Nobody likes microtransactions, but developers keep forcing them into games in order to promote a false sense of “player choice” while rolling in ill-gotten gains scrubbed from the accounts of parents who don’t supervise their credit cards closely enough. There’s a lot to dislike about entertainment’s fastest-growing industry in 2018, and these slimy, conniving business practices are at the top of the list for many gamers.
Some infamously greedy publishing houses like Electronic Arts and Activision have slowly started to back away from such awful tactics after receiving the brunt of the backlash against their “games as a service” model. Yet, each EA Sports release seems to come across as increasingly desperate, and the Activision-backed Call of Duty: WWII literally encouraged players to watch each other open loot boxes, so we aren’t out of the woods yet.
The most unfortunate thing about this manipulative monetization strategy is that it has caused the untimely demise of several promising franchises over the years. From auspicious asymmetric multiplayer concepts to long-awaited reboots, no game was safe from the the industry’s ill-considered culling.
The poster-child for mismanaged game releases, the hype surrounding 2K’s 2015 beast-slaying third person shooter fell flat the moment it hit store shelves. The overall gameplay was solid, but the title was so needlessly bogged down in micro-DLCs and paywall-barred content that it was almost impossible to enjoy for anyone unwilling to shell out even more money.
A game which had the audacity to release two seperate season passes and offered well in excess of $100 worth of DLC, very few players felt the need to stick around after the first few weeks. It picked up some buzz after going free-to-play in mid-2016, but that ultimately proved to be too little, too late.
Though the game’s dedicated servers were retired in July of this year, the game is still playable via a peer-to-peer connection, though player numbers are akin to the crowd Lawbreakers was drawing in a few weeks after release.
Something of an industry litmus test for aggressive microtransaction campaigns, it’s hard to believe that publishers would choose to follow in 2K’s footsteps after this unmitigated disaster. Gamers, for the most part, know when they are being swindled and will continue to be on the lookout for such scams.