Gamers used to earn perks if they managed to beat the game on harder difficulties as a bragging right. During the seventh generation of gaming, microtransactions popped up more than ever. Earning the additional content is no longer earned, you pay for it.
It’s become a bad trend within gaming to put microtransactions in full priced retail games. It wasn’t always this way. This used to be only restricted to Free-To-Play games. A developer had to make money off the game after all, some how. Some games did it better than others. Not all of them exploited the gamer, but some of them did with gusto. It was understood that you got to play the game for free and you could buy additional content to support the game.
When it entered the paid game space, it started with expansions. They added additional content to retail games which then moved on to Downloadable content (DLC). The most recent thing is microtransactions in games you pay for. In Forza 5 you could buy a car for 110$ of your real money. Gran Turismo 6 offered a car that roughly cost $196.05. Assassin’s Creed Unity offered the first week of the release, you could buy 100 dollars worth in boosts in the game.
There are despicable examples on all platforms. Not too long ago we had War Z. The game was in an unfinished state and unplayable. Yet it had microtransactions left and right. You were heavily limited to a timer if you didn’t buy your way out of it, and i am not even mentioning how broken it was. On mobile platform Square Enix in all its wisdom released Final Fantasy All The Bravest. The whole game was built around to pay your way to the next battle. If you lost the battle you had to pay to continue. The balance was so off that every battle was almost impossible to beat. The only reason that game exists is to get money out of the consumer. Microsoft didn’t make a good start to the Xbox One either with Forza as i mentioned before. That wasn’t the only game riddled with microtransactions. Crimson Dragon and Ryse had it aswell. In Ryse you have pretty much the option to buy everything. From cosmetics to actual weapons. The worst offended I have seen is Train Simulator 2015. Train Simulator 2015 has $4,548.84 worth of DLC and microtransactions, that is absolute insanity. What is the point in this? Is the whole point not to actually get the items from the game, but rather buying it from the developer themselves?
If the microtransactions only gave you the option of cosmetic content, I would be fine with it. That isn’t the case in the industry at the moment. They give you shortcuts and advantages for giving out money in retail games that you pay for. I personally think that demanding money in Free-To-Play games for full access is an acceptable way to make a business model for a game. It’s not when the you actually pay full price for the game to get shortcuts. When the game itself is long and has grinding, and then ask them to give you money for the game aswell? That is not acceptable or consumer friendly. When you put in barriers by choice when you already have your money, it’s just flat out greed. EA tried this by forcing online passes. That didn’t work to say the least.
If microtransaction are only limited to cosmetic content, I would be fine with it in retail games. It doesn’t seem to be the case however when you can pay more for a car in the game than the actual game itself. Even though most people don’t buy them, they will be in the game because the company can make money of from us.
What I am trying to get across is to use the most powerful tool that gamers have; the wallet. Use it to show that it’s not acceptable to sort to these anti-consumer methods. Because we’ve seen that we get less and they require more money. CD Project Red are releasing 16 free DLC’s with the Witcher 3 game to thank fans. Mass Effect also released free DLC with its game. Rockstar have also provided free content to its online mode. This is a great way to get gamers invested in your game. If the content is good, people will pay for extra, instead of forcing them by limiting the consumer.
We need to show publishers as gamers that this is not acceptable. When the game is good and the microtransactions aren’t forced, you should reward the developers. Otherwise you should stay away from them.