How the Battle Pass Destroyed Gaming


A screenshot of the most recent Fortnite Battle Pass, a paid rewards system. Photo credit to Epic Games, used under Fair Use.

As a kid, everyone could not wait to come home and hop on their game console and play for the rest of the night with their friends in whatever multiplayer shooter, indie game, or zombie survival game they found. Fast forward to 2023, and people are not playing games as frequently as they once were. Gaming is not as exciting as it used to be because a lot of games have the same format, which includes a battle pass. We can only blame one game for that: Fortnite. 

Fortnite popularized the concept of battle royales and battle passes, but the idea originally came from a game called Dota 2. The battle pass in Dota 2 was $10, and out of each one purchased, $2.50 went to a prize pool. This idea was a success and eventually began to spread to other games, such as Team Fortress 2 and Fortnite, which led to the concepts of free-to-play and battle passes gaining more traction. Fortnite was a hit because it was one of the first battle royale games to be added to every platform. It also implemented a building mechanic that allows players to protect themselves when challenging someone else. 

Yes, the existence of free-to-play modes and battle passes in Fortnite can be considered positive, but the idea has caused many games to lose their uniqueness. A good example of this is Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. This game was expected to be a huge release, like the rest of the Black Ops series, but it wasn’t. The developers added a battle royale mode titled “Black Out,” which was enjoyed by many but revealed a lack of creativity. 

Call of Duty is far from the only game to copy Fortnite’s battle passes and battle royales in an attempt to cash in. Video game companies have taken the battle pass idea from Fortnite and implemented it into every game they can. For example, NBA 2K and Madden. This can be beneficial since it gives players a way to earn rewards for free and keep themselves up-to-date within the game. However, the eagerness to include battle passes in every game has stunted creativity.

Battle passes take away the love of gaming for the gamers who are truly passionate.

Fortnite has had a number of negative effects on video games. One that is constantly overlooked is Fortnite’s addition of cosmetic skins that are not necessary to gameplay. The majority of people who played Fortnite religiously were tempted to spend money to have the nicest skins. After seeing the success of Fortnite’s money grab, many other companies decided to add cosmetic skins to their games. 

A great example is Activision, which has added skins to Call of Duty. In early Call of Duty games, there were not many operators to choose from. They were basic and did not have much meaning. Players were also able to grind for camos, which made the game entertaining and allowed the game to keep its value over time. 

Now, players are able to buy skins for their guns and a new operator every week when the item shop refreshes. This has caused Call of Duty to become more like a fashion show than an action-packed multiplayer shooter. What happened to the intense competition between each game and the fear that an upcoming release would not be worth playing? Over time, this has become a major problem in the gaming community, and it has not been acknowledged enough. 

Although we are in a different era where the inclusion of battle passes has become more common and accepted, battle passes take away the love of gaming for the gamers who are truly passionate—the ones who can be found gaming with their friends every night.