Microtransactions: the Future of Games? (LootBoxes and Gambling)

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by Crayon, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. Crayon

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    Eh. No you don't. =p

    It's hard to make a case for buying this over Orange Box and COD4. But if you believe in the anti-XBLM future where people can do what they want with the things they buy then you can support it by choosing UT3.

    If the console community embraces this UT3 "platform" then our future looks bright. If not, then we may be in for a lifetime of 6 dollar map packs and 2 dollar cars. 3 dollar horse armor and four dollar "keys" that unlock shit already on your disc.

    Please consider getting this game. If it is succseful it really could mean a big victory against micro-transactions. No joke.
     
  2. assen

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    Most mobile phones are able to install new ringtones if you connect them to your PC via a special cable (nowadays it's simply USB for many models) and copy the files over in the proper folder. Yet most people with new ringtones have gladly paid $1-2 to the operator to receive them from there. And ringtones are something much cheaper to produce, they have less value than mods.

    Microtransactions and paid DLC is one of the ways to keep the industry alive; I know there are some people who have played CS for the last 5 years, and would rather play UT3 + mods for the next 5 years, instead of a new COD every year... but to me it sounds a very bleak future.
     
  3. Skrying

    Skrying S K R Y I N G
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    Micro transactions are ways for a industry that is slowly forming into only a handful of massive publishers to survive. assen, you talk like the ring tone example is a reason for people to jump aboard, that's crazy. It's the same reason why you have companies that simply eat the little guys alive and you never get anything original. It's the reason why people are willing to buy Unreal Tournament 3 at all and then think that buying it's going to support something new, it's an out right joke. UT3 is nothing more, and possibly a step back, than previous UT's in a new graphics engine. The gameplay is hardly improved, many stock maps are completely gone, modes of play are gone yet people will stuff themselves full with it.

    You know why people play Counter-Strike for 5 years and more? Because nothing has changed. Counter-Strike is a completely viable game when you're talking strictly about gameplay. It has many maps, it is accessible but knowing its in and outs leads to deep knowledge a massive edge over your opponent. The only issue is that it's ugly these days, but besides that it still beats out most games in the area that counts the most. You might consider this a bleak future but then you're clearly concerned only about what's "new" and what has a fancy coat of paint. Hardly anything has changed in games for ages to be honest. Many games these days are the same. A success was made and everyone else jumps on that model. Only very minor changes exist in all but a few rare cases.

    Hell, my current favorite multiplayer game is Call of Duty 4 but the only reason I find it so enjoyable is because the ranks unlock abilities that change the way you approach your task. Which is only a minor step in evolution past multiple weapon sets and really only a bit of a side grade to multiple classes. In the years since Counter-Strike can you name any huge changes?
     
  4. assen

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    Paid DLC and unlocking what's already on the disk is classical price segmentation, just as collectors' editions. You can decide whether you want to pay $60 for the basic game, or $120 by buying an additional horse armor, a couple of maps and an art booklet. You never bought a CPU that is 5% different in speed from its sibling costing $200 more (or less?) Never bought a digital camera with half of its features disabled? Never bought overpriced popcorn?

    The good book on price segmentation is The Undercover Economist, but here's a good piece online:

    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/CamelsandRubberDuckies.html
     
  5. StefanS

    StefanS meandering Velosoph
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    Folks, this is a spin-off thread. Please take note of that before replying. Also let's not turn this into platform war. Pretty please!
     
  6. infinity4

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    I used to hate ideas of microtransactions but that attitude has now changed. I don't mind paying over XBLM because what I buy are I think worth buying for,

    but I hate the fact that in some games like PES2008 you can't share UCC where MS don't lose anything by allowing edit file sharing. Its also because of this I will never buy a PES on 360 and simply move on to PS3.
     
  7. ninzel

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    Microtransactions like anything ,comes down to how they are used and implemented that decides whether they are good or bad.
    Ideally devs and or pubs would put out an MT and price it as they choose or even for nothing. Free and open competition would exist and that would determine an MT's success.
    Ideally all this would take place in an open environment.
     
  8. Skrying

    Skrying S K R Y I N G
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    I don't know about you but I always consider the value of my purchases. I would never spend $200 for that last 5% in performance, I would certainly consider the placement of a digital camera and its enable and disabled features relative to other models. And no, the movie theater I visit isn't part of a major chain.

    Micro transactions are a great way to abuse the consumer. It's a great way for the consumer to abuse themselves. Consumers are stupid people for the most part, much more concerned about instant gratification than quality or value.
     
