After I recently discovered a rather interesting take on today's popular Season Pass programs it got me thinking, they're not all that different from the increasingly common Founder's Packs in the MMO space - and just as equally damaging to consumer confidence.
Founder's Pack opportunities have become more common thanks to the widely accepted usage through Kickstarter. A popular crowd source funding program that works in a very similar fashion, allowing players to support a game prior to full release in exchange for an exciting variety of perks. Although these perks vary and can include everything from in-game bonus items to real life merchandise one of the most appealing items is early access, specifically alpha or closed beta invitations.
Some would argue that getting earlier access to highly anticipated titles is a good thing but much like the Season Passes, players are purchasing something they have yet to experience in full. Unlike traditional console and offline titles that offer demos and other ways of experiencing gameplay prior to release, the online multiplayer scene is limited by videos, first impressions and traditional reviews.
By definition, the typical video-game title is of a higher quality than today's traditional MMORPG games. A poor console or offline release from a largely respected developer can cause outrage but a similarly poor title from one of the bigger MMO companies just tips the free-to-play scales and disappears into the games of yesteryear.
As such, I feel the very thought of Founder's Packs present the perfect opportunity for developers to clamber as much financial gain before releasing what could well be a huge disappointment. What do you think? Am I clutching at straws or should developers do more to justify largely expensive purchases prior to a games actual release.