Titantransactions

Titanfall 2 has recently presented me with an interesting dilemma. After its release, Respawn’s tragically underperforming game opened a microtransaction store – or at least that’s what it’s been called in the press.

As somebody who quite notoriously rails against the practice of introducing free-to-play elements in premium games, I was ready to disqualify it from any year-end honorifics and be grumpy about the whole thing. However, after looking at them myself, my initial inclination was to not classify them as microtransactions – at least not in the way I would for other fee-to-pay games.

While some may think I’m being pedantic, I think it’s worth examining the items available for Titanfall 2 and seeing where one draws the line.

Obviously, for those who have no problems at all with microtransactions of any flavor, or consider anything cosmetic acceptable, this is a cut-and-dry issue. For the rest of us, there’s some meat to chew through here.

Rather than offer premium currencies, gambling systems, or other shady economic options, Titanfall 2‘s content offering is at the very least refreshingly direct, reminding me of older downloadable content from the late 2000s.

The store currently offers various cosmetic “packs” containing paintjobs and skins for the multiplayer, ranging from $1.99 to $4.99. It’s worth noting these skins do not represent indefinite purchases or random gambles like you’d find in free-to-play games. You pay for what you want, you get them, and that’s that.

On the flipside, it’s also important to consider these are not things you can earn in-game, which is a common justification for microtransactions. If you want these skins, buying them isn’t simply a faster option, they’re the only option. At least, as near as I can tell.

Before we go any further, I should say that these are absolutely microtransactions on a literal level. A microtransaction is simply a small payment for virtual goods – it used to mean tiny payments of under a dollar but has expanded over the years to at least cover anything under five bucks.

So yes, going purely by the objective definition, these are microtransactions.

What muddies the water for me is that while they are indeed microtransactions by definition, they’re not entirely representative of what I’ve so regularly called “fee-to-pay” elements. You’re not buying a $60 game that will then keep hammering on you to continue paying additional cash indefinitely. Electronic Arts – in this one instance – is not using a common free-to-play model in order to keep making bank on something it already sold us.

Any form of paid multiplayer content will have similarities with fee-to-pay problems. Even one-shot cosmetic items, like the ones seen in Titanfall 2, will create that “haves and have-nots” economic structure with those who paid to look cooler than other players, thus tempting more customers to stump up some cash.

The same is true for season pass exclusives and pre-order bonuses, as well as any traditional DLC that’s tied to an online community.

Part of what might make this contentious for me is that I remember clearly the time before “microtransactions” became part of the gaming lexicon. Before free-to-play games popularized the term, small payments for downloadable content in games were just considered part of the wider DLC smorgasbord.

Specifically, I’m thinking of things like Dead Space, which had always offered cosmetic skins as their own unique purchases. The big contention with those skins was not that they were “microtransactions” but that they were launch-day items as well as ludicrously priced. Five bucks for a single skin was stupid, and I even said at the time I’d have been willing to maybe buy some if they were a buck or less.

In the years since then, however, microtransactions became the go-to term for these smaller pieces of DLC, but it was so closely associated with the free-to-play market that it consistently represented premium currencies, keys for random loot boxes, and similar schemes that were often acceptable trade-offs for genuine F2P games but took on a grotesque vibe when shoveled into anything that charged money up-front.

Dead Space is actually a prime example of this. Dead Space and Dead Space 2 both had launch-day cosmetic DLC, and people were annoyed only by the fact this content was sold at launch. Dead Space 3 introduced a grind-flavored crafting system with a true fee-to-pay economy, and that‘s when the series was slammed for its microtransactions in ways the previous entries hadn’t.

Many of us, I believe, mentally distinguish microtransactions by their delivery method and impact, not just the amount of money being charged.

I think most of us can look at Titanfall 2‘s DLC as microtransactions on an objective level but it becomes significantly tougher to consider them representative of all the negativity that rightly surrounds the word. Yes, that word has a specific meaning and it applies to Titanfall 2, but language is always evolving and words that have established definitions can take on new meanings altogether with enough use.

The game industry is well aware of this, and has taken steps to mitigate bad publicity.

EA once tried to use the labels “macro monetization” and “micro monetization”, attempting to retroactively normalize microtransactions by dressing them as the natural flipside to traditional post-launch content.

It benefits the game industry to keep terms loose and ill-defined, to keep switching the language and attempting to confuse the audience so things can slip past the radar. With that in mind, you can look up microtransactions to see them defined in fairly broad terms, while different platforms all use different words – in-app purchases, free-to-start, in-app billing, etcetera.

