As a gamer, I have no issue with a purely cosmetic micro-transactions. I never buy them, feel no need to, and if it’s random don’t understand rolling the dice on that, so happy to live and let live with them. I came kind of close to buying some in-game currency for Guild Wars 2 to buy a swanky sword, but ultimately ended up losing interest in the game before I pulled the trigger on the order. Outside of that, I don’t think I’ve ever come close to paying for micro-transactions. Heck I almost never even buy DLC.
However I were to imagine I were a game developer and in control of leading the direction of my game, it would depend on what kind of micro-transactions we’re talking about. Anything resembling a loot box, even a cosmetic loot box such as in Overwatch, no. I’ve read too many articles about loot boxes praying on those who have addiction issues.
If it’s spend money to buy a specific outfit or skin you want? Sure, as long as the game is free already (such as Fortnight) or really, really cheap. And as long as the cosmetic items are a reasonable price. I don’t get it. I’d never pay for it. But I don’t think it’s objectionable.
But if it’s a full price game, man is it annoying to keep being shown things they want you to spend more money on (and I’m not talking about expansions). Looking at you Sims 3, looking at you.
The phrase: micro-transactions means so many different things that it really means nothing now.
In-game transactions of the Guild Wars nature are different than those in GTA-online and both of those are different than the many clone apps found on IOS and Android phones.
When it is new content, like that offered for Crusader Kings 2, my opinion is different than when it is for newly gated content like clothing and accessories in NBA2k.
When it is optional and not required it also is different than when it is required or made to be nearly so through mechanics or content …
When it means a whole second episode in a season or series, that means a different thing to me then when it is to unlock gates that otherwise would not be locked within a story.
I’m a firm believer in the “game as a product” theory of development and despise the “game as a service” model.
When micro-transactions lead to addiction or to gambling tendencies (FIFA) I am against them 100%. When they lead to fraud and shady behavior and gaming (CoD skins and Esports examples) I am for regulation and when they lead to a pay-as-you-go service I am for outright banning them.
CK2’s cosmetics packs don’t seem different to me; they’re not something that had been in the base game but they are suitable for inclusion in the associated main DLC. I personally don’t really care because I just don’t buy them, but they strike me as similar in nature to the day 1 cosmetics DLC for other games (which I also usually do not buy).
CK2’s big DLC like Holy Fury is another matter, but clocking in at $20 it cannot reasonably be described as “micro” so it’s a separate discussion.
The bigger DLC such as Holy Fury often offer updates to various cultural portraits, CoA and such. The separated cosmetic packs are usually offered for those that do not wish the larger content packages but still desire to update the little things.
These are different than day one cosmetics because the artwork was created long after the release and is part of an effort to be more accurate or to improve the experience for those that dislike the older content.
I also disagree that $20 isn’t micro because in other IPs such as the 2k sport titles, 20 bucks is purchased on day one to automatically advance game play… sometimes people spend hundreds …
Micro-transactions mean different things to different people. That is why I differentiate these practices differently.
Microtransactions are generally used to refer to individual transactions in the $1-$5 range, which collectively add up to quite a lot but where none is significant alone, so people spend twenty dollars in a large number of separate transactions rather than purchasing a single item for twenty dollars.
CK2’s content packs are bundles of cosmetics sold separately from the associated main DLC (I’m quite sure on this; it’s an issue for modders) and are basically day one cosmetics for the DLC, though the DLC will also incorporate some cosmetic updates to relevant new areas of play.
The funny thing is with ‘Games as a Service’ is that companies are following that in a similar pattern as MMORPGs. One or two games come out as a hit, and then everyone suddenly wants to try to cash in. The problem with that is if a game is made with any quality, they are already 2-3 years behind the ones already released.
Another thing doing the ‘Games as a Service’ is trying to monopolize a person’s time, but players only have so much time in a day. I mean, for some people, if a game starts to feel like a job they will drop it. This doesn’t include if content isn’t continuously updated, etc…
And I do think it is fallacious to say that cosmetic content doesn’t affect gameplay. If nothing else, it can have a psychological effect on play. I can attest that at least for myself, if I get a character that I adore, then I’m going to play a lot better with that one than someone who is generic schlub #3.
However, ultimately it also depends on the game and monetization strategy. Warframe is free to play, and I don’t feel bad buying some stuff in it since servers, etc. cost money.
However, if I get Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, just the basic game, and get slammed with Microtransactions before even really starting the game…it is trying to shame me for not ‘getting the full experience’ and that pisses me off to no end.
What bugs me is look at a game like Spider-Man with dozens of unlockable and fun and costumes to play with… you just know if it was another publisher they would be in loot boxes and randomly gotten. Yet now it’s one of the most successful games of the year and has legitimate dlc incoming with a real actual story expansion over three chapters.
