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The Guns of Navarro: Would You Like Another Microtransaction?

Alex wanders through the wild and woolly hinterland of microtransactions, only to come away with an all-too-familiar feeling.

When a publisher like EA says things out loud to its various investors, there is a habit among the gaming audience (the press included) to seize onto whatever sounds even remotely insidious. This is, of course, because EA has become our favorite punching bag of late. Thanks to a series of strange, sometimes blatantly consumer-unfriendly decisions over recent years, we apparently don't like EA very much these days. Actually, I'm really quite fine with them, but I recognize them for what they are: business people. EA has ample creative talent, but it has taken up a similar mantle to Activision, one of profit through whatever nefarious-sounding means their marketing and revenue people can dream up. Activision still holds a similar title, but it has been doing this kind of thing for so long that any ugly decision the publisher makes is now greeted with little more than a casual shrug. EA though, EA is still somewhat freshly offensive, which leads to a lot of people freaking out when they do things like, say, announce that they're embracing microtransactions for all games going forward.

People have expressed irritation with new microtransaction models, like Dead Space 3's weapon crafting system. There are reasons to be concerned, but we shouldn't freak out yet.

Microtransactions in every game? How dare they, bastions of big business that they are, attempt to funnel more cash out of gamers' pockets through this method of digital fleecing. At least, this is the attitude I've seen in numerous forum threads and comment sections of stories dedicated to a quote from EA CFO Blake Jorgensen, which started all this nonsense.

What did he say that was so offensive? “The next and much bigger piece is microtransactions within games … we’re building into all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun, whatever it might be, and consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business.”

This was in response to an investor. You know, investors! They're those funny little people who put their own money into a public business and expect to see money come back in their general direction at some point. Of course he would say something like that to them, because he's trying to demonstrate to them that EA has their financial interests at heart. But he's also being truthful. After all, we've seen this shift toward something similar to the free-to-play microtransaction model in $60 games like Mass Effect 3 and Dead Space 3 recently.

This idea, of building content purchasing into the company's entire gaming infrastructure, set off a lot of angry comments. This is maybe a bit familiar to me, since I feel like I remember a lot of the same vitriol directed at publishers who embraced the downloadable content model however many years back. Yes, the situations are quite similar, perhaps more than we'd like to admit. Those map packs you bought for Call of Duty? All those extra cars you bought for Forza? The uncounted scores of Rock Band songs you bought to fill out your music library? Yep, those are all microtransactions, after a fashion. And if by some miracle you have been holding out on all of these things as some kind of protest to the concept, well then, you've been angry for a very long time, haven't you?

Of course, there is a difference between the kind of free-to-play modeled in-game shopping mechanisms seen in Dead Space 3, and the mundane act of simply buying DLC. The former is a more invasive procedure, wherein players are accosted at some point during their gaming experience with the tantalizing prospect of buying more things (or speeding up various in-game processes) with actual money. The latter is more passive, and supplementary. A DLC store that functions outside of a game, and primarily provides additional content, is obviously less annoying than something that provides potential roadblocks to content within the core game. But with this key difference in mind, let's be realistic. DLC is still a microtransaction-based economy, one that we've been engaging for years. In fact, if this console generation is remembered for anything, I expect it will be as the period in which publishers experimented the most wildly, and broadly, in finding new ways to extract money from the consumer.

Understand, I'm not saying there's no cause for future concern. Just because we ought to be somewhat used to this sort of thing doesn't mean there isn't still room for ample abuse. EA has not exactly proven itself capable of exercising restraint where it might be to their benefit, for instance. As Ben Kuchera of the Penny Arcade Report noted earlier this week, EA's mobile division can be particularly wanton in its attacks on players wallets, especially in the very recent case of Real Racing 3. That game is, theoretically, a pretty brilliant racing simulation (as iPad games go) that is nonetheless kneecapped by a highly invasive microtransaction scheme. As in the "grind for nearly 500 hours to unlock all these cars, or pay up to $500 to unlock them all," kind of invasive.

Real Racing 3 might be the most egregious microtransaction example of recent memory, a nifty racing sim kneecapped by ridiculous car unlock and repair costs.

