Gamers are enraged over the new approach to DLC that Activision will try with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. This creates controversy for the game four months before its Oct. 12 release date.
DLC and microtransactions in video games have become a polarizing topic in the industry, as the practice either locks a game's content behind a paywall or fuels a pay-to-win environment. While some publishers and developers have received the memo, it looks like Activision is moving in the opposite direction with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Season Pass
Activision revealed that the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 season pass, called the Black Ops Pass, will offer 12 multiplayer maps, a bonus Zombies experience named Classified, four additional Zombies experiences, and four exclusive Blackout characters. Full details have not yet been revealed, but Activision said in the Black Ops Pass FAQ that it will be "a robust season of content" to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 players.
According to the same FAQ, the season pass will only come included in the Digital Deluxe, Digital Deluxe Enhanced, and physical Pro Edition versions of the game, and will only be made available as a standalone purchase at a later date.
The bigger problem, however, is Activision's decision to make the Black Ops Pass an all-or-nothing affair. Unlike the previous Call of Duty titles that allowed players to purchase map packs as DLC for $14.99 each, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will not offer such option.
This effectively increases the price of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 to at least $99.99 from the base price of $59.99, as players who want to gain access to new maps, will have to buy one of the game's special editions.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Paywall
Activision canceling map packs to force Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 players to purchase the Black Ops Pass, however, underlies a bigger issue. The problem is that Activision is still creating a paywall for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, at a time when other developers and publishers are moving away from the practice.
For example, Battlefield V will have no Premium Pass, and will instead launch free DLC for all players and offer only cosmetic upgrades in microtransactions. Massively popular multiplayer shooter Overwatch also offers only cosmetic upgrades in loot boxes and microtransactions, with all post-launch content being rolled out for free.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will also be offering loot boxes with cosmetic upgrades, which will bring in post-purchase revenue for the game that should be enough to cover the costs of developing post-launch content.
Activision may still fix this, as the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 release date is still four months away. Whether it does, however, remains to be seen.