As DLC offerings for games have continually increasedcontinued to increase, some publishers have begun selling a "season pass" that provides access to all (or a specific set) of the game's downloadable content, including the ability to pre-order not-yet-released DLC, usually sold for a discount. Season Passes typically include DLC that is not immediately available upon a game's release.
Another variation of the Season Pass is with episodic games, such as The Walking Dead and Kinect Sesame Street TV. These games offer individual "episodes" of the game for purchase, but also offer a Season Pass which bundles all the episodes together for a discounted price.
The first introduction of this business model was in 2011, with L.A. Noire's "Rockstar Pass," that which granted access to four downloadable cases (including two that had yet to be released)new missions, plus two outfits and a "badge pursuit" challenge mode. The price for buying all of this content individually is $20, but the pass which includes everything originally sold for $10 (a limited-time offer; the price later raised to $12) - a savings of 50%..
Some argue this business model provides benefits to both publishers and players and publishersalike. For publishers, this bundling together with a discount may influence players who were going to only buy a small amount of DLC to purchase all more of it bundled together to take advantage of the discount. Additionally, by offering pre-orders of future DLC they can collect revenue before the DLC is officially released. For players, those who were already planning to buy all of a title's DLC are able to receive a somewhat significant discount.
Some have criticized that publishers can abuse the Season Pass by deceptively offering only a portion of the DLC, leaving out some content that must still be purchased separately.