To be clear, I am not completely against microtransactions. Independent developers need to generate extra revenue which will in turn allow the production of new content for their game. Microtransactions can be beneficial in this regard and can be seen as a requirement for sustainability. Developers have no reason to include a pay to win plan even if their “reasoning” is to help those gamers who feel are at a disadvantage against more experienced gamers. That logic is asinine as those microtransactions aren’t locked to a more skilled player. If you want to create a level playing field, developers should put a focus on matchmaking. It’s a cash grab, plain and simple, further insulting the intelligence of your fans is a great way to losing revenue and consumer trust. I generally applaud when a developer is upfront about features in the game, but promoting the features of the game that are locked behind a paywall is nonsensical.
In my opinion, no full priced game should feature any type of micro-transaction, cosmetic or otherwise. Larger developers have the assets to create a quality game as they are generally backed by a major publisher. Two to three year development cycles for a video game is more than enough time to craft a fully realized world that is fit for the consumer. Microtransactions become borderline egregious if you include multiplayer in the package. You can bet that if competitive multiplayer is featured then DLC is going to follow. So, to break this down, you have a full priced game at 60 dollars, a season pass for about half the price of the full game, and then additional microtransactions that may or may not be pay-to-win based off the developer’s message to the community.
While publisher EA got absolutely smeared because of their pay-to-win loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2, it did nothing to deter other publishers from removing microtransactions. In fact, it looks like it is only going to force publishers to be more transparent regarding the features included in their products. The real reason micro-transactions won’t be removed is because of the financial implications. There is simply too much money involved when included micro-transactions.
In 3 days, Fortnite mobile made over 1 million dollars with cosmetic transactions. That is an incredible amount of revenue in such a short time. Fortnite is a free-to-play game that doesn’t feature in-game ads for those microtransactions. Which is vexing, because Shadow of War featured ads that would essential help unlock the end-game faster. Hopefully at some point consumers will become savvier to these questionable business practices. But honestly, if games are becoming more costly to produce, then it may be in the best interest of the publishers to increase the price instead of facing the scrutiny involved in including micro-transactions.