$5 to Read (Microtranactions Ruin Games)


Grand Theft Auto online microtransactions

Aydan Harr, Rookie Reporter

Four years ago, micro-transactions were almost unheard of in video games, we were making jokes about hours armor in AAA games but we weren’t ready for the punch line to actually happen.

The argument is always made that micro-transactions don’t affect you if you don’t buy them, but that’s not exactly true. These will affect you even if you don’t spend a penny. The trend has been happening over time, but the major companies have started using them within the last few years. This year has been a example of how micro-transactions have influenced the way we end up playing our games.

It’s fall, which means that the major AAA games are being released such as Assassin’s Creed Origins and Middle Earth Shadow of War. The only thing that’s different this time around is that both of the games have loot boxes that can be purchased with real money in order to speed up progression. The thing with loot boxes is that they’re random. If you spend the money hoping to get an in game item that you need, you may just end up getting something you already own. You could make the argument that this is the same when you open a pack of trading cards, but unlike trading cards you can’t trade this item with other players. The two for mentioned games examples are of games that are single player but with the release of EA’s new Star Wars Battlefront 2, loot boxes are the only way of progression. This has really spiked my interest because it could mean that players who are just starting the game could have better stuff than the people that have been playing longer.

`Then there is always the microtransactions that allow you to purchases gear that is far over power to the gear that other players have put time and effort into getting. This could ultimately throw the balance of the game. These kind of balance issues in a free to play game, but Star Wars Battlefront 2 will be retailing at $60 upon release.

One of the main companies contributing to this trend is Take Two Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar Games and 2K Interactive. Take Two has created the entire business model around microtransactions in a recent report by polygon.com show that half of Take Two’s income comes from microtransactions. One of the games that is contributing to this revenue stream is Grand Theft Auto V’s online mode which has made over $425 million over the past four years.

Srauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take Two says (via Gamasutra), “We’ve said that we aim to have recurrent consumers spending opportunities for every title that we put out at this company. It may not always be an online model, it probably won’t always be a virtual currency model, but there will be some ability to engage in an ongoing basis with our titles after releases across the board.”

This could be bad for the upcoming release of Red Dead Redemption 2, which is made by Rockstar Games and will be release in February The main game could end up having sections where you can’t progress unless you spend money for and in game items but that’s just speculation. The only way to try and stop major companies from taking advantage of the consumer is to stop spending any more money on microtransactions and leaving bad reviews on games that have them. We don’t need a future where we play games with a controller in one hand and a credit card in the other.