Update: The Gears of War 4 Season Pass is confirmed to be $50. Source
The Gears of War 4 Ultimate Edition bundle has surfaced on the Xbox One marketplace. As details pour in on what’s included with the $100 package, I can’t shake the feeling that the Season Pass is a complete and utter ripoff.
If you aren’t caught up with all the news, purchasing the Gears of War 4 Ultimate Edition bundle allows players four days of early access. The game will unlock on October 7th, four days ahead of the full release. The other major component to the hefty $40 extra charge is the Season Pass whose contents are as follows:
- Five items from the Vintage VIP Pack: Vintage JD character skin, Vintage Gnasher and Dropshot weapon skins, Vintage JD Emblem and Vintage JD Bounty for extra XP
- Permanent DLC map ownership of over 24 additional maps (two per month for a year) for private matches
- An exclusive VIP “Early Access” Playlist that grants a preview to upcoming modes, maps and variants
- Six Gear Packs which unlock special character and weapon skins, equipment and abilities, and XP boosting bounties.
The reason I’m making this claim is due to two recent announcements for Gears of War 4: the inclusion of microtransactions and free DLC maps. But let’s start from the first point. Reaching level 20 in the beta essentially rewarded players with the exact same items. Instead of Vintage JD it was Vintage Kait. This is a very minor reward and one that many gamers will ditch the moment they obtain a new skin.
— Wario64 (@Wario64) April 25, 2016
The second point is the permanent DLC map ownership for private matches. The DLC maps for Gears of War 4 will be free and will rotate in and out with other maps in the matchmaking cycle. However players can opt to buy the maps to keep them for unlimited play in private matches. First of all unless you consistently play private matches, this is worthless. Competitive Gears players, sure. Gamers that want to play against friends a lot, sure. But most people simply play matchmaking and are not affected by this. Not to mention you can always buy the maps you actually like instead of buying all 24 of them.
The third point is access to a VIP playlist that allows you to play modes and maps early. There is no additional information here as far as how early you get to play in the playlist. While this may seem enticing, how will it work if you’re friends didn’t but the Season Pass, will they be able to join you? What if hardly anyone buys the Season Pass at all, will the playlist be dead? What if people simply don’t use the playlist, will you be able to find a match?
The fourth and last point is in regards to Gear Packs. These are the microtransactions that have been included in Gears of War 4. They are also one of the worst kinds of microtransactions in my opinion: slot machines (only behind slot machines with items that expire). Gear Packs can be unlocked through in-game progression but they can also be purchased with real money. A quote from Rod Fergusson explains it best, “It felt like it added some engagement in terms of its not the, ‘Oh, I like Tiger Stripe. I bought Tiger Stripe. I’m done. I don’t need to engage with that system anymore. There’s no need for me to hang around.”. This ladies and gentleman is a slot machine. Instead of simply buying what you want (Tiger Stripe), you pull the lever and hope you get something good. Didn’t get anything? Pull again. And the best way to get someone addicted to a slot machine is to give them a few free pulls of the lever.
So this is what you’re getting for what is likely $40. Since Xbox already benefits from selling a digital copy over a retail one, I can’t see why they would jack up the price just for 4 days of early access. Instead they would just charge the standard $60 and hope that most gamers purchase it digitally over retail. I believe the extra charge is primarily due to the Season Pass, and that Season Pass is bullshit.
What are your thoughts on the Season Pass and Ultimate Edition for Gears of War 4? Maybe you just don’t give a shit because you get the game 4 days early? Maybe you like the new ideas? Share your thoughts in the comments below.