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The PA Report - The Xbox One may mean free-to-play games cost $60

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin

imageThe PA Report - The Xbox One may mean free-to-play games cost $60

Let's be fair for a second: These tactics will be used by games on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but so far the releases on Micrsoft's console have been much more aggressive about offering for-pay content and microtransactions. And it does impact how the games are designed, usually not for the better.

Read the full story here

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  • CalvinballCalvinball Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    We need to stop calling these "free-to-play" games. Paying $60 just to be bombarded by these obnoxious monetization techniques is not my idea of a good time, and it's certainly not "free-to-play." They're "pay-to-pay" games, plain and simple.

    Calvinball on
  • GunganGungan Registered User regular
    The sooner people have a bad experience with this sort of thing, the sooner we can boycott games that do this. I would have thought that that has happened to enough people playing mobile games for them to know better, but apparently it needs to happen in the full retail space to matter.

  • tazsultazsul Registered User regular
    Why is Ryse the picture for thus article? I played the entire game this weekend and never noticed micro transactions. Are they a part of the multiplayer?

  • AlexisabroAlexisabro Registered User regular
    If you're interested in being fair then why is it just the Xbox One in the headline? This is developers and publishers doing this. You're blaming a platform and not the people making things on that platform for the state of things on that platform.

  • Gamer8585Gamer8585 Registered User regular
    This is just getting sickening to me. When I purchase a game I shouldn't need to worry about playing a constant meta-game about price and value. I should be able to know what genre it is, read the reviews and make my decision to purchase or not.

    For free-to-play its a little more understandable trying to monetize as much as possible, but there is a right-way and wrong way to do it and publishers now seem to be doing less Riot and more full on Zynga.

  • GunganGungan Registered User regular
    edited November 2013

    Yes. You can buy boosters for multiplayer.


    The picture is taken from the linked article, which clearly states this can be a problem on both consoles, but for the time being the XBone has more offenders.

    Gungan on
  • tazsultazsul Registered User regular
    The same boosters you earn in game? Or containing the same "items"?
    As long as there is nothing you can only get with $... All I can say is "meh, if people would rather pay $ then spend time getting it free. More power to them."

  • Oblivion_NecroninjaOblivion_Necroninja Registered User regular
    My opinion: If the game costs money, it shouldn't have microtransactions.

  • joacojoaco Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    As the article says the "pay-to-pay" practices will only end when people stop paying for it.

    joaco on
  • matthewgmmatthewgm Registered User regular
    Thanks, Ben. I wasn't impressed with Ryse or Crimson Dragon in the first place, but considered buying them on sale. But with F2P mechanics, I'm not buying either of those at any cost.

  • itchy richitchy rich Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    @Alexisabro In the case of Forza's Turn 10 Studios, they are owned by microsoft. So I think its completely valid, in this case, to blame the 'platform for the state of things on that platform'.

    @Tazsul, the article says Ryse has them in the multiplayer

    itchy rich on
  • Paul_czPaul_cz Registered User regular
    Simple, I will not buy any game featuring this bullshit. Fortunately games that I care about, like those from CD Projekt or Obsidian, are made by people who are not assholes like MS is.

  • Paul_czPaul_cz Registered User regular
    Oh and the proper term for these games is:


  • ArathainArathain Registered User regular
    @Tazsul I have a certain amount of sympathy for your position- if someone wants to spend more money, then it's their money. The problem arises when the desire to get people to spend money feeds back into the design of the game. Think of two examples, both concerning a multiplayer game with progressive unlocks:

    In example one no microtransactions are planned. You buy the game, you get the whole thing. So when the design team tackles the question of how quickly a given player should get access to stuff the only thing they have to think about is player fun and player retention. The unlock system will be player entertainment focused.

    In example two there will be microtransactions, to speed up or bypass the progress system. Now designers have an extra factor to keep in mind- encouraging players to pay. The previous optimised rate for progress will be split into two tiers. The paying player gets lots of stuff immediately, or much faster. The non-paying player gets stuff at a slower rate, to encourage them to spend. Neither player is having an experience thought out just with enjoyment in mind.

