Submitted by HardcoreDroid 366d ago | opinion piece

Pay to Win Microtransactions Come to Next Gen: A Call to Action

If gamers don’t come together and draw a line in the sand, the video games we love will soon be a thing of the past.They will be replaced with the deleterious and extremely profitable pay-to-win brand of video games that have come to dominate both mobile formats. Game ownership will disappear. New titles will be broken down into parts and sold piecemeal and because these parts will either have a half-life or be non-transferable, these games will essentially be rentals. And they’ll be rented at exorbitant prices, making games cost hundreds even thousands of dollars, if a player hoped to play them entirely. What’s more, these pieces will often be the components that make a game a game—think levels, skills and loot—or will serve to extinguish boring elements that have been purposely woven into a game’s fabric for no other reason than to put a price tag on them. Worst of all, they’ll often appear as solutions to a game’s challenges and because these solutions will be foisted on a player. (Crimson Dragon, Dungeon Keeper, Forza Motorsport 5, Gran Turismo 6, Industry, iPhone, PC, PS3, PS4, Real Racing 3, Spartacus Legends, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

D3ATH_DRIV3R_777  +   367d ago
If it doesn't break the game, then i have no problem. But however, if it's the other way around, then hell will break loose because i do not want to be forced to buy a certain weapon, parts, or a car that i can just unlock through progression. So yeah, i will have a problem with microtransactions if it's setup that way! but long as they got it setup where you have to level up first until you hit that certain level requirement, then no! i will be fine with it, because that gives a choice! do i want to buy it with real money, or just do it the ol' fashion way? in this case, i'll do it the ol' fashion way.
Visiblemarc  +   366d ago
It basically does break every game it's in, for me. There are some exceptions I've been able to ignore, but still, not entirely.

There is always a nagging feeling at the back of my mind that the thing I'm playing is no longer a game, but now a fool's pursuit. One designed to frustrate, rather than intrigue. One designed to waste time, rather than spend it. All this happening with the goal of steering me to spend more money on a game I already bought.

Microtransactions have the capacity to severly tarnish the reputation of games and negatively impact sales.
D3ATH_DRIV3R_777  +   366d ago
Okay i see your point smarty-pants! you deserved an A+. Ò_Ó
UltraNova  +   366d ago
You managed to sum up every point I had in mind perfectly. Well said bubbs for u.

OT: If this is where we are headed we are F cu ked sideways.
Matt666  +   366d ago
I hate Microtransactions it just a way of noobs unlocking stuff early because they lack the skill to unlock the parts/ weapons any other way for example BF4 short cut packs
HardcoreDroid  +   367d ago
We aren't boycotting microtransactions or freemium games. We are boycotting them when they break the game and when they are both essential items and ridiculously expensive. By essential I don't mean you need it to win but rather it's a vital part of the game. And that's it. If you can agree with the above go here:


And sign up. We aim to send a message to the greedier elements in the industry that we (gamers) aren't going to stand idly when they create crappier games and then up the price to play ten fold.
Mr Pumblechook  +   366d ago
Microtransations will play a much bigger part in this new generation - however it is important to distinguish between the different types. Some are you pay for cosmetic extras like a new paint job for your car or new castle in an RPG. However the BAD kind of micro transactions are in a game where the levels have purposefully been designed to be difficult so that the player effectively must pay for extras to make them passable - and this is so bad.

Microtransactions are barely acceptable in freemium games but should be banned from full priced games because the consumer has already payed for the software. A case in point being Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare, it's a full priced game but gets stupid difficult - however if you pay for extras it gets easier! Publishers should not try and nickel and dime their customers.
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HardcoreDroid  +   366d ago
We are on exactly the same page, my friend. I hope you sign the petition.
KonsoruMasuta  +   366d ago
Don't play free to play games. Problem solved.

You're playing something that developers have put thousands, sometimes even millions, of dollars to make. And you're playing it for free. Are you surprised that they try that hard to make that money back?

If you want an even playing field, play a buy to play game where you pay once upfront and everyone gets the content from the start.
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MARKSMAN7136  +   366d ago
They choose that then. They could've made a regular game instead so they knew how customers would react.
HardcoreDroid  +   366d ago
Wrong. The problem is far from solved.

Well made games still make bundles.

What's more, well-made games with player-friendly microtransactions are raking in the dough, for example, Paths of Exile and Team Fortress.

In the mobile markets its different, there crap games with manipulative IAPs also sometimes rake in the dough. Immersive game design is replaced with cleverly implemented ploys to get players to continuously spend.