And of course there are the recent blockbuster examples, like Dead Space 3. As was noted by our lovely and talented Bradley Shoemaker in his review of the game, Dead Space 3's item crafting system is predicated on the idea that people won't want to be bothered with all the resource gathering and wait times and just pay some money to make it all go. And as TIME's Matt Peckham noted in his write-up, many have expressed the concern that this system is why the game's resource reward balance feels out-of-whack.

It was Peckham's piece that inspired me to write about this in the first place. One, I happen to agree with a lot of his points--especially his notion that all these microtransactions are really just a more sophisticated version of the coin-op business models of classic arcades. But there is one aspect in which I think Peckham is mistaken. Earlier in the piece, he notes that Jorgensen's claim that evidence shows audiences are "enjoying" and "embracing" the model are not necessarily true. Later, as he writes of the trickiness of getting this balance between game and monetization of said game correct, Peckham asks us to "Imagine the damage done if this new microtransaction imperative alienated EA’s core sports-franchise audience. Rejection of a single title in one of the big franchises, say Madden, could be crippling."

He's not wrong, but he's also a little bit behind. EA has already been doing this with Madden, and this past year, in its NHL series as well, via the Ultimate Team mode. In it, you build custom teams using (eventually) all-star players you collect as player cards. These cards can be acquired using in-game currency earned by playing all facets of Madden or NHL, or--yup, you guessed it--you can just pay a little money to get all sorts of nifty new cards for your team. This has been around for years. It's not new, nor untested, and one might argue that EA's continued incursion with the microtransaction model has been a direct result of systems like this being tested successfully in the wild. Now, if his point is that further evolution of this model into the structure of the game--say, franchise mode and online gameplay functionality being tied into a microtransaction-based model--might alienate further players, then I'd certainly be inclined to agree. But in terms of what EA's already been up to with these sports titles, there's no evidence to suggest it hasn't been successfully received.

Regardless of what might worry us, the market is dictating to EA that they should keep going with this microtransaction thing. Or at least that's what they think the market is dictating to them. I've bagged on EA for a number of its strange business decisions over the years, but I don't think they'd do something like this unless they really had seen positive results. EA needs positive results. These are hardly the salad days for game publishing, and EA has taken a few very public baths on some major releases in recent years. It's fighting to keep its head above water, and if it has to pull a few franchises into the microtransactive muck to stay afloat, it won't think twice about doing so.

As the venerable Cliff Bleszinski noted via his own blog this week, EA is a business, and right now, the microtransaction business is--at least, according to them--a profitable one for the publisher. I share his pragmatism about the situation, though I think deep down, despite what they're saying out loud, many of those out there who profess to hate this proliferation of digital content sold piecemeal are more annoyed about the lack of regulation in the digital marketplace than the actual existence of such a thing. It's the constant testing, and pushing by publishers of new, bizarre ways to charge that sets off alarm bells, not the mere existence of additional content purchasing options.

That stuff takes time to work itself out. There is perhaps no more perfect example of free market capitalism left to police itself than that of digital content sales. Pricing is nearly always in the hands of the publisher, though most shop owners usually have the ability to set certain limits. And publishers, wont as they are to do, will test those limits. They'll try to bend the tolerance of the players to the point of breaking, but the second they sense said tolerance is about to snap, they'll recoil. That's how these marketplaces have traditionally worked. Those who go too far tend to immediately reverse course. They'll do what the market dictates they do.

EA's been doing the optional microtransaction thing with Madden's Ultimate Team mode for years now, and apparently has been quite successful with it.

And when/if what the market seems to be dictating to them fails, EA will just go back to business as usual. That's all we really have to do, you know. Don't buy the games if they're abusive in their demands for your cash. Not getting money is pretty much the only thing a company like EA will truly respond to. Case in point: remember just a couple of years ago, when Sony was pushing stereoscopic 3D in PlayStation 3 games as the next big thing? When it was pushing 3D televisions at the behest of its consumer electronics division? Now, Sony isn't even addressing that sort of thing. The market dictated that this 3D push wasn't going to be a success, so they dropped it, simple as that.

