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

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

  1. milk

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    I hate the fact the government had to step in. If the consumers are foolish enough to no go ahead and buy a product that is ripping him off, he deserves every penny that ends up being extorted afterwards. Everytime consumers are kept from deciding from themselves, the more their ability to consume critically atrophies.
    Kids being exposed to gambling like scenarios? Great! Better learn thar lesson now in a much lower stakes environment than on a cassino when they are in their twenties.
     
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  2. Clukos

    Clukos Bloodborne 2 when?
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    Problem is, the kid isn't usually the one hurt from this. The parents and their credit cards are.
     
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  3. Shifty Geezer

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    That is an RSPCA ideological discussion - not one for the console forum.
     
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  4. CSI PC

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    Oh I totally agree that the risk these days is insane for large scale Indy studios as they try to fill a gap in the market place left by AAA studios, I wince at how much pressure CDPR must be under since they went full in commitment with Cyberpunk 2077 even after the success of Witcher franchise and some help from the government (I am not sure it is that much though in grand schemes as it is shared with many other studios).
    My point was more about context on if they break even with 500k sales, then worth thinking about AAA studios risk that may not be that bad in terms of big AAA games and their financial sales structure across multiple platforms with early beta sales and some early extra incentives along with selling millions per platform and priced 2x to 3x more - if it can be argued $60 does not cover development as well these days then it needs to be considered against Indys and what they require to break even and the large multiplatform footprint they target.

    But with regards to AAA studios and where some of the logic breaks down about cost/risk:
    They repeat about cost development and how prices have not increased, but do you see Battlefront 2/Gears of War 4/Destiny 2/etc on Steam?
    Nope so they are willing to risk reducing sales and delivery platforms by deliberately keep them off the largest gaming service platform seen as consolidating ease of game deployment and try to force consumers onto their own platform service.
    EA studios may give the reasons they do and how they need to cover costs, but they carefully ignore they deliberately keep their games off the largest client base delivery platform out there :)
    Thank goodness Ubisoft was forced to see the light and put their games back on Steam and not just their own service, and I appreciate this is only a small piece of the puzzle when looking at the whole development/sales risk, including an aspect I have not seen any tech journalists look at and that is the tax structure difference possibly between selling the game and the in-game recurring revenue (specifically which country such tax is derived from and if it has any benefits).
    Amazon manages to get away with some eyebrowsing tax shuffling due to the way it structures the sales service.
    Just mentioning as this may also be an incentive to increase incurring revenue sales structure.

    Edit:
    That said looks like Senua Hellblade possibly sold more or equally as well on GOG than Steam, which would be nice :)
    Steamspy if accurate shows 180k sales, so leaves 320k elsewhere and I am not sure PS4 digital store would be half of that but could be a bad assumption.
     
    #364 CSI PC, Nov 23, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
  5. Jupiter

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    When additional content generates money developers can invest more into the game. If there was only a fixed price then the base price would have to be raised to pay for future content or the content would not be made. Previously, additional content was usually tied to paid DLC which resulted in the separation of players. Microtransactions have the advantage that everyone can get free content.

    It should rather be complained about the unlockable stuff because currently ist often people with a lot of time vs. people with money and no one should be superior to the other. It does not matter if someone decides to be a "No-Lifer" and plays 40 hours a day or a "Wallet Warrior" who throws his money at the screen. Those who have one of the two will have an unavoidable advantage. When microtransactions are removed only the "No-lifer" will have an advantage. What difference does it make if one player plays the video game all all day and the other works all day and invest some money? There is no safe solution to the No-Lifer/Wallet Warrior conflict (matchmaking, etc.). Maybe it would help to enforce deadlines where they are only allowed to unlock stuff for X hours per day/week. If there were hard time limits (credits can be earned for 5 hours a week etc.) the problem could be reduced but a lot of people want to unlock stuff today. Those with more money can already have a hardware advantage (screen, more fps, etc.) on the PC and consoles as their hardware will have a real impact on their gameplay. How should the influence of the money be mitigated here so that noone will have an advantage in the gameplay?

    Two well equipped players fight against each other: One bought his equipment for real money and the other got it by ingame money. Does it really matter how they got their equipment? In many video games nothing can be bought which could not be unlocked in the game. That is the most important thing in my opinion. In single player titles the time/money contrast plays no role. However, for online games it is important because online games need to have a recurring revenue stream to sustain its existence. The sale of a basic game for 60 euros alone will not be enough. In single player titles I see less authorization for microtransactions.
    Lootboxes for gameplay relevant points can be replaced by another system but I consider the revenue for micro transactions important.