Mileage varies on what is or isn’t acceptable here, and there is no right answer whatsoever. The acceptability of DLC practices is defined only by the individual customer on a case-by-case basis. If you’re buying keys for loot crates, then clearly they’re acceptable for you and I wouldn’t tell you you’re wrong – it’s your money to spend as you see fit, even if I personally hate to see business practices I’d consider scummy get rewarded.

For me as a critic – one who has strong feelings about fee-to-pay that directly impacts my coverage of games – it’s an intriguing question and a knotty issue. Titanfall 2, for example, made the shortlist for the Jimquisition Awards, but my rule that microtransactions in premium games disqualify them for consideration has been pretty hardline and this, by virtue of the wording I’ve used, is easy to shoot down as a violation of that rule.

But I can’t claim to find Titanfall 2‘s DLC to be truly galling due to their one-shot nature and mostly decent pricing. It’s not what I think of when I use the term “fee-to-pay” which, admittedly, is a term I made up myself and never exactly took off outside of my own tiny pocket of influence. I wish it caught on as well as “asset flip” did.

At the very least, Titanfall 2 may well represent the softest possible side of the thorny microtransaction subject. In a year where Overwatch sported a mutilated, unsatisfying reward system and Square Enix royally took the piss with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, it’s hard for me to take offense at Respawn’s little marketplace.

Like I suggested only recently though, the “it could be worse” excuse starts us down a rocky road where previously dismal practices gain acceptance because even worse ones keep rising up.

That just leaves me back at square one – on the fence about Titanfall 2, caught as it is in the space between the true definition of “microtransactions” and the excess that is “fee-to-pay.”

It’s something I’ll be giving a lot of thought before my year-end wrap-ups start (which will be very soon!), and it’s definitely something I’ve found rewarding – if frustrating – to mentally tear into.

God though, Overwatch‘s loot boxes are fucking shit.

Keshav Sapru
Guest
Keshav Sapru

No Jim, while Titanfall 2 is objectively a good game (even though its singleplayer is drivvel, although, it’s not as drivvelous as Infinite Warfare), it cannot be excused from putting in microtransactions, although personally, I defended KF2s microtransactions, since they were cosmetic and unintrusive. Oh… I see why you’re on the fence about this. Nevertheless, perhaps provide it with an honourable mention, since it isn’t shoving it down our throats like IW and Halo 5.

Well, giving into microtransactions earlier has led us to this point where Titanfall 2’s mts are “soft”. What to do?

Jack Trevor
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Jack Trevor
Consider this Jim: Titanfall 2 is worthy of praise. Like game of the year praise. But praise doesn’t pay for the servers that customers want to keep running forever nor the developers’ paycheck for creating additional content that customers are demanding nowadays. The “pay once” price is only going to last for so long. While it sucks, I’m afraid for multiplayer games like Overwatch, Titanfall 2, and even Battleborn microtransactions are a needed business reality. Especially when you consider the non-existence of LAN in modern games and the fact that in a lot of countries just pirate the game (for… Read more »
Nitrium
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Nitrium

“the non-existence of LAN” makes pirating multiplayer games basically impossible though (which is a key reason why they do it).

Jack Trevor
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Jack Trevor

Yea i know.

Just goes to show you how one bad apple can spoil the entire barrel.

Jabberlove
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Jabberlove

Looking at all your comments you seem well on your way to perfecting the outlook needed to follow a career in business guilt-free. I wonder if it was having that mindset that attracted you to the field or if the field pushed you into having that mindset.

MJC
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MJC
Yeah, but consider this: It’s not the responsibility of the consumers to care how the publisher pays for servers if they paid $60 to play. The publisher decided “you need to pay $60 in order to play.” Okay, I paid the $60 you asked for, now get out of my way and let me play without all the psychological free to play bullshit. What’s that, I should care about their server costs and future content development costs? Maybe the PUBLISHER should care about that and come up with a business model that makes sense instead of asking consumers to pay… Read more »
Jack Trevor
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Jack Trevor
Sure, video games are powered by hooking up a cable to a unicorn’s anus and they make them run on a treadmill for hours a day so thousands of players can get their matchmaking free from the constraints of reality. In all seriousness, yes multiplayer games do run on network servers or their equivalent. I’m not the most tech savvy so I could be mixing up some terms here BUT I know enough to know that a lot of multiplayer games are run via a network provided by the publisher. And that network needs a form of infrastructure somewhere. Even… Read more »
CaitSeith
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CaitSeith

It’s not the consumer’s job to bend over to solve the publisher’s economic woes. And being EA, I don’t see them having many of them. The gains from their best selling games compensate more than enough to have to depend on microtransactions on every single game to keep the servers running. At this point is not a case of developers needing MCs money to maintaining the game at all.

diamond
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diamond

No they are not a “needed business reality”, those publishers have shitloads of money, they don’t need extra money from MTs, that’s a bullshit corporate PR argument that holds no water.