As of now, there's certainly reason to be concerned about an increased volley of microtransactions in games, but let's not make this a more far-reaching issue than it needs to be. We've been dealing with all sorts of crap, from on-disc DLC, to increasingly greedy free-to-play models, for years now. EA's comment, outside of its explicitness in dictating the company's apparent direction, is not really anything newly worrisome.

It's stuff like this that just distracts us from the truly important issues out there currently plaguing the video game landscape. Like the continued use of the painfully redundant term "digital download," for instance. I mean, how stupid is that, right?

--A

Alex Navarro on Google+
226 Comments
Edited by AnthonyWalkens

Eventually, we are going to get a $60 console game gimped like Real Racing 3, then I hope people will turn away from this microtransaction BS.

Posted by PoToSkull

I wish we saw a demographic breakdown of all of these micro transactions. I am willing to bet the majority of people who use it are those who don't play videogames often.

Posted by Gaff

In before the "Yes, BUT IT'S EA!!!" comments.

Posted by Levio

Video games are art. Art that charges you extra to see the whole picture.

Edited by CptMorganCA

The most important tenant in doing microtransactions right, for me, is making their existence known, but not invasive. There also must be a balance in getting items the 'hard' way, and getting them through MTs.

I think Dead Space 3 did this well. It's incredibly easy to gain the rations to buy the packs themselves, but they're pretty cheap if you just want to buy them. They also aren't constantly throwing them in my face, mostly. That last part is disputable.

Posted by ucankurbaga

As long as there are sheeps, there will be shepherds

Edited by ronindrummer200

Excellent writing again @Alex ! Just killin' it with these.

Posted by NoobSauceG7

That was a really interesting article Alex. I never did think of DLC as microtransactions like COD maps and rock band songs. But the biggest difference to me is that microtransactions are a dice roll most of the time, like in Mass Effect 3 where you don't know what you are going to get and DLC is a known quality of you are getting this specific map or this specific song. With microtransactions, you don't know what you are going to get and you may not like it. I don't spend my money on microtransactions and I will probably never spend any. Good article, Alex.

Edited by CrashTanuki

It seems like the IAP situation on mobile has been a key driver in pushing this model onto the more expensive console games, especially in the sense that it's been conditioning those sorts of people to not freak out with its existence. It also seems like the people that go nuts with that stuff in the Ultimate Team modes in EA games are the more casual fans that don't mind putting in money to make the experience progress more quickly while traditional gamers try to stick to doing the hard work to get it for free. As long as it stays that way in regards to our options for how to approach it, then it's a fine business model to me. Consumers in general just need to pay attention to what they're paying for this stuff and how much they spend on it since that's where it can get ugly for those that aren't more prudent with their money.

With that said, the Ultimate Team modes that are taking over EA's sports games are the kinds of modes that I'd love if there were better offline options to enjoying them. The notion of starting with a scrub team and building them up is the kind of thing I'd like to do in those games as long as I don't have to do it against online players that can be assholes about it at times with rage quitting and such.

Posted by Alex

@noobsauceg7: That's frequently true, but not always. There are plenty of games that remove the randomization aspect of the transaction, to where you know exactly what kind of content you'll be getting. Those are often predicated more on convenience than the appeal of random chance, mind you, but it certainly goes both ways.

Staff
Posted by Shookems

Vote with your dollar, folks.

Edited by Funkydupe

If players didn't buy extras through microtransactions there wouldn't be any. A company always attempts to navigate the market to find the best ways to earn money. If the DLC/Micro attempt didn't succeed, they'd be exploring other opportunities to earn money.

So we the players are in fact, if not the creators, then the feeders of our own "monsters".

Edited by owack6

I agree with everything Alex says but i just wish that EA tried to put some thought into all of these different methods of micro-transactions instead of just throwing darts at a boards until one hits the center approach where the customer ends up losing time and time again.

Posted by SaturdayNightSpecials

Like the continued use of the painfully redundant term "digital download," for instance. I mean, how stupid is that, right?

...Woah.