There are always ways to gain additional income from players… micro transactions just happen to be the laziest and greedy and in the process also the most likely to drive your prospective customers away.
Here is the Horse Lords expansion broken down:
As you can see, Early Frankish, Early Germanic and Italian unit packs were offered as non Horse Lord related content within the Horse Lords content pack.
Early Frankish, Germanic and Italian unit packs were also released on July 14, 2015 as separate packs available without the Horse Lords expansion. see the CK2 Wiki for verification if you disbelieve me.
Packaged content such as the Coat of Arms “Dynasty Shields” are not related to the major expansions but just like the unit packs were available separately. This is the closest CK2 offers to your definition of micro-transactions.
This is why CK2 content is different than other company’s offerings. It just doesn’t align to other company models.
That’s the Horse Lords Content Pack as opposed to the Horse Lords DLC. They are sold separately and the content is not part of the Horse Lords DLC. It is one of the CK2 content packs I have not obtained in the process of purchasing every major DLC. I do not classify the major DLC as microtransactions.
There are graphical changes associated with the main DLC; I don’t know what’s in the DLC only, what’s in the associated free update, and what might be in both DLC and associated Content Pack, but there is definitely stuff in the Content Pack and not the DLC.
The whole point of my original post was that when it is “new” content like that offered in Crusader Kings (the content pack being new “micro-transaction” content separate from major expansions) it is different than newly gated content in 2k sports titles.
You then state: “CK2’s cosmetics packs don’t seem different to me; they’re not something that had been in the base game but they are suitable for inclusion in the associated main DLC.”
To which I break down a content pack (Horse Lords) and show that there was additional non expansion related content included (the unit packs) unit packs of Italian ships have nothing to do with Horse lords on the plains of Eurasia. I’m sorry but they don’t.
This is new and unrelated content within the Horse Lords content pack that makes the Horse Lords “different” than other company micro-transaction content packs.
That was the point of my original post which even now you argue against for some reason.
Well, basically I think the Content Packs aren’t really any different as new content than as if they’d been avaliable on day one. Paradox spent money on creating new graphical content and then charged for it separately and I don’t think it matters if they do that when the base game came out vs. when Horse Lords came out. Yes, they’re not necessarily in the focal region of the DLC but most DLCs have impacts everywhere (Horse Lords I think not so much because the government changes were in the free update) and they could’ve put them in the DLC. Like how retinues are a Legacy Of Rome feature even though everyone gets them. So I don’t see them as different in principle from the Tales Of day 1 bonus outfits.
To me the key distinction between the Content Packs and the microtransactions I hate is that I feel like CK2 is a complete game experience without them. I paid sixty dollars and I got sixty dollars worth of game, and each big DLC since cost 10-20 and gave me 10-20 dollars worth of game more. If you needed to buy the Frankish unit packs to have visible models for Frankish troops I’d be pretty mad.
I don’t buy microtransactions I don’t care game is free. Gimme an option to buy the game damn it. I prefer pay 20 $ or 50 to dont be pay walled or forced to a design totally made to create an artificial flaw to sell you a way to skip it.
I am a fan of harry potter i would love played the new damn game but that stupid system of gems and energy makes game bad by design and a chore. If they made the game a damn real rpg and asking fans for cash we would give them the damn money… no easy way…
expansion packs and massive dlcs are a very different thing. Blood wine is a master piece same Dawngard from skyrim . That’s content that add value created AFTER game launches.
For instance in cog I am totally agree with IAP when is like Gower one. Or the extra content for The lost heir they add more stories or a new understanding of the game. But i won’t buy CHEAT by Sergei for all gold in the universe.
Ugh… micro-transactions in a text game…
This reminds me of those asian-based otome games for the Android, where you either have to wait a certain amount of time to get tickets/keys/whatever needed to progress or just buy those from the store instead. I’d rather buy the full game and enjoy it, entirely, at my leisure. Thanks.
Games are ridiculously expensive to make for Triple A’s and pretty much capped at $60… and on the other end free to plays… so most likely.
I’d put them in if it’s a multiplayer thing. Stuff like levels boosts in WoW and whatnot. I don’t like cosmetic micro transactions, since looking good is nice without having to fork out cash
What if the game is really good and the microtransactions would just be cosmetic BUT earning the really cool looking stuff would require you to spend money or grind for hours to get it, would that justify microstrancations in a already full-priced game? To me, it wouldn’t. Because there are a lot of games out there that have done well for themselves without including any kind of microtransactions.
Yeah, it really doesn’t suit text games well.
I’d say they’re fair if the game is free and is not text-based - it works for candy crush for example.