Xbox's evolving micro-transaction strategy is creating friction

Loot boxes are all but dead in AAA games, it seems, but the alternatives seem to be creating an even bigger backlash.

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Nyxus12d ago

This is one of the things that worry me about services like GamePass, if you give away your games for pennies, profit has to come from somewhere else. And microtransactions will obviously be among them.

-Foxtrot12d ago

Then you get that tired ass

"bu bu but they need to make the money back from somewhere, it's fine"

No it's not fine because if that's the case then maybe they shouldn't have just given their big budget game away like that

CaptainTravel12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

I'm enjoying Gears 5 for less than $10 through the PC beta and without any additional online fees plus over 100 other games to play. How has your experience been???

It would be really helpful to read comments from others who try it and give honest opinions. Outer Worlds is coming, the new Metro is available, Forza Horizon 4 is available, Psychonauts 2 will be there.

All it takes is self control and not buy the micro-transactions. Gears 5 is not intrusive with the way you play and if you feel $10 (or less for the PC version of Game Pass) is still too restrictive or prohibited then please explain, instead of the generalizations that this will lead to this or this will one day impact that.

shaggy230312d ago

This is an interview with the developer of Oxenfree, it turns out that putting their game on Games Pass, they actually got a sales increase across all other platforms.

"What I was worried about was, 'Is this going to cannibalize other sales early on?' That was the main concern. If this is going to be out on the same platform -- I want people buying it on Xbox still -- but what we found out was not only did it not [cannibalize sales], it increased our sales everywhere else on every platform,” Krankel said."

UltraNova12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

Just look at Netflix's declining quality in offerings...they make one good TV show/movie every 50 mediocre and forgettable ones most of which I can never get past the pilot or first 30 minutes and so I simply move on to the next one. Their library started feeling kinda pointless after a a huge filler pile where you need to look really hard to find something that interests you and then find the resolve to actually see it to the end. I really hope game sub service offerings wont end up like that.

That said, as long as I can choose not to sub on any of these services I wont.

Spurg12d ago

If the game was barebones then that's a reason to worry but Gears 5 is a jam-packed game. Most people were there for the Campaign, which delivered in spades.

Mopedgames12d ago

The problem is people want to assume that somehow this subscription style of publishing is going to make as much or more money than selling games traditionally. If this is more profitable costs are going to have to be cut and since there is no real middle man that cut will come from development. There is a very good chance that next gen will be shorter more and more dependent on GAAS & MT's

And the fact that Sony decided to still focus on traditional sales on top of a subscription instead of doing like Microsoft which is basically going services only tells me that Sony still sees the most profitable thing being traditional sales. Versus Microsoft where every game Microsoft has released has sold less at retail than the game before it with Gears 5 basically not even charting and selling less than 25% of Gears 4.

Perhaps Microsoft has painted itself into a corner yet again buy not really thinking about what they were doing and what the end result would be. Let's just hope they don't take the whole industry off the cliff with them.

crazyCoconuts12d ago

I agree. I'm a fan of choices, so I just ignore the "buy iron" or whatever part of the game and play what I paid for.

343_Guilty_Spark12d ago


If Microsoft is delivering feature packed games like Gears 5 perhaps they're financial experts have already factored in how to maintain or increase production costs while delivering a compelling product.

Maybe they are currently running a relatively small loss. Netflix adopted a loss model while Simultaneously increasing output and content quality...the result....subscriptions increased significantly and they are making more revenue than ever. When you have a stockpile of can invest in yourself.

Mopedgames12d ago


All the games on gamepass so far are games that were developed based on the old model, we won't know for 5 or more years how subscriptions have effected the industry.

rainslacker12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

MS has figured out how much they're willing to lose to subsidize Gears 5 to use as a marketing tool to try and get people to use their service. Whether that continues indefinately or not still remains to be seen. As all these other publishers decide to throw their hat in the ring, we'll be looking at less content that those publishers are willing to license to MS. Just like we see Disney not giving stuff to Netflix and what not.

Then what is MS going to do? Well....there is doing what Amazon and Netflix realized they had to do....which was create their own content. But realistically, how many high profile, multi-million dollar productions can MS create with the scope and content of Gears 5 in a single year and be able to support itself off a $10/month sub cost. Or even a $15 month sub cost. it costs a lot less to make a TV series than it does to make a single game.

Things like game pass, or even steaming services are going to see rapid growth, and then implode in upon themselves, and in the mean time, these companies are going to be designing games to find a way to maximize the profit they can make off them, because you don't spend $100 million to make and market a game, just to not make money on it with the relative minimal amount of profit made off of sub costs.