Jack Trevor
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Jack Trevor

Yea it is a “needed business reality” because they are running a business. A business built on leisure, but a business none the less.

You can scream all you want about “PR bullshit” but it’s the truth. As a person working on their business degree and having taken a fair amount of accounting, MTs DO fund the long-term lifecycle for these games.

Publishers are not transparent, however, on just where that money ends up. And, while it’s nice when they do, they don’t need to justify anything to the consumer.

diamond
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diamond
That whole “Screwing the customer is OK cause games need to make money” is fucking bullshit, Jim debunked that nonsense years ago in a JQ, you are such a fucking moron it astounds, it’s dumbfucks like you blindly corporate bullshit like that hook line and sinker that are to blame for such egregious business practices in the first fucking place. Their PR bullshit is NOT the fucking truth, anyone who believes that is a pathetic fucking fanboy or a paid shill. People like you are the fucking worst. You can scream “publishers need money” all you want, but that does… Read more »
Powermad80
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Powermad80

A business’ #1 goal is to bring in profit. Since servers and developers cost money, they will demand that their continued work on a multiplayer game also be profitable.

If you don’t like this, blame the capitalist system that incentivizes profit above all else, and stop making incredibly long-winded insult-filled baseless moronic and oddly politically-charged rants towards people who haven’t said half of what you seem to think they said.

diamond
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diamond

You need to Jim Sterling’s JQ called “video games need to make money” where he debunks bullshit arguments like that easily.

You’re posts are the only thing on here I see that are “moronic” you brain-dead piece of fucking dogshit.

Powermad80
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Powermad80

I already explained why you’re wrong, and your petty insults being the sole content of your comments around here show that you have nothing of any intellectual value to bring here, so you’d look a lot better if you just stopped.

TheOneWhoSucks
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TheOneWhoSucks
Server and developer costs existed long before microtransactions, and developers did just fine releasing extra content for games without them. It’s almost like releasing quality content and keeping games updated gave other people more incentive to invest in the game and keep the actual game sales up. The companies that do this sort of thing now know that their games are shallow and won’t keep people’s attention long enough for that to happen. They don’t make enough money churning out yearly sequels of the same old garbage like CoD and Assassin’s Creed do because people stop buying it, so they… Read more »
TheMagicLemur
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TheMagicLemur

Um… I disagree with him, but he sounded pretty reasonable. You’re the one screaming at people and hurling insults. I get it; the situation pisses me off too.

You’re not going to win anyone over by telling anyone who is pro-capitalist “seriously go fuck off to Brietbart and go kiss Trump’s ass, cause you sure as hell sound like his lunatic supporters.”

I say all this because you come across like I did at 21; a young, passionate, angry liberal who sounded like a complete and utter asshole.

diamond
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diamond

I’m not a liberal, i’m independent.

The guy was doing an unbelievable amount of dick-sucking for publishers.

TheMagicLemur
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TheMagicLemur

Whatever you say, man.

TheMagicLemur
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TheMagicLemur

Fair warning, though, you come across like a belligerent idiot rather than a person worth engaging with. Which is fine; it’s your choice. Just don’t expect to win anyone over to your point of view with that shitty attitude. I know; I’ve been there.

diamond
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diamond

you come across as a fucking [♪SKELETON WARRIORS♫].

diamond
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diamond

you come across as a [♪SKELETON WARRIORS♫].

TheMagicLemur
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TheMagicLemur

You’re adorable. I just imagine your little default faceless avatar in a Che Guevara t-shirt.

TheMagicLemur
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TheMagicLemur

Oh; a point of pedantry: “independent” refers to not being affiliated with a political party, not any broad ideology. If you’re conservative on some issues and liberal on others, the word you’re looking for is “moderate”.

TheMagicLemur
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TheMagicLemur

Did you specifically take courses about the business model of the videogame industry with a heavy focus on the effects of and direction of revenue from microtransactions? Also did you have that transparent data to go off of, or are you just working off basic economic theory and extrapolating?

I’m not trying to be a dick, but unless you DID that, I don’t think your current education is as relevant to the debate as you think it is.

