Forza 5’s not-so-micro transactions

After playing Forza 4 for two years I had 42M credits. I felt like I had all the cars I wanted in my garage and then some, yet I played the game so much I still ended up with an abundance of credits. This was mostly from multiplayer too, because after 100%-ing Forza 3 I barely touched F4’s single player.

I have no doubt the same will be the case in Forza 5. Even if the borked multiplayer system on the Xbox One rains on Race Night’s parade, I’ll go through single player stuff this time around because Forza is typically my podcasting game. I’ve only spent a few hours with the game since Friday, but acquisition of credits at least in single player doesn’t seem far off from the previous game. Turn 10 says they reward more credits compared to F4, but they also don’t reward cars anymore so you’re forced to spend some credits every once in a while.

In Forza 4 Turn 10 introduced Car Tokens. This is a secondary in game currency that is bought using real money. The idea behind it was, and still is, for enthusiasts to be able to jump into their favorite car right out of the gate. Conceptually this is a fabulous idea.

In practice it was fine in Forza 4/Horizon. I personally never used the complimentary ones or bought any. This was partially because I never felt strapped for credits and also never felt like I needed to jump into any one car immediately.

I’m going to attempt to examine the price difference of buying cars with car tokens (real money) in Forza 4 vs Forza 5. I ended up with a list of 18 cars to do this with. I definitely needed to pick some of the most expensive cars in both games. I also needed to go very low and have some stuff in between. I didn’t want a bunch of random Merecedes and Hondas, so I went for more recognizable stuff as well.

You could definitely go crazy with this if you wanted to, but I don’t think I need much to get my point across. Also, I hated my statistics for engineers class so I’m not exactly bff with this kind of math. Anyway, here’s the list.

Ferarri 250 Testa Rossa

Shelby Daytona

McLaren F1

Bugatti Veyron SS

Enzo Ferrari

2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

2008 Aston Martin DBS

2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI Quattro

2009 Lexus IS F

2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

2009 Focus RS

2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

2013 Focus ST

2005 BMW M3

2009 MINI John Cooper Works

1970 Chevrolet El Camino SS 454

2011 Kia Cee’d

Ferarri 250 GTO

In Forza 4 cars were broken into three tiers based on their in game cost to determine how many tokens they would cost.

  • · 0 – 100,000 CR = 1 TK
  • · 100,001 – 900,000 = 2 TK
  • · Over 900,000 = 3 TK

And here’s what the purchasing options were for tokens.

  • · 1 TK = 80 MS pts ($1)
  • · 6 TK = 400 MS pts ($5)
  • · 13 TK = 800 MS pts ($10)
  • · 26 TK = 1600 MS pts ($20)

If you do some simple division the token per dollar ratio breaks down as 1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.3. Since it’d be dumb to buy just one token and 1.2 is close enough to 1.3, I used 1.3 as my ratio for the math of Forza 4 tokens.

So if you buy either $10 or $20 worth of tokens, 1 TK = $0.77, 2 TK = $1.54, and 3 TK = $2.31. Here’s the breakdown of the in game cost and real world cost of those 18 cars.

In terms of in game credits these cars are wildly differing prices. The car token prices seem reasonable, but with there being only three tiers it doesn’t allow for much flexibility.

With Forza 5, Turn 10 attempted to add more flexibility to their system.

Unlike the previous game, the token to dollar ratio isn’t nearly as linear. On the screen to buy tokens the $5 pack is labeled as “recommended”, the $20 pack is a “great value”, and the $100 pack is the “best value”. As you can see from the graph that is certainly true. But who the flying FUCK is going to spend nearly twice the price of a game on car tokens?

So this is what I did. For consistency between F4 and F5 my primary point of comparison is the $20 pack, and the token to dollar ratio is 135. Now here are those same 18 cars with their updated in game cost. With the new 0 – 10,000 range of token cost this allows for a much broader range of real world cost for buying cars. But then you do the conversions and… well, see for yourself.

Even if this is done with credits or another ratio, the graph looks the same

Looking at just the in game cost the most super expensive cars have been shifted a little (a max of 6M credits), but otherwise the in game costs remain the same basically between F4 and F5.

The first price column is that ratio of 135 that I mentioned before. The one after it is a ratio of 125 from tokens bought from $10 packs (so one step below 135), and the second to last one is a 160 ratio from $50 packs (one step above 135). The final column is an average of all three ratios used for shits and giggles.

