Do Battle Pass Really Influence Gaming Behaviour?

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Do battle passes bring more harm than good?

Story Highlights
  • A battle pass contains premium in-game rewards and currency that can enhance gameplay and character abilities. However, they need to be purchased in most cases.
  • Battle passes are valid for a limited season, compelling gamers to play the game, even if they are not enjoying it. 
  • They are designed to enhance player engagement, increase gaming time and encourage players to spend more money on the game.
  • Battle passes can have different names depending on the game, such as season pass, rocket pass, etc.

The addition of battle passes in video games is on the rise, with prominent names like Fortnite, COD, and Dota using these game mechanics to retain the player’s interest. But can battle pass influence gaming behaviour and keep the players hooked?

What Is A Battle Pass?

Battle Pass is a monetization technique in games used by developers to generate extra money. Depending on the game, the battle pass can be either paid or free. Generally, paid ones come with better incentives, such as in-game currency, characters, weapons and abilities that might be difficult to achieve otherwise. These rewards affect the gameplay by unlocking powers and abilities to strengthen your character.

Once purchased, you can level up the battle pass by playing the game more and earning more XPs or pass points. With these experience points, you can go to higher battle pass levels and claim more luxurious rewards. Consequently, the higher the level, the better the rewards.

Battle Pass Purchase Options In Genshin Impact
Battle Pass Purchase Options In Genshin Impact (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Can Battle Pass Influence Gaming Behaviour?

Quantitative research by Petrovskaya & Zendle (2020) showed that Battle Passes had little to no effect on gaming behaviour in Dota 2, while qualitative findings indicated that players showed concerns about obtaining rewards without spending money. Not everyone has enough financial resources to spend on games and rewards that do not even last for long.

Another study by Friman & Zätterlund (2023) revealed that participants had negative opinions about battle passes and their aspects. Despite this, it got them to play the game more than their usual time, and they also believed cosmetic rewards to be an enhancer of enjoyment. 

Therefore, battle passes serve as a motivation to keep playing more and aim to increase gaming behaviour among players. 

Aspects That Affect Player Engagement

It’s worth noting that each battle pass operates for a limited period and is specific to a particular season. This means that you can only utilize its rewards until the corresponding season lasts. Once the game season ends, the battle pass becomes useless. You will have to get a new one, thus starting from scratch (Petrovskaya & Zendle, 2020). 

Battle passes also drive players to spend more money in the game, potentially leading to habitual spending if not regulated. (French & Lajeunesse, 2020). Once you spend money on games, you are tempted to spend more and progress faster through the ladder.

Battle Pass Level In Rocket League
Rocket Pass Level And Season Validity As Seen In Rocket League (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Timers on the game screen remind you that time is running out and the rewards will expire soon. This creates a fear of missing out and pushes you to play more.

Moreover, game developers intentionally place advanced and superior rewards at the end of the progress track while positioning smaller and more common rewards at the beginning. Consequently, you can only achieve meaningful rewards once you are at the end of the progress track. The same concept was seen by Friman & Zätterlund (2023) in a review of 19 games.

Reward Placement In Battle Pass Levels
Reward Placement In Battle Pass Levels (Image By Tech4Gamers)

While battle passes serve as an extrinsic motivator by giving out rewards, they also add to intrinsic motivation. Players feel a sense of achievement and fulfilment after obtaining such rewards.

The Verdict – Are Battle Passes Good Or Bad?

Using battle passes in games can force the players to complete challenges and continue playing the game even if they are not enjoying it. They feel compelled to play just to earn experience points and reward items. Moreover, companies use them to exploit the gamer into spending more money on the game (Sowole, 2023).

Increased gaming can further lead to gaming addiction, which can have adverse impacts on your mental and physical health. So, keeping in mind all the aspects, I believe battle passes have the potential to manipulate gaming behaviour to a large extent. Most often, it leads to negative consequences for the player.

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