I get it. Video game publishers want and need to make money to do what they do. The introduction of in-game micro transactions in the new Tomb Raider, Gears of War and Call of Duty: Black Ops feels more of a cash grab than an innocent game enhancement feature. Yes. It’s only a $1 here, a 100 points there but they do add up. Without players realizing it, they’ve spent an additional $10 or a 10000 points on top of the $60+tax they spent buying the game. In a real world sense, that’s $10 taken from my weekly gas budget for my car.
The PR spin is that these mini-transactions are cosmetic and will not effect the players’ game experience. Yes… for now! Last time I checked, I wasn’t born yesterday. Today’s video game micro transaction offering is an experiment of what’s being planned or considered in the future. It’s underhanded and disappointing. I’m disappointed because publishers are playing dumb. They know that gamers strive for uniqueness and are very competitive. Gamers, specially the 10 to 18 year old, want things to make them look better than the next player. I witness this everyday in the Black Ops 2 lobbies. I can see why Activision would want to exploit this group.
A little greedy?
I play a lot of mobile games on my iPad. I’m very familiar with the concept of micro transactions and how they can be correctly applied and implemented. The biggest difference is that mobile games are transparent. You know from the get-go that you will encounter micro transactions. Why? Because a lot of the mobiles games, even the very good ones, are FREE! Those that aren’t free are about $5. You’d have to be a picnic short of a sandwich to not expect it down the road. I get it. This time it makes sense though. I didn’t pay $60+ to buy and expect the full-game experience. If console game publishers want to inject some micro transactions, go for it. Just don’t charge me $60, ask me to smile and bend over.