EA’s just recently released their new blockbuster game Dead Space 3, though it’s not without some controversy. On top of the $60 purchase price, players can also pay additional amounts for resources to use in the game. Yep, real money for 1s and 0s. Microtransactions have made their way to 1-A studio releases.
There’s a lot of players out there, especially players coming from mobile games, who are accustomed to micro-transactions. They’re like “I need this now, I want this now”. They need instant gratification. So we included that option in order to attract those players, so that if they’re 5000 Tungsten short of this upgrade, they can have it.
…But we need to make sure we’re expanding our audience as well. There are action game fans, and survival horror game fans, who are 19 and 20, and they’ve only played games on their smartphones, and micro-transactions are to them a standard part of gaming. It’s a different generation. So if we’re going to bring those people into our world, let’s speak their language, but let’s not alienate our fans at the same time.
Penny Arcade has a great comic and accompanying blog post today on this. It does seem kind of ridiculous to propose that kids will be flabbergasted that they can’t spend even more money on a game they already paid top dollar for.
There is an extent to which I get what he’s trying to say, though. Instant gratification is our national modus operandi and it’s more pronounced the closer an individual’s birthdate to the present. Perhaps he’s not so crazy after all. Maybe the generation coming up would rather pay to “win” at a video game than actually enjoy the experience.
I’m just not so certain that’s a good thing.