Yesterday Edmund McMillen was quoted as saying that the monetisation and increased reliance on ‘micro-transactions’ within games is a “slap in the face to actual game design and embodies everything that is wrong with the mobile/casual video game scene.”
Big words like that require a bigger post. We’re running out of room here.
Edmund McMillen is something of an outspoken character within the games industry. Luckily he’s got quite some kudos to back up his words as he’s part of Team Meat, makers of the wonderful ‘Super Meat Boy’ and ‘The Binding of Isaac’. With an iOS port of ‘Super Meat Boy’ on its way, McMillen felt it necessary to speak out on a common practice found on the app store.
The ire of his latest outburst is the growth of questionable sales models. Namely ‘freemium games’, paid for power-ups, ‘Time is Money‘ DLC, and the like. He claims that;
“There is a whole shit load of wrong out there these days, from abusive and manipulative money making tactics, to flat out stealing…”
What Ed’s referring to is the fact that many games are built around the idea of letting you play more or letting you have better equipment if you’ll pay.
There are examples of games that ‘sell’ you what’s already on the disc. I’m not talking about locked content here, I’m talking about stuff you have to work for. Instead of playing to unlock cars, you can pay. Instead of playing to unlock weapons on Battlefield 3, you can pay. Dead Rising 2 essentially had you paying for cheats. Big Head mode for £3.99? The feck!? EA also have a subscription plan for their Tetris app. Paying a subscription fee. For Tetris.
These pretty gross practices are unlikely to disappear. It seems that these blatant money-making schemes are working. EA have also come out today and have claimed they plan on becoming more involved in these digital revenue streams with the launch of a new ‘social game’ this quarter. They’ve seen pretty big growth in this area and they’ll need it as it’s also been reported that EA’s finances aren’t looking in the best health.
Of course, where there’s money to be made, expect the trend to spread, with people claiming that the 360 may be next to have the pleasure of ‘freemium’ games. If you’re truly that disgusted by these practices you need to do something. Similar to the on disc DLC debate, this will only go away when people stop paying. We’re in charge of this. For once, the best way to make a difference is to do nothing at all.
Are you happy with these new pricing models? Any success stories you’d like to point out? Comment below!