Posted by GorillaMoPena

I think Tiger Woods last year was the first time the use of it actually got in the way of my enjoyment of the game. They held courses back that been in previous versions of the game, then they basically taunted you for not having them, offering the ability to earn them by getting rounds on those courses and accomplishing goals that would take many rounds to get. Or obviously to just pay them.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

I don't know about anyone else, but I only like analog downloads.

Moderator
Posted by Shivoa

I think the issue here is EA and Acti doing what is most beneficial for their investors for the next 3 months. Not what is best for gaming (so potentially they are best serving those other high budget media like blockbuster movies by pushing people to spend their disposable income for something which doesn't come with buyer's remorse or endless prompts to upgrade now for the full experience or to surmount this wall we added just so you could pay to avoid it) or even their own long-term success. Did Acti correctly judge Skateboarding games as only viable for a certain period of time and extract the maximum value from their control of that market or did they sink the ship? Was plastic instruments a fad that they managed to ride for maximum profit or would a longer tail and more people interested in the massive DLC offerings generate more revenue than the current system? These aren't easy questions to answer but when talking to investors it doesn't even appear that EA has a concept of profits beyond the immediate future or business plans that are designed for long term market expansion. Grab every penny today through brute forcing cash extraction mechanisms into 100% of the portfolio even if they clearly don't fit and to Hell with any game players who are turned away from the hobby and focus their attention and money on different pastimes.

The industry is best served when customers with disposable cash are best matched with the content that will delight them and will not make them regret their purchases (through invasive DRM that prevents them playing something they've paid for whenever they want, constant upselling that implies their purchase was incomplete, micro-transactions saying they need to pay more to avoid the bits they find boring or enable what used to be cheat codes, or any of a plethora of other issues). Ultimately the industry is also served by avoiding any gabling regulations in as many countries as possible and paying for a random chance of an item and things like this are starting to get dangerously close to the point where certain nations which are very uneasy about gambling might start to take significantly more interest in what all these pseudo-random number were using actually do and how that relates to their traditional gambling laws and their intent to protect people from cheap psychological tricks to extract money.

Posted by MildMolasses

Eventually, we are going to get a $60 console game gimped like Real Racing 3, then I hope people will turn away from this microtransaction BS.

Check the sales figures for that Vita version of Ridge Racer. The market already doesn't tolerate partial games to be completed through purchases later.

Also, Real Racing 3 is free, so its not really fair to say it's "gimped." EA is trying out the model. If consumers don't like it, they'll stop. Simple as that

Posted by jgf

The problem is that the market is not big enough to be regulated by consumer behavior. There are no 20-30 Mass Effect 3 like games per year, where I may choose freely which one uses the money-making model I like the most. So as long as they make the micro transactions just so annoying that I reluctantly buy the game nevertheless, because I simply like the core game, they win. This is not a free market that regulates itself, this is more or less a monopol for certain game types, where the producer only needs to assure that the consumer does not completely reject the game.

Posted by Hassun

Those map packs you bought for Call of Duty? All those extra cars you bought for Forza? The uncounted scores of Rock Band songs you bought to fill out your music library? Yep, those are all microtransactions, after a fashion. And if by some miracle you have been holding out on all of these things as some kind of protest to the concept, well then, you've been angry for a very long time, haven't you?

As one of those people who did not buy any of those things, I guess I have been... not angry really, but disappointed in the way the market/audience has evolved. You are certainly right and it has been mentioned many times that we should just vote with our wallets, but it is disheartening when you do so but at the same time see the general gaming population does not.

I will just accept the democratic process and avoid insidious microtransactions wherever they pop up but I sure hope there will be a few (big) titles without them left in the (near) future.

Posted by MildMolasses

I think Tiger Woods last year was the first time the use of it actually got in the way of my enjoyment of the game. They held courses back that been in previous versions of the game, then they basically taunted you for not having them, offering the ability to earn them by getting rounds on those courses and accomplishing goals that would take many rounds to get. Or obviously to just pay them.

