I’ve always been a fan of the subscription model vs cash shops in games. Back in the day this conversation was limited to MMOs, but today basically everything uses some hybrid model, either starting with F2P or a box+shop/dlc. It’s not all bad, or good, but either way its just the way things are now. Rare is the game where you pay once, get everything, and that’s it, as was the case not that long ago.
Payment models have been evolving in recent years too. We started with just subs for games like UO and EQ1. Then F2P came along with cash shops. Now we having mega-titles like PUBG, which has a box cost and a cash shop, and recently a season pass. Most recently, Clash of Clans has announced season passes are coming in April.
A season pass is somewhat like a return to subscriptions, only that if you don’t pay, you don’t loss total access to the game, you just don’t get the additional content on offer. It’s a better solution for players, so long as enough people buy the pass, and the pass doesn’t have to include Pay4Power items in order to sell. So far I’m not away of a game selling a pass that is P4P, but maybe I missed something, and I’m sure at some point someone will do exactly that with a game that is struggling.
Overall I like season passes. You know what you are signing up for, the cost is usually reasonable, and I’d rather support the developers that way than through a more in-your-face cash shop. The pass also removes the feeling of being nickel and dimed like a cash shop does, which may be a purely psychological thing, but FEELING good about a game is an important factor in your overall enjoyment.
I bought the first PUBG season pass when I was playing that game more actively. I’ll be buying the first CoC season pass because I am actively playing that game. Going forward, if a game I’m heavily playing offers a pass, I’m likely to give it a shot. I’d do that today for League of Legends, for example.
For those who might argue against season passes becoming popular, its important to answer the question “how else do you want the devs to get money?” Because they need to be paid, one way or the other. Hunting whales is bad business all around IMO, and there is simply too much money being left on the table with just selling a box. As already mentioned, I find almost all cash shops obnoxious and something that detracts from the game, so I’m not in favor of those. Even the more traditional MMO sub model wouldn’t work for most games. So out of all current options, I like season passes most.