Microtransactions aren't going away in gaming, but there is a right way to do them and a wrong way.
The Battle Pass model seems to be the best method in any game. It gives players levels to grind and the chance to buy the next one for free if they complete the current one.
It encourages gameplay while the rewards don't create a wild imbalance between those that participate in the Battle Pass and those that don't.
It made sense for the Formula 1 games to adopt this style when microtransactions were introduced in F1 2020. However, it has already grown tired and stale.
Podium Pass needs a refresh.
One of the problems Codemasters has with Podium Pass is that the rewards are not exactly exciting.
Liveries and driver attire, new fake sponsor logos, and victory radio calls aren't particularly enticing.
They have tried to spice that up this year by collaborating with the likes of George Russell and Daniel Ricciardo as well as F1 YouTubers like Aarava and Tiametmarduk but none of it is really moving the needle for players.
One direction they could go in is to add R&D points and career mode or My Team bonuses into the Podium Pass.
Get to level 24 and get an aerodynamic upgrade for your car? That would at least encourage buying the VIP pass and grinding through the levels.
Players are also not interested in extra made-up companies to paste on their car. Throw in real world logos and things would pick up though. Get to slap Shell or Apple on your car and players would be excited to grind.
Classic cars have disappeared from the F1 games, which has been a big shame for a sport with such a rich history.
Another way of making the Podium Pass more interesting would be to put classic cars, drivers, or even tracks into the rewards.
Imagine unlocking the 1976 McLaren M23D for completing Series 1, and then getting the Benetton B194 for Series 2?
By padding out the earlier levels with logos and liveries but giving players something truly worthwhile like a historic car or even a track like Hockenheim or Estoril would be next-level.
F1 2022 Podium Pass
There is no confirmation that Podium Pass will return for F1 2022, but given EA's attitude toward microtransactions it would be surprising to see it disappear.
We are expecting F1 2022 to arrive in mid-July, and honestly to not change much about how the Podium Pass works.
Added store transactions for the more artistically pleasing and holiday-themed items keep the money coming in from F1 players.
While we want more customisation freedom when it comes to car design and driver equipment, given the track changes and new cars Codemasters has to put together it is unlikely to come this year.