    I propose that, however you feel about the ethics of microtransactions in a paid for game, that example two is a worse game. This is only one hypothetical example of how microtransactions negatively affect design, and there are many others.

  • TiberiusEsuriensTiberiusEsuriens Registered User regular
    This is something that started bugging me way into last gen. It used to be that completing epic quest lines gave us lots of goodies and rewards in game. Now all we get is a message, "Achievement Unlocked! Instead of giving you a reward, you now have the privileged option to pay us more to get this great item that should have been included."

    Many old games offered tons of secrets and collectibles, but now developers have opted to remove these from the game proper and sell it back to us as DLC. Game designers have lost/forgotten the concept of Carrot-on-a-Stick, changing it to Pay-for-50-Carrots. I can buy all the carrots I want, but I won't ever care about any of them because I didn't EARN it. Also, if I can buy everything I want now, what is to keep me from playing the game anymore?

    Back to the article, I think there needs to be more than the black and white F2P/B2P dynamic. A lot of designers want to include micro transactions in their game but they want to charge for it. There is a strong amount of titles that could fit into a "Cheap-2-Play" category, if only developers chose to support it. People would be a lot more willing to buy into a game, even if they've paid for it already, if only the game hadn't already cost a full $60.

  • SargentrSargentr Registered User new member
    edited November 2013
    This is becoming an issue with GTA Online. They've nerfed most of the legit and less than legit methods of money making in the game. Coupled with excessively high cost of in game items (40-50k for a turbo for the cars) it really feels like rockstar is pushing people to buy in game currency using real dollars. This could almost be excusable but at 19.99 real dollars for 1.25 million in game dollars (the price of the adder super car) it just doesn't make sense to spend that much money on such a small chunk of game cash. At the very least some game content is hidden behind experience points and levels which cant be bought but rather must be earned through game play.

    The sad thing is i really like playing GTA Online but the inability to make worthwhile amount of money and the lack of activities is kinda killing it for me.

    Sargentr on
  • BrohameBrohame Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    It's time to come up with a new term for supposedly "free-to-play" games. In my opinion, the term is inappropriate in relation to reality.

    They may be, technically, "free-to-play", but they are not really "free-to-enjoy".

    Brohame on
  • GunganGungan Registered User regular
    Free-to-download BROHAME.

  • Casey ReeceCasey Reece Registered User regular
    This article was linked prior on the PAR (through commentator @Hoppie00 in the recent Forza 5 article), and it's good that Ben picked it up and put it in the Cut.

    Usually when you hear about this topic from someone like myself, emotion and worst-case-scenarios are par for the course. Martin Robinson steps outside of the noise, and articulates some of the realities inherent within this new . . . method of making you part with your money.

    @Ben: "Make sure you're reading reviews that discuss the monetization strategy, and follow up with players who have purchased each game on day one."

    It should be abundantly clear to . . . well, everyone, that this extra "incentive" to make sure your purchase isn't going to wire another $100 - $???? from you by the time you're finished with it, is a pretty solid pathway to ruin for the medium of gaming itself.

    Money means something to me. I'm sure it means something to other people as well. The sensation of parting with money is never a pleasant one - even if you are receiving a product in return. Never a pleasant one. I don't hear too many people excitedly telling me, "Man! I get to spend twenty bucks!" But I will hear that they're excited to go to a movie, or grab a bite with some friends.

    The idea of entering this none-too-pleasurable sensation of parting with your money - into every conceivable space in the gaming universe - is so undeniably stupid, the only force propelling it forward is greed. Not the angel saints of gaming. No, they'd want this shit as far from their experience as possible - but greed? Greed sees no excuse to need to get moar, MOAR, MOAAAAAARRRRRR!!!!!

    I could be a millionaire. And if I loved games, I would still be incredibly pissed off every time a screen jumped at me demanding money.

    It's the ultimate in ironies. By making itself less enjoyable, it believes it's making a greater case to its player-base for more money. And it accomplishes this with a single action.

