DLC passes are “really dangerous when it comes to multiplayer, because what happens is it fractures the community,” Larry Hryb, better known as Major Nelson, said in the latest Podcast Unlocked episode.
This isn’t earth-shattering news, but it’s nice to see the stance reiterated at Xbox.
Hryb went on to talk about how 343 is using microtransactions to pull in some revenue on the side. And, it seems to be working. Earlier this week, Xbox announced the Halo World Championship Prize Pool hit $2.5 million. $1.5 million of this came from crowd-funding via REQ packs. A portion of the money from every REQ pack sold goes towards the prize pool. So, the amount of revenue generated from REQ packs should be closer to $5 million or more.
Ditching a season pass for Halo 5 was a smart and necessary move. Halo: Master Chief Collection was a dud. There’s no other way to look at it. 343 and Microsoft needed to do something to turn perception around, and free DLC was the perfect fix.
That free DLC continued this week with the launch of Hammer Storm. A new map, the long-awaited Grifball and much more were added.
I sneaked a couple of games of Grifball in the other night, and I’m digging it. I don’t like some of the changes, like the lack of an explosion and reset after scoring. Seriously 343, add that back in.
A permanent shift in multiplayer DLC?
Halo 5 isn’t the only game using microtransactions in place of a season pass. Rainbow Six: Siege is another game that comes to mind. Ok, technically Siege does have a season pass, but it’s not tied to maps or characters. It gives you seven days early access to new operators and some other perks.
The folks at Xbox seem to be fully on board with this new stance on multiplayer DLC. I’m guessing Gears of War 4 will go a similar route? We should get an answer as E3 approaches.
I don’t see multiplayer DLC season passes completely disappearing. Call of Duty and Battlefield are the go-to shooters on console, and I don’t see either of them ditching it. I could be wrong. Hell, I hope I’m wrong. But barring a new shooter bursting onto the scene (Overwatch, maybe?), I don’t see them adopting free DLC. Maybe a hybrid model like Star Wars: Battlefront, but not free DLC only.
That doesn’t mean season passes are over
Ubisoft opted for free DLC for Rainbow Six: Siege, but not The Division. Why? Well, they are vastly different games. I would compare the DLC challenges for The Division closer to something like The Witcher 3. It’s a massive world and creating new environments to match up is much more intensive than a Rainbow Six: Siege map.
In a perfect world, all DLC would be free. But, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Games like Call of Duty and Battlefield will probably always have paid DLC. And massive single-player games will too.
Yet, it’s the games without paid DLC I’m playing the most. I’ve poured more hours into Rainbow Six: Siege than Call of Duty. Granted, Siege’s gameplay has a lot to do with it. But, the free maps and operators certainly help.
Do you think we are seeing a broader shift in multiplayer-centric DLC? Or, are games like Halo and Rainbow Six: Siege adopting free DLC as a way to keep players and attract new ones?
Check out IGN’s Podcast Unlocked for more from Major Nelson including comments about indie games on Xbox One.