Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege is getting a battle pass as announced today at the Raleigh Major, host to the season 9 championships and Creator's Cup event. The revelation, which shows Ubisoft taking a page from Fortnite and PUBG's revenue plans, is earning mixed reactions since it's a game that charges a lot already for the regular season pass for operator unlocks annually.
Reactions during the Raleigh Major 2019 Twitch livestream reveal were mixed to highly negative and you can look at the like/dislike ratio for the video below which speaks for itself.
The first battle pass, Phase 1, is a test that's completely free, coming soon in season 3's Operation Ember Rise. It's a "mini battle pass" of sorts to balance things out and to optimize monetization.
Phase 2 in season 4 is a "full-fledged" battle pass which has both free and premium tracks. They're also going to use the battle pass to inject more story elements because the game does not have a single-player campaign and will never get one. It's a "new monetization product" as described by Presentation Director Alexander Karpazis during the announcement but Ubisoft wants to allow non-paying players to get rewards as well.
But wait, there's more! There's another monetization product coming soon to Rainbow Six Siege in the form of esports skins based on the pro teams. This is Phase 2 of the Pilot Program and launches September 10th where previously, the game had introduced weapon skins for select pro teams. The goal behind this is to make R6 esports a viable career path for pro league players. So the revenue sharing is 70-30 with 30% going to teams, and 30% of that going to players. If you're not doing the math, Players get 9%.
The combination of two more sets of premiums microtransactions, while two seasons in a row have featured four operators with recycled weapons isn't going too well over initial reactions.
As it stands, Ubisoft charges for different versions of the core Rainbow Six Siege game game that come with varying amounts of operators, charges for new operators (which can earned via grind with in-game currency as well), for consumable credits boosters, for premium skins for weapons and characters, elite skins, charms, and for loot boxes during limited time events like the most recent Old West themed Showdown mode where packs could only be acquired through real-money purchases.
They're having all the proverbial cakes while eating them too.
It's unclear if battle passes will be included in season passes but we've emailed Ubisoft for comment. So far, if anyone plays on multiple platforms they must pay for the same content on each individual platform (PC, PS4, and Xbox One) and the same goes for completely weekly challenges - even if you're using the same Uplay account across the board which is insane at his juncture. This further emphases the need for Ubisoft to deploy cross-platform accounts/saves/progress especially as new consoles launch next year.
Adding a battle pass and more esports purchases is a smart business plan to extract more money from loyal players, and even lock some players in more beyond the weekly challenges for the long haul, but it also means there's more to lose out on for players who don't have the time (read: cash) to complete battle pass challenges. These systems are designed to reward players out of a massive user base (which Rainbow Six Siege has earned from being one of the best shooters ever) who can pay absurd amounts of money for in-game cosmetics or players who don't play other games or enjoy other forms of other entertainment, meaning everyone else will be subject to the feeling of "fear of missing out" which serves as a potential deterrent long-term to a segment of the player base.
Sources: Mobilefreetoplay, Ubisoft