It’s funny, I like the idea of microtransactions and everything that falls within that basket. It’s cool to have extra stuff on those games you loved and just wanted a little something extra, whether that be a new episode/expansion, character, or a new costume.
And if you just want the vanilla software, you don’t need to spend the extra.
I loved that, developers could add extra content post-release and players could pick and choose what they wanted.
That seemed like a great idea, but I have never been very fond of the way these features were implemented.
For starters, they’re not really micro transactions, DLC has always been overpriced, and every year, it just blows out to new ridiculous proportions.
It’s a straight-up cash grab, and they have free reign to grab as much as they can as quick as possible.
It blows my mind that people spend more in a single transaction in a “free” game than they could to straight-up purchase a new game… and then say new games are too expensive.
I don’t want to have to buy my way through a game, I don’t want to have to purchase “required” content separately and I resent buying a single game in individual episodes.
I don’t like premium currency and I think loot boxes are unnecessary.
If you’ve got a cool item, just let me buy it, but put a reasonable price on it, don’t obscure it behind several layers of digital currency to try and fudge the maths.
Premium currency is just flat out dishonest. An unnecessary step in making a purchase. It’s a psychological hook to force players to make several purchases instead of just the thing they want.
Nothing ever costs the same as your “gem” pack. You’ll always have some loose currency after your purchase, but it’s never enough to just buy something else… it would be a shame to waste it though right? Better get another currency pack.
Loot boxes are just a blight on the gaming landscape, it’s literally just a con to get more money out of players because they can’t buy the item they want, they have to buy a chance to win it instead.
And I’m truly surprised that publishers were even able to implement that given the longstanding issue with the perception of games promoting gambling.
Loot boxes aren’t just promoting it, it’s not like a virtual slot machine in an RPG, or playing poker in Red Dead Redemption, it’s straight-up gambling, every bit as much as a lottery.
We have got to stop making excuses for these practices, it’s legit exploitation. It reinforces all the bad misconceptions we’ve been trying to drop forever.
I don’t necessarily believe microtransactions are ruining video games though, but I do think they have a massive potential to ruin the future of the video game industry.
Especially if pay-to-earn mechanics start overrunning the industry as well. The last thing we need is an influx of Bitcoin traders exploiting the user base even more.
Done right, microtransactions could be a huge benefit to video games, for both developers and consumers. But left loosely regulated, I can imagine a future where video games are perceived as more harmful than drugs.
How can we avoid that?
We really need legislation in place to protect consumers, reasonable regulation on what DLC can cost and remove loot boxes, or change the way they’re implemented entirely.
And yeet the NFTs, that is just a whole bucketful of nope. We just don’t need that drama.
There’s got to be a middle ground where publishers can still make a little more money without being greedy and where players can have more options but don’t feel like they’re being sucked dry. We just need some reasonable limits in place.