Call Of Duty Fans In Uproar Over Black Ops 4's Season Pass

Activision is changing the way that DLC will work for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and fans are not thrilled.

On June 11, Activision announced that Black Ops 4's DLC would be delivered via what it calls the "Black Ops Pass."

While the full details haven't been revealed, the paid DLC pass will still offer the 12 multiplayer maps and 4 Zombies maps normally included in Call of Duty's past Season Passes, plus four exclusive character skins for the new "Blackout" battle royale mode and a bonus Zombies map.

The biggest change for the new DLC pass will be how the content is delivered. Instead of the content being broken up into four separate map packs, players can expect DLC to be distributed throughout the year. Releasing DLC on a more regular cadence is probably a good idea, keeping Black Ops 4 competitive with constantly-updated competitors like Fortnite. But it's the rest of it that has players rankled.

Paid DLC maps split the playerbase in a terrible way that makes the optional content a disservice to everyone who plays. Players who shell out the money for the extra maps often can't find the DLC maps in normal game mode rotation, or their party vibes are killed because their friends don't have the content to join them.

I'm sure every map pack owner has been in the awkward situation of being in a full party of friends, and there is always that one friend who doesn't have the DLC maps. Do you kick them from the party to play the DLC or continue to play the standard maps together?

I previously reported this was a huge problem with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, but this is a common issue with games that offer paid map packs.

Rather than fix this issue with Black Ops 4, it seems like Activision is just going to add a further sour taste to the DLC dilemma by not making the Black Ops Pass available as a standalone purchase or pre-order at this time. In the past, players were able to buy the Call of Duty Season Pass for $US49.99 ($66) or individual map packs for $US14.99 ($20) each.

The Activision Support page has listed the Black Ops Pass as being available as a standalone purchase at a later date, meaning there's no way of knowing when the DLC can be purchased separately. This all-or-nothing approach forces those not boycotting Black Ops 4 to spend at least $US99.99 ($132) on special edition bundles in order to guarantee they will have the DLC when it becomes available, adding another $US40 ($53) to the game's sticker price.

Compounding the problem is the fact that Activision is moving in a different direction than the rest of the industry. Fortnite's model of free content with the option to pay for skins and accessories has proven to be such a success that some big publishers are finally starting to get on board with the concept.

EA said this week that the upcoming Battlefield V will ditch the paid Premium Pass model to offer free DLC for everyone, and give players the option to buy cosmetics. Ubisoft also made an E3 announcement that The Division 2 will have completely free DLC, ditching the paid pass from the first game.

The Call of Duty subreddit has become a hotspot to vent and threaten to cancel pre-orders. One recent post by Reddit user Geoffk123 has already seen over 2100 upvotes and hundreds of comments discussing the community's disdain for the Black Ops Pass. In fact, almost all of the recent posts are venting on the topic.

Ivan_JF gained upvotes by saying, "This is ridiculous. As if your games' player count isn't dropping enough you seriously forgot to follow the absolute biggest reason Fortnite and PUBG are doing so well. FREE CONTENT THAT KEEPS THE COMMUNITY ENGAGED."

Another user asks perhaps the biggest question, to which we can't know the answer until after Black Ops 4 is released on October 12: "Can a [battle royale] mode survive behind such a big paywall?"

When reached for comment by Kotaku on Thursday, an Activision representative referred us to its FAQ page on the subject.


    If you're still buying Cod & expecting ethical monetization then i have a pyramid scheme that may interest you, Did i say scheme? I meant a Player choice driven affair.

    Was probably gonna get this for the battle royale but not with this shit segregating the community.

    It'd be crazy for them not to offer the season pass for sale at the point the first piece of covered DLC actually goes on sale.

    So is this just a complaint that people can't pre-order the content as early as they'd like if they choose not to buy it bundled with the game?

    I don't get it.

    Game is not released, that is why season pass is not available to preorder. Season passes were never available to preorder and usually launch with the game.

    Special edition bundling game + season pass is common as hell too.

    Why are these kids whining?

    Back in my day DLC only came out for really popular games. It was a nice little bonus that you mostly didn't expect. It was an add-on a to a game. Not part of the core. People used to kick up a stink if DLC was announced before a games release. "Why doesn't it come with the game, the games not out yet you can make it part of It, you're just being greedy"
    Oh how times have changed.

      DLC isn't really old enough to be put in a "back in the day" category, but I do remember there being some heated discussions about the earliest DLC - eg. horse armor for oblivion.

      Now, back in a time that is actually distant, we didn't have DLC, we had expansion packs. And if those packs didn't contain any less than an entire new game of content, people would call it a ripoff. A stark contrast to now where $20 gets you a single map.

        I would be inclined to agree - because to me it doesn't feel like it was that long ago. But the thing is, there are a whole lot of gamers out there now where DLC is the norm and they weren't around when times were different.

        There are 18, 19 year olds playing Call of Duty, that have never played COD4 or MW2. That was a bit of an eye opening moment to me, and a realisation that times have changed.If you compare what games are like now compared to 10 years or even 5 years ago - it's a very different state. All about in game purchases and items. Almost every single game now releases with a 'gold digital deluxe edition' for $150+ that gives you DLC and some 'exclusive' skins.

        I mean you mention Oblivion - but that came out over a decade ago. 12 bloody years. You'd be hard pressed to find someone still in school that would have played it.

    I mean in fairness to COD, while it sucks they are keeping season passes, this does mean only 2 player bases versus a mess of people with various bits and pieces. Your either Vanilla or Season Pass and playlists can reflect that.

      I didn't see anything in the article or Activision blog post indicating that the season pass will be the only way to get the extra maps. Presumably there will be people buying each month's single map DLC separately.

    Hopped on to black ops 3 recently and saw 0% playing the black ops 4 dlc maps (black ops 1 and 2 reskins)

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