I'm sorry, but I've spent the last 15 years losing faith in the gaming industry to do what is right for the consumers. All this positivity is all predicated on the notion that these companies are somehow more interested in not screwing over the customers, despite the fact that we have been complaining about that very thing since horse armor graced our fair consoles.

averagejoe2612d ago


Netflix has not made $1 of profit so good analogy there. Look up any article about it, they are all over the internet.

Source: My best friend works in the industry. As a company, Netflix has made ZERO profit.

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CaptainCook12d ago

Quantum Break has Microtransactions?

xX-oldboy-Xx12d ago

And that has to do with?

The smarter gaming public knew you don't get something for nothing.

343_Guilty_Spark12d ago

Tell us more about how the Gamepass model works again? I'd love to hear how the financials look, since you're an insider.

rainslacker12d ago

Chances are, that with or without game pass, we'd see these, "evolving" MT strategies. It's not even like these egregious plans for monetization are really new, in various implementations. I think we're more likely to see them in a service based scenario though, and as time goes on, we'll see more game design centered around pushing people towards the MT model. Anyone taking a payment to put the game on the service isn't going to get as much as they would selling the game outright. the service provider can rely on the sub costs, but lose a lot on the individual game sale.

Like most thing involving MT, we'll see all sorts of experiments to see what the customer is willing to tolerate....just like we have with the traditional models.

sampsonon12d ago

I've been saying this since the beginning and everyone said i was stupid and wrong.
I will give you all another warning. AAA single player games will not be made in a streaming only future. A - AA games will be the only single player experiences with their multiplayer feature being sold separately, like ND said about the last of us mp, at a later date. they will have a ton of mt's..
so pay $10 for a service that is the equivalent to a slot machine in a casino.

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Hedstrom12d ago

Its f2p style but with an entry fee. This is my biggest worry with subscription gaming!

PhoenixUp12d ago

Microsoft all about making gaming as service oriented as possible

gangsta_red12d ago

No one is forcing anyone to buy these MT's though, it's like that pay to win modal article a little while back and how a lot of people didn't mind because you're not forced to buy any of the weapons.

Mopedgames12d ago

Well if no one buys the MT's and and Microsoft sells the games for pennies and people stop buying games traditionally how does Microsoft pay for the games?

gangsta_red12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

So, MS is selling the game through retail and digitally for pennies?

How about all the subscribers for Live? What about the cut MS makes from third parties for selling their games, DLC on their marketplace? Not to mention the million of subscribers to Game Pass also.

I'm positive people are still buying their games traditionally. I have to imagine MS has a steady stream of income that can support their first party devs plus the ones they just bought.

I would be more worried if MS was forcing you to buy these MT's because they are required to finish or fully enjoy the complete game.

xX-oldboy-Xx12d ago

Perfect stealth troll at the TLOU.

Point is - ms is introducing mobile game FTP tactics into their AAA games.

Gamepass subscribers don't care, but I reckon the 16,000 people who bought the game launch week in the UK would be a little pissed.

gangsta_red12d ago

"Point is - ms is introducing mobile game FTP tactics into their AAA games."

Pretty positive this was introduced long before MS and I am also 100% sure it's still all optional and cosmetic.

"but I reckon the 16,000 people who bought the game launch week in the UK would be a little pissed."

Exactly why? Are the MT's not offered to the GamePass subscribers? Do the gamepass subscribers get free textures. Exactly what is it that these UK blokes who paid for the game through retail are complaining about?

I'm sure it can't be for paying for more powerful weapons because Gears 5 doesn't have that disgusting practice to get pissed about.

-Foxtrot12d ago

"No one is forcing anyone to buy these MT's though"

That's such a tiring excuse now lets be honest

gangsta_red12d ago

You know what is even more tiresome, crying about options that aren't mandatory.

How long have we had MT's for now? How many more decades of video game playing are we going to whine about this?

Kribwalker12d ago

if you aren’t forced to buy them and they have no bearing on how the game plays, other then your characters appearance, then what’s the problem? Especially when these optional MTs create free expansions and DLC.

Now if they had these MTs and still tried to charge you got DLC or Expansions (TLOU$) then i could understand complaints

ThinkThink12d ago

People who have xbox's, love Gamepass. People who don't have xbox's, hate Gamepass. That should tell you all you need to know. Nobody seems to have a problem with optional, cosmetic micro-transactions on other platforms, why freak out when xbox does it?

IRetrouk12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

It may be optional but the way they make you have to use iron, how its bought and earned and the fact that if you do want certain cosmetics some of them are put behind the paywall loop that you either have to overly grind at or pay up for, its the wrong way to do mts in a full priced game.

"The first time players can unlock Iron through Tour of Duty is at hitting the rank "Officer II" or level 24 . At that level, the reward is 100 Iron. The amount of Iron increases as players hit the levels where it is listed as the reward, but receiving the currency is still a rare occurrence, even for the most committed Gears head
The biggest issue with the system overall is how the items are locked to one drop pool or the other. Gears 5 players who really want all the cosmetics can't just play a lot and hope for the items they want. Eventually, they will have to earn or purchase Iron to get premium items, which isn't spending money on random loot boxes, but it's not ideal either."