Jack Trevor
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Jack Trevor
I should point out that I’ve worked in the tech field (network and bluetooth, not video game) as an inventory manager and have done a fair amount of accounting work for school. A lot of work that I did involved sending out shipments that required me to give out how much these parts actually cost for the shipping memo. One of these items that I had to ship internationally was a server tower that we were taking to a tech fair in Spain, I got to see first hand just how much each part cost. And when I remember what… Read more »
Powermad80
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Powermad80

A multiplayer game needs money to keep the servers running, that’s a fact.

Even if a multiplayer game sells many millions, at *some point* the server and development costs will drain that cash pool. It’s completely logical that a continued service requires a continued means of generating revenue to stay running.

diamond
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diamond

Publishers have shitloads of money they can use to keep servers running without having to rely on microtransactions, THAT’S a fact.

It’s completely illogical for a game like OW to have MTs, stop sucking Blizzard’s cock, it’s embarassing.

Powermad80
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Powermad80
I didn’t mention Overwatch, try actually arguing. Here’s a real fact for you: server costs are constant but game sales eventually stop. That means it is, by definition, unsustainable by game sales alone. Any constant expense will eventually outweigh a large but set amount of profit. This is proven by 7th grade math. For any value V, the function y = kx has some value x for which y > V, no matter what value k is. QED. Servers and developers cost money, to keep them working requires their work to be continually funded. For any business, a developer working… Read more »
diamond
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diamond

Here’s a real fact, you’re a fucking idiot.

Publishers don’t have to be fucking greedy, seeing how much they waste on extravagant marketing and whatnot make it impossible for me take this whole “they need MTs to run servers”BS

You can swallow that corporate bullshit if you want, but most people on here know better and aren’t going to blindly suck publishers dicks.

Powermad80
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Powermad80

Well basic logic eluded you so there’s no point arguing with you, the equivalent of a dog who barks insults and quotes from children on xbox live.

If you don’t like the capitalist system, fight it. But as things are, MTs to justify the continued development and server uptime of multiplayer games is 100% rooted in logic in exactly the ways I explained. Your childish insults changed none of that, you didn’t even argue with me. Just whined that I was totally wrong because reasons.

diamond
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diamond

Well basic common sense eluded you so there’s no point in wasting on someone as brain-dead as you, basic grammar also eluded you apparently(“a dark who barks insults” LOL, what did you do, flunk first grade?)

Your posts blindly defending capitalism are the only thing “Childish” I see here, go back to your job of being a shill little boy.

You’re the only one I see “whining” here dumbfuck.

Powermad80
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Powermad80

Ooh, you harped on a typo I corrected within a minute, good job! A true sign of someone with an actual argument, kappa.

You think I’m **defending** capitalism? Fucking christ no, I’m actively telling you to fight against it! But someone as incompetent as you is more fit for the gulag.

TheOneWhoSucks
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TheOneWhoSucks

Server and developer costs existed long before microtransactions, and developers did just fine releasing extra content for games without them. It’s almost like releasing quality content and keeping games updated gave other people more incentive to invest in the game and keep the actual game sales up.

Keeping customers happy with new content and exploiting those same customers for more cash never have to go hand-in-hand. If they want to make money from games after initial sale, they can go back to the days of releasing expansion packs. And I don’t mean $15 for four new maps.

Unoriginal1deas
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Unoriginal1deas

I gotta say I agree with ya jim. this could be a fair exception. Think of it like this if they didn’t put the option to buy them in the game itself and released the skins as “DLC” on the PlayStation network and steam store then we wouldn’t even be having this disscussion. And when you look at it like that I don’t see the problem at all.

Viking Mana
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Viking Mana
Honestly, although I’m just thinking about this now, I think I don’t mind microtransactions half as much if I’m allowed to purchase the things I want directly, rather than having to gamble enough times to get something decent. I would be more inclined to buy a box in Overwatch (Or buy Overwatch in general) if there was a box that contained something I knew I wanted. Basically, the way that it works in Heroes of the Storm, I believe. That system is so much better. Get rid of the “Haves and Have-Nots” systems, where you’ll end up never using a… Read more »
Jabberlove
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Jabberlove
Dear Jimothy, have a long comment, from me. Merry Chungmas. I have loved you since the very first Jimquisition on the Escapist came out and everyone else seemed to hate it, while I was laughing, feeling superior, like I got the “joke” of this character you were doing and they didn’t. I have been following your work ever since. The problem with doing a character like “Jim Sterling” for so long, and answering your critics in character, and acting like we should thank god for you for is that the personality can bleed over into the way you look at… Read more »
MJC
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MJC
Maybe you and I read different articles. The article I read here today was all about questioning his own opinions. He isn’t sure what he thinks yet, and wrote this to get his thoughts out there and hear the thoughts of others. Someone who isn’t questioning their opinion wouldn’t do that. Someone who isn’t questioning their opinion would be very clearly saying “this is garbage and falls in line with Overwatch and this game is now disqualified” or “this is completely different than Overwatch and this game is not disqualified”. Also why are you even comparing the controls not working… Read more »
Jabberlove
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Jabberlove

See my reply above. I don’t care about The Last Guardian at all, though I may play it if it’s ever really cheap, I care that Jim doesn’t think through his opinions as carefully as he used to.

