Even Single-Player Games Launch With Season Passes Nowadays, And That’s A Problem

70 dollars doesn't even get you a complete game anymore.

Story Highlights

  • Season passes are now being added to single-player games.
  • Games don’t get shipped as complete packages anymore.
  • Triple-A titles are getting increasingly more expensive as a result.

There was a time when spending 60 to 70 dollars on a triple-A game usually meant that you gained access to the whole title on day 1. Nowadays though, this is increasingly starting to feel like a pipe dream. Publishers like Ubisoft are now launching games that have season passes attached, even if they are single-player titles. It’s one thing to have additional content coming out for live service titles.

But you’d imagine that single-player experiences should be complete as soon as they are shipped. But this is no longer the case anymore. While adding more content later down the line in the form of DLC or additional patches isn’t a bad idea. When you purposely block content off, just to have it shipped at a later date to further charge your customers, that’s when things get messy. Here are some other reasons why season passes are becoming a problem. 

  • About the Author: Danish Bukhari has been gaming for decades, more recently playing RPG titles like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Elden Ring, making him highly knowledgeable on the subject.

$70 Doesn’t Get You The “Full” Experience Anymore

The usual level of polish that once used to be associated with triple-A titles is all but gone now. As a result, you’re left with games that not only launch with tons of bugs and performance problems. But then also have the audacity to make you pay much more than 70 dollars to see the entirety of what they have to feature. Take Assassin’s Creed: Shadows as an example.

Assassin's Creed: Shadows Terrible Pricing Bundles (via Ubisoft).
Assassin’s Creed: Shadows Terrible Pricing Bundles (via Ubisoft).

Ubisoft is actively gatekeeping content from the game if you “only” buy the Standard Edition, which is already full-priced at 70 dollars. For this, you’re awarded just the base game. If you happen to pre-order the game, you’ll get access to an additional quest called “Thrown to the Dogs.” So at this point, they are actively locking parts of the game away if you don’t pre-order their titles.

What makes it worse is that additional features are locked behind the more expensive editions. For example, the bundle featuring the Season Pass costs around $110. And if you want the “Ultimate Pack,” which includes a number of additional items and in-game gear, you’ll have to fork over as much as $130 dollars. It’s clear locking cosmetics behind expensive bundles wasn’t enough. Now, studios are outright limiting gameplay quests and items behind season passes and expensive bundles.

Games Don’t Feel Complete At Launch

It’s one thing for multiplayer titles to develop over time. But you’d expect single-player games to be worthwhile experiences from day 1. But clearly with where the industry is heading, games will just end up being seasonal things that start off with just a promise of completion. No one wants to play a single-player title, seemingly complete it, and then be told to come back later to see more of the story.

Season Passes Are Making Their Way To Single-Player Titles As Well (via Respawn Entertainment).
Season Passes Are Making Their Way To Single-Player Titles As Well (via Respawn Entertainment).

Let’s not even get into the implications this has on the storytelling. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that video game devs might just end up locking crucial parts of the narrative behind these seasonal passes, essentially forcing players into buying them if they want to see the conclusion. While this isn’t being done on a large scale right now, it does feel like that’s where things are going. 

Plus, the whole concept of buying a season pass for a game that you don’t even know you’re going to like seems absurd. We’ve seen with titles like Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League how buying into those expensive bundles can be hugely problematic in the long run. Especially if the game turns out terrible. It feels like a way to trap customers into paying for titles, without a guarantee of them even being good in the first place.

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Danish is an opinion piece writer at eXputer who loves sharing his takes on the industry. He is a long-time PC gamer with a passion for delving into the discussion and discourse surrounding the titles that he plays. Often eager to jump right into the fold and formulate his take on the latest topics, his noteworthy presence on gaming forums, and keen insight help him understand the gaming community in a thorough manner. This helps him provide a more nuanced look into any topic or discussion.

Writes Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Mass Communication.

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