    And it hurts all games. Every game. You yourself admitted it Ben. Now I have to do an extensive research project each time I buy a game to find out how much I'd -REALLY- have to pay for it. If somehow averaging a position of zero trust across an entire industry is considered healthy for it, or to approach all potential purchases with weariness, then perhaps it's time to admit that taking away all aspects of our play-experience in exchange for getting to pay more money for it is just bad all around.

    For us. For games. And ultimately, for them.

    But, greed. Is Martin Robinson right, or is Martin Robinson right?

  • dbrowdydbrowdy Registered User regular
    I'm sorry, but I don't get why this is branded with "XBox One" when this is a completely platform-agnostic problem. Because in the first few games available, there are more on the Xbone?

    Having a disclaimer in the first sentence of the firts paragraph doesn't really help either. People see the headline and that sticks... it's what the headline is for.

    Let's be real here: I think all of us gamers can agree that this is a big problem across ALL platforms. Why turn it into an anti-Xbone thing?

  • manadrenmanadren Registered User regular
    Whenever I play a free-to-play game, I always have in the back of my head the nagging question "Am I approaching this level\puzzle\challenge wrong, or are they trying to sell me something?". That in turn, basically kills any enjoyment I get out of the game. I know not all developers approach it like that, but if it's an option, it's a question, and it's the question that kills the game for me. I can see how free-to-play options are a boon to gamers who have more time than money, but for me, I've got too many games to play to put up with it. Throw in a $60 price tag, and what's the point?

    I guess the real message here is never pre-order anything ever again. And how those publishers love those pre-orders...

  • dbrowdydbrowdy Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    Also, after playing Forza all weekend, I haven't once felt a lack of content or a need to purchase anything. I'm not sure what all the brouhaha is about.

    IMO, this is the same as something like PLEX in Eve. If you don't want to grind the money in game to pay for your account for free, you can just pay for it. Paying is an option to skip the grind. But since Eve started as pay to play and offered the option to grind later, nobody thinks of it the other way.

    In Forza, you can grind all the cars for free. Or if you're impatient, you can pay real money for them. It's the same thing and I don't think it's intrusive... as long as you CAN earn everything in game.

    And do you really need 10 different Ferrari's or will one or two suffice? I personally don't plan on grinding out EVERY car in the game... just the ones that interest me.

    dbrowdy on
  • CalvinballCalvinball Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    Good point, @MANADREN. Devil May Cry 3 is one of my all-time favorite games. I love how challenging (and yet fair) the game is. But if the game had a real money storefront in which you could purchase performance-boosting items, I would've snapped my disc in half before I beat the first boss. I probably died fifteen or more times on that first boss, and I would've chalked that up to horrible free-to-fail, pay-to-win design before I had a chance to truly figure out how to play the game.

    Calvinball on
  • GunganGungan Registered User regular
    edited November 2013

    The last time I had friends who played racing games, it was Gran Turismo 4, and they unlocked every car in that game. Full on car guys will unlock everything.

    Gungan on
  • tazsultazsul Registered User regular
    I "love" these comments are spiraling around things that are not implemented, posted by people who have never played the games. None of these games shove micro transactions in your face. None of them have impossible to complete without a premium "boost" mechanics. None of them even offer boosts! No one wants to see $60 titles turn in to candy crush, but we are no where near that point.

    Also I have to agree with @Dbrowdy this is a developer issue, not a platform issue. These monetization methods were not invented for the Xbox One, they are brought over from the last generation. Xbox One is only in the title as a page grab; it brought a bunch of people here to bitch about imagined problems on a console they don't even own.

  • tazsultazsul Registered User regular
    Full on car guys still will unlock everything... By playing the game! It's casual car guys/gals who want to play with their friend who is a Forza nut that will be tempted by, or even buy content in order to catch up. There is nothing wrong with this.

  • Gamer8585Gamer8585 Registered User regular
    I feel the same. The second I see a micro-transaction popup in a game it primes me to think that they're going to try to wring every cent out of me by stacking the deck, so when I hit a more difficult part I'm far more likely to give up and put the game down than keep trying.

