Dead Space 3: The Vilification of Microtransactions

Posted by StarvingGamer (8281 posts) -

Disclaimer: I have not played Dead Space 3 (DS3) and am basing my opinions primarily on various reviews and information gleaned from the DS3 discussion during this week's Bombcast.

Encroachment

It's no surprise that we, as core gamers, feel an instinctual aversion towards microtransactions. We remember a time when buying a game meant buying a game. We remember when Free 2 Play games first started cropping up and how horrible they were. And now that they've started to bleed their way into our games, we're afraid that the well of fair design has been poisoned by greed.

MICROTRANSACTIONS!

Electronic Arts has been at the forefront of the $60+ movement, but their tentative forays have been largely innocuous. An unlock here, a bonus item there, and a minor hullabaloo over Mass Effect 3 multiplayer. And while it came as no surprise to me when it was revealed that DS3 would also have microtransactions in-the-box, I was somewhat taken aback by the massive amounts of vitriol being spewed across the internet.

After all, we had no idea how the in-game economy was balanced. How could we possibly pass judgement on a system we knew nothing about. But no, a majority of people seemed to be asserting that the actual design of the game was irrelevant. The mere presence of microtransactions was enough to condemn DS3, sight-unseen.

Denoument

Now that the game is out in the wild, it sounds like microtransactions have had no negative impact on the design of DS3. The rate of resource accrual is properly balanced for players that choose not to spend any additional money, and in keeping with other EA titles, the single-player microtransactions exist only to serve as a shortcut for impatient players.

A fair assessment?

So I ask you, where is the harm? Are we willing to condemn EA for crimes they have yet to commit? Is it our place to deny the others the freedom to "ruin the experience" in our perception?

Development costs are inflating, making secondary revenue streams more and more crucial to a game's success. When the next generation rolls around, refusing to support a game that features microtransaction may mean finding a new hobby. Or sticking exclusively to the Wii U.

POLL: Here

#1 Edited by StarvingGamer (8281 posts) -

Disclaimer: I have not played Dead Space 3 (DS3) and am basing my opinions primarily on various reviews and information gleaned from the DS3 discussion during this week's Bombcast.

Encroachment

It's no surprise that we, as core gamers, feel an instinctual aversion towards microtransactions. We remember a time when buying a game meant buying a game. We remember when Free 2 Play games first started cropping up and how horrible they were. And now that they've started to bleed their way into our games, we're afraid that the well of fair design has been poisoned by greed.

MICROTRANSACTIONS!

Electronic Arts has been at the forefront of the $60+ movement, but their tentative forays have been largely innocuous. An unlock here, a bonus item there, and a minor hullabaloo over Mass Effect 3 multiplayer. And while it came as no surprise to me when it was revealed that DS3 would also have microtransactions in-the-box, I was somewhat taken aback by the massive amounts of vitriol being spewed across the internet.

After all, we had no idea how the in-game economy was balanced. How could we possibly pass judgement on a system we knew nothing about. But no, a majority of people seemed to be asserting that the actual design of the game was irrelevant. The mere presence of microtransactions was enough to condemn DS3, sight-unseen.

Denoument

Now that the game is out in the wild, it sounds like microtransactions have had no negative impact on the design of DS3. The rate of resource accrual is properly balanced for players that choose not to spend any additional money, and in keeping with other EA titles, the single-player microtransactions exist only to serve as a shortcut for impatient players.

A fair assessment?

So I ask you, where is the harm? Are we willing to condemn EA for crimes they have yet to commit? Is it our place to deny the others the freedom to "ruin the experience" in our perception?

Development costs are inflating, making secondary revenue streams more and more crucial to a game's success. When the next generation rolls around, refusing to support a game that features microtransaction may mean finding a new hobby. Or sticking exclusively to the Wii U.

POLL: Here

#2 Edited by EXTomar (4760 posts) -

I believe there are two major issues with the way Dead Space 3 handles this:

- A game that is 10-20 hours does not need "accelerators" or "short-cuts". Or in other words, Dead Space 3 is too short for this to make sense as a value proposition for the player. There is a stark contrast between DS3 and some Gameloft or whatever-mobile game where it is apparent in a game that will take 4 weeks of playing everyday for an hour or $10 to gain the power up in game why that makes sense while in DS3 it doesn't make sense to accelerate the run from 10 hours to 5 hours.

- The way it is presented in game is a bit obnoxious. Being constantly reminded that you can buy whatever you need with real world money looking at the plan of any weapon is the problem. If they put this off on a second screen or separated it out in some other way I think a lot of people wouldn't complain but when you get to the point you are 1 power core short and the game chimes in "buy it for $X" instead of outright rejecting, it feels very scummy.

