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PC Gamer: Microtransactions, the good, the bad and ugly

spizzspizz BlackForrestPosts: 2,587Member

This is a very nice and longer interesting article from PC Gamer about microtransactions in games....

http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/11/03/microtransactions-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

 

Overview

* Game design handicapped by the need to create ways to charge players

* Fake-Fun Bucks in ackward exchange rate designed to actually hide the value of items i.e. Credits, Cartel Coins, Golden Eagle and so on...

*  Lack of clarity around the payment system attached to "Free to Play" games i.e. interlocking currencies, subscription deals,

    expansions packs and "prefered status". If you are inviting players to make a purchase that you believe is worthwhile, why

    hide the price ?

*  Paying for keys to unlock containers/boxes with randomized items and a small chance to get such one which is actually worth the investment:   In other words its Gambling to ripp off people !

* Pay to Win items

* Distrust in general

*  Charging for "Ressources" and "Energy Bar" restrictions - You are not failing to progress because of a lack of skill, but because of the expiration of an invented abstract ressource.  Comment: This reminds me of a guileful idea some years ago to charge actually "petrol" for vehicles.

* THE EXPIRATION TRAP:  Expiration systems cause components of the game to that you use regulary to wear out and break unless a certain amount of money is spent on repairs. A game might ask you to spend ingame Fake-Fun Bucks on restoring an item so that you run short, might feel the need to top up with a real money purchase.

* ITEM RENTAL: The difficulty with rental items is that, in order for them to be desireable enought to purchase for a limited period, they need to be powerful.

* PREMIUM ACCOUNT CHARGES: preventing regular players with severe limits.

* Payments for ACCOUNT BUFFS: If a game is entertaining enough, putting a lot of time into it should not feel like a core. The influence of the game design and slow down of player progressions.

* MINI DLC

--> Unfortunately not a single word about the dilution of a strong Community with so called "F2P" games and their microtransaction games, thats a part of the story the game magazines should come up with.

Comments

  • ZuvielifyZuvielify Fremont, CAPosts: 168Member

    This topic has been thoroughly explored in many threads; however, I will speak my primary opinion on the matter of microtransactions:

     

    hate being slapped in the face for money while playing a game. This is why I prefer a subscription model. Or, at a minimum, a B2P model. I want to pay for the game and then earn items the same way everyone else does; by playing the game. I have enough money to pay-to-win, but that's not why I play games. 

  • spizzspizz BlackForrestPosts: 2,587Member
    Originally posted by Zuvielify

    This topic has been thoroughly explored in many threads; however, I will speak my primary opinion on the matter of microtransactions:

     

    hate being slapped in the face for money while playing a game. This is why I prefer a subscription model. Or, at a minimum, a B2P model. I want to pay for the game and then earn items the same way everyone else does; by playing the game. I have enough money to pay-to-win, but that's not why I play games. 

    Well we did discuss this in the forum privatly, but this is an article from a PC Magazin which is actually important since they are a connector between the industry and consumers.

    I fully agree, in certain games with such a microtransaction/F2p modell you feel more like interacting with a money making machine instead with a great game which has a soul, where you are concentrated just on the game content. Its like on a fair where salesmen will chat up to you left and right to buy something and this is actually ugly.

    In addition such game concepts create distrust and its a grey line between reliability and ripp-off due to guilful business ideas. This does not count maybe for a part of the very young crowd since they dont have the life expirience and dont know how you get fooled in general in our world in almost every section of our life.

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    Thanks for the summation, OP.

    Much hate for the monetization model; may it die swiftly and terribly.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by Arclan

    Thanks for the summation, OP.

    Much hate for the monetization model; may it die swiftly and terribly.

    [mod edit]

    Was that really necessary. Do we need more fighting about this topic.

     

    Anyway, on subject.

    I too see the community as a loser in games without an entry fee.

    When something is free it doesn't have nearly the value as something earned. You can experience it yourself by finding money, everyone I have ever known to find money spends it without impunity. They don't consider it earned and don't value it. The same situation can happen with gifts. I gave someone an expensive gift and they lost it by getting their vehicle stolen (with the keys in it), their response, well, I didn't pay anything for it when I asked them if they were going to look for the item (a laptop) after their vehicle was found.

    People must pay an entrance fee to have any skin in the deal. Paying on a schedule is a reminder that this is something you are involved in because you care for it and you want the developers behind the scenes to eat each and every day. It also means that there is no class system, everyone has equal say, everyone is equal in customer service queues, you are paying for equality that you can't get in the real world.

    When you are in a community/game where everyone pays different amounts some are going to tell what they pay. If it's nothing and the person that they say it to does pay something, the person paying nothing loses credibility as someone who likes the game or worse, they give a signal to the person paying that they are a sucker for paying at all because at some point they are going to realize that they are paying for the other person to play too. If they see it eventually as paying for friends, that should really cut them loose and make them even more unlikely to pay ever. This means that you breed more leeches just by talking about the subject.

    Those who do spend a lot and talk about it may garner prestige. Just by having onlookers or gawkers at their goods (even if those are just cosmetic) they create a system where there is something to aspire to get for the attention. That thing of course costs money and it won't be cheap.

    In the community, it creates a class system.

