The Microtransaction problem
Well it seems the current major gripe with games today is the pay to win microtransaction, which was first introduced into the Triple A gaming market with Dead Space 3, is now starting to get really out of hand. Its been a real problem on the mobile market with the balance of other great games being destroyed by it. A great example of this is Star Trek: Trexels where at the second level you hit a pay wall that forces you to pay. There’s no real way around it and the rooms that are required to progress cost five dollars and optional extras such as costumes cost ten dollars, each. While the problem seemed, for a while at least, to be isolated to the mobile market, it seems that they have now managed to creep their way into the sixty dollar titles.
Whereas DLC is offering content such as a new outfit, a paint job for you gun, car, bike or even a small or massive expansion upon the already existing content, micro transactions however are different as they try to sell you necessary items in-game, access to certain areas or to bypass certain sections altogether. They ask for a monetary investment rather than a time investment as such, messing with the balance and in effect ruining some games.
This practice is “more accepted” on the mobile market as the games are often two dollars to nothing but the problem arises when the games ask an upfront sixty dollar investment then have the audacity to ask for more money on top of what has been payed. An outrageous example of this is the latest installment of the Forza series, Forza 5. On the launch of Forza 5 it had a car that you could buy for real money, costing you around £32.50, and according to an article by GameReactor.eu that isn’t even the minimum you could spend on cars.
It looks bleak, but when you think back to when 2013 began we were all complaining about the online pass which only recently managed to get sorted out towards the end of the year, along with on disc DLC. These were two of the largest complaints of the last generation that managed to sort themselves out along with many other problems. Now I’m not suggesting complacency as we’re stuck with micro-transactions for a little while yet, but rather caution as to what you buy in forms of DLC. While this problem may sort itself out in the future, purchases such as the time saver packs on Assassins creed IV: Black Flag for example will cause this problem to drag on for a longer period based on the amount of money dropped on these.