Apex Legends Season 22 is doubling up on paid battle passes

Apex Legends Season 22 is bringing big changes to how battle passes and rewards are doled out to players, with developer Respawn Entertainment announcing that each season will now have two shorter battle passes in place of one, and that they’re removing the ability to use the premium in-game currency to buy them. As you’d expect, the community is in uproar over the effective price hike to premium battle passes for the free-to-play shooter.

From Season 22 in August, Apex Legends will now have two half-season battle passes, one of which will be available at the start of the season and the second then at the season’s “split” in the middle. Each will have 60 levels of rewards for a total of 120, which is an increase to the previous system’s 110 rewards, and will mean that there’s a reduced grind to reach the end-tier rewards and the most special skins.

However, this comes at a cost. There will still be a free battle pass reward track, but each half-season premium battle pass will cost $9.99 USD in real currency, effectively doubling the price where a premium battle pass previously cost 950 Apex Coins. Those were available as part of a 1000 coin bundle priced at $9.99 USD, or could be earned through playing and completing a previous battle pass, making it a reward for your continued engagement and keeping the servers stocked with players.

In addition to a standard premium pass, the new ‘Premium+’ tier will replace the existing ‘Premium Bundle’. This costs $19.99, has 10 level skips and double the Exotic Shards, as well as special Premium+ character skin variants and grants access to all characters through a battle pass’s duration. Over the course of a full season that works out to $40 compared to 2800 Apex Coins (coin bundles available in 2150 for $20 or 4350 for $40), though Respawn are saying that “The decision to move from AC to real-world currency is not one that we made lightly, but it does allow us to decrease the price of Premium+ for our community.”

Yes, a “decrease”.

One element that’s not clear is how long battle passes will be available for. Will the first pass of a season expire at the “split”, or be valid through to the end of a season? Each pass has roughly half the rewards, but there’s also potentially half the amount of time in which to complete them, which will mean there’s still that fear of missing out (FOMO) and grinding to reach the final tier rewards.

This has obviously gone down like a lead balloon with the fanbase, in large part for effectively doubling the cost, but it has also called into question how healthy Apex Legends is as a game, if EA is resorting to this kind of tactic. It’s equivalent to how Netflix, Disney+ or PS Plus have increased price over time, as their ability to draw in new subscribers has tapered off, as a way to boost quarterly revenues. EA will be gambling that having more battle passes will mean that devout players will spend more, making up for any players that are pushed away from spending or playing by this decision.

There’s another side to this, though, which is that having more shorter battle passes in general (free and paid) shortens the cadence of play and engagement that seasonal structures have. Instead of having that big refresh every 3 months, it’s now ever 1.5 months, which they will hope will help to even out the peaks and troughs that they might currently be seeing.

Source: Apex Legends

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