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Author Topic: So are micro transactions the wave of the future?  (Read 707 times)
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Canuck
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« on: March 03, 2013, 07:53:14 AM »



So EA is talking about including microtransactions into all of their games now. I'm not a fan of course but when it comes to extra content DLC I don't mind it too much. However it looks like we're going to get nickel and dimed in the next generation. Here's Eurogamer's review of Real Racing 3 from EA (score 3/10)

Eurogamer Real Racing 3 review
Quote
Come the end of the race you're handed with a repair bill that must be seen to if you want your car back at optimal performance. So you drive as clean a race as possible, right? Fat chance - Real Racing 3 boasts grids full of mindless Maldonados who think nothing of running you into walls or parking inexplicably on apexes. In any other game a 20-car field would be something to celebrate - here it feels like another way to skim your wallet, each driver acting like they're on a commission for those costly repairs.

You're not even safe if you've driven a clean race, as each and every car is susceptible to everyday wear and tear that must be seen to in a service station. And it's here that the game's time-limitation mechanic is most rigorously enforced. If you need an oil change, or are after a new set of boots for your car, expect to be kept waiting for 30 minutes - unless, of course, you want to part with some in-game gold or a little of your own cash.

And you're not even safe if you've paid for your car and ploughed money into the game. Car packs are available for £13.99, allowing you access to a handful of cars and a selection of associated races, but they're still subject to the grim mechanics found elsewhere. I've spent a handful of hours grinding in Real Racing 3 and poured £20 of cash into its bleak economy, and all I'm left with is four cars in a repair shop and just enough spare change for a Ford Focus and a couple of minor upgrades.

There's a good game somewhere within Real Racing 3 - and there are plenty of free-to-play games that prove this model can work successfully while respecting the player. Firemonkeys, and perhaps more pertinently EA, have got that balance horribly, horribly wrong, to an extent where the business model becomes the game - with gut-wrenching results.

Let's finish with a little maths. You notice the car you've just bought in a £13.99 pack is suspiciously slow in races, so you want to acquire the first of three engine upgrades that costs 44,000 credits. If you get 3500 credits for winning a race after getting tail-ended just once by another car, get handed a 2855 credit repair bill for the damage and then have to pay another 500 credits to get the oil changed - a job that takes 20 minutes to do, unless you want to hand over a little more cash - what's the final number?

IGN gave it a 9/10. Now I remember why I don't visit that site anymore.
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TiLT
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 08:14:43 AM »

To a lot of us, microtransactions reduce immersion by their very nature. It's one of the many reasons why I don't play EA games any more except in very special circumstances. This is still a young topic, but once people start getting used to the existence of this concept, I'm sure they'll begin to subtly steer away from games with microtransactions. There'll probably always be room for games like this, but at the end of the day it's going to cost the publisher more than they earn.

At least that's what I hope.
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leo8877
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 12:49:39 PM »

Without question.  Just like $20 map packs are now the norm.
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Greg Wak
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 01:04:03 PM »

It seems like it is but not for me. I'll never pay one. I think if there comes a day where I can't find a single game that I enjoy without micrtransactions, I'm done with the hobby. But I don't think that will happen.
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Azhag
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 01:23:50 PM »

At least for now most games with microtransactions don't let them overly affect gameplay balance. If it stays that way, fine. But games that screw it up won't get my money unless I can ignore those people and still enjoy it single player.
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Bullwinkle
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2013, 03:31:52 PM »

Actually a lot of sites have given Real Racing 3 a very high review score.  I think all of them mention the microstransactions in a negative way.  But the rest of the game is kinda superb.  The Eurogamer review is low just to make an example of the game and the microtransaction system, which is a tactic I'm against in principal, though warning signals need to be sent out to the industry.

Microtransactions are not inherently evil, but they allow for a lot of evil practice from companies. The amount of money these things bring in is insane.  As gamers, we can look at them and know they aren't worth it and won't buy them, but a lot of people aren't gamers and don't think twice about spending some dough to get them a little further ahead.  As hobbyists, that goes against the reason we play games, but to each their own.

As long as microtransactions are fair, they don't bother me.  And by fair, I mean, you can get through the game with no problems without paying for them.  I don't mind a little grinding, either, but this is the slippery slope.  These bigger companies like EA are going to keep fine tuning this formula until they find that magic point where the grinding is just a little too long and the price to not do it is just a little too enticing. 

More annoying to me are these timers that dictate how long I can play a game.  Real Racing 3 has this, too (apparently you should grind enough money early on, even forgoing repairs as much as possible, to buy three cars that you can rotate during repair time).  Of course you can pay to skip these timers. The first time I get to a point in an app where I hit a timer wall and can do nothing until time has passed, it gets deleted.  Of course, if the timer exists, but I can go do other things, then some effort has gone in to maintain gameplay balance.  Most often I find this to not be the case, which makes it obnoxious and greedy.

