Microtransactions and how they will affect the gaming industry

Back in the day, one could buy a new game, at the launching price (what ever the price it was that said game launched with back then) and that was it, no fuss, no worrying about anything to purchase for that particular game in the future. Until that is in the early 2000s (or maybe even before, I might be mistaken here) when game expansions starting coming out, those were essentially continuations to the original games, of course back then (I sure do like to believe so) game companies didn’t have in mind to extort more money out of their customers when they first launched their games, that realization came when they started realizing that they could actually release more parts to the game and sell them!

Fast forward a few years and you start getting into the “Next gen” era, or more descriptively, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (Since they could be considered last gen now, right? No? Yeah, I don’t want to be saying it either). With the rise of their respective online stores came the rise in Downloadable Content, which essentially was watered down expansion packs, instead of a game giving out one expansion pack and calling it quits, like for example, Red Alert 2 with Yuri’s Revenge, Warcraft 3 with The Frozen Throne, or Diablo II with Lord Of Destruction, these “DLCs” came as continued support of the company to the games they let out, most notable of which being Call of Duty with their map packs which raises another issue, more often than not, DLCs are multiplayer centric and not single player centric, especially when it comes to shooters, the company knows its target demographic won’t be paying attention to the single player mode as much as they will to the multiplayer mode (At least that is how I felt about Battlefield 3) so they start to concentrate on the multiplayer ignoring (sometimes, not always) the subpar job they did on the singleplayer campaign.

A little more down the line and you get Free to Play games, ah, the things that started it all as far as microtransactions are concerned, “want more XP in that MMORPG you’ve been sinking so many hours in? Sure, buddy! Go get that nice credit card of yours, pay us, and we’ll give you what you want!” But that was “almost” justifiable due to server costs and whatnot. However, recently, with the launch of a new game back in 2012, microtransactions began to take form in full retail priced games, and that game was…

Yep, Ubisoft had announced before the launch that a digital currency would be used in-game called Erudito Credits, which you can buy off of Xbox Live or PlayStation Network for as low as 25 cents, or as high as $20, those Erudito credits allowed you to jump start your multiplayer experience. Sure you could go the ethical way in order to unlock everything as you progress, but that was just easier to purchase, or, you know, legally cheating in game, but lets not dwell on the “in game cheating” thought.

After nothing much was said about Ubisoft’s microtransactions move, and since as far as my knowledge, it wasn’t incorporated in Far Cry 3, I for one though it didn’t pan out the way they had envisioned it to, and just dropped the idea. Yesterday, however, Visceral tries to justify adding microtransactions to their upcoming and widely anticipated title

And here’s what they had to say about it:

There’s a lot of players out there, especially players coming from mobile games, who are accustomed to microtransactions, They’re like, ‘I need this now, I want this now.’ They need instant gratification. So, we included that option in order to attract those players, so that if they’re 5000 Tungsten short of this upgrade, they can have it.

 

Honestly, most of the dev team are that way; we’re kind of old school, a little bit older, so, not only are the microtransactions completely optional, but all packs are available to purchase using in-game resources you find.

 

I can see why they would incorporate such a system, they want more profit out of their games, call it fighting used games, call it fighting piracy, call it whatever you want, what it is doing is hurting the actual players, that’s for sure. Think of it this way, you’re a hardcore Dead Space fan, you’re working hard in its co-op mode or multiplayer to get that upgrade you want oh so much, then, you find someone else who’s still starting, with an upgrade even better than the one you wanted! If there’s some sort of competitive multiplayer in Dead Space 3, it will be broken because of that, unless the purchases are purely cosmetic that is.

What this means for the next gen consoles however, at least in my opinion, is that games most likely will not be sold at a full $60, probably less, and will incorporate microtransactions in them, along of course with the DLCs, but that’s just my two cents about this. Let me know what you folks feel about the microtransactions system and whether you’ll feel like it’s hindering the gameplay experience or not.

One thought on “Microtransactions and how they will affect the gaming industry

  1. To be honest you are totally right, I shared the same view till yesterday, I read one comment that made me think that microtransactions may be needed to some people.

    Forget about mobile players, think about us, in 10 years or something we will be married, having kids, responsibilities, ………etc, we may not have the same amount of time as we have now to play games -assuming we continue playing of course, I for one intend to- we will sometimes need to do things that may take alot of time in real time, so microtransactions will help us then, it will enable us to enjoy things we may leave out cause we had no time to work for it.

    As for MP I think it is a so-so system, I mean I played a couple of games 3 months later and I got my ass handed to me cause the other players had way better equipment, not that I would use microtransactions in such a case, but I think some people may, then again I don’t think that EVERYTHING should be unlocked by microtransacations. -or better yet, just implant a system that put players in the same level against each other-.

    I don’t like DLC, Season Pass, Expansions, cause to be honest I never buy them, I am always worried I am wasting my money, I want to get a game, play the hell out of it, and not feel like I am missing something, I know DLCs are used to expand the shelf life of games, but for me 99% of my games are still with me, so I don’t know if microtransactions are a good thing or a bad thing, it can go either way, I just hope that whatever happen people can always be on fair ground in MP, cause that’s where most people would abuse such a system.

    Great work and Sorry for the long comment :D.

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