Expansion passes – providing the key to a full gaming experience. Or do they? And if they do is it the right way to do it?

What is an expansion pass? In simple terms a digital pass that grants you access to additional content for a game over a period of time for a one off fee. Admittedly I have little experience with them, having only bought my first one in late 2019. This was for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on my Wii U. Even then it was after both parts of the pass had been released so I was not subject to a staggered release. I must say I am enjoying it so do I buy it for my Switch version?

However, the recent Pokemon Direct where an expansion pass for Pokemon Sword and Shield was announced has brought the topic to the forefront of my mind again. Do I think they are a good thing or not?

Pokemon Sword and Shield – is the expansion pass a good idea or not?

Straight away something says no as you used to be able to buy a game and get the whole experience for that one fee, end of. If I pay for something I expect to be given it all, not part of it (EA anyone?). It can almost feel like you’re paying the price of a second game just to get a complete first game. Is that right or fair? Of course not.

However, I can see the benefits of DLC and expansion passes. You could well have a complete game and then if the developer comes up with new deals after release it would allow them to still implement it. Should it be free? Possibly, but if the idea is big enough to almost be a full game then is some remuneration fair? I guess it would be.

I also can see how expansion passes could work in terms of customisation. Maybe you don’t want to pay for something as you’d never use it. This would allow you to only pay for what you want? This does make me wonder if some future games could be broken into smaller chunks and you just buy what you want to get the game you want, not what the developers think you should have?

I will buy the Pokemon expansion passes as I’m a Pokemon fan, massive to be honest. I want to fully explore the Galar region and am happy to pay that rather than buy a full game with few differences to the original.

With expansion passes as a whole I would say I am pro then as I like the customisation and the fact that elements conceived after publication can be implemented. They could be improved – made cheaper and maybe even released physically if possible. But overall, I think they’re a positive thing.

What do you think? Are they a yay or a nay?

Thanks for reading, That UK Gamer