Money is something that we talk about a lot on et geekera (and it’s something that is likely to come up again soon in an upcoming beta impressions post). However, we never really talk about some of the theory behind the rise of virtual economies in video games. Fortunately, PBS’ Offbook YouTube channel brought in a Cornell business professor and a Rutgers law professor to explain the theory and rise of video game economies.
A little over 24 hours after its community team scored the worst received comment in Reddit history, EA and DICE have responded to the criticism of the cash-grabbing practices in Star Wars: Battlefront II by announcing changes to the pricing of the unlockable hero characters in the game.
Gamers have been vocally opposed to the industry’s move to introduce more microtransactions and loot boxes into games, especially when they can upset the balance of a competitive multiplayer experience.
This battle between the gamers opposed to constant and unbalanced microtransactions and publishers who are putting millions in their pockets through said microtransactions has come to a head in the run up to Star Wars: Battlefront II. EA’s defense of their progression through loot box acquisitions and the advantage of paying to progress was so bad that it is the most disliked comment in the history of Reddit.
In a move that will surprise absolutely no one that has played an EA game in the last few years, they’re adding microtransactions to one of their games. This time, it’s Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare that will see the addition of microtransactions to the game this week.
The gavel has banged for the final time in the controversial Diablo III auction house. The feature, whose addition was blamed for Diablo 3 having an always-online requirement, was closed on Tuesday ahead of next week’s launch of the Reaper of Souls DLC.
Based on their recent third-quarter financial earnings report and an interview with MCV, it looks as though Grand Theft Auto Online’s microtransactions has brought in upwards of $66 million for publisher Rockstar Games and owners Take-Two Interactive.
The big story in the games news world right now is EA’s mobile release of Dungeon Keeper. The original Dungeon Keeper was released in 1997 and was an instant cult hit. Gamers loved it and game designers were influenced by it. Even today, Dungeon Keeper is often among the top sellers on GOG.com.
The mobile version of Dungeon Keeper pretends to pay homage to the cult classic and instead bastardizes it with the worst free-to-play microtransactions system that many people have seen. While we’re used to free-to-play cash grabs, this might be the most blatant attempt to stop gameplay at every possible turn to squeeze the player for more money.
I don’t think, however, that the problems with Dungeon Keeper Mobile aren’t a result of the free-to-play model. If you go looking for free-to-play games, not all of them are blatant cash grabs. However, when you look at it more closely, you find that so-called games designed to print are really a mobile gaming problem.
I don’t talk about microtransactions in games very often because I keep hoping that they’ll go away if we just ignore them. However, sometimes, we just have to shame the developers who are making massive cash grabs with ridiculous microtransactions in their games.
The next entry into the Angry Birds franchise is kart racing game Angry Birds Go. The iOS soft launch of the game in New Zealand has revealed some shady microtransaction practices.