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The winter season, like others, will kick off with a “major” update that can include new competitive multiplayer modes, maps, features, characters, Escape Hives and Map Builder tiles. There may be “more,” the developers added. You can also assume there will be Tours of Duty that let you accrue cosmetics through achievements.
These kinds of drip-feed releases aren't new to gaming, but they do show how things have changed even compared to Gears of War 4. Like it or not, the creators don't think the occasional themed mode is enough — they want to give you reasons to come back virtually every week.