By devise22 2 Comments
I have given a lot of attention as of the last year/year and half to free to play games. Almost all of these games have some type of online component intended to keep you around so they can get whatever hooks into you as possible to get you to engage in the micro transaction section of the game.
An entire years worth of debating could be had over the pricing models and just how the micro transaction stuff in free to play games has influenced the industry as a whole. Particularly how disguising it can be in certain cases (See: Marvel Heroes) but that isn't what I'm here to discuss.
I have noticed a tend that I would like to think is a concern that continues to grow as free to play games become more of the model for a lot of games. That trend is the design choices that allow free to play games to operate in a way that pushes people to spend their money on them. That trend is barriers, walls, and general game punishment for your time investment. I have noticed this trend grow to other games, such as Dead Space 3 as an example. But other non free to play games like Guild Wars 2 or even Assassin Creed 3 have developed these game strategies at some point. As we enter the next generation it seems to be even affecting the nature of how the big companies like Microsoft are using it for using their console.
First of all, I want to ask the question...at what point did it become a crime to enjoy content? If your kind of in the dark to what really the problem I'm talking about then I'll explain. In a lot of games now we are asked to play the content the way they want us to play the content or not play it at all. I don't mean just linear. Fail states in AC 3 if you don't do the mission the way they want you to do it. Level barriers in RPG's to ensure you don't go ahead in areas and force you to grind out their content. Limiting your abilities and then flashing the big "micro transaction to make this better" button to try and mil you for your dollar. Hell even with Microsoft and their new console with the rumors of installing games to the hard drive for DRM, online every x amount of hours and have to have Kinect plugged in. Again, it all speaks to the "this is our product and you will only be allowed to use it thew way we want you to use it."
Why does this exist? Why do we the gamer community let this exist? It is about more than just consumer rights as well. I have always struggled with how the entertainment industry, whether it is movies or games or even music to an extent seems exempt from other business philosophies of the consumer comes first. I mean if you look at other areas of business, even say tablets or phones....user bases complain and clamor for features in their devices and they get them. The focus in almost every other set up is to create a product that the consumer wants and continue to give them what they want without any barriers.
Yet with games particularly lately we are shown various things we like and then told we have to do this and this and this to get to the content that we like. Anyway I've ranted here enough. What do you guys think of this issue? Do you see it persisting and becoming a more popular thing as the next generation of games comes in? What if anything can we the gamer community do to try to fight this issue?