Greed has been killing creativity for hundreds, maybe thousands of years.  But creativity still survives, so I'm hopeful.  But if they start really putting these things into console games and then expect to nickle and dime us, they're going to implode.
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TiLT
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2013, 03:42:44 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 03, 2013, 03:31:52 PM

The Eurogamer review is low just to make an example of the game and the microtransaction system, which is a tactic I'm against in principal, though warning signals need to be sent out to the industry.

What makes you think they aren't giving considerable weight to value for money as a criteria in their review?
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Bullwinkle
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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2013, 04:28:32 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on March 03, 2013, 03:42:44 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 03, 2013, 03:31:52 PM

The Eurogamer review is low just to make an example of the game and the microtransaction system, which is a tactic I'm against in principal, though warning signals need to be sent out to the industry.

What makes you think they aren't giving considerable weight to value for money as a criteria in their review?

Because the game is free.

For a less flippant answer: obviously, that is exactly what they're doing.  They are doing so to make a point.  I am saying this is not a fair or balanced way to do reviews.  It taints all the other reviews.  They can publish articles and editorials about this all they want, OTOH.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 05:08:34 PM by Bullwinkle » Logged

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TiLT
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2013, 05:08:22 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 03, 2013, 04:28:32 PM

Quote from: TiLT on March 03, 2013, 03:42:44 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 03, 2013, 03:31:52 PM

The Eurogamer review is low just to make an example of the game and the microtransaction system, which is a tactic I'm against in principal, though warning signals need to be sent out to the industry.

What makes you think they aren't giving considerable weight to value for money as a criteria in their review?

Because the game is free.

Well, it obviously is not. Microtransactions does not equal free. And if they paid nothing during a review, it would be fair to review it based on what you get for that price, which is lots of pointless waiting and frustration.

It seems to me that, for this game, you either: A) Pay money for microtransactions and get poor value for it, or B) Pay nothing and spend most of your time waiting. Neither of those two sounds like something that should be rewarded with a high score, as you're punished in one way or another no matter what you do.
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Misguided
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 06:45:25 PM »

I can not stand when games have a mechanic limiting your ability to play. They no longer qualify as games. They are treadmills.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 06:47:48 PM by Misguided » Logged

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Bullwinkle
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2013, 08:20:07 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on March 03, 2013, 05:08:22 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 03, 2013, 04:28:32 PM

Quote from: TiLT on March 03, 2013, 03:42:44 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 03, 2013, 03:31:52 PM

The Eurogamer review is low just to make an example of the game and the microtransaction system, which is a tactic I'm against in principal, though warning signals need to be sent out to the industry.

What makes you think they aren't giving considerable weight to value for money as a criteria in their review?

Because the game is free.

Well, it obviously is not. Microtransactions does not equal free. And if they paid nothing during a review, it would be fair to review it based on what you get for that price, which is lots of pointless waiting and frustration.

It seems to me that, for this game, you either: A) Pay money for microtransactions and get poor value for it, or B) Pay nothing and spend most of your time waiting. Neither of those two sounds like something that should be rewarded with a high score, as you're punished in one way or another no matter what you do.

The game is free and microtransactions are not required to play the game.  It is therefore free.  Obviously.  Roll Eyes  Microtransactions can, in fact, equal free, as I mentioned earlier.  A well designed game can include them, but balance the gameplay to such a degree that they are not necessary at all, but make them available should you want a boost.  These types of scenarios still generate ungodly amounts of extra cash for quite a number of game makers.  Look at the well-designed Temple Run 2 for an example.  I've played that game endlessly and never paid a cent.  Yet they've generated a ton of money from microtransactions alone.

Every other review has talked about how brilliant the racing is.  Even the Eurogamer article mentions it.  Most reviews say that, with intelligent play, the freemium model is not much of a hassle.

Basically, this review's score is not based on the gameplay or graphics or sound or other accomplishments which are significant, but entirely political in nature.  My point is that this should never be the case.  
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 08:25:57 PM by Bullwinkle » Logged

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TiLT
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 08:27:11 PM »

We clearly have very different definitions of the word "free". Mine is "does not cost money".
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Bullwinkle
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2013, 08:32:38 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on March 03, 2013, 08:27:11 PM

We clearly have very different definitions of the word "free". Mine is "does not cost money".

WTF are you talking about?

This game does not cost any money to play.  I have it and have done a bunch of races on it and I have not paid one real world cent on it at all.

EDIT: Removed nastiness.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 08:55:06 PM by Bullwinkle » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2013, 08:47:25 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 03, 2013, 08:20:07 PM

Basically, this review's score is not based on the gameplay or graphics or sound or other accomplishments which are significant, but entirely political in nature.  My point is that this should never be the case.

