Mailbag Saturday: November 2, 2019

Transcript:

How’s it going everybody, Adrian Simple here from thegamingobserver, for the Mailbag Saturday. To submit questions or comments of your own, mailbag@thegamingobserver.com.

Alright I’ve got two questions here asking the same thing, so from Gavin and DubstepDoge, what is my opinion of the concept of battle passes. This is of course the monetization system where the more you play the game the more cosmetics you earn, and then there is usually a free tier and a premium tier.

My personal opinion of it is that so far it’s the best alternative to loot boxes in a world where companies are trying to make as much money as possible. Of course directly paying for an item would be better than paying upfront and then having to play the game for hundreds of hours in order to earn it before it expires. But ultimately this is way less predatory than other systems can be, and that mostly is because you can see what t ier you’re at before you purchase it. I’ve personally been in a situation, I think it was Dauntless, where I was at a pretty high tier just playing freely. Then I looked at the battle pass and I was like “hey, I could actually get some pretty cool things if I just bought the premium version.” I didn’t end up doing it, but I was really happy that I could see directly what I was paying for, and there was no pressure to play the game if I didn’t want to. Of course there are people who will buy the Battle Pass day 1, and then likely will feel the pressure or have a sunk cost fallacy. That’s an unfortunate situation, but ultimately that’s a mistake you can make once and then realize what happened. With loot boxes you just have endless carrots at the end of endless sticks, and usually someone that falls into that won’t notice until they’ve spent a lot of money anyway.

Another thing that I like about battle passes is that sometimes if you get to the highest tier, they’ll repay you the full amount in in-game currencies. If you’re just always playing Fortnite, you only have to buy the battle pass once and then just keep rebuying it with the currency you earn, assuming you don’t spend it on something else. And to those players, who are playing all the time, I’m sure they enjoy the challenges that are often given. Things like kill x people with a certain type of weapon, or drop at a certain location x times. There’s a lot of opportunity there to actually see the full depth of the game, explore things that maybe you don’t usually explore, and then rewarded for it. I especially liked how Apex Legends did it, where the weekly challenges didn’t expire until the new season started, so you actually had all the time in the world to get those things done.

So do I think they’re the best option, no. But I definitely think there are way more positives to it than some of the more egregious monetization models out there. It rewards the people who play a lot, it doesn’t punish those who don’t because they still get rewards at the free tier, and ultimately there’s less room to be super greedy. Unless it’s like Black Ops 4 where the battle pass is just one of 6 ways you can buy items in the game, including an upfront purchase. And you know, to the devs who aren’t being greedy, it provides a nice way to get a consistent income from the game, especially if its free to play, and gives more things to do for things like art departments.

Ok thank you for the questions, mailbag@thegamingobserver.com to submit your own. I’ll be back tomorrow for the Sunday show, and I will be talking about Blizzcon, I can’t wait until Monday to do that, and it needs more time than just a single segment. So anyway, until then…Happy Gaming everyone!