With the release of the Battlefield 1 open beta, anyone who was even mildly interested with DICE's World War One shooter had a chance to either try the game out for themselves, or at least see someone play the game in a manner that is more consistent with your average multiplayer match. Like most people can probably expect, Battlefield 1 plays pretty much like most other Battlefield games in that it features a lot of explosions, vehicles, and plenty of incredibly useful Recon players who always play the objective. Of course, the fact that Battlefield 1 plays like your average Battlefield game means that, like all the other modern Battlefield games, you can expect to see a rather expensive season pass.
For the price of $50 (or in other words, you might as well be buying a full game) you can get the following:
- Two-week early access to each expansion pack
- The ability to play as new armies like France and the Russian Empire
- 16 new maps
- New game modes and "Operations"
- New elite classes (basically power weapons that are located on the map)
- 20 new weapons
- New vehicles
The first of the expansion packs that are included in the season pass comes out March 2017, some four months after Battlefield 1 comes out. This means that not only are you essentially buying a promise, but you are also only getting parts of that promise fulfilled over the course of a year, judging by Star Wars Battlefront, Battlefield 3, and Battlefield 4's DLC release schedules. Needless to say, this would have a significant impact on how willing (smart) consumers are to buy the season pass, especially when you consider how other multiplayer-centric games have successfully implemented microtransactions to fund free content, to say nothing of what kind of effect paid DLC has on a game's audience.
Time and time again, it has been proven that once paid DLC comes out, the audience starts to fragment. Titanfall, every other Battlefield game, Halo, Call of Duty—the audience simply becomes divided into the haves and have-nots, and most of the time this accelerates the rate at which people leave the game. As fun as Battlefield 1 may be, it just isn't a game that can consistently draw new people into its audience, especially not when there are so many similar competitors (most notably Overwatch) that can offer a consistent stream of free DLC monthly or even bi-monthly. The struggle to keep the game relevant becomes a nearly impossible task because you simply can't beat free, especially not when your season pass costs almost as much as a full game.
Unfortunately, it seems as though EA is committed to their usual practice of trying to get people to essentially buy one game for the price of two, despite how modern audiences are probably getting tired of such business models. While this may not lead to Battlefield 1's quick demise, it is definitely going to be a factor in how the game may not perform as well as it could have, which can only lead to a diminished experience for consumers. It won't really hurt EA or DICE (since they already got your money), but the reality of the situation is that people are impatient and forgetful, they'll forget that they have the season pass, or they'll just move on to the next big thing once Battlefield 1's novelty wears off. After all, it doesn't matter how visually satisfying a game is or how fast their servers are if you just can't find anyone to play with.