I know they did that earlier than last year. It goes as far back as whatever year the The Masters was introduced. You can blame me for it though, because I bought Highlands and Predator because I really wanted hi-res versions of those courses. Sorry

Edited by VirgilLeadsYou

I'm not one to really wade into the psychotic typhoon of hate ushered upon video game companies, but this article seems really weak.

There are relatively new & significant changes happening to the games we play. You can look upon the differences of Mass Effect 2 & 3, and really understand the growing disgust for micro transactions here. This article gives the impression that folks should silently boycott, because to do otherwise does nothing but annoy folks.

For my sake, I hope people continue to criticize and potentially annoy folks loudly on the internet. It has steered me away, in the past, on spending $60 on a watered down game. That collective disgust is going to reach more and more people in a similar way, and it's effectively going to be the best chance to cause that market driven change you write about.

Edited by w1n5t0n

I think just because there a business doesn't mean we shouldn't complain about how they do things. I mean when you don't have enough people buying your game, charging more and nickle and diming will always work out in the long run.

Posted by joshthebear

I just cannot get behind the whole micro transactions in every game thing, especially if they're to be as obnoxious as the Dead Space 3 ones were.

Posted by MadLaughter

My issue here is the faceless suits screwing up the creative process and pace/structure of the game (even further than they already have with playtesting and focus groups etc). Dead Space is the ultimate example of what EA's interference means when it comes to the quality of games.

From scary as hell to not scary at all. For a wider audience!

Tacked on multiplayer. To prevent resale!

An overhyped co-op feature with Dragon Age 2-esque re-use of assets and backtracking, and minimal story effects. Get these suckers to convince their friends to buy the game! Even though being an aweesome game might have done that!

A microtransaction system that undermines an otherwise really cool weapon crafting mechanic!

Edited by Wraxend

As long as what is behind the micro transaction barrier can eventually be earned through the game the old fashioned way I don't mind. It's once they start locking that stuff, that is on the disc, to be only accesible though micro transactions that I'll get annoyed.

Posted by kerikxi

@virgilleadsyou: I disagree with your assessment. Nowhere does Alex say to stop complaining about bad practices, what he says is the most effective form of actual protest is a boycott, which is correct. It makes no difference in the grand scheme of things if the entire internet is enraged by something yet it continues to be insanely profitable for the company.

Posted by happymeowmeow

The problem for me is the idea of microtransactions are, to use a Giantbomb phrase, gross. Companies like Zynga that are perfecting the art of turning videogames into Skinner boxes with massive amounts of consumer data. It's not just a designers whim that most of these microtransactional inserts have some kind of random element in them, all the more likely to hit that gambling-addictive sweet spot.

I don't share your confidence in the consumers guiding the market away from this trend if it becomes too intrusive. Too much reliance on the market to "fix itself" or automatically do what is people's best interests can be disastrous. I know I'm being hyperbolic here, but I love videogames and the future of "everyone lining up to be fucked, it's just a matter of which company" (another GB phrase) pisses me off.

Posted by Alex

@virgilleadsyou: I think you may have mistaken my purpose. My issue is not that people are complaining about something they find disagreeable. My issue is that many of us don't necessarily take the time to consider what it is we're disagreeing with. As I pointed out, the current microtransaction model many of us are railing against bears a lot of similarities to the kinds of reactions people had to the introduction of downloadable content several years back. People HATED the idea of paying more for content they believed should just be on the disc. Then companies took their time, experimented, and found models people were willing to accept. And like that, much of the hate dissipated.

I expect the same will be the case here. Companies like EA will experiment with, and prod at the market trying to find new ways to make this microtransaction model fly. Eventually we'll end up with something that suits the broader audience, or it will just go away. I'm not saying people shouldn't complain, I'm just saying people should be aware that these things have a way of working themselves out over time, and that funneling hate in the direction of EA just because they're embracing a concept is short-sighted. By all means, hate their individual experiments, if they aren't to your liking. But EA isn't inherently doing anything wrong just by trying some of this kooky shit out.

Staff
Posted by GorillaMoPena

@gorillamopena said:

I think Tiger Woods last year was the first time the use of it actually got in the way of my enjoyment of the game. They held courses back that been in previous versions of the game, then they basically taunted you for not having them, offering the ability to earn them by getting rounds on those courses and accomplishing goals that would take many rounds to get. Or obviously to just pay them.