#3 Posted by AiurFlux (902 posts) -

It doesn't ruin the experience in "our perception" it just flat out ruins the experience. Having to be reminded constantly that I can spend actual real world money for things to pay to win, and make no mistake that's exactly what it is, is absolutely disgusting. There's no vilification about microtransactions being done when it is done properly. The fact is that people paid 60 dollars already, shit like this used to be fucking cheat codes that you could enter in for free on a whim, and it isn't being done properly in this instance. The thing that is making people pissed off, and rightly so, is the constant prodding by developers like EA, Ubisoft, and Activision that continually want more and more money for less and less and if people don't start resisting it WILL go to far. Don't for one second try to tell me that an industry that allows something like this to happen won't take advantage of it's customer base to make more money.

This is the exact description of having your cake, eating it, wanting more cake, eating that, then trying to have my fucking cake. And personally I am sick and tired of seeing an industry that I grew up loving, an industry that produced memories for me and my family, an industry that that at it's core was about fun turn into the monster that it is right now. I understand that development costs are rising, I understand that companies need additional sources of revenue to make it worth it, and I understand that over time you have to pay additional money for things (much like maintenance on a car) but they have to go about it a different way. A less insulting way. A way that doesn't feel like I'm getting fucked over at every single turn by the short dick of these assholes.

And the half-assed approach that they explain the addition for microtransactions being in it really fucking pisses me off. Essentially they said that because mobile game users "expect them" is the reason that they're in the game? Gimme a fucking break. The complete dishonesty is really disgusting and I honestly demand more. I don't expect more, I demand more. Because at this point the sad fact is that these companies continue to push me further and further away from the hobby that I love due to their greed and stupidity.

#4 Posted by Humanity (9373 posts) -

@EXTomar said:

I believe there are two major issues with the way Dead Space 3 handles this:

- A game that is 10-20 hours does not need "accelerators" or "short-cuts". Or in other words, Dead Space 3 is too short for this to make sense as a value proposition for the player. There is a stark contrast between DS3 and some Gameloft or whatever-mobile game where it is apparent in a game that will take 4 weeks of playing everyday for an hour or $10 to gain the power up in game why that makes sense while in DS3 it doesn't make sense to accelerate the run from 10 hours to 5 hours.

- The way it is presented in game is a bit obnoxious. Being constantly reminded that you can buy whatever you need with real world money looking at the plan of any weapon is the problem. If they put this off on a second screen or separated it out in some other way I think a lot of people wouldn't complain but when you get to the point you are 1 power core short and the game chimes in "buy it for $X" instead of outright rejecting, it feels very scummy.

I don't think it is prominently displayed at all. It's a single option under purchasing screens and I hardly ever notice it. To say it is in your face and prominent would imply there is some sort of larger pop up that reminds you of this option whenever you're short of credits. As is when you can't afford something, you just can't get it, there is no outside pop up, there are no prompts - there is only an extra button, same size as any other button, that says you can purchase extra resources.

I'm on Disc 2 of the game and I never felt like I was really struggling. Tungsten is hard to come by and is used for major upgrades but you could say that I'm upgrading my weapons and RIG at about the same rate I would have been upgrading them with the circuits in previous games. At about 8 hours in I have about 4 health and 3 armor upgrades on my RIG along with a few additions to my kinesis and stasis modules. I have two weapons with custom tips and a few +2 circuit enhancements - and I've never bought any extra resources once. I'd say in Dead Space 2 with about the same amount of time put in I had roughly the same amount of upgrades, possibly a few less as those nodes were a lot harder to come by.

Online
#5 Edited by Cataphract1014 (1313 posts) -

I've never understood the hatred towards microtransactions. Don't use them if you don't want to! Pretty simple.

#6 Posted by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -

I'm looking forward to SimCity. I'm dreading SimCity at the same time because I know that the in-game shop/microtransactions will be central to the core experience. What is The Sims without furniture/clothes? What is SimCity without buildings?

As long as the developer doesn't keep the game a skeleton with content only to offer the meat to us as piecemeal deals I'm okay with buying extra content; as long as the content is extra, and not actual meat of a game needed to fully experience it.

#7 Posted by Levio (1784 posts) -

IMO the only good kind of MT is the "pay to play more" kind, in which a F2P game restricts the amount you can play a game per day, but will allow paying players to play whenever they want. Spiral Knights and Alphabounce implemented these pretty well (though not perfectly).

Though I admit that content expansions like Blizzard's also work pretty well, and they're effectively large chunks of content DLC.

#8 Posted by pitboy2710 (12 posts) -

I didn't find the micro transactions took anything away from the game, and i hardly noticed the small button to pay for the supply packs. I have only used this feature once on my first ply through and i used in game currency rather than real money. IMO alot of fuss about nothing.

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