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Above: Fallout 4’s season pass is at the top of the Steam charts.
This is not the first time we’ve seen this with a blockbuster game. In November, developer Techland told fans it was going to raise the price of the downloadable content (DLC) season pass for its open-world survival game Dying Light from $20 to $30. The company gave fans about two weeks of the old price before making that change, and the Dying Light expansions spent much of that time in the top 10 best-sellers on Steam.
Like with Bethesda, Techland said this price increase was due to bigger plans for the DLC.
Newzoo analyst and chief executive officer Peter Warman said that while this might seem new, it is an idea that we’ve seen applied elsewhere in games.
“Price is one of the marketing instruments that is used. This is not new,” he said. “Why it seems new is that traditional game publishers on PC and console that used to only sell [$60 pay-up-front games] are getting smarter in applying new rules. For years, it has been common practice, especially for smaller PC publishers and developers, to play around with a combination of upfront fees and DLC prices.”
As an example, he points to indie developers that make their products available in those Humble Bundle sales where customers can pay what they want for a collection of PC games. Studios don’t make a lot from those deals, but they could potentially then get fans into their game who might want to pay the full price for newly released DLC.
So while we’ve only just started seeing huge publishers attempting this sort of thing by specifically raising the price of their season pass, it’s part of a larger trend that will lead to more of this in the future.