Eight songs over eight weeks for $13.50
About a year ago, Rock Band leaned into the tendencies of its competitive players. The Rock Band Rivals expansion focused mostly on getting people to form crews, and then pitting those crews against one another in pursuit of high score supremacy. The week-to-week challenges seem to have worked for keeping dedicated players interested.
These challenges serve an ulterior motive, though. Each new set of Spotlight Songs (half the criteria the challenges are graded upon) usually features two tracks that people already have access to and one newly-released DLC song. Those who care the most about the Rivals format and the competition have to buy this track in order to hang. Posting two-thirds the score of your rival crews is a surefire way to face relegation, especially at the higher tiers where only a few percentage points of the total crews will get to land.
Heading into season two of Rock Band Rivals, Harmonix has introduced a slightly cheaper method of playing the new Spotlight Songs. Beginning on August 24, there will be a season pass that’s more appropriately named than most video game season passes. For $13.50, the Rock Band Season 2 Spotlight Pass grants permanent access to the DLC tracks that are featured as Spotlight Songs throughout Rivals second season.
It’s a gamble to pre-purchase eight weeks worth of songs without knowing what they are, but that’s not really the point for the people this is geared toward. Those players want to be able to post a score every week, regardless of how much they actually like the music. And, this season pass technically represents a savings over a eight-week period. (Add-on tracks are usually priced at $2, which means that buying them individually would cost $16; the $13.50 season pass will save players $2.50 over the course of two months.)
It’s kind of a niche product for the most competitive of players, but Harmonix is likely aiming wider than that. Rock Band DLC has always lent itself to compulsive purchasing, an easy way to spend two bucks on a song you want to play right now. The developer likely has its sights set on that consumer mindset mixed with the boon of blind box subscription services in recent years.
Honestly, that seems fine. Season passes are a wart on the video game industry in the sense that it’s foolish to pre-order content that might be bad. In this case, we know exactly how the in-game product will perform; there is literally a decade’s worth of Rock Band DLC to point to. Anyone who buys the Rock Band season pass and finds it lacking can only really blame personal preference in musical tastes as the reason why. That and their spontaneous tendencies.