If you've played any online multiplayer game, then you've probably encountered some sort of Battle Pass. Did you know that the first one was made by Valve?
Nowadays, the idea of a Battle Pass is widespread in multiplayer games, as a way to monetize content. In return for a purchase, gamers get various in-game rewards such as skins, emotes, wallpapers, and more. How did we get to it, though? We're here to answer that question.
The First Battle Pass
As it's already clear from the title, Valve was the first company to implement the Battle Pass system. Little did we know that it would take over the world of gaming in just a few years. Initially, it wasn't even called a Battle Pass, but a Compendium.
You see, Valve needed some extra money for the biggest Dota 2 event, The International, and the Compendium was the perfect tool to get the dough.
The Compendium resembled an in-game digital book, that featured challenges. You could complete the latter for various rewards like skins, voice lines, emotes, and so on. Sure sounds like a Battle Pass, hey?
The first Compendium came out in 2013, and 25% of all sales went directly into the prize pool for The International. This rule is still active today, and it's the sole reason why Dota 2 gets the biggest prize pool in esports for a single event, year after year.
Valve decided to rebrand "the Compendium", and in 2016 it turned into "the Battle Pass". Note that in order to avoid confusion, Valve even added a disclaimer in the image above. The efficiency of this new model didn't go unnoticed by other popular titles, and it wasn't long before they started implementing it too.
Epic Games added one in Fortnite in 2018, when the game was in its second season and had a lot of new players joining. Needless to say, it proved to be very successful.
Epic Games sold over 5 million Battle Passes in February 2018, which made them over $50 Million USD.
Loot boxes vs. Battle Passes
In the same year, the controversy surrounding loot boxes was hitting an all-time high, and the Battle Pass was clearly a better system. It offered transparency, and not pure chance, so everyone was happy. Players get to see what they can actually win, companies earn revenue, and the governments won't sue anyone for gambling. Neat.
For the people who wanted to get everything just by throwing money at the screen, it was still possible, so nothing of value was lost with the removal of loot boxes.
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The Big Adoption
Since Valve and Epic got great results, and loot boxes became a thing of the past, almost every other multiplayer game decided to give it a shot. Today, pretty much every online multiplayer title (including mobile ones) has some sort of Battle Pass, usually seasonal. Here are some examples:
The only question here is, why is League of Legends lagging behind?
It looks like the Battle Pass is here to stay, with no sign of stopping. Ironically, the Dota 2 Battle Pass which started it all is the only one today that doesn't have a free version.