Halo: Infinite’s Battle Pass Is So Good, It Makes Other Games Look Downright Predatory
During this morning’s deep dive into Halo Infinite’s Multiplayer mode, the game’s developers revealed that they’re taking a unique approach to battle passes. Unlike every other battle pass that expires at the end of the season, Halo Infinite’s battle passes will never expire. What’s more, you can purchase any battle pass you’d like from past seasons and decide which one you want to work on.
Why the hell isn’t this just the normal way that battle passes work? As soon as I heard lead player investment designer Christopher Blohm explain this, I suddenly realized how hard we’ve been getting scammed by every other battle pass.
Developers bring a lot of different approaches to microtransactions, but one of the most common philosophies behind the practice is the idea of variable investment. Oftentimes rewards are locked behind either playtime or small purchases, in other words, the player can invest either their time or their money to progress. This is the philosophy behind Assassin’s Creed’s time-saver DLC that speeds up XP gain. If you don’t have the time to invest in the game, you can invest real money and get the same results.
Controversial as “time-savers” might be, they at least offer players a choice. Plenty of games require players to make a significant time investment without the option to “buy out” of it, while other games have cosmetic content that can only be purchased and can’t be earned. Somehow, battle passes get away with asking you to do both.
While there’s some variation from game to game, practically every battle pass I’ve ever purchased has demanded a massive time investment after purchase. Battle passes for multiplayer games are inherently grindy, but the fact that they have a time limit on top of a grind doesn’t just play into FOMO, it feels like a ripoff.
If I paid for the battle pass, why do I only have a limited amount of time to finish it? An argument could be made that players should have access to all of the battle pass cosmetics instantly upon purchase since they, you know, paid for it already. That might seem unreasonable, given that the purpose of the battle pass is to increase player retention throughout seasons, but I’ve just realized – thanks to Halo Infinite – that there is no defensible reason to take a battle pass away from players after a set amount of time.
Ultimately, this is going to lead to more players buying the Halo Infinite battle pass. I play a lot of online games, and I know from years of failure that I’m not capable of finishing every battle pass. After months of buying Destiny 2, Apex Legends, and COD Warzone battle passes, I just had to stop and pick one to work on every season. But I’ll buy every Halo Infinite battle pass because I know it’s never going to go away. If I go hardcore on Halo one season, I’ll just finish the current pass and go back to work on any that I missed.
I hope the industry notices what 343 Industries is doing with Halo’s battle pass. The expiring battle pass has been normalized, but I don’t think players should put up with losing content they paid for just because they couldn’t invest the time to earn it. A free battle pass is one thing, but if you have to buy it, you shouldn’t have to worry that you aren’t going to finish it in time.
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