Tonight is the night! You finally decide to treat yourself after a long and rough week of work. You recently got your paycheck, you’ve cashed it in, and you’ve now got some spending money to buy you a nice dinner. No microwaved ramen tonight, nope, you’re going to get a nice steak dinner from BLT Steak. You get there around 7 PM, grab yourself a seat, order your meal, and patiently wait for your food to come. Your mouth is watering as you continue waiting, tapping your feet in excitement. The thought of that sweet juicy taste makes your stomach rumble, and after a few minutes, there it is. A raw steak on your plate with no sides. Your body freezes, and you suddenly become confused. You turn to the waiter and ask him what’s going on. He looks at you saying, “Oh, I’m sorry, sir. You wanted your steak cooked?”. You look at him mind-boggled, “Of course I did!” you say to him. “Oh, well I’m afraid you’ll need to pay a $10 fee to cook it, and if you want the sides that come with the dish, that’ll be an extra $5 fee for each.”
Imagine that for a moment, a world of micro-transactions. No longer can you buy an entire car, or an entire house, an entire book. If you wish to get the full experience, you must pay small fees to get the rest of your product. This is a terrifying reality that we’re entering. Hell, we’re already there. With game after game now being released with micro-transactions. Full priced $60 games being given this unholy treatment. This greedy practice has been going on for decades. Since the digital age of gaming, and it’s getting worse every year. From Deus Ex Mankind Divided, to Destiny, to Halo 5, and now Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. Let’s discuss this.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
The most infamous story out right now is Warner Bro’s inclusion of micro-transactions in the upcoming Middle-Earth Shadow of War. This feature will be included in the game’s Nemesis System. The system will allow players to purchase war chests that contains more orcs to help build their army, and even Training Orders, which can help level up their orcs and boost XP. Now, here’s the thing, I wouldn’t be so upset about this if it weren’t for one thing, this game is NOT an online game. Yep, it’s a single player, open-world, roleplaying game that has no option of playing online.
Not only that, but this game will also have the infamous two different in-game currencies. You know what I’m talking about, like how nearly all free-to-play mobile games have a gold currency and a diamond currency. This game will feature Mirian and Gold. Mirian you can earn through playing the game, and Gold you will most likely have to buy through different options like $0.99, $9.99, $49.99, and almost definitely $99.99. Which will probably be labeled as “Best Value!”. Warner Bros has published some great games in the past. Games like The Witcher 3, the Batman games, and even Mortal Kombat X. It’s a shame to see the company making greedy decisions like this.
Deus Ex Mankind Divided
I might be wrong, but as far as I’m concerned, this is the patient zero when it comes to single player games being given micro-transactions. The game offered in-game currency packs ranging from 1,000 – 15,000 Credits. The prices range from $0.99 – $9.99. They also offer you Praxis Kit Packs, Chipsets for Breach, and Weapon Packs. These are just little packs that will help make life easier in the Campaign and Breach. Now, unlike most micro-transactions, these are one-time use. Meaning if already purchased a weapon pack and wanted to buy it again for another save, you couldn’t do it. Since you already bought it for your last play-through.
The one thing that made me happy about this though, was the fact that Eidos Montreal didn’t seem to like the idea of micro-transactions in their game. Knowing they couldn’t get rid of them, they did however make it easy for players to make it through the game without being tempted into buying them. The fault lies with Square Enix on this one. Though the game did come with micro-transactions, I’m just glad Eidos was able to make it fair for all players to play.
Call of Duty
There was no way in hell that I was going to miss this one. This franchise has become very infamous for their disgusting practices with micro-transactions. This ugly trend began back in Black Ops 2, when the game came out with different colored camos you could purchase from the in-game store. The prices for these ranged from $0.99 – $1.99. Not the greatest, but I was happy it was just cosmetics. Then things got crazy when the infamous Call of Duty Ghosts was released. You thought Black Ops 2 was bad? This game had skin packs, character packs, weapon packs, and even voice packs. There are more micro-transactions in this game than any other game I’ve seen. A grand total of 78 options to purchase. Wow.
However, that isn’t even the worst of it all. Advanced Warfare launches in 2014. The first Call of Duty game to officially feature a loot system. The dreaded Supply Drops are born. There are two kinds of Supply Drops in this game; Common and Rare. Common Drops come with three items and will only give you common items with the very slight chance of a rare item, and Rare Drops come with three items that will give rare and common items. The rarity of these items range from Common, Rare, Legendary, and Epic. This system has been with COD ever since. From Advanced Warfare, to Black Ops 3, to Infinite Warfare, and even to Modern Warfare Remastered. It’s just sad to see.
Like I’ve stated before, the best way to stop these ugly practices from continuing is by completely refusing to purchase this content. If the entire gaming community stands up and demands the removal of micro-transactions in $60 games, then our voices will be heard, and the gaming industry just might change their minds. That’s the only way we can successfully put an end to this disgusting trend.
There is a major difference between micro-transactions in $60 games versus micro-transactions in Free-To-Play games. Some Free-To-Play games need them in-order to keep their game alive. No MMO can continue to thrive without them. Some good examples are Warframe, Team Fortress 2, and World of Tanks. When you have them in a $60 game, that’s where I get angry. When I pay full price for a game, I expect to be getting the full game. Not bits and pieces that I have to unlock by paying for small extra fees. That’s insane.
It is our choice to decide whether or not micro-transactions in gaming is okay. Much like how it’s our choice to purchase these small fees. We don’t have to purchase these, at least until the game starts tempting us. If this trend doesn’t end, I fear that another Game Crash may come in the near future. Hopefully things will change soon.
- Osborn, Alex. “Middle-Earth: Shadow of War’s Nemesis System Will Have Microtransactions.” IGN, IGN, 5 Aug. 2017, http://www.ign.com/articles/2017/08/06/middle-earth-shadow-of-wars-nemesis-system-will-have-microtransactions.
- 24/08/2016, Wesley Yin-Poole Published. “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s Annoying Microtransactions in the Spotlight.” Eurogamer.net, Eurogamer, 24 Aug. 2016, http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-08-24-deus-ex-mankind-divideds-annoying-microtransactions-in-the-spotlight.
- Jacques, John. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered Gets Microtransactions.” Game Rant, Game Rant, 14 Dec. 2016, gamerant.com/call-of-duty-modern-warfare-remastered-microtransactions-101/.