I know they did that earlier than last year. It goes as far back as whatever year the The Masters was introduced. You can blame me for it though, because I bought Highlands and Predator because I really wanted hi-res versions of those courses. Sorry

Those are fun courses. That are DLC again this year. Also courses like TPC Scottsdale that were free last year are now DLC.

Posted by Brodehouse

Alex, I appreciate you attempting to talk reason, accountability and basic business sense to this community. Though I expect you will receive nothing but curses and epithets.

Online
Posted by Oni

This article ignores the elephant in the room: putting microtransactions in games will affect game design. Think about Diablo 3's AH, and how that's affected the game's difficulty curve, droprates and the like. Blizzard has been working since launch to rebalance the game wholly around the AH, because those still playing use it, and therefore have eventually made the content trivial by buying good gear. Playing by yourself, building up a good endgame gear set can take dozens if not hundreds of hours. The whole game is designed around the idea that players at 60 are using the AH.

Point being, you can't implement microtransactions without having them affect game balance and other design decisions. That's what differentiates it from DLC, besides the other obvious differences.

Posted by hughesman

If I feel the urge to spend more money to shorten the time it takes to play games then i must not be having all that great of a time and should probably ask myself why i'm playing the game in the first place.

I guess none of this stuff really bothers me all that much because at any given time there are more games that I want to play then I have the time and money for. If EA is destroying quality game development by charging for items in dead space then they aren't doing a very good job of it.

Posted by goreyfantod

I'm more concerned about continued use of the painfully oxymoronic term, "free-market capitalism."

Posted by LycanGav

I wish we saw a demographic breakdown of all of these micro transactions. I am willing to bet the majority of people who use it are those who don't play videogames often.

Given that the Ultimate Team mode across all their sports titles makes up at least 50% of their entire microtransaction model (if not much higher) I'd argue the complete opposite. At least here in Europe we see people pouring money into FIFA Ultimate Team in pursuit of rare cards and dedicating an insane amount of gameplay hours into playing the game to earn as much in-game currency as possible to try and mitigate the costs.

Edited by Nightriff

Meh, I just avoid them, when they prohibit gameplay then I will take offense, to me it sounded like the Dead Space 3 micro doesn't ruin the gameplay, the game isn't impossible and the micro-transactions are right there to pick you up. Haven't played the game, just based on what Brad has said but I'm indifferent about it right now....give it a year or two and I might change my opinion as it gets worse.

More offended by game ending DLC, pay for the true ending bullshit that has happened recently (I love you Asura but that is fucked and you know it)

Edited by VirgilLeadsYou

@kerikxi:

It's from my impression of the article's "Micro-transactions have always been a thing in this industry for a while now and don't really deserve all the vitriol- just don't buy the games if you don't want it." tone.

I like Alex, but I'm not really impressed with this idea.

Things aren't likely to be as insanely profitable if the entire internet are enraged by it. I see that effect growing as more and more people become casual or invested players.

Posted by Alex

@oni: I don't think I entirely ignored that. I noted in there that there is a big difference between buying content outside of the core game, and having content within the core game function behind a potential paywall. Plus, the acknowledgment regarding the Dead Space 3 crafting system's resource wonkiness was intended to be an acknowledgment of that concern, as well. But you're right that I wasn't super explicit about it. And you're right that that is one of the more potentially worrisome things, though it's an issue that isn't new. These kinds of design challenges have existed in mobile gaming for quite a while now, and in free-to-play games. Console games doing it is relatively new, but I think developers who are smart enough to playtest and take that kind of feedback to heart will find ways to implement such things without negatively impacting game balance. And those that do fuck up game balance will be taken to task, much as Real Racing 3 has been by the press and players.

Still, you make a salient point. I just wanted to acknowledge that.

Staff
Posted by w1n5t0n

Alex, I appreciate you attempting to talk reason, accountability and basic business sense to this community. Though I expect you will receive nothing but curses and epithets.