  9. ninzel

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    That's too much of a generalization. I think a lot of the backlash towards MT's is due to the fact that the first impression console gamers are getting of them are from MS's imlpementation. It's misplaced but understandable.
    If MT's exist in a free and open space, you won't get the kind of abuse we are all so concerned about. And it adds another layer of choice for both the consumer and developer. For every bad example of an MT,I could probably come up with a good one as well.
     
  10. Rangers

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    Yet UT3 is not selling well.

    Guess the people have spoken.

    imo microtransactions as an evil are incredibly overrated. I just dont care very much. It's one of those issues where imo, the people whining about it are an order of magnitude more annoying than the problem itself (email "spam" is another good example to illustrate...).
     
  11. Jedi2016

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    Personally, I think they've missed the point of MICROtransactions. Five bucks for something isn't what I'd call "micro". Especially when it's something small, like horse armor or a different set of clothing for a character. Things like that should cost pennies. I'd wager the money made from such things would be about the same, because so many more people would actually buy the thing if it were only a quarter.

    I seem to recall reading something to that effect when they first announced the idea of microtransactions. This for a quarter, that for a nickle, etc. It adds up quickly, and you make your money. That got lost somewhere, and now they're charging an arm and leg for stupid stuff. And charging for something that's already on the disc? That's just flat-out wrong. Although I guess they're making their money off of the people who are too frikkin' lazy to simply play the game to unlock something.

    The only other time when I think it's "okay" is when they price the game itself in accordance with future DLC. The only example that I know of is Test Drive: Unlimited for X360. The game itself, brand new, was only $40... twenty bucks less than every other new game. In that case, I don't mind so much shelling out a few bucks for some cars that I'd really like to have. Which I've done.. it's the only DLC I've ever paid for, and even if you factor in the original cost of the game, I still haven't paid the full sixty bucks yet. And as a car nut, I'm loving it.. the DLC included some of my all-time favorite cars, which makes it well worth the money.
     
  12. quest55720

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    Like everything else they can be good or bad. It is up to the customers to turn a nose up to the bad. Horse armor for a couple of bucks is bad because of cost. Now if horse armor was 50 cents hey what the heck. On the good side rock band great they extend the life of the game. I don't mind micro transactions at all if they are a good value and extend the life of a game.
     
  13. Crayon

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    The point isnt so much that they charge 6 bucks for two maps.

    The point is that they will choke off any alternative to their 6 dollar value pack.

    Seems a few of you here like the state of DLC and you're welcome to pay for it. I'll be busy over here hoping that we will have an alternative.
     
  14. quest55720

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    Depends on the type of game. Yes it would be great if map making tools were standard soon on consoles. It would be much better to download user created maps than to pay for them. For things with licensed content like DDR, GH,RB user content is impossible.

    All it might take is 1 great game that sells a few million units to get people on the map making bandwagon. If epic wants to really move that way on consoles I suggest they do it for Gears 2. It will show millions of people what they are missing.
     
  15. Skrying

    Skrying S K R Y I N G
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    User content is FAR from impossible for DDR, GH, and RB. There are similar open source games or even the games themselves where users have created content. All you simply need is an editor and really one for such games would be really easy to create and use.
     
  16. quest55720

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    You want to be the one to fight the RIAA over the illegal use of music? There is no way sony ms or nintendo heck any game developer/publisher would ever allow the illegal sharing of music.
     
  17. xmu

    xmu
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    Well you wouldn't *necessarily* have to share the tracks, just the control data. The problem would then be to ensure everyone can get their hands on the same copy of music so that it's not out of sync.
     
  18. assen

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    There is an abuse of the term "microtransaction" to mean "paid content". I think both are viable business moment for the industry to go forward - and the millions of people playing free-to-play, pay-for-items MMOs seem to agree. The "paid content" in the $5-10 range is not "microtransactions" IMHO, but the name stuck - they are price segmentation tools. Microtransactions would be a scheme e.g. in a RPG where you can buy "RPG points" in the console "OS" with "real money", then inside the game itself buy health potions for $0.10.