The Outsider
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The Outsider

That’s quite a bold assumption you have there.

Jabberlove
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Jabberlove

I’m aware, but I needed to get it off my chest. Even though I knew nobody else here would be able to stomach the idea, nobody I know IRL has heard about Jim Sterling.

diamond
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diamond

Jim does not have to “re-examine” anything, he’s absolutely right about Last Guardian, plenty of other people have called that game out for it’s bullshit controls(Laura Kate, Miracle of Sound, Total Biscuit)

You’re sounding like a Sony fanboy here.

Jabberlove
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Jabberlove

I haven’t played the Last Guardian. I don’t care about it. I’m a Jim Fucking Sterling fanboy. It’s his argument against it I care about, because it was entirely wrong-headed. He repeatedly made blanket statements about what good video games need to be and how they have to operate, and he was wrong, and he should have known better.

diamond
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diamond

It was not “wrong-headed” at all fool, he was not making “blanket-statements”, he was simply saying that he personally thought it was bad game design. Jim was not “wrong” about anything you goddamn moron, you should’ve known better then to post garbage like this.

You don’t sound like a fanboy, you sound like a troll.

Jabberlove
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Jabberlove

You sound like a fanboy. But not the good kind.

diamond
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diamond

No, just debunking fallacious claims people keep making about Jim.

RIME
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RIME

Uh, you didn’t play the game; I don’t think you know the actual problem with The Last Guardian. There is a difference between when the character outright does not respond (as in, if you did nothing and you gave it the command, it looks the same) to correct input where it can take repeated instance of it to work versus generally slow animations that do in fact respond.

Goopay2002
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Goopay2002

I’m a little surprised Evolve and its crazy DLC structure didn’t come up in the article at all.

Giorgos Katsas
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Giorgos Katsas

Probably because of the Stage 2 thing.

Goopay2002
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Goopay2002

But Stage 2 is only PC. They had plans to roll it out on console, but never did and are now working on new games.

Giorgos Katsas
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Giorgos Katsas

In case of most developers, something like Stage 2 would not even exist. Jim made a whole video about it.

Qiserth
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Qiserth

Personally I don’t see any issue here. Those skins seems to be just plain old DLC to me, they may or may not be worth buying and that’s up to the individual buying them but I don’t think that it’s fair to call them microtransactions.

ArchangelGT
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ArchangelGT

I agree. Offering additional game content for a price just seems like any other cosmetic DLC in this instance. I don’t see a big difference between this and similar cosmetic DLC offered in something like Hyrule Warriors – something you’ve often claimed to be DLC done right. Microtransactions I think tend to have a much more insidious and invasive nature by design. There’s nothing invasive about this, for the moment at least.

Also, has anyone else found that Jim has taken on a Morgan Freeman-like quality, where you read everything he writes in his voice?

kpnut
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kpnut

I agree with both of you..

I subscribe to Totalbiscuit’s view on cosmetic DLC. where it’s innocuous, it’s just stuff that the art team can do while the final touches are being added to the gameplay and the bugs are being weeded out you’re not really getting an incomplete experience if you don’t get a skin.

And yes I have found that I’m starting to read anything that Jim writes in his voice.

diamond
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diamond

I take TB’s opinion on Overwatch with a grain of salt since he’s been involved with Blizzard for a long time, so naturally he’s going to be more receptive to them then someone like Jim who does not have close ties with Blizzard.

kpnut
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kpnut

I wasn’t really talking about overwatch though, more cosmetic DLC in general.

Hella
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Hella

“…the ‘it could be worse’ excuse starts us down a rocky road where
previously dismal practices gain acceptance because even worse ones keep
rising up.”

That. The principle remains, regardless of how normalized certain practices may become. Stay strong, Mr. Sterling.