Hmmm, yes this community doesn't know reason. Except @Brodehouse he is truly above it all.

Edited by Reisz

@jgf said:

The problem is that the market is not big enough to be regulated by consumer behavior. There are no 20-30 Mass Effect 3 like games per year, where I may choose freely which one uses the money-making model I like the most. So as long as they make the micro transactions just so annoying that I reluctantly buy the game nevertheless, because I simply like the core game, they win. This is not a free market that regulates itself, this is more or less a monopol for certain game types, where the producer only needs to assure that the consumer does not completely reject the game.

This is one time where you can use the second hand games market to your advantage. Just wait a marginal amount of time (often days) and buy it at Gamestop. In the case of Mass effect 3 you get the game you want and EA doesn't get your money. Although that does mean you'l be supporting Gamestop, if you happen to have problem with them it could be a case of picking your battles.

Posted by Little_Socrates

@madlaughter: Actually, just for the record? Carver is the only character in Dead Space 3 with a potentially interesting story. Which supports my belief that Carver should've been the main character in this game all along and Isaac should have died at the end of Dead Space 2 like he was supposed to.

Posted by MeatSim

I usually want something more substantial out of DLC which is why I have never really brought map packs or track packs.

Edited by Shivoa

@kerikxi said:

@virgilleadsyou: I disagree with your assessment. Nowhere does Alex say to stop complaining about bad practices, what he says is the most effective form of actual protest is a boycott, which is correct. It makes no difference in the grand scheme of things if the entire internet is enraged by something yet it continues to be insanely profitable for the company.

While the effect of the internet erupting in hatred for a release may not be able to influence the sales of that title (if it was front-loaded with preorders and first week sales), it may have an effect on the next title in the series. The maximum effect one person can have by not buying a game + DLC/microtransactions is around $1 to $100 with the major block being the $60 base game price. Getting a community up in arms about something by writing pieces attempting to get your viewpoint about why this crosses the line to as many people as possible (educating the enthusiasts) could block far more sales and sales of future games that use similar techniques and influence the word of mouth narrative about a game.

Vote with your wallet, but far more importantly vote with your speech. Exactly the same as in politics, you're playing in a game where a lot of money can pay for a lot of speech so you're already at a disadvantage even if you're right (in so far as you can be in a battle of ideologies) so the only way to make progress is to find a way of expressing your view in a way that will engage a lot of the target demographic.

Posted by jagehtso

Yeah, I guess I have been angry for a long time. Or just bitter. I still refuse to pay full price for a game, if I already know DLC will come out for it. In fact the only time I ever buy DLC is if it's already part of a whole bargain deal. I know I'm in a miniscule minority of people who prefer to wait over being strung along by any kind of marketing and jumping onto the hypetrain, impulsively preordering every "next big title" that is about to hit the shelves and then spending even more on it, because "it's just a few bucks". I also know that I have no say in the industry since an informed customer actually pondering his spending is exactly the kind of customer you don't want. I might miss out on most of gaming from this time onward this way, but honestly, I stopped caring. I guess I'll keep working my good ol' PS2 until the poor thing breaks.

Edited by AmateurWriter

If gamers don't like microtransactions, they shouldn't buy games that support them. Consumers tell producers what they want with their money. We knew Dead Space 3 had microtransactions before the game was released. If everyone whining about it now wanted to make a statement about how microtransactions don't belong in their favorite games, they shouldn't have bought the game. I'm certainly not advocating piracy, but I think a lot of gamers throw all their money at EA and then turn around and wonder why EA gets away with stealing all their money. If nobody bought EA's games, they would be forced to rethink the way they sold content.

Posted by chilipeppersman

The real sad thing that you missed alex, is that EA And activision arent the only ones doing this. In forza horizon, if you want the treasure map, you HAVE TO purchase it. There isnt an option for using in game currency. Its a plague slowly rippling through the game industry. Far cry 3 on the other hand, let you earn and spend your in game dough, thats the way to go. Dont get tainted ubisoft!

Posted by robheath

I beat Dead Space 3 without buying any an addons, had a great time with it. Didn't feel like the game pushed me to buy upgrades to beat it.