Here’s where people are going to start telling me how my math is wrong. Or, more specifically, how my sample size isn’t fair, or something. But even if you did all 200 cars in Forza 5 the price curve would look very similar. Bottom line, if you want to buy a car with real money, you could be spending more than the retail price of the game. For ONE CAR.

Here’s what Turn 10’s game director Dan Greenawalt had to say on the matter of car tokens in an interview with Adam Sessler just before launch.

Because we set out to serve such a diverse group of people, we have guys that are simulation gamers. They couldn’t be bothered with our whole economy. They know what they wanted. They know they want to get in on Spa with a grand prix car. That’s what they want to do. And so the tokens are there to say ‘if that’s what you want to do, do it’. But the game is not ever limiting you… We don’t see it as a micro-transaction, we see it as a true accelerator. Not there’s a wall in your way, but you want to jump somewhere? That’s your choice, go ahead and do it.

No wall in my way? Really? Pretty sure if that wall is higher than the price of the game, that’s a pretty big damn wall.

He also hilariously says this after.

And also we start you off with 100 tokens, so even from the beginning we just give them to you.

100 tokens?! When some cars in the game cost 100x that, those are useless to me.

At the beginning of this post I said there weren’t any cars in Forza 4 that made me want to jump into them immediately. With Forza 5 that feeling changed with the introduction of open wheel cars for the first time in the franchise. But being open wheel high end racing cars they’re ridiculously expensive. The classic Formula 1 cars and the Indy car are available in free play, but the only way to drive the 2013 F1 car is to buy it. It costs 6,000,000 credits or 10,000 tokens. I wouldn’t think twice about paying $5 to unlock it instantly. Hell, I’d even consider it for $10. But over $70? I. DON’T. THINK. SO.

Turn 10 didn’t go overboard with car tokens, they went nuclear.

EDIT

Free stuff and permanent changes coming soon.

101 Comments
101 Comments
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Edited by Sterling

$70 for a car? What?

Online
Posted by spraynardtatum

fuck this bullshit

Posted by MB

I haven't played the game or even looked at this stuff before, but I wonder if this is part of a plan to introduce car packs later on at a "reduced" price from what they would cost individually? You know, price each car so high that when you come out with a $30 pack of 6 cars, it seems more reasonable.

Either way...this is pretty bad.

Moderator
Posted by UricTheOddball

Man, that's just crazy. The incredibly sad part is that there are people out there who will pay the money to get the cars right away.

Posted by AMyggen

This is a great post, and I do not like this trend at all. Forza seems to have crossed the line for me where this shit makes for a worse game in terma of progression etc.

Posted by Sterling

Man, that's just crazy. The incredibly sad part is that there are people out there who will pay the money to get the cars right away.

That is why they do it, and get away with it. Because there are people out there that pay these prices for these things. If people stopped buying them, these things would go away.

Online
Edited by Draxyle

Everything I read about this issue makes me want to stay miles away from any of MS's endeavors.

You can't just ignore these micro-transactions, they've built the entire game around them to a detrimental effect by all accounts.

Posted by Falconer

@mb: Not entirely sure I'm following what you're saying. However, when you buy car packs for Forza you're just downloading the models essentially. You still need to use in game credits (or car tokens now) to be able to use the cars.

Online
Posted by Devildoll

this is how "pay to win" should work.

It should be fuuuuukin expensive.
Either that,
Or you put in the freaking time and play the actual game and make the money the proper way.


As long as gaining in-game credits the usual way goes at the same rate as the previous games, i don't see a problem here.

Edited by Darji

@devildoll said:

this is how "pay to win" should work.

It should be fuuuuukin expensive.

Either that,

Or you put in the freaking time and play the actual game and make the money the proper way.

As long as gaining in-game credits the usual way goes at the same rate as the previous games, i don't see a problem here.

Token cost of all cars in the game comes to 168993

if bought at simplest token value cost of 8000 per $100 usd, that comes to $2200. you could probably bring it in a bit cheaper by buying the remaining balance with smaller amounts instead of the 8000 lot.

if bought at the least value cost of 1250 per $20 that comes to $2700.

cheapest overally brings it to $1690 with 100 tokens per dollar..

The think that makes it really worse is that you can not get Cars from races or cups. in Free play and that is really a disgusting practices to cover for the lack of cars.. I think someone at Neogaf said that you need over 454 hours to buy all cars.

For "just play the game" people, if you add up the total CR cost of all the cars in the game (from

here

), it comes to 104,501,000CR.