No excuse for it, optional or not nothing in a full priced game should be locked behind a system like this, why cant they just offer the cosmetics for a fair price for those that want to pay? they could still use a system to fairly reward players without having to grind out iron in a full priced AAA game.

rainslacker12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

But he's right. Just now, these services can charge you a fee to not be forced to buy these MT.

Doesn't matter that if it wasn't a MS service, and lets say this was EA, then I'm sure the tone of the nature of the MT model on a sub model would be very different.

We've complained about MT for a long time now. I don't see why because it's on a paywall service, that it's fine now. I mean, I thought services like these were supposed to help the sales of a game....despite that obviously not happening with MS games.

@Gangsta and Krib

The problem isn't that they are there, it's that games that have heavy MT schemes tend to often be designed around making purchases more appealing than spending countless hours grinding out for something desirable.

It'd be hard to point to a single game as an example of this being the norm, but if you look at the last 10-15 years or so, there is an obvious shift in game design to do exactly what we all have said at some point is happening.

Don't try to defend it because it's on MS service and it's a MS game. They are what they are, and all publishers are guilty of it. It's not confined to MS. But instead of being complacent, fight against it to try and make it known that as a consumer you don't like this kind of crap.

I don't buy MT. I don't mind certain kinds if they don't affect game play, or if they're available otherwise and don't require a stupid amount of grind.

In general, it's not the MT that are the problem, it's the implementation of those MT in the game design.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 12d ago
xX-oldboy-Xx12d ago

It's a slippery slope mate and ms is hitting full steam ahead.

This is the tip of the iceberg of their monetization tactics (although also employed by others), to recoup lost revenue from game sales.

I would've thought that was pretty clear.

gangsta_red12d ago

"It's a slippery slope mate and ms is hitting full steam ahead."

Of course they are, even though Sony has been ahead in that area longer right mate?

"This is the tip of the iceberg..."

The tip? This has been going on since last gen?

gangsta_red12d ago

I also noticed you didn't answer or expand on your little UK comment....I'm actually curious as to why only people in the UK would be upset according to you

xX-oldboy-Xx12d ago

Why would I expand on what clearly was an attempt at trolling, 16,000 launch weekend sales is abysmal and downright embarrassing.

No wonder we have - 'Gamepass mega hit' to add to our growing vocabulary of ms superlatives.

Kribwalker12d ago

the tip of the ice berg was UC3 charging $60 for a game and then introducing Pay To Win MTs. Any Pay to win MTs are bad. Optional cosmetics tho? i couldn’t give a damn about dressing up my character or guns with special skins.
Former PS Boss Yoshida said it best at the beginning of this gen
“Microtransaction per se is not a bad thing," he went on to write. "How the game is designed around it could become a problem."

There’s a reason i have over 80 crates sitting in my inventory on Rocket League. Let the suckers pay for that, i keep getting free content updates

gangsta_red12d ago

Oooooooooooooooooooooooh, lol. Gotcha

"Former PS Boss Yoshida said it best at the beginning of this gen
“Microtransaction per se is not a bad thing," he went on to write. "How the game is designed around it could become a problem.""

Let's not also forget his other quote,

"Yoshida notes that they offer an "alternative path for busy people," and to "read reviews when they come out.""

But I do like this articles closing statement,

"Microtransaction rage is far too common these days, as completely optional fees that I will never use don't really bother me, so long as the game is entertaining in its own right -- and as Yoshida notes, isn't designed around it."

Mopedgames12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

@Kribwalker @gangsta_red

Ya know the big flaw in your argument is your using games that are a generation old as your example. Microsoft is is basically trying to fund their whole game development on the back on MT's today.

Kribwalker12d ago (Edited 12d ago )

Moped games

TLOU Remastered
Every MLB game with FUT modes (every year)
Killzone Shadowfall

All full of MTs

One of sony’s biggest earners in the gaming space in recent years, Fate/Grand order is a mobile game loaded with MTs.

That’s plenty of recent examples

xX-oldboy-Xx12d ago

gangsta - mate - how did you get me? I freely admitted what that statement was and it's intent.

No ambiguity in my comments - unlike most of yours.

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Silly gameAr12d ago

Hey, question. Are you going to turn this into a fanboy thing like in that other article, or is everything MS doing good for gaming, and everyone is wrong for having an opinion on it that you disagree with?

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IRetrouk12d ago

The cosmetic stuff is fine, if it's a fair price, it shouldn't be put behind a weird coin or iron paywall though, we all know how that stuff works....

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