    Have you tried them? I had great hopes for Frets on Fire, for example; it turned out to be somewhere between "exactly the same as Guitar Hero, but without all that fun", and "complete crap", depending on what songs you try. It's a monumental failure of user-generated content, for all the reasons that will make any kind of easily copyable content crappy in the hands of users. In GH games, you have basically three files for every song: the background music, the foreground part (which you are supposed to "play") and a chart with timing which says what button you need to press in what specific moment in time so that the game will mercifully play you the foreground part instead of a random jumble of "wrong!" notes. Needless to say, there's a considerable amount of skill required to make that last chart; skill which has obviously not been present when the Frets on Fire songs I tried were created. To take things from "not fun" to "complete crap", most of the user-create songs for Frets on Fire hadn't bothered with separate "band" and "guitar" parts, just copying the original piece of music twice - which means you hear exactly the same no matter if you play right or wrong.

    See above: you need a separate recording of the guitar and everything else, so it's not just the control data.

    I am extremely prejudiced against user-generated content, because since 2002 I have shipped four PC RTS games with a very decent, user-usable editor (which was definitely not trivial to make), which reached a combined user base of well over a million. I've written documentation, I've answered countless editor-related questions on forums, I've supported wannabe content creators over IM. For these five years, I've never seen a single decent map for the games in return. 99% of the users simply give up once they realize it's real work to make maps, not something you accomplish in 15 minutes; the rest of the 1% release maps which are basically random generated maps with a ton of their favorite units scattered around the initial player positions.

    There are talented, focused individuals able to create valuable content, as Counterstrike and DOTA show - but they are statistically insignificant numbers, so unless your game is not just well sold, but a megahit, there's virtually zero probability that one of them will grace it with his efforts.

    A solid system of paid downloadable games and content for games and users who have learned to accept this arrangement will not only help the traditional $60 retail games stay profitable, but will enable smaller studios to invest less and still see returns. There are really only two price points for games on Xbox 360, for example: $10 for Arcade games, and $60 for retail games. I'd like to see the whole range from $0 games (with paid items etc.), to $10 for Arcade games to $20-30 for smaller games (without cinematics, voiceovers, three multiplayer modes and a collection of ponies) to the $60+X retail games (plus collector's editions, downloadable maps etc.). This will allow a much greater freedom for developers to decide where to place their efforts to make the best game - currently you are in danger of being killed by reviewers if you don't have all of the features of all the Top-10, tens-of-millions-budget titles of the last 6 months.
     
    #18 assen, Dec 31, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2007
  19. Skrying

    Skrying S K R Y I N G
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    Yes, I've played Frets on Fire. But you missed my point really. That is what is possible right now with a very hard to use process. Refine it and make it much more user friendly. Is it a sure fire success? No, no way, but it would make user created content much more possible.

    While I don't know what games/series you have worked on, you pointed out an example from Warcraft 3 (one of my favorite games of all time) and I must say its a shining example of user created content extending the games life many years past what its original content would really allow. Tower defense, footmen wars, DOTA and its variants, etc. They are mods that are simply awesome to play and extremely fun. Maybe the problem with all those games you worked on was that it was FOUR in FIVE years and maybe those were all in a different series, but I can't possibly imagine the user base ever had time to put into a new mod or great map. Much more important than tons of numbers is lasting numbers in the amount of players on your game. If you sell two million units but within a year you'd released two sequels then you won't get shit, no matter how good your editor or mod support was. That's another reason why in todays gaming world mod quality seems to have taken a turn for the worse.

    The issue is todays market is simply so wrong in how it should treat itself that it would take something major to turn it around. While Xbox 360 might be the worst offender of "microtransactions" the PS3 is certainly not a great supporter of the open market. The platforms are way to tight to support it really. That's part of the draw though, you go into it knowing what you'll get, no surprises and generally no disappointments.
     
  20. assen

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    Warcraft III was also released in 2002 (I remember "fondly" what happens when you release an RTS right between AOM and WC3)... how many PC RTSes have been published since then? Possibly 50, of which certainly more than 10 good ones. Can you point at other RTS mod success stories? I think everything is disproportionately skewed towards WC3 mods.

    Releasing a sequel every year gives more than enough time for modders - you don't need more than a couple of months to get familiar with the game enough to make mods, much less maps. (The very deep gameplay/ballance aspects of games like SC and WC3 that are still unexplored fully after, say, a year, are a different type of knowledge, not the same type of "knowing the game" you need to make something like DOTA.)

    You did pay lip service to the "the industry is straggled by a few huge players" mantra earlier in the thread, yet with the above words you seem to favor a model where there is something like one major RTS in the world, and new versions are released once in every Blizzard aeon. Do you really think a small developers stands a chance if they release one game in five years?
     
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