    The problem is that effort/reward cycle can be manipulated by the unscrupulous. If it takes a very long time to get to the next reward people will more likely pay to bypass the grind especially if it offers a mechanical advantage or prestige. Purely aesthetic items are usually fine, but there is always the nagging voice in my head that says it would have been an achievement reward, or the grind would be more reasonable if there wasn't an option to buy it with real money.

    EvE's PLEX is a slightly different beast. Because you need it to play the game you have to get it anyway and its an assumed cost of the game. Because CCP made PLEX into an in-game item as well its demand is very high (I would think 100% since everyone needs it, and real money is always painful to spend), and it keeps the big fish playing the game since they can make or buy it with their resources and potentially use it as a reward to motivate their minions.

    The big guys are the ones that provide the most content for people over long term (running the corps, organizing fleets, buying and selling in large quantities, posting bounties, etc), and retaining them is good for the game because if they leave and aren't replaced with equally serious people then you're left with people dropping in an out and the game slowly declining.

    So PLEX is less about trying to nickle-and-dime their customers (what most F2P games do), and more of a cheap capital investment to retain the best source of content in the game.

  • GunganGungan Registered User regular
    edited November 2013

    EVE's big fish cannot manufacture PLEX's in the game. Every PLEX in existence had to be bought with real money by somebody somewhere. People who sell PLEX's are converting their real money to in game money to spend on cool ships, instead of more play time (if you can skip the money grind you can get bigger ships sooner, and wasting less game time overall).

    It's developer sponsored gold selling. People who don't want to spend real money on their monthly fee have to pay in game money.

    Alternatively, it can be thought of as someone else paying your monthly fee for you, and you're reimbursing them with game credits.

    It's not a "free month of game time". It's just paid by someone else.


    Except then they don't earn those cars. If you don't have to earn anything by just buying cars, what's the point of the system to earn them in the first place? It changes the pacing of the game (too fast for spenders, too slow for players) and diminishes the rewards themselves.

    Gungan on
  • dbrowdydbrowdy Registered User regular
    @GAMER8585: I didn't mean to imply that CCP is nickel-and-diming anyone. In fact, I was using them as a counter-example to show how you could include real money transactions in game without it being this evil micro-transaction money-grab.

    I mean, I definitely get it. I hate Candy Crush-style deck stacking as much as the next guy... if not more!

    I'm just saying that not every in-game real-money transaction immediately falls under the Candy Crush paradigm. People are having a very knee-jerk reaction to this. The reasons are very understandable, but maybe not automatically warranted.

    I own Forza 5, I'm having a grand old time without paying to unlock anything. There's so much replayability in the existing content that I don't think I'll feel pressed to spend money any time soon. There's no mechanic in the game that will make me feel like I'm somehow gimped by not spending money; the AI is all cloud-sourced and the time challenges are class based, etc. I mean, there are definitely edge cases where having that Bugatti Veyron is necessary to be the FASTEST IN THE WORLD HAHAHAHAAA!!! But I mean... it's not necessary is all.

  • status253status253 puyallupRegistered User regular
    So I'm assuming we threw the Xbox one in the title to get more views. Because with the first sentence we backtrack on that. I used to think news by gamers for gamers would be awesome. In the beginning it was, but lately it has started to suffer. And now to make up a headline just to get views.

  • itchy richitchy rich Registered User regular
    @Tazsul, As I said in an earlier comment, in the specific context of the article, it might not be just a developer issue, since Microsoft owns Forza's developer. One can only imagine that MS was heavily involved in the making of an exclusive launch game for their new system by a dev that they own. There are less cooks in the kitchen than you might think, in this specific example.

    And as far as people "bitch[ing] about imagined problems on a console they don't even own", I have to just point to the sentence you wrote directly before that: "These monetization methods were not invented for the Xbox One, they are brought over from the last generation." By your own admission, even us lowly serfs who don't own xbox1s are very familiar with these monetization schemes and therefore might have valid opinions.