Jason Murdock
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Jason Murdock
I’m on the other side of this. For me, it’s one thing if there is a way to earn the items without actually spending money. I’m willing to spend time, which is money by all accounts, to earn the items. This is why I like how Overwatch does it’s thing. I’ve spent hours and hours in the game enjoying myself, and have all the items I want for the various characters I like to play. Because there is no way to earn these items in Titanfall 2, it’s just more BS ways of squeezing money out of consumers for a… Read more »
MJC
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MJC
Interesting point. Honestly never thought about it that way before. I will say this though, once the unlock packs start including actual upgrades and power rather than just cosmetics, they can fuck right off. Mass Effect 3 is still one of the worst multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had, because you unlock new guns through the unlock packs and I always got guns for characters I wasn’t playing and no guns for the one I was using. So I could either “grind it out” with the starting guns which was ineffective since I did so little damage, teammates would get all… Read more »
Jason Murdock
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Jason Murdock
I can agree with that, but at least you still had the ability to grind it out. To me, in my little mind, that comes down to how the items effect the game. Cosmetic items that don’t effect the games (which covers both Overwatch and Titanfall 2) vs. items that do effect games (Mass Effect 3 here. Never played it, btw, so I’m going off what you said.) are two very different things. I’m willing to give a lot more leeway to a company that just does cosmetic vs. game play changing items. But I also want to know what… Read more »
RipTide
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RipTide
I would say that Titanfall 2 is at least worthy of an honorable mention but stick to your guns about not putting it fully on the list. Here is my reasoning, every person walking around with a skin that can only be gained through real money purchase is a walking advertisement, and I shouldn’t have to deal with any ads in a full price $60 game. It all comes back to that idea that, the cost of a free to play game, is the constant assault of things giving both subtle and not so subtle hints that you should spend… Read more »
Ivan Sorensen
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Ivan Sorensen

I don’t have a stance on what something “should” be called and I ultimately watch the jimquisition awards for fun, not as any sort of education but the non-random nature of the purchases makes it a lot more palatable.

I will not buy anything with real money that’s a random chance (same reason I stopped playing magic the gathering in real life), but 2 bucks for a known item that makes a character look spiffy? I’ll consider it.

George
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George

Titan Fall 2’s “Micro Transactions” are more similar to the DLC that was sold in SSB4 for your Mii. Just skins and other piddling crap.

However perhaps for your awards next year you could change the rule? Perhaps, “any game that offers ‘free-to-play’ elements while not being a free-to-play game” should get disqualified?

It would be a bit more specific. That said, I think it’s too late in the year to change now.

adalore
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adalore
I have no problems with this at all. This is coming from a perspective of a business university student and this seems like the best case without being too problematic. While I agree effort has to be put into making sure there isn’t just cool appearance stuff on purchase only, and to keep base visuals looking good which if the game is at all well designed it will be. I get the expectation of the market pressure of seeing people with these cosmetics will spur more purchases, but that is a completely normal part of the product life cycle for… Read more »
Camilo Fernández
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Camilo Fernández
I can understand were the dilema comes from. Since yes, there are the leeser shit-like ways of microtransactions, and also added to a game that otherwise, it was doing everithing right. No bullshit season pass and all tht bolloks. Buuuut… yeah… these are microtransactions, added after the release (and reviews) in a game that you pay $60 to play (plus the suscription if you play in the Toss-Box one). Even if it’s the only shitty thing the game has done, and even if the shitty thing itself is not all that shitty… it is still shitty. As someone who unironicly… Read more »
MJC
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MJC

Don’t forget the Piss-Poor, which also had a mandatory subscription at the console level if you want to get online.

BTW, go back and watch the 2015 awards. Note Rocket League. Go look at the DLC Rocket League is selling. How does that change your opinion?

BAH!
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BAH!

Wasn’t the cosmetic stuff in RL added well after it launched? I think that’s part of the reason it qualified at the time.

Jim Digby
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Jim Digby

I hate microtransactions that give people a gameplay advantage. Even in single player games these are egregious because they’re the equivalent of paying for a difficulty setting that should be free and games are often designed to push them on you.

However, I just can’t feel the same way about purely cosmetic packs, even if they’re earned randomly a la Overwatch.

I have a hard time believing people crave these like they yearn to progress through their favourite game.

Jack Trevor
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Jack Trevor

Steve Jobs once said people don’t know what they want until they pocess it.

I view people who whine about cosmetics in game that you have to earn as impatient “children” who want their cake now but don’t want eat their broccoli. AKA the byproduct of Social Media addiction.

