Microtransactions: a spreading infection


You’re playing a game on your phone, say, Angry Birds, Clash of Clans or the like, and a pop-up asks if you want to pay 99 cents for a one-time item that gets you a few more points. A microtransaction. It’s only 99 cents, right? Not too big of a problem.

Now, say it’s a $60 game, like the upcoming “Assassin’s Creed: Unity,” which also has microtransactions. Would you pay more to improve your score? I certainly wouldn’t.

While most free games have microtransactions, I don’t feel like paying $60 for a game and then being asked if I’d like to spend more to enhance my experience.

I understand game developers would like more profit for their games. It looks better for investors and increases chances of making another game, which keeps them employed. I get that.

Microtransactions aren’t new to console gamers. Past games had microtransactions, such as buying in-game currency in “Forza Motorsport 5.” One option costs $139.95 just for in-game currency.

I find this to be an absolute slap in the face as a gamer, both financially and personally. Manygamers, including myself, will not be buying any of the microtransactions in “AC: Unity” and have voiced our displeasure to Ubisoft.

The developers of the series say they aren’t going to back down from the implementation of microtransactions.

“If we think it fits the gameplay, or the brand itself, the core values, we’re willing to take those risks,” senior producer Vincent Pontibrand said at the Gamescom trade fair. “If not, then not. We’re not going to make any compromises.”

It sounds like Ubisoft is testing the waters carefully to see how the public reacts to microtransactions, but I personally think they know people don’t want to see them in the games they play. They are implementing them anyway to make more profit.

I worry about the future of console gaming. Both indie games and flagship titles can implement microtransactions at any point.

If Ubisoft and Microsoft, two huge game publishers, are fine with microtransactions, what’s stopping Sony and Nintendo from draining consumer’s wallets?

Fruechtenicht is a lifelong gamer and helps run a Let’s Play channel on Youtube called Coffee Table Zeroes.


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