In this way AAA game design will slowly begin spinning down the toilet as it did in the mobile markets. If you do not see this, play what passes for a microtransaction-heavy AAA game on mobile and you will see that poorly implemented microtransactions crapify game design wholesale. If left unchecked they will deteriorate our hardcore games across the board. This has already happened on two platforms. Why would we stand by and let it happen on our consoles. We need to stand together now, at this point, when pay to win has just begun to rear its ugly head on PC and consoles, and say to the industry: 'we demand that you do this right.'

Incendy35, Hearthstone and Jetpack Joyride are examples of it done well, Real Racing 3, Dungeon Keeper (mobile), Crimson Dragons, Forza 5 and, dare I say, GT6 are examples of it done wrong ($120 dollar race cars = Bl&w me).

We're saying that every time a consumer engages with a game that exploits players via manipulative microtransactions, it increases the likelihood that we will see more of the same. The more players reject it, the less we will see it.

We're saying lets stand together and reject the bad stuff. That's it.
The_KELRaTH  +   366d ago
I've played a number of free to play games such as Need for Speed World where you have to buy the cars and components etc - that's fine but I don't agree with this when I've already paid full price ie. in Grid 2 you couldn't compete in certain events without buying extra cars, GT6 high car pricing and low race wins means you run out of cash even if you win everything.
I purchased all the cars in GT5 but there's no way I will be able to get anywhere near that in GT6.
logikil  +   366d ago
So just curious but the costs that you are indicating for both Forza and Grand Turismo.....how exactly are you coming up with the 80 and 120 dollar figures? I have never seen a car pack cost that much as far as DLC. With Forza, yes you can buy tokens to purchase cars on the quick for actual use, but that is in no way a necessity. It is simply a shortcut to bypass what would have been the normal process of getting those cars in racing games before that model arrived. In older non connected games you still had to grind the hell out of a racing game to earn the in game dollars to get a car you wanted. This model still exists. Now there is just a way to circumvent it. So frankly i have no idea why you put both of those games on that list. I get the mobile games, as they are huge offenders, but the racing games make 0 sense on your boycott list.
HardcoreDroid  +   366d ago

Thank you. I found it here:


I will attach a further reading (bibliography) later this evening, and parts II-V will have more specific references; this piece is meant as an introduction to a series of articles.

As I am sure you know, sometimes things like prices can change while you are working on a piece. Forza's prices we're revamped at the end of last year (not exactly while I was working on this). I'll look into it. More importantly, this is a community-based boycott--started that way and will end that way.
If most players feel anything should be removed, it will be removed.
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logikil  +   366d ago

So you validated that what you are referring to is a purchase of either credits or tokens within game in order to circumvent the grinding that would normally be necessary in order to purchase some of those more expensive cars. So i am curious, why wasn't it a big deal to previously have to grind for those cars, before PSN or XBL, but now its a big deal that you can pay to skip that grind? That is the real issue I have, specifically when you start talking about something like a ban. Neither Forza nor GT require you to pay for those cars in order to thoroughly enjoy them. While i agree with many parts of your argument, I do not agree with those games being on your ban list.
aliengmr  +   366d ago

Well, if you are going to charge to skip all the grinding you have to make sure a grind is there to begin with.

In the end, all that grinding is meaningless if someone can just buy the car outright. Seeing you race that car doesn't automatically say "you put in the effort to get it". Instead, that symbol of your hard work is tarnished since it says "you probably paid for it", at first glance. You are reduced to having to defend your hard work instead of letting your reward speak for itself.
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logikil  +   365d ago

So you are saying there is something wrong there just because you feel you have to defend your credentials as a gamer because you went the grind route and someone paid?? Come on man it's video games. If you choose to grind to get a car, its just that, your choice. If you choose to pay for it, maybe you felt your time was worth more than the constant grind to get the car you want....again it's your choice. Also, buying the car doesn't make the person a better gamer so ultimately who cares. The fact that you are saying that your hardwork is somehow tarnished though...that's just ludicrous. Perhaps it's the fact that I have aged beyond thinking games are any more than just that, a game, but I am past feeling I need to prove my worth by how well i do at a game. If you put the hours in, then the sense of accomplishment should be your own, you shouldn't need validation from someone else.
incendy35  +   366d ago
I play a lot of games, both on consoles and mobile. The pay to win model is definitely real "on mobile/PC anyhow" but you don't have to participate. For example, Hearthstone and Jetpack Joyride are two of my favorite tablet games and both are sort of pay to win. However, you don't have to play them that way. You can take the more difficult path and try to win without paying and to be honest it feels more rewarding that way.