BigDerf
Guest
BigDerf
I don’t understand why to give this a pass. While it seems innocuous now, one skin that’s harder to see later, and suddenly you’ve got an advantage you can only get by paying EA for. From where I’m sitting, I’d much rather have Overwatch and their loot boxes (Which seem even easier to get nowadays with the arcade mode boxes) constantly accumulating and have the ability to get what I want by playing, than have a game where people paid for an advantageous skin. Like even if the skin isn’t actually better/harder to see, but is just perceived as better,… Read more »
August Loolam
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August Loolam
Considering Titanfall 2 has THOUSANDS of skins that look nice you can only get through progression, I don’t get where this is coming from. Have you played the game? Enemies always have a red glowing outline and red lights on them, and motion trails when they are in the air, its pretty hard to miss an enemy pilot regardless of what skin they are wearing. I find overwatches fake “progression” more offensive, if some guy can buy 100 loot boxes and have equal chances of unboxing the rarest things in game or a bunch of voice lines and still drop… Read more »
BigDerf
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BigDerf
The idea of a hard to see skin was a shorter leap stand in for them selling anything that could help give you an advantage. Though if you don’t think they could make a skin difficult to see, you’re not thinking hard enough. There is no progression in overwatch at all. That’s the thing people are confused about. Cosmetic unlocks do not equal progression because your characters never progress, your game play experience never changes. The loot box system is not progression, it’s cosmetic unlocks you get for playing the game more. If it was actual progression and game play… Read more »
diamond
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diamond

Overwatch is so much worse, don’t even get me started on those fucking Rio skins.

BigDerf
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BigDerf

The Rio skins were terrible no doubt, which is why both holiday events since have been far fairer. It’s almost like…. shocker…. Blizzard listened to complaints.

diamond
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diamond

But the lootboxes are still fucking shite, so they hardly deserve much credit just for NOT being terrible a second time with holiday events.

Jack Trevor
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Jack Trevor

Because Titanfall 2 actually needs money.

Because money is what keeps the developers employed and the game you “love” running.

This is the fucking reality of running a multiplayer game in the modern era.

BigDerf
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BigDerf

Did I say I was outright against micro transactions? I’m against selling stuff you cannot earn in game by playing.

darkmage0707077
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darkmage0707077
If anything, this reminds me of the days JUST after the Expansion Pack boom of the late 90s/early 00s, when developers had realized that dividing the content up got more people to buy it since it was in more easily digested payment form. So this feels less like “braking” and more like “full back-pedal”. I would love to return to that era, so I’m in favor of praising this one. Go ahead, Jim: keep it on the list, mentioning it’s not as high as it could be because of these transactions. Or at least give it its own “distinct” award… Read more »
Jack Trevor
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Jack Trevor

Considering games like League of Legends and Clash of Clans make billions of dollars in micro transactions, that’s not gonna happen.

The genie is out of the bottle nobody that is benefiting from it is gonna put it back in the bottle.

crispyn64
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crispyn64

Agreed. Overwatch’s loot boxes are fucking shit.

Rhombas
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Rhombas
This was a great article and really got me thinking of how I define microtransactions and what I define as good and bad products. I think this is where everyone has to think of what they value as a product and how they define those products to themselves. I think that the crux of the issue faced in the article is if the Jimquisition awards should be defined by products and the definitions of what that product is based on public and publisher perception or if that the products should be evaluated with business practices. The Overwatch microtransactions can be… Read more »
CaitSeith
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CaitSeith

I think a main in difference is that with DLC there is a limit on how much you can pay. With microtransactions you can spend 1 million dollars in 10 cents microtransactions, and nothing stops you from spending other million (if anything, the game encourages you to keep paying).

Matt
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Matt
I’ve long since started classifying microtransactions by the kind of content rather than the price. Microtransactions, to me, are payments that you can make again and again for expendable in-game stuff. The price doesn’t enter into my consideration. For example, there are $100 microtransactions on some smartphone games, and they serve the same purpose as the $1 options that everyone would consider to be microtransactions. The convenient thing about separating microtransactions from DLC in this way is that there are no arbitrary price lines. DLC has pros and cons, microtransactions have cons (and let’s face it, very few pros). They… Read more »
CaitSeith
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CaitSeith

Nice to hear you sound better Gav! The Podquisition isn’t the same without your low sexy voice. Past week your voice sounded so tired that it sounded like you were hosting an Extra Credits video.

Jeddostotle7
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Jeddostotle7

Think you commented on the wrong article, mate.

