an extra XP boost on multiplayer. So yes, when it comes to pre-orders, I’m part of the problem.
This doesn’t mean that everyone is innocent on different practices. The used game market is a big one and a big reason why we have season passes. No matter your stance on games, the used game market is the reason why we have questionable season passes. Publishers want you to keep your games instead of trading them in and that whole cycle begins again. Everyone buys used copies of games regardless of what game it is. I recently got Far Cry 4 used, and it won’t be the last game I buy used. Some people will say that they will never buy a game used, but once a big sale on used games is announced everyone, and myself included if I have the money, will get on it. So yes, I’m along with everyone else as part of the used game problem.
Is this a bad thing that people want to pre-order games or buy used? Absolutely not, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There are reasons why people do things the way they do. For me, I’m terrible with money so pre-ordering a game is guaranteeing me the fact that I can play that game. I buy a game used because of how much cash I have with me. If I have enough, I would get it new instead, but sometimes that isn’t good enough for me. Getting season passes and DLC is not a bad thing either. People just have to be smart about it and know what they are getting. It’s easier if you pick and choose what DLC you want instead of buying it all at once via season pass and not liking most of what you have paid for. There is no way I’m paying for a Batman: Arkham Knight race track by itself. I didn’t even know there were races in the game, until the Season Pass. If there was a DLC pack I was thinking about getting in Arkham Knight, it would have been the Harley Quinn pack, but since that is with a pre-order incentive, I guess I’ll get Harley Quinn along with the game. Price is a big factor also because I am not paying an X amount of dollars just to use something once or twice. Depending on the content and the price, I end up not buying much DLC.
If publishers want us to buy the season passes and the DLC, they have to stop doing Game of the Year editions or change the way people can get a hold of the new editions. It would be a hell of lot easier if people that bought the game new a few months after it was released, with proof they got it new, can get the Game of the Year edition at an extremely low cost. It would fix the problems with Game of the Year editions. Trade in your copy of a game and get the Game of the Year edition for ten or fifteen bucks. In addition, if you bought all, or most, of the DLC, any future DLC will be free and any DLC you haven’t gotten yet will be free as well. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than seeing a game you payed over $100 for get slashed in price with everything in it. If you are one of those people that wait for Game of the Year editions, I don’t blame you and you have better patience than I do.
Everyone, including the publishers, are to blame on the questionable practices we have to deal with. Season passes, expensive DLC, Game of the Year editions, everything. The cost of developing games is getting higher, and it does make sense for DLC to be around, but the way publishers promote it is a bit gross. They don’t trust us to make that purchase we were going to make anyways. They don’t trust us to pre-order a game when most of us were going to anyway. While we are all part of some problem, we are also the solution. Don’t pre-order Batman: Arkham Knight because of Harley Quinn. Don’t pre-order The Witcher 3’s expansion pass because we won’t see anything about it for months after the game is released. Don’t buy DLC because it’s part of that game you like very much unless you really want it. If there is one good thing about DLC, season passes, Game of the Year editions, and pretty much everything, you still have control of what you want and don’t want. You can always do the simplest thing, which is get it day one without the pre-ordering– it’s not like the games are going anywhere. It’s entirely up to you, but no matter what happens, everyone becomes part of the problem one way or another.
Jesse Webster is a Senior Writer at MONG and is waiting for The Witcher 3 to come out.