  • tazsultazsul Registered User regular
    @Itchy Rich
    Apparently you are not "very familiar with these monetization schemes" because you don't believe anyone who actually bought these games when we tell you that these games do not contain the predatory candy crush style micro transactions. Seriously you are demonizing these games for something they did not do.

    If you are going to reject reality I we can't really get anything out of this discussion.

  • itchy richitchy rich Registered User regular
    @Tazsul I didn't compare Forza to candy crush. I was thinking of something like ME3 multiplayer, where you have to grind to buy packs of equipment that either cost 99,000 credits or $1.99. I actually liked the ME3 multiplayer, but the amount of work I had to do to get a pack of random equipment, that may or may not be useful, while being fully aware that the price of my time and effort was two US dollars made the experience become disheartening.

    I didn't really mind it that much, though, since it was relegated to the multiplayer. but then Dead Space 3 came out, and put a similar monetization scheme (that's right, I'm calling it a scheme) into their single player campaign. It was a major buzzkill. I didn't even finish it!

    Granted both my examples were published by EA, but heck, aren't they leaders in the industry?

    But I'm sure you're right, most of the negative hubbub is probably overblown. I'm sure the games are still fun!

    I'm not sure yet if I'm gonna get a box or a station, but I hope you enjoy your new hardware!

  • tazsultazsul Registered User regular
    @Itchy Rich
    My apologies then.
    So far, the 3 games on the market, the prices for in game currency are very reasonable. For example: an average 7min level in Crimson Dragon nets me 7-9k gold, a pack of gear is 12k, the first 2 dragons are 10 & 20 respectively. Gold is trending up as I level up also. I actually think the premium currency is a rippoff not because it costs $, but because in game currency is so plentiful. The system is best explained comparing it to ME3, but we neglected to mention the pricing us much better scaled.

  • gacbmmmlgacbmmml Registered User regular
    Don't ask me how much I've spent in League of Legends...

  • Dark JaguarDark Jaguar Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    I just want to pay for a whole game in one go.

    Let's image if books worked this way. You download a "free to read" book, say The Hobbit. It has the basic outline of the story, just enough to know that Bilbo walked around with some dwarves, found a magic ring, and used it to hide during a battle with a dragon. "To find out how Bilbo won the ring from that trickster Gollum, purchase the "Riddles in the Dark" DLC for $5!" Imagine that, for every "non necessary" chapter in the book. Imagine the book wasn't even being sold as a complete product. Now, perhaps, you begin to see my frustration with some of these games.

    Killer Instinct, in particular, will be hurt more than most. In a fighting game, a "full" roster needs to be expected of everyone, because if you're being "matched" with a billion "free version" downloaders, you'll get almost no chance to fight any of the "premium purchase" fighters in the game.

    *And now if you pre-order The Hobbit 2: The Hobbitting from Amazon, you get an exclusive bonus chapter, ONLY for preorders and then you'll never have a chance to get it again!

    Dark Jaguar on
  • GunganGungan Registered User regular

    I want the Hobbitting so bad>.<

  • tazsultazsul Registered User regular
    @Dark Jaguar
    Because when you play league of legends you never see anything but the free champs right?
    What actually happens is at low matchmaking rank you are seeing a lot of the free character, and as you climb the ladder you start to see people who bought the game pretty quick. The game is not hurt by people getting to try it out. I'm certain it is generating sales. I myself wasn't sure if I wanted to buy it. Getting to try the game, and dojo mode convinced me I did.

  • RedthirstRedthirst Registered User regular
    @Dark Jaguar
    There are games which implemented free-to-play model right. Like in Dota 2, you have all heroes for free, you only pay for cosmetic items.

  • HeadhunterHeadhunter Registered User regular
    I'm struggling with the increasing depth of micro-transaction integration with next gen games, but it is what it is: publishers are looking to make money with a greater degree of aggression than ever before, and that's not going to change. As long as it is relatively unobtrusive and doesn't come with content being deliberately held back by the initial/release versions, I can live with it.

    "Perception is reality." -unknown
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