View Full Version : Opinion: Publishers Don't Realize Microtransactions Are Hurting Them, Too

10-30-2017, 11:33 PM
I tend to not get any DLC unless it is free, or have significant new content that I would enjoy, like new story content of a character. And I never get buy anything in any smartphone games, that's pure BS.

Opinion: Publishers Don't Realize Microtransactions Are Hurting Them, Too

Is the extra money worth losing customer loyalty?

Last week, EA announced that they were closing down Visceral Games, the studio working on a new Star Wars game, essentially because it was too linear and story-based - meaning, exactly what I want from a Star Wars game.

They said the game is instead being “reshaped” to fit the “games as service” brand, which is a business model causing a whole bunch of developers to turn their backs on the type of games I grew up playing - the ones I’ve loved for my entire life. Of course, Battlefront 2 has a 5-7 hour single-player campaign, but it also has microtransactions that, in the beta, effectively encouraged a pay-to-win, low-key gambling system.

Just like Shadow of War had microtransaction controversies with orcs up for sale, and even after that, season passes are still very much a thing and have prices that range from half or more of the base game’s price, and people keep buying them.

This is the games industry in 2017. This is where we’re at.

This is the games industry in 2017. This is where we’re at. Of course, we still have some games focusing on a strong single-player experience without microtransactions - like Bethesda, with The Evil Within 2, Prey, Dishonored 2 and Death of the Outsider, but hey, you know what games didn’t sell as well as expected, despite not having any microtransaction controversies? All of those.

So, despite people being angry in the comments sections about loot boxes, a recent article on games industry.biz noted that the controversies are having literally no negative impact on sales. Destiny 2 had items locked behind a glorified gambling system even though they were available in the first game, and it’s already the single best-selling console game of the year. It came out in September.

It’s true that, every year, video games are getting more expensive to make. But every year, consumers are purchasing more games to meet the rising costs of the industry and, as it stands right now, every year publishers are finding new ways for players to spend more money. I don’t believe that microtransactions are an answer to games being unaffordable when publishers like EA are only increasing their profit year over year - they make $800 million dollars off of FIFA in a single year - JUST FIFA.

This is publishers making as much money as possible as quickly as possible, and we clearly haven’t hit a limit yet, but we most likely will. It happened when major publishers kept trying to jump onto mobile gaming, it happened with the now all but dead Toys-To-Life market, it happened with music-based games like Guitar Hero, and I have no doubt that it’ll happen again. As is the nature of our fast-thinking, very, very young industry.

The negative PR will eventually catch up, and the bubble will burst.

So, that brings us to the thing that I don’t think publishers are considering - yes, these games, despite their controversies, are selling well. But this is something that is immediate, short-term gain only, because they’re completely ignoring how this is breeding long-term resentment, and every new microtransaction added is a bad PR move, encouraging fans to be more critical, and, slowly, feel like they’re being taken advantage of by companies they previously adored. This short-term gain is going to eventually make marketing harder, and more expensive - it’s not a long-lasting quick buck that they can keep milking forever.

In essence, just because something is selling well doesn’t mean there’s no damage being done. The negative PR will eventually catch up, and the bubble will burst, and there’ll be a whole lot of work they’ll have to put into regaining all of the consumer loyalty they lost along the way.


10-31-2017, 12:19 AM
I agree that it is worth to put dlc that it does have some weight in the game, not all this junk about data that could be locked behind a paywall or capitalise the players frustration in a pay to win situation.

All this microtransactions, lootboxes and other crap they're puting in games has become a blight and it get's to think twice before buying a game. Specially from EA with their subtle way of "games as service" bs.

10-31-2017, 07:44 AM
You can add Wolfenstein II to that list of underperforming Bethesda titles. It's certainly not working for them.

Anyway most big companies are pretty short sighted and only care about quick short term gain for the year and generally don't think of the long term effects I would guess.

10-31-2017, 11:45 AM
You can add Wolfenstein II to that list of underperforming Bethesda titles. It's certainly not working for them.

Anyway most big companies are pretty short sighted and only care about quick short term gain for the year and generally don't think of the long term effects I would guess.

Yup. That is exactly the case.

The companies are run who abandon ship after about 5 years. They rise the bottom line and make themselves look good and jump ship when the backfire starts hitting so they can hop to another company and do it all over again.

It's cynical and it's disgusting. I just wish people smarted up quicker so they couldn't get away with it.

Btw theres no numbers for The evil within 2. So, i dunno where that comes from.

As for me, just a drop in the ocean, but i don't buy lootbox games aka those are now on full ban from me, unless they are F2P games. At that point i can understand and it's still my choice to play them or not. I most likely won't though.
I think SP games are not doing worse than MP games. If you want to bring the big shooters in we can bring Skyrim and Fallout in. It's not about that. It's that the model for MP games shifted so much to be able to be monetised to exhaustion. While SP games are still the nice games the old guard enjoys, but with rising costs.
Quite honestly, this is simply an underhanded way to do things. The 60 dollar/euro price is not sacred. Actually we here in europe already pay more than that. It would be alot more honest if they simply increased the price of the games and leave the design uncompromised.

What annoys me is that this is all the result of the rush for technology. They did this to themselves. They say customers are the ones that asked for much better graphics. But we didn't ask for hardware to keep beeing pushed at this pace. Nintendo shows that you don't need to do that and will still be sucessful. So, this is in the end something that companies like EA pushed alongside Sony and Microsoft. They push the power, they market the power, of course people will expect to see a return on investment.
Maybe sell them on games, like Nintendo has and this whole problem goes away.

But it won't. Because at the end of the day these are companies and they only care about making the most money short term. So, until people finally catch on, wich will eventually happen, the market will keep degrading and i fully expect it to crash when the market gets the fame of a gambling market that doesn't give you anything because you have a license and not a copy of the game. The servers will close, your money will have been for nothing. When people finally catch on on that, no one will want to buy games anymore.
I mean, i'm pretty sure this is happening on the mobile market already as only the big and most famous game make rivers of money while the rest makes nothing.

Thsi is a problem that will hit these MP loving publishers. Theres not enough people to keep all these communities alive. The MMO market already gave a preview of that. Duds like Lawbreakers, Evolve and Battleborn. The market cimply can't support itself on only micro-transaction filled MP games.

10-31-2017, 06:58 PM
I only buy DLC for games that I LOVEEEEEEEEEE! If even I just like them, I usually skip them still. Last DLC I ever bought was for Dark Souls 3 and Zelda, I can't even think of what else in the last few years, cause I don't think I have.

11-07-2017, 06:50 PM
I have never bought any DLC. I've been tempted. I thought Recore was going to charge for that last DLC that finished the game, but glad they didn't.

11-07-2017, 07:49 PM
For the most part, I find that most DLC nowadays are a waste of money cause they are trying to do more and more of the micro transaction crap, like stupid new in game skins and stuff. Instead of just making one big pack for a good price.

I'm fine paying 10 dollars for new story missions, even if they are around 2 hours in total, no different than buying a movie, new skins, weapons, characters, etc. But once they do that for 20 dollars+ for less, I say, nay nay.