Weekend Discussion / Microtransactions piss me off

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Microtransactions piss me off.

There, I’ve said it… and I hope you’ll stick around for a sentence or two to understand – hell, perhaps even empathize with – my ire.

Microtransactions are a trend I fear in gaming as I honestly think it can only bring ruin to the industry. Certainly, the corporations can make gobs of more money in the process, but what about We, the gamers?

It’s one thing to pay for a game per play, a la the arcades of my childhood (ah, Dragon’s Lair standup, how I loathe/love thee). It’s another thing entirely to pay for a game, only to have to pay even more money for “extra” content, either contained on the disc already (thanks The Godfather, LEGO Star Wars, Viva Pinata, et al) or available via download for a ‘small fee’.

Personally, I think it’s rather insulting to charge for a ‘map pack‘, or ‘horse armor‘, or better items, or whatever. I have had a looming suspicion for a long time now that this content is developed along side the release version of the game, only to be polished and released as ‘extra’ content either as part of an expansion pack, or with the advent of commonplace console marketplaces, as downloadable content.

The other big problem I have with microraping microtransactions is a level playing field. How can the average gamer expect to compete with Mr. Disposable Income 19 year old living in their parents’ basement? It’s certainly not fair to the people who don’t have/don’t want to spend the additional money for the newest/best weapon, armor, etc. I know I wouldn’t appreciate being separated out into the ‘casual’ gamer crowd who doesn’t spend the extra $15 just to have the UBER ELITE Sword of Destiny +5 instead of the plain old Sword of Destiny +2 that drops ‘naturally’ in the game. Of course, the maniacal, greedy, evil gaming corps aren’t going to want to cater to the gamer who doesn’t want to spend said money for additional content. If anything, they’re going to make it even less enjoyable to play their game in an effort to convince them into buying the content.

Blizzard’s Rob Pardo has stated some concerns with this trend in the past. An interview with Hollywood Reporter has his quoted as saying:

“Yes, but I believe that if we actually sold items online, it would really cheapen the game. What’s fun about “WoW’ is going into a dungeon and completing a particular quest and then being rewarded with a really cool item that your character can wear to show the other players that you’ve accomplished something. If you could suddenly buy that item, it would really cheapen that idea of accomplishment.”

I couldn’t agree more.

What about you? Have any horror stories? Pay for a DLC and not receive it? Or are you a :gasp!: proponent of the system, with thousands of MSPoints in your account, changing your Xbox LIVE ID at impulse, or buying new icon/themes ad infinitum? Hit me up with a comment below and let your word be heard.

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