Battlefront 2 Devs and Electronic Arts are at odds with each other over recent comments regarding the controversial season pass to DLC in the #StarWarsBattlefront series. The game's developer, Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment (DICE), recently announced their intention to do away with one of the game's hated features for the newly announced Battlefront 2. Unfortunately, EA, the game's publisher, feels a bit differently.
DICE developer Bernd Diemer, the creative director on #StarWarsBattlefront2, told Mashable that there would be no season pass, citing a need to keep the community together and that there needed to be something better for the game's direction. He cryptically hinted at something new in the works:
"I cannot talk about the specifics of this, but we have something different in mind that will allow you to play longer, be [more] invested in the game without having a fragmented community."
Then EA stepped in, playing damage control and contradicting Diemer's announcement. They said that it had not been decided yet whether there would be a season pass, trying to keep players focused on the game's new trailer rather than costs down the line.
"While we’re not ready to confirm any live service plans just yet, what we can say is this we heard the feedback from our Battlefront community loud and clear. We know they want more depth, more progression, and more content. So we’re focused on delivering that in every dimension of Star Wars Battlefront II. We’ll have more to share about our plans soon."
The Deal With Season Passes
Season passes have become a common way for players to pre-purchase all the DLC at a discounted priced rather than buying each one separately à la carte. Unfortunately, as purchasing the season pass requires paying ahead of time, players often don't know what the entirely of the DLC will entail or if they'll even like it. It also encourages game devs and/or the publisher to release a partial game at launch and fill in missing content with paid DLC.
The first #Battlefront, released in 2015, featured a season pass for its DLC packs. The game was launched at the normal $60 game pricepoint, but it felt severely lacking. Additional content and maps were slowly added, to the tune of $15 each. A year after release, players finally had the game they expected...for $120 instead of $60.
The extra cost was, naturally, an affront, so many players opted not to purchase the content. This fragmented the playerbase, as only those who purchased the DLC could play on the new maps while the rest played in the base game. Each DLC addition found fewer players. A smaller player pool means a harder time getting into matches. And if your friends don't buy the additional content, then you also can't play with them. Fragmentation kills multi-player games, as Everquest 2 could tell you.
When Diemer announced there would be a change and no more season pass, players rejoiced. But EA likes their money too much. We hear you loud and clear, they said, but we also want to keep making lots of money, they implied. And yes, while offering DLC or premium content at an additional price does keep a steady stream of income in their pockets, alienating or pissing off your customer base will make that dry up real quick.
You know the saying "the customer is always right"? Customers love to trot it out at a store register when they aren't getting their way, but the real meaning comes from the rest of the phrase that has been forgotten: "The customer is always right about what they want." Customers know what they want to buy, it's the onus on the business to sell to that need. If you're not selling something, it's your fault, not theirs.
The season pass comes to a classic battle between gameplay and finances. The developers want gameplay to succeed and players to enjoy it together. The publisher wants to recoup their costs from development and high licensing fees, especially with a franchise as large and popular as #StarWars. But if the model's not working, then they both need to find a way to adapt it into something players will want.
Diemer also announced they have something new in the works for #Battlefront2, something better, which is perhaps what prompted EA's carefully crafted reply. It's possible that EA is on board with no season pass but they can't reveal it yet. There may very well be something new planned in its stead. EA said it's too early to say anything either way, which is true. The game was only announced last month, the reveal trailer released a few days ago, and it won't even be out until November. If they have something up their sleeve, we'll likely know in the coming months.
What kind of premium content do you think Battlefront 2 should have?