Turning Players Into Payers (The Jimquisition)

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Activision’s patented idea of utilizing matchmaking to trick players into buying DLC is an unsettling one, but if you think that’s as bad as it gets, you don’t know videogames.

Let’s talk about Scientific Revenue, the service that demonstrates exactly what games want from you – they want to turn players into payers… and they proudly admit it.

The predatory side of gaming has only just begun to show its fangs.

Benj
Member
Benj

Is “dynamic pricing” even legal?

If I were to sell sandwiches for double the price to someone because they were fat or if they had type 2 diabetes then that would definitely be illegal.

Se7en_Th1rt3en
Member
Se7en_Th1rt3en

See Jim, stuff like this is one of the reasons I am subscribed to you. I doubt I would learn of this awful shite from… lets say “old” games media. Machine learning to assess player liquidity and eagerness to buy additional stuff for adjusting pricing is kind of creepy (and sooooooo capitalism *hrhrhr*).

Mark my words: Not the military… oh no.
*making dramatic sounds*
Skynet will be built by a games publisher!
(Their robots will come to your home and endlessly besiege you with special appstore offers with the annoyance of early 00’s ringtone commercials)

Jamba Sparabo. Now I will have nightmares. Good night 🙂

GetGudOrDie
Member
GetGudOrDie

Jim, Wouldnt mind a “Does and Dont’s” video of Microtransactions,DLC,etc in video games. The ubisofts and EA and Warnerbrothers wont give half a f*ck but aspiring companies with genuine intent might find it interesting/useful. Id certainly like more of a sense when considering supporting a favoured developer. Perhaps even parody the whole thing with you talking to a burning bush followed by, reading from a list of commandments.

Gitaxian
Member
Gitaxian

The fundamental problem with both this and other forms of microtransactions are that they require the game to lie to you. Up until now, it’s been a “soft lie” – you still get a game for $60, but it’s not the same as the intended and promised experience which requires constantly playing for microtransactions. This is much more blatant: they charge you a different amount without telling you how much anyone else paid.

Kirk Hammer
Member
Kirk Hammer

I’d just like to add that I’m delighted to see that you’ve made “Fart Porn Specialist” its own dedicated tag now.

MuddyScarecrow
Member

If you really were as insignificant as that tub of pomade grease is treating you then he wouldn’t have even responded to you. Sure you may be Cassandra now. But I’m really hoping that thanks to those documented moments of you “calling it” more people are going to start listening to you. Not everybody obviously. But as Hopper from Bugs Life adequately put it: “When one of them stands up they ALL stand up.”

Akalabth
Member
Akalabth

Now what would be interesting to know is which companies are actively using them. Could be funny seeing the reviews/comment sections on the app stores devolve into thousands of one-stars and (rightfully) angry comments. As far as I’m concerned what you talked about in the video is pretty fucking nauseating in its own right but probably the most disgusting aspect is the whole “machine learning” bit. I mean, what exactly can they