I think the only way these games work is if they offer multiple paths like these two games do. Casual gamers will give up on the game without a model that allows them to "cheat" and hardcore gamers will give up if there isn't a model that let's them get rewarded through game accomplishments. The model works, developers are making money and both Casual and Hardcore gamers are enjoying these games.
Menkyo  +   366d ago
"but you don't have to participate"<-----for every person who uses and makes this argument, there is 100 people clicking the buy button.
incendy35  +   366d ago
That is fine, they are paying the bills for us hardcore gamers to play these gems for free!
Menkyo  +   366d ago
Its not fine. The new SC fight that is free to play has no MP because "We have a pay to win model and we don't want to handicap people in MP" when the dev flat tells you you have to pay to win there is a problem. Yeah these "free" games are just so awesome.
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logikil  +   366d ago
I'd simply avoid the game then. If a Soul Calibur game isn't going to follow the previous model, then i have 0 use for it. Its an SC game with no multiplayer, why would you even look at it in the first place. Also, frankly I'd give some credit to the developer since they realized that adding the MP would make the game less entertaining for folks as a result of the model, most likely realizing it was going to alienate a number of players. And please don't get me wrong. Frankly I despise micro transaction based mobile games. I avoid them at all cost. I just don't see it as such a big issue on consoles.
mydyingparadiselost  +   366d ago
Signed. I hate the idea of any monetary system being woven into the core mechanics of the gameplay in any game, the idea only creates games centered around a pay system that is intentionally made to break a game for the purpose of scamming money out of its players. If you come across anything in a game where the solution to the problem is 'Buy this' then the game has failed the customer and itself.
Gamer666  +   366d ago
I have stopped acquiring (free or upfront cost) games that have what I call mandatory microtransactions. Meaning you either have to grind 100's of hrs or you have to pay to be able to continue to progress a game forward.

I only acquire games, where the total cost is not "pay as you go". I pay to receive a complete gaming experience. If they don't provide me clear value for money spent they don't want my dollars.

I have no problem with microtransactions. But, there must always be a price specified if you want the experience free of advertising and free of microtransactions.
mhunterjr  +   366d ago
It's really not as big an issue as folks make it out to be. Very few people ever pay for anything in free to play games. Core gamers, who represent the lions share of gaming revenue , hardly ever pay for microtransactions. The real, sustainable money is in appealing to the core.

If the industry as a whole were to turn towards pay to win, that wouldn't be sustainable. Publishers know that. As long as there is a balance the industry will be fine.

I've noticed a lot of people taking issue with microtransactions taking the place of what use so be cheat codes. I do get that concern. grinding isn't anything new, whether it be grinding for cars in a racing game, for characters in a fighting game, or a secret weapon in an action game, it's been that way since forever. But you used to be able to skip the grind with a cheat code. Now they act like skipping the grind is a premium privilege. That's what I take issue with. But I don't complain much, because I enjoy playing games instead if cheating my way trough them.

Also pay-2-win isn't anything new either. If you've ever been to an arcade, you know what I'm talking about. This is just history repeating itself. Which goes to show, all pricing models can coexist.
HardcoreDroid  +   366d ago
When IAPs are implemented they double, quadruple, sometimes increase the grind 10 fold.

Pay to win developers "design to grind," creating lengthy boring parts so that players might pay them away. Then say that they have just added IAPs to benefit busy players, when really they've altered the way they are designing to nickle and dime you.

We are looking to create a bulwark, a defense, a way of keeping tactics like design to grind from taking hold in the PC and console markets.

For some maybe its uncomfortable to admit that there is a problem in this world you care about.

Because, while when it comes to consoles this may be a case of nipping it in the bud, there is no doubt that we have a ripening bud on our hands, what with 25% of Xbox One's launch titles being IAP-heavy; when, really, you can only gain by giving the boycott the benefit of the doubt. There is no reason, I can think of, not to say to those who call themselves The Games as a Service Movement: "If you care about your profit margins, proceed carefully."
We're trying to keep hardcore games hardcore. You should join us.

PS. The list was compiled by a small group of writers, with limited time and resources, who care and did a healthy amount of research. All of the games on the list got there through play, a few, in some cases via hosts of online complaints and bad reviews. It's possible that we may have missed the mark (maybe GT6 and Forza). If that's the consensus, it will be corrected. If you agree with everything else, lodge your complaint, check back in a day, because this is meant to be for gamers, first and foremost.
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mhunterjr  +   366d ago
You may think you are fighting the good fight, but really you are painting an extreme picture that really doesn't represent the reality of core gaming today, and you are doing so with hyperbolic comments that can only be described as propoganda. "The death of gaming"? Really? Due to over charging and nickel-and-Diming? In comparison to the last two generations, the cost of game ownership has , in general, gone down or at least stayed the same.

