This morning Activision announced that they made a huge amount of money thanks to microtransactions. In total, they walked away with a pleasing $4 billion last year. Convert that to Rand and you get to… never mind, that thought just depresses me. We’re looking at loot boxes in Overwatch and Call of Duty, as well as map packs and other forms of DLC and other mobile ventures. We’ve now got to the point that these money-making business plans are here to stay forever and though I’d love to point my fingers at the publishers there’s one major problem – us gamers.
I don’t think the direction gaming has taken is something we could have avoided. As soon as games were plugged into the online network with a currency attached to it there was always a tycoon ready to jump in and scoop our cash. It just irks me that we have fallen into the trap of paying for shit that should be free. A skin? Seriously? We pay for a fucking skin? A little piece of art that you’ll perhaps get some satisfaction with for 10 minutes, but in the real world means little. Back in the day, I would finish a game on a harder difficulty to unlock the Spud of War outfit for Kratos in God of War. More recently, much to my surprise, you can buy several outfits for Bayek in Assassin’s Creed Origins using in-game currency (go Ubisoft!). You see, it can still work. You don’t have to pay real world money for crap that should be free.
The matter of the fact is this – when paying R1000 for a game, and it’s missing half the story it’s already a slap in the face. Unfortunately, we’ve all already made peace with the fact that DLC is here to stay and will forever cost us more. If you plan to play the entire story you’re going to shell out a minimum of around R1,500 for a game. I think back to Resident Evil 4 and the Separate Ways add-on content. That content was added to the PS2 version, which launched several months after initially being GameCube exclusive. It was free and along with it, you received a bunch of outfits for Leon and Ashley to wear in the main campaign in Capcom’s own way to reward PS2 gamers who had to wait for the delay. All gratis. That’s 13 years ago, which is a long time ago, but considering we’re accepting DLC as extra paid for content it’s something we have to deal with now. However, Daniel Ahmed said something on Twitter that made the hair on my back stand up. Microtransactions are becoming something that’s accepted and DESIRED. Desired?! W.T.F?!
It further goes to show that add on content such as DLC, Season Passes, Microtransactions and other post launch monetisation content is becoming increasingly accepted and desired across Console and PC, just like it has been on mobile for some time.
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) February 8, 2018
Now, I’m proud to say that I’ve not bought a single thing using microtransactions to date because, quite frankly, I think it’s a massive scam and downright greed. I did, however, spend a ludicrous amount on DLC. Those extra goodies were once free, but because they can charge for it they do. There was even a time, before microtransactions, that these extras were either unlocked by playing well or you could download it for free. Thanks to it being popular they added a cost to it and BAM! – they’re making a killing off gamers who can unfortunately not control their spending habits.
Publishers, not just Activision, are making huge bucks. You just need to look at Take-Two (GTA V and the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2) to see that it’s a winning recipe for publishers. Think Red Dead Redemption 2 will cost you R999? LOL! Think again. The more we’re willing to spend the more they are willing to take. It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, dear gamer, we have all fallen into the trap and dug a hole we can’t get out of.
Have you spent money in 2017 on any microtransactions? Did you buy any DLC? You did? Well, then it’s probably best you accept your fate.
We are our own worst enemy.