CaitSeith
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CaitSeith

You’re right, mate…

gasmaskangel
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gasmaskangel

I’m reminded of your and Conrad’s comments on the jokes in Postal, where you both basically said that if you’re going to make these jokes, then this is how you ought to do it. This whole situation feels similar to me. Is this a good thing to do? Not really, no, but if you’re going to put microtransactions in a 60$ game then this is how you do it without being a total shit.

Jack Trevor
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Jack Trevor

It helps soften the blow when you consider that buying those skins actually helps keep the lights on at Respawn considering how T2 has sold.

MJC
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MJC

How about a fund where for every $5 people donate, some dipshit suit at EA gets a kick in the genitals? The money goes to Respawn, so you can help keep their lights on while punishing the morons who sent Respawn’s game out to die against Battlefield and Call of Duty.

I’d rather buy that than a skin.

VinLAURiA
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VinLAURiA

Would you really consider this an “it could be worse” or rather “signs of improvement”? I get the slippery-slope argument when the publisher is thought to be *better* than this, but in this case it’s an act of restraint from a publisher who has precedent to be much worse. Shouldn’t we be rewarding at least *steps* in the right direction, even if it’s not completely out of the woods of scumbaggery yet? While it would be nice to see, you can’t *expect* to completely reform someone in one fell swoop.

TaraMayB
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TaraMayB
I would err on the side of “it could be worse” and not really an improvement because up until a few years ago….this is what a lot of small DLC was. Cheap skins or a new bit of armor here and there. They weren’t great but they weren’t truly awful like modern microtransactions are. The problem with viewing it as a sign of improvement is that rather than actually ‘improve’, all they did was go back to doing what they did before microtransactions. If I had to pick between the two I would take the old style in a heartbeat… Read more »
Liquid_Vegeta
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Liquid_Vegeta

Allow it Jim and give them their own special award, I think “This is how it’s fucking done” would be an apt title.

Let’s face it:

They don’t offer an advantage.

Cannot be unlocked in game.

Were made (or at least released) after the initial launch window.

This is acceptable DLC from a publisher known to take the royal piss, we should be shining a fucking spotlight on this.

gasmaskangel
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gasmaskangel

I love the idea of a “This is how its fucking done” award.

Jerome Handy
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Jerome Handy
As much as I want to give TF2 the benefit of the doubt here, I still gotta call this post-launch microtransactions. And NO, I don’t like doing it. What this basically boils down to, is the classic argument of the thief who feeds his family with what he takes. Yes, TF2 actually did microtransactions in a way that IS fairly palatable…..but they could have done more with just making them part of the next expansion or even a MONTHLY release of skins and augments that can’t be earned in game, purchased wholesale in one big gulp. I could even go… Read more »
Liquid_Vegeta
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Liquid_Vegeta
Couldn’t disagree more, this is a far cry from the nickel and dime tactics used in Evolve. It just sounds like you don’t like any kind of paid DLC, I’m not going to try and convince you otherwise, it’s a fairly reasonable outlook for the most part, but as far as i’m concerned, someone had to make the content, they need to get paid for it. Now I know many games give away this kind of thing for free and that’s great, but they’re obviously in a much more fortunate position and I don’t think that just because someone gives… Read more »
Jerome Handy
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Jerome Handy
Why would you say I don’t like ANY kind of paid DLC, when I specifically said in my post that a ROTATING BUNDLE of paid DLC would be more appealing and far less scummy? This ISN’T a far cry from the nickel and dime tactics. They’re just sidestepping the only excuse that developers originally had with this nonsense in a PREMIUM game: “Oh, but you don’t HAVE to buy the DLC. You can earn it all in game” is the only thing that’s been cut out of this conversation. That they’re charging you a flat rate(i.e. no monopoly money currency)… Read more »
MJC
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MJC
But… That’s not how it’s fucking done. At all. This entire business model of $60 up front and then finding some way to sell more stuff after is a stupid business model to begin with for games that constant costs to keep running. I’ll save my “this is how it’s fucking done” award for a game that finally does a business model that actually makes sense for a game that needs a constant flow of funds to pay for servers and such. $60 up front and then you’re done paying (except when they try to milk you, the greedy [♪SKELETON… Read more »
LangleyTerra
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LangleyTerra
I typically view it as anything with premium currency, gambling, boosters, or early unlocks is a microtransaction. The “micro” could just as easily be “many”, as these are purchases that you are typically asked to make repeatedly. DLC, on the other hand, is something that you buy from a storefront to expand the game (even if just cosmetically). It is only available from the store, so if you want it, you buy it and you’re done. At least, this is how I define it. To use an example from a fighting game, buying a new character is DLC. Buying skins… Read more »