    The people who try to suffer through working for something are the ones who are the most harmed. If I try really hard and put in a lot of time, I can almost be on par with those other people who can buy the things that I have to grind for or put in time to earn. I've seen these people talk about how their game has an alternate system for the cash shop, they can earn something by putting in more hours or praying to the random number generator gods. These are the worst affected I believe because all the time they spend trying to raise their lot in that world could have done themselves a larger favor instead. They could have taken a trip to the grocery store for some senior citizen for 15 dollars or done some yard work for them and would have spent less time and given less physical time of their lives or even worked 3 more hours at any minimum wage job to afford another game for an entire month!

    Another problem for those communities is that they are precariously wedged on making 5-10% of their population happy if the stories are to be believed that "whales" subsidize all free patrons.

    If a sub based game loses 5-10% of their players, they lose 5-10% of their funding.

    If a free game loses 5-10% of the wrong people, their whales, they lose 90-95% of their funding.

    That lack of flexibility and that desire to only please a "whale" and only listen to their insight is only going to get more refined over time. Just wait until someone gets smart enough to make a special forum for those that pay to play or sends ONLY those players polls to vote on what they want or what they don't to keep them around. All the disposable pay nothing players are subject to what the "whale" wants. That's what games will be made and that's what games will succeed if you give them that power. Is it worth giving up that much control for 15 bucks a month? I scoff at the idea. I'd rather pay an entry fee than become an expendable opinion because I won't throw ungodly amounts at a game for the ability to rule it.

    I'm a good predictor of things. Don't expect that paying players won't end up showcased or queried as time goes on. Your voice will be without weight to those who will pay. It's exactly what is done in politics under the term of lobbying. Those who want rules to bend their way offer money and in this case the games will find out who to target to mold the games to them. They won't have to lobby the companies, they have already outed themselves by overpaying. The only piece missing is the game realizing that the whales are the only people that matter in their game at all. All of the partial payers or those who never pay are only around for the whales to show off to, they are as replaceable as tissue and the next batch might pay so thin the herd and send in more will be the battlecry. Once the culling is in full swing, I think people will suddenly do a 180 turn on the topic who were once loyal to their free games and notice that they are expendable. I've said before too that they could be replaced by programmed bots from the developers too if it's just warm seats needed. The free ride can be programmed away as quickly as it was programmed in.

    If you ever wondered why the developers don't seem to care about your feedback for a game, maybe the culling has already begun. There's no reason it won't. The games have the metrics on who are their MVPs and you don't. If they don't alert you about whose opinions are favored, why would you be shocked, you didn't care enough to pay them so when your opinions aren't heard, they may have never meant to be. If they have any sense they have it programmed right into your forum account perhaps the amount you have spent on the game right next to your username or a more sly system that gives your post a power rating. I've made many a custom forum and we do program in things that people can't see as users like your IP address and moderation buttons. They may be hoping you leave so that someone who replaces you... just... might... pay... Why shed any tears when you leave their game, it's not hard to get another person to take something for free like you did. You are living proof that people will enter on the thought that it's "free". Nothing is free kids but venereal diseases to end my serious stuff on a comical note. Beware anyone who relies on that system.

    Colored text is fun.

     

     

     

  • thecapitainethecapitaine West Chester, PAPosts: 401Member Uncommon
    No mention in the Overview of the article's last page which discusses the F2P games that "get it right".  Nor the positive conclusions made at times, including how paying for cosmetics is ideal.  My suggestion: read the article before reading the overview and the OP's conclusions.
  • spizzspizz BlackForrestPosts: 2,587Member
    Originally posted by thecapitaine
    No mention in the Overview of the article's last page which discusses the F2P games that "get it right".  Nor the positive conclusions made at times, including how paying for cosmetics is ideal.  My suggestion: read the article before reading the overview and the OP's conclusions.

    If you actually reread the points they are talking about you will see a contradiction and you will actually find some of the points in such games, mentioned in their recommanded game list "which get it right". But those mentioned games get it more right than others and therefore they are recommanded. What conclusions you draw out of this article is individual and up to the reader.

  • thecapitainethecapitaine West Chester, PAPosts: 401Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by spizz
    Originally posted by thecapitaine
    No mention in the Overview of the article's last page which discusses the F2P games that "get it right".  Nor the positive conclusions made at times, including how paying for cosmetics is ideal.  My suggestion: read the article before reading the overview and the OP's conclusions.

    If you actually reread the points they are talking about you will see a contradiction and actually some of the points mentioned in their recommanded game list "which get it right". But those mentioned games get it more right than others and therefore they are recommanded.

    Of course there will be contradiction since nearly every point they make during the article is subjective to one degree or another.  My purpose in responding was simply to make clear that what was termed an overview wasn't quite accurate since it clearly pointed out the negative while neglecting to include any of the positives mentioned in the article.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by thecapitaine
    No mention in the Overview of the article's last page which discusses the F2P games that "get it right".  Nor the positive conclusions made at times, including how paying for cosmetics is ideal.  My suggestion: read the article before reading the overview and the OP's conclusions.

    You know this is not about getting information, but about posturing and forum pvp, right?

    Those who hate f2p is not going to change their minds no matter what is said in this and other articles. Ditto for those who like f2p.

     

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    You know this is not about getting information, but about posturing and forum pvp, right?Those who hate f2p is not going to change their minds no matter what is said in this and other articles. Ditto for those who like f2p.

    If you wish to say your presence here is forum posturing and pvp, and that you are not going to change your mind; you may do so. But you don't get to accuse others of being antagonistic and closed-minded as well.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

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