    What are possible options?
    1. The cosmetic way ala Overwatch.
    2. The Ubisoft way like in Rainbow Six: Siege. Paid operators to be available after two weeks. I'm not sure what these operators were but it seems to be well accepted.
    3. Maps and game modes for free, extra heroes, weapons, costumes for real money. Heroes should become free after e.g. three months, weapons after six months and costumes after twelf months.

    In subscription-based games the No-Lifer continues to have an advantage over people with a tighter time window.

    I've heard there is not a huge a lot of time vs. a lot of money contrast in WoW. If the Player invests one hour per day and playes two raid days a week he will almost be as well equipped as one who plays 10 hours a day.
     
    #365 Jupiter, Nov 24, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  6. CSI PC

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    The problem is that this is going beyond items/cosmetics and becoming integral to the game mechanics; whether that be starcards/class progression or orcs that become a commodity as in Shadow of War (impact makes them more trivial and end game a chore).
    Anyway look at Battlefront 2:
    a) not only $60 version but still an $80 deluxe with items - meaning the game is also being sold at a price to accomodate increased dev cost, could also argued separately to be pay to win depending how implemented.
    b) Single player campaign 4 hours - may start great for a couple of hours but meant to be average after awhile and especially when taking time into account, even if another chapter comes available after Last Jedi.
    c) Really only 2 modes seem to be most playable
    d) actually more mode content going back many years to older Star wars games.
    e) When the loot mechanics pay mechanism was in place Angry Joe tested by spending $40 to see its behaviour, it was pretty terrible with what it gave and just encouraged one to spend more - ironically makes more sense to buy the $80 deluxe game but point is the recurring service is designed not to be fair and is in spirit of gambling.


    And really important also worth noting that even with the recurring revenue system disabled in Battlefront 2 EA actually told investors this will be not hurt their Financial 2018 year, in fact they said:
    I think most of us can accept some kind of recurring model or even delux game options if done correctly, but the key is getting the balance correct and both these recentish games are an example of being skewed towards maximum recurring revenue linked into the game mechanics.
    Of course these are not the 1st games to be so extreme, there should had been a shitstorm with regards to Madden and Fifa.

    [​IMG]


    But lets be honest, there will always be more than just the standard $60 version on sale when it comes to the big budget AAA games and the higher priced ones will always have buyers.
    Looking at Assassin's Creed Origins you have Deluxe and Gold options, along with the recurring cost revenue - context is more about publishers/devs do sell beyond $60 for the big budget games.
    Just to reiterate I am comfortable with recurring revenue as long as it is not implemented to attain the greatest level of financial reward for the publisher at the detriment of the game/player.
     
    #366 CSI PC, Nov 24, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
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  7. Shifty Geezer

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    Marvel Heroes is another case study. F2P. Mediocre game and ridiculous IGC pricng - $20 for a key character like Spiderman. Who the hell would pay $20 for a single character?? MUA etc came with the whole roster unlockable through play in a $40 game. These companies are wanting stupid money, and that's much of the problem.

    [​IMG]

    No idea how they come up with their pricing, but you'd think after Horse Armour they'd have quickly figured out consumers aren't that dumb. If you're game's just okay and you have key IP you can leverage, price it at a level consumers will actually pay for. Rudimentary economics.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. ToTTenTranz

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    @Shifty Geezer the main problem here isn't the amount of money they ask for this or that feature.


    IMO any company is free to charge whatever they want for product/service X, be it physical or digital.
    Of course, as long as it's a product/service that's not critical for society sustainability and development (rice, potatoes, water, electricity, medical care, internet access et al), and competition is present, otherwise companies will just prey on people's basic needs.

    So I'm not really worried about Marvel Heroes asking $20 for Spider-Man. If it's badly priced then then product will fail, and that's the publisher's/developer's fault.
    I don't like F2P games or anything F2P, really. My response to that is I don't buy them, pure and simple.


    What does worry me is how so many AAA games for young teenagers are creeping mini-casinos into our homes, completely disguised as something different.
    Have you seen youtube videos of 13-year-olds opening CS:GO crates? They're showing the exact same symptoms as older people with gambling addictions. They screech and become hysterical:



    For him to have 5 lootboxes to open in a row, it's because this kid is spending real life money on them.