Does the microtransaction implementation have an effect on the enjoyment of the game?

Yes?

Then it's not "entirely political in nature" then, is it?
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2013, 08:48:01 PM »

Does every fucking thread on this forum have to turn into a bickering argument these days?  Cripes.
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Bullwinkle
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« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2013, 08:52:24 PM »

Quote from: heloder on March 03, 2013, 08:47:25 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 03, 2013, 08:20:07 PM

Basically, this review's score is not based on the gameplay or graphics or sound or other accomplishments which are significant, but entirely political in nature.  My point is that this should never be the case.

Does the microtransaction implementation have an effect on the enjoyment of the game?

Yes?

Then it's not "entirely political in nature" then, is it?

But when every other aspect of the game is fantastic, giving it a score of 3 does seem questionable at least.  The game is entirely playable and enjoyable without microtransactions.  Scoring it so low based on that alone does seem to be taking a stand not against the game, but against the practice of IAPs.  That is not reviewing the game so much as making a statement, which makes it political.

Eurogamer is a site with reviews that have been very trustworthy.  I'm not saying I'll disregard them from now on, but I don't think it's good form.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 08:54:20 PM by Bullwinkle » Logged

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Canuck
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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2013, 10:21:56 PM »

To be fair, the Eurogamer review does state that the game itself is superb. They haven't hidden that at all. You just need to look at more than the final review score.
BTW, the answer to their question at the end of the review is 305. As in you need to race 305 times in order to purchase that first upgrade for your car engine. Of course, that is assuming that you win 305 times in a row. How long is a race, 3 minutes maybe? So you would have to play for 15 hours just to afford an engine upgrade. That's unacceptable.
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Canuck
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2013, 10:32:56 PM »

This is from the Penny Arcade report article. I thought it was quite funny smile
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« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2013, 12:35:18 AM »

Done well I think micro transactions can actually be a good thing.  Having more content for the game you like or getting the option of paying only for the part of the game you like is a very good thing.  A lot of modern games have a single and very separate feeling multiplayer component.  I would love if I could say buy the single player part of Crysis 3 for $30; Iím never going to play the multiplayer. Likewise, Iím sure that many people who buy something like CoD will never play the single player.  Choice is good.

The problem is most companies that have tried to use them do so at the expense of the games quality and playability.
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« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2013, 04:19:13 AM »

Quote from: Misguided on March 03, 2013, 06:45:25 PM

I can not stand when games have a mechanic limiting your ability to play. They no longer qualify as games. They are treadmills.

Agreed.

Also, I'm starting to completely and truly despise 'F2P' games because most games of that type are just complete and total money grabs. They try to get hordes of cash from your wallet in any way they can, and it becomes just pure greed so quickly.

Just sell your damn game for a reasonable price and I might buy it. F2P? I'll play it for a bit, realize just how badly they want to fuck you over, then say screw it and complain about it.

I generally love Eurogamer's reviews. There tends to be a very good reason why some title got a good (or really bad) score, and they hammer that part in. They're one of my go-to review sites right off the bat because of it. And they don't have the 'bribed' feeling of IGN/Gamespot sometimes.
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« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2013, 05:11:58 AM »

Next thing you know you'll have to like, pay a quarter every few minutes just to keep playing. Out of quarters? Can't play anymore, sucker.  I can't believe nobody has ever thought to do this.
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« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2013, 05:38:06 AM »

Quote from: wonderpug on March 04, 2013, 05:11:58 AM

Next thing you know you'll have to like, pay a quarter every few minutes just to keep playing. Out of quarters? Can't play anymore, sucker.  I can't believe nobody has ever thought to do this.

Or in this case, spend $503 in order to get everything:

http://www.148apps.com/news/503-ios-racing-game-shocking-reality-iap-real-racing-3/
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« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2013, 05:43:27 AM »

Quote from: Destructor on March 04, 2013, 05:38:06 AM

Quote from: wonderpug on March 04, 2013, 05:11:58 AM

Next thing you know you'll have to like, pay a quarter every few minutes just to keep playing. Out of quarters? Can't play anymore, sucker.  I can't believe nobody has ever thought to do this.

Or in this case, spend $503 in order to get everything:

http://www.148apps.com/news/503-ios-racing-game-shocking-reality-iap-real-racing-3/

no one ever reads Bullwinkle's posts......



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« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2013, 05:06:18 PM »

It all goes back to the Horse Armor.  The people who bought this micro transactions back then told publishers that gamers are willing to spend money on stupid shit on things that should already be in the game.  So don't blame EA/Activision or other publishers, blame ourselves.
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