As far as IAP are concerned, yes, some games do implement them poorly. There do exist games where the grind is so extreme that one cannot find enjoyment without paying extra. But if there is little enjoyment to be found, without paying extra, who is going to play that game in the first place? You speak as if some large number of people are being BORED into having to pay more for games. The truth is, people don't play games that they find boring, let alone sink extra money into them. The marketplace will handle that situation on its own. It pretty rediculous to forecast a future where we'll be asked to pay by the level, when the market already ensures that successful titles are fun titles. As long as gamers expect their games to be fun, boredom will never be a viable sales tactics. Publishers know this.

Despite the popularity of IAPs, f2p, p2w, DLC, and MT, there no evidence to suggest that fewer people are looking to pay for fully featured, standard priced games. On the contrary, the growth in those other models only suggests that there a more gamers altogether . To satisfy that growth, there NEEDED to be more models, and those models will continue to coexist.
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b_one  +   366d ago
only one sollution, dont buy it.
snarls200  +   366d ago
the guy lost me at gt6 doing microtransactios wrong.
Jdoki  +   366d ago
I'm not signing this. I've been gaming over 30 years and this is just another necessary evolution of the industry. Eventually the industry will level out and realise what works and what does not.

Does this mean some beloved IP may end up as Pay to Win. Yep.

Does this spell the end of gaming as we know it? No.

Does it mean certain aspects of our industry will change fundamentally? Yes. And that's probably a good thing.

There are examples of horrible Pay to Win games, some of which have desecrated well loved IP - such as the recent Dungeon keeper and Rollercoaster Tycoon games. Hopefully the publisher has realised these aggressive models are not welcome.

But also, we need some radical and disruptive business models, as the current model is not sustainable. Development costs on AAA have risen, and the price to the customer of next-gen titles has also gone up a lot - almost 20%.

I'm not saying Pay to Win or Pay to Play is the answer - but when viewed alongside other business models like Episodic gaming, Season Passes, 'Horse Armour DLC' etc - you should be able to see that the industry is going through a period of experimentation, and some will work well (Episodic gaming) and some will not, and will start to die off (Season passes).

Two of the biggest games in the boycott list (Forza 6 and GT6) are not Pay to Win - at best they are 'Pay to get an advantage', or 'Pay to unlock something faster than playing the normal game'.
ajaxmoroni  +   366d ago
I write for HD. Seems like sentiment is largely against this boycott. Too bad. I think its right.

I think with Xbox One in particular some devs are raising raising the price to play without really giving anything back, and are implementing the very mechanics that have virtually destroyed most of the big titles on two platforms.

Initially, I thought that the boycott should be recalibrated and still done, but considering the general sentiment here, it seems Cliff Bleszinski was right when he said that the people against pay to win are largely a vocal minority.
RiPPn  +   366d ago
If this becomes the norm I'm done with this hobby.
Ocsta  +   366d ago
Signed. And thank you Hardcoredroid, we need more gamers like you bud.
KingOfArcadia  +   366d ago
I play Tiny Death Star - way too much. Never paid real money for anything. I was shocked when I was tooling around the menus and discovered that the highest-level elevator in the game would have cost me around $35 real cash money if I had bought it rather than grinding for it - which took me about 6 weeks. Not shocked that it could be bought with cash, but the fact that someone, somewhere, could be so desperate to get that elevator that they might actually drop that kind of money to get it.
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ajaxmoroni  +   366d ago
While a few very sharply written arguments have been made here to the contrary, a number of rather legitimate gaming news sources have written pieces supporting the article’s author’s contentions that console gamers will see more and more microtransactions in the next year or so, that it may alter the way games are made, and that this very scary.

There’s the head of Avalanche studios recent comments:

Microtransactions & subscriptions will form the next generation of games, says Avalanche boss


There’s like-minded commentary coming from Games Radar:

Xbox One's launch exclusives foreshadow a dystopian future for microtransactions


Cnet seems rather sure that Sony and Microsoft are both planning on adding IAPS in droves over the next year.

Micropayments, mega angst, and the future of console games


And there’s more:

Microtransactions: The Future of Console Gaming?


And a lot more. Really. In fact, researching this issue this afternoon, I found a lot of relatively recent articles from legit news sources, far and away most of them in accord with the author's premise(if maybe presented in a more level manner).
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AaronMK  +   366d ago
I've already drawn my line in the sand: if your game has micro-transactions in it that involve progression or gameplay mechanics in any way, I WILL NOT buy it.

If the "cheat" is an option that makes the game better or something that will accommodate different skill levels or time commitments, they should have put it in the game to begin with. If not, than why are they charging people for something with no benefit, or as they put it, "does not affect the game"?

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