    And it's creeping everywhere. Even Destiny 2 with its "engrams" is using slot machine mechanics.


    So devs/publishers want to put gambling in their game? Okay, but that should mean their game should automatically be adults-only.
     
  9. Billy Idol

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    Apparently, Bungie is scaling the XP gains down while displaying the huge numbers on screen such that you don't earn the loot boxes (bright engrams) to fast.

    The scaling actually reacts and adapts to how fast the player ears the XP: the faster the player earns the XP, the less effective XP he gets!



    When does this bullshit end?
     
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  10. CSI PC

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    Quite amusingly (or not if you are on the receiving end) Battlefront 2 does not offer any real game progression rewards for excellent scoring/kill ratios/etc when it comes to Credits Earned each match; One of Angry Joe's colleagues on same team as a test had 3x more kills, 2x the score and ended up with around 5% more credits (330 vs 350), his colleague Del was top match scorer as well :)
    As a Jedi might say; may the grind be with you :)
     
  11. Malo

    Malo Yak Mechanicum
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    I love Bungie's response... we don't like what we're seeing so we're turning it off! Aren't we awesome? lol such bullshit.
     
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  12. Billy Idol

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    Extreme bullshit.

    I wonder how much bullshit would we discover if people dig into all those mt games, and the mobile games as well!

    Overwatch, what is your dark secret?
     
  13. Cyan

    Cyan orange
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    so Bungie got caught? What did become of them?
    Digital casinos.
     
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  14. ToTTenTranz

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    Yes, but after you reach the level 20 cap (which you can actually reach within 4-5 hours), the XP only counts for something called bright engrams.

    Engrams are Destiny's version of in-game slot machines. There are 3 types of engrams: bright, legendary and exotic.


    - "Legendary Engrams" are something you usually pick up randomly throughout missions and events, and then you have to take it to a slot-machine guy who will trade it for a legendary weapon or armor at the engram's pre-determined level. This level is usually some 5-10 levels below your "light level". (light level a weighted average of the level of your weapons and armor that can go up to 300, it's not the "character's level" that caps at 20... a mess I know)


    - "Exotic Engrams" are just like the Legendary ones, except they're a lot less common and their levels can actually come at a level way above your character's light level. Still have to be taken to slot-machine man to trade.


    - "Bright Engrams" are given according to XP gained by killing enemies, completing missions, etc. Bright Engrams only bring cosmetic items, nothing else.



    At the same time, you can buy "Silver" with real money. And like most of the current games with microtransactions, silver is just another currency to add to the game's ridiculous number of currencies like "glitter", "legendary shards", "bright dust", "mod parts" and "weapon parts".

    But can you guess what Silver can be used for? To buy purchase Bright Engrams.
    Again: bright engrams are slot machines for cosmetic items.


    But in the end, what Bungie is doing by artificially making it harder to get through gameplay the only thing that you can purchase with real-money.






    This is pretty shitty in the way it wasn't transparent, but IMO Battlefront 2 is a completely different beast as far as preying on little kids and gambling by suppressing regular gameplay progression to ridiculous levels, making the game an effective pay2win title.
     
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  15. DrJay24

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    We now know they do this XP stuff, I bet they also increase the chance for duplicates versus being fair and making all gear equal odds of dropping.
     
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  16. ToTTenTranz

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    To be fair, Destiny 2's end game is already pretty terrible without that.

    I've been playing it online with friends ever since launch, but I can't stand any of the game's modes right now.
     
  17. Malo

    Malo Yak Mechanicum
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    So apparently Activision doubled the XP required for a level after disabling the xp scaling system?
     
  18. BadTB25

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    Either Activision or Bungie, but yea they did.
     
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  19. JPT

    JPT
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    Two of the big titles this autumn/holiday season, Destiny 2 & SW BF 2, got serious backlash in regards to micro-transactions.
    Will be interesting to see if it has an effect in the holiday sales for these titles. Do casual gamers (or parents) know/care?
     
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  20. Entropy

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    Parents buy what little Albert wants. So - does little Albert know? Because if he does, he probably won’t assume that he can whine himself to getting his parents to cough up for loot crate after loot crate. Kids aren’t stupid (that way). If being cool requires spending big money, it isn’t really for them, and they know it.
     
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