Abyssal Pixels: The Age Of The Microtransaction
Microtransactions aren’t a new thing, believe it or not. Ever since the advent of Facebook games and mobile games, microtransactions have always been hovering around in one way or another. I still remember playing the Facebook game Mafia Wars and desperately wanting to buy some resources or something, but I couldn’t because I didn’t have a credit card. I have grown up since then, starting with the fact that I don’t use Facebook anymore and my mind has evolved past the Neanderthal stage. Microtransactions are the talk of the industry now and while I’ve written about my disgust with certain free-to-play games and such, I think that microtransactions are much more threatening now than I ever gave them credit for.
This topic popped into my head after reading about the frankly abhorrent Dungeon Keeper Mobile that represents all that is evil and fucked up in the gaming industry. This game has you literally waiting days until any further construction of your dungeon can happen unless you use “gems” to rush the construction and you can buy those at absurd prices. The entire game is one exploitative mess and is a stain on our industry and a butchering of the title’s IP. This isn’t the only criminal, however. Oh no, there’s plenty more where that came from.
Angry Birds Go! has you paying close to $1oo to buy a stupid virtual cart, the pixelated Star Trek iOS game makes you wait hours to get some decent progress unless you want to buy crystals, GT6 charges $100 for a car, Forza 5 charges $100 for a car, Spartacus Legends basically shouts at you to get coins, Candy Crush exploits children, Assassin’s Creed Black Flag has “timesaver” packs, EA makes more money from FIFA 14′s Ultimate Team coin packs than anything else. The list goes on forever. What the actual fuck is happening here? Since when has the industry become so morally bankrupt that they resort to extortion just to earn profit?
It infuriates me that our titles get butchered just to accommodate this piece of shit business practice. When it was announced that Plants Vs. Zombies 2 will be a free-to-play game, I wasn’t happy or delighted, I was terrified. If I see a second currency in a game I shudder in my boots. If there’s a store page then I start to get worried. Has gaming devolved so much that you’re actually terrified when you start up a game rather than be delighted that you’re playing a new game?
If I look at this trend, I truly worry for the future of gaming. If every game we play from now on will be littered with microtransactions then I fear that the great second videogame crash will be upon us very soon. It has already made its way to full priced AAA games so it’s only a matter of time. But we can stop it. How, you ask? Stop supporting this crap, simple as that. Refuse to buy any microtransactions. Spread the word if a game is littered with them and tell people not to buy it. Sooner or later the suits will notice that this does not work and will stop doing it. Dungeon Keeper Mobile is already receiving massive amounts of hatred and I can guarantee you that the sales for that game are hurting already.
Gamers have also started to wise up when it comes to this dumb shit. They are actually mindful of the exploitation that is happening and have started warning people to steer clear. Also, with the astronomical prices that these microtransactions have, even the layman is realising “holy shit, I’m being taken advantage of here”. It’s only a matter of time before the greed and exploitation will catch up to these evil corporations and they will realise that this isn’t a viable business strategy anymore.
Of course, I can just be talking out of my ass. Maybe it will continue like this because for some reason there are still mountains of people willing to pay an insane amount of money for worthless in-game goods that could have just been part of the game in the first place. Maybe I’m overestimating the intelligence of the general populace. This horrible practice hasn’t showed any signs of stopping and that might be for a reason. That it actually works. That terrifies me as a gamer because I don’t want to see my hobby devolve into a greed infested cesspit.
Either way, I foresee dark times ahead for us gamers because this microtransactions tripe will be a massive thorn to our side for potentially years to come. I hope that won’t be the case. Microtransactions should die in a horrible fire case closed.
But I have a solution. One sure fire way to cleanse our industry of this monstrosity. A carpet bombing of Truth designed to burn away the greed. Prepare yourself. First we have to… PLEASE INSERT YOUR CREDIT CARD DETAILS TO CONTINUE. FOR ONLY $0.99 AN HOUR, THIS PREMIUM SOLUTION WILL BE AVAILABLE TO YOU FOR YOUR USE ONLY. ADDITIONAL SUM OF 349 EGMR HASHTAG GEMS ARE ALSO NEEDED.