Both Grassy and transformer on this page give a rate of 230k CR/hour. That works out at

454 hours

.

So either you pay a ton of money or you grind through the game with 14 tracks for 454 hours. Free to play yeah sure maybe but for a full retail game?

Posted by Pie

Too tired to read at the moment but this looks like a really good post (I mean it has graphs and that, how can it not be good?). Will make sure to read tomorrow

Edited by Devildoll

@darji: And in what way is this different from forza 4?

There is one thing that made it easier to build up a garage in the prior game, and that was the fact that you got a car for every level.
But to get all cars like you are talking about, i bet you needed to play 400 hours just the same.

Posted by Trace

@darji said:

So either you pay a ton of money or you grind through the game with 14 tracks for 454 hours. Free to play yeah sure maybe but for a full retail game?

As someone who's played a fuckton of Forza 2-5, the only time I've ever tried to own all the cars was for the dumb secret achievement in 2. Otherwise, it's way more fun to stick to a subset of cars you like and can drive well.

Definitely not defending Forza 5 at all over this matter, though, since I think the car token pricing is outright sleazy. Plus, the inability to use all cars in their stock form for freeplay/multiplayer is bullshit; at the very least, it's a step away from what made Forza 3 and 4 so great. I wouldn't mind the slow leveling at all if I could try the stock Indycars and Lotus E21 on my own terms.

Moderator
Posted by HerbieBug

Gross. Really fucking gross.

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

I remember when games developers were able to manage their budgets and not have to charge extra.

Posted by Dethfish

This is some hot bullshit

Edited by VeggiesBro

Bleh, guess i'm not getting this when I get my Xbox One next week... Ah well, at least there's Dead Rising.

Edit - Great post by the way! Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Edited by spraynardtatum

They should put microtransaction warnings on game boxes. I don't think it's right when people only find this stuff out after the game is released.

Edited by cloudymusic

This was one of the games that I was most interested in for on the Xbox One, but when the math is laid out plainly like this, it's really pretty disgusting and it's hard to want to support a game that engages in that. The way they've made it much harder to obtain cars without paying real money just makes things worse. Guess I'll just wait for a PS4 Gran Turismo game.

Posted by connerthekewlkid
Posted by spraynardtatum
Posted by cloudymusic

@connerthekewlkid: Microtransactions in themselves aren't a problem. The problem is when they're the only viable option to earn cars, and when you're paying $50+ for a single car. I don't think there's been any evidence that GT6 is going that far with it yet, but I'll admit that I know pretty much nothing about that game aside from the one recent article about its microtransactions that I read.

Edited by Ben_H

Amazing post. But yeah that is disgusting. I was a huge Forza fan and was going to get an Xbox One for it. Not likely anymore, at least not for a while. I'll stick with Forza 4. I still have to finish the Porsche Pack races.

Posted by connerthekewlkid

@cloudymusic: Micro-transactions at all when you're already paying $60 for a game is awful.

Edited by benspyda

I'm not a car nut so I couldn't care less about jumping straight into some specific car so the system doesn't cause me much concern and I'm really enjoying the game part. But man what a way to screw over your loyal fan base of car enthusiasts. If this is the future of gaming I'm out.

Posted by spraynardtatum

@connerthekewlkid: Microtransactions in themselves aren't a problem. The problem is when they're the only viable option to earn cars, and when you're paying $50+ for a single car. I don't think there's been any evidence that GT6 is going that far with it yet, but I'll admit that I know pretty much nothing about that game aside from the one recent article about its microtransactions that I read.

Microtransactions in and of themselves ARE a problem.

Posted by McShank

Now, what about GT6 Micro transactions? I feel like I read about them somewhere but since the game isn't out I cant find much. From what I have read, they are staying close to what they were like prior which was just some car packs and not individual cars.. either way, Forza is dead to me with this post... Only Horizon can allow me to get back into that franchise, IF they make another.

Edited by yakov456

Sheep will be sheep. Sad thing is plenty of people won't do the math, won't bat an eye. And because of them everyone will suffer.

Edited by Falconer

Guys, the in game economy as far as credits go seems totally okay. You can not give them real money and progress through the game just fine. Yes, this token stuff is super shitty, but the game has actual game problems that have a bigger impact on how you play the game (ie - the multiplayer being useless. maybe? I'm hoping us Race Night people will be able to do a preliminary test on Thanksgiving).

Online
Posted by connerthekewlkid

@mcshank said:

Now, what about GT6 Micro transactions? I feel like I read about them somewhere but since the game isn't out I cant find much. From what I have read, they are staying close to what they were like prior which was just some car packs and not individual cars.. either way, Forza is dead to me with this post... Only Horizon can allow me to get back into that franchise, IF they make another.

Im pretty sure every car will be up for sale since it giving you a an "example" of what cars you could buy for 1 million credits.

Posted by cloudymusic

@connerthekewlkid said:

@cloudymusic: Micro-transactions at all when you're already paying $60 for a game is awful.

Won't entirely disagree, heh. Sort of sad that we're getting desensitized to that. My policy is to never participate in microtransactions so it really only matters to me if my gameplay experience is deliberately hampered or made harder because I choose not to spend real money. That's what I think the biggest issue is here. But, sure, if all games stopped using microtransactions altogether, that'd be a great world to live in, but sadly I think those days are gone forever.

Posted by crusader8463

Video games!

Edited by connerthekewlkid
Edited by spookytapes

The microtransactions in 4 and horizon didn't really bother me, but the way this game tries to get you to use Tokens at every turn and suggests XP boosters before and after every race really, really rubs me the wrong way. I'm having a great time with the game and haven't spent any extra money, though, at least. But I strongly dislike the direction they seem to be headed in.

Edited by Doctorchimp

@pseg: @cloudymusic: @spraynardtatum:

There is one thing I feel like needs to be addressed, this is a fucking launch game where the pickens are slim to begin with, but the console is bought out of fervor and faith in the company. How does microsoft respond? Bam, here's a bunch of microtransactions to nickel and dime you further after buying this black box for $500 with this $60 game.

Posted by Darji

@darji: And in what way is this different from forza 4?

There is one thing that made it easier to build up a garage in the prior game, and that was the fact that you got a car for every level.

But to get all cars like you are talking about, i bet you needed to play 400 hours just the same.

But these were also more than double the cars you could get. For me the problem is that you do not earn cars anymore for cups. But instead you really have to grind. Also you had more tracks as well-. Grinding over 400 hours on just the same tracks and cars is really not a fun thing to do.

Posted by VeggiesBro

@doctorchimp: Totally agree. This being a launch game, really makes me wonder where things will go from here.

Edited by spookytapes

Oh yeah, the one other thing that gets me going about Forza 5 is that they cut about half the cars and tracks, still charged full price for the game and yet they still had a day one $50 season car pass available. Also really love when the suggested car for a series is day one DLC!

You just bought a $500 system and a $60 game, now buy this truck! We recommend it!

I honestly wasn't bothered by how they handled this kind of stuff in 4. Bought a season pass and was satisfied, even ponied up the cash for the Porsche pack. Horizon's season pass gave me some pause though, didn't feel like I got my money's worth in that one. But the way they're presenting this stuff in 5 is some straight up mobile phone level sleaze.

Posted by Darji

@spookytapes: Yeah the menus of First party Microsoft title like Ryse and Forza remind you on tablet apps and games as well. It is a really strange thing to see.

Posted by Trace

@doctorchimp: If I felt like I was getting an incomplete game without the microtransactions, I'd be with you on this, but Forza 5 is still a fine game without car tokens, albeit a little stripped-down (which the tokens won't solve). The issue here is more that a microtransaction system of questionable benefit to casual players from Forza 4 and Horizon has turned into something straight-up insane for Forza 5.

Also, even if it were nickel and diming, ten and twentying would be a better term at this point.

Moderator
Posted by JCHenderson

@pseg said:

As someone who's played a fuckton of Forza 2-5, the only time I've ever tried to own all the cars was for the dumb secret achievement in 2. Otherwise, it's way more fun to stick to a subset of cars you like and can drive well.

Definitely not defending Forza 5 at all over this matter, though, since I think the car token pricing is outright sleazy. Plus, the inability to use all cars in their stock form for freeplay/multiplayer is bullshit; at the very least, it's a step away from what made Forza 3 and 4 so great. I wouldn't mind the slow leveling at all if I could try the stock Indycars and Lotus E21 on my own terms.

This is exactly what pissed me off last night. One of the main reasons I wanted this game was to drive the F1 Lotus around Bathurst. (Weird Aussie thing). I don't mind if it is in freeplay and I can't paint it the way I want I just want to be able to stuff around with it. Some cars are available to hire and do this but the Lotus isn't. Looked into what I thought might be a dollar to unlock it and shut my xbox down in disgust when it would have been around $70. It is beyond fucked that they ever thought this was OK.

Edited by Devildoll

@darji said:

@devildoll said:

@darji: And in what way is this different from forza 4?

There is one thing that made it easier to build up a garage in the prior game, and that was the fact that you got a car for every level.

But to get all cars like you are talking about, i bet you needed to play 400 hours just the same.

But these were also more than double the cars you could get. For me the problem is that you do not earn cars anymore for cups. But instead you really have to grind. Also you had more tracks as well-. Grinding over 400 hours on just the same tracks and cars is really not a fun thing to do.

So basically you dont care what car it is you get, just as long as you get one, even if its one you dont like?
And you think grinding 500 cars across 26 circuits is noticeably more fun, and than grinding 200 cars across 14 circuits?

I'd say that its pretty equal.

@jchenderson: regarding the lotus in free play, check this out.

Posted by Gatehouse

This is just awful. I didn't mind the tokens thing in FM4. I mean, I never used them, but still, the most a car would ever cost you is a couple of quid and that to me didn't seem too awful if you just didn't want to do the grind. Even then, you could just mess around on Free Mode with them, so if you just wanted to take the Peugeot 908 for a spin right out of the box, that was totally cool. I don't have the game or the machinery to play it on yet, but this combined with the gutting of Free Play mode really leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

Posted by nbesnerson

Good Analysis. Glad to see you putting your engineering skills to practical use :)

Posted by Darji

@darji said:

@devildoll said:

@darji: And in what way is this different from forza 4?

There is one thing that made it easier to build up a garage in the prior game, and that was the fact that you got a car for every level.

But to get all cars like you are talking about, i bet you needed to play 400 hours just the same.

But these were also more than double the cars you could get. For me the problem is that you do not earn cars anymore for cups. But instead you really have to grind. Also you had more tracks as well-. Grinding over 400 hours on just the same tracks and cars is really not a fun thing to do.

So basically you dont care what car it is you get, just as long as you get one, even if its one you dont like?

And you think grinding 500 cars across 26 circuits is noticeably more fun, and than grinding 200 cars across 14 circuits?

I'd say that its pretty equal.

@jchenderson: regarding the lotus in free play, check this out.

With wining new cars you at least have some sort of progression. You do not have to spend these credits you earn on some cheap car to drive another class or cup but rather save money for the car you really want. With the system in Forza 5 you have to buy a shitty car to drive these new cups or buy one with tokens. And that is where it goes into the wrong direction.

Edited by mina_mina752

microsoft never gets enough money

Edited by SushiX
Posted by slowbird

I hate Microsoft sometimes. :( STOP MAKING ME HATE YOU MICROSOFT.

Edited by rachelepithet

Forza 5 is horrible. It's a phone game port of Forza 4 with fewer tracks and cars and modes intentionally for DLC. The reasobable price of 2.35 to unlock the top sports cars has been replaced by $100.00 bullshit MS Points type schemes.

Forza 4 and previous games were okay in that you shouldn't consider owning every car because like 50% of the cars were the exact same Le Mans/Nascar/F1 type car but with a different drivers team colors. You should buy just one if them and paint them yourself (or download someone else's who took the time). And to make a shit ton of credits, all you needed was the auction house, make one cool design (spend 6 hours one afternoon on it) and you could pull in enough credits to get everything you'd want. Plus, after a few months you can find people auctioning Ferraris and stuff at way lower prices (selling their duplicates, etc)

In Horizon, join a car club that shares a good car you haven't afforded yet

Edited by pweidman

And, as I expected he doesn't really answer any of the excellent questions. The whole micro transaction thing is here to stay though, and we're seeing it everywhere on all platforms, but this game is just egregious about them. The internet is pissed though and the heat is building on Turn 10 and MS on this and I can't wait to see how this will be addressed eventually. At the very least they need to scale the token cost and pricing that's currently on offer back to a much more 'nickel and dime' scale.

And BTW, maybe it's standard practice and I can't remember when 2-4 launched but I just got gifted 3 cars from T10, one even being the Ferrari Berlinetta.

EDIT: Those 3 cars were Forza Rewards. Got 70k credits too by going to the site and claiming. Everyone who's played a lot of the Forza games including Horizon has a score and some rewards associated with that score. Go claim them. My next tier(1237 away, tier 4 now))is a P1 car. Rewards will added periodically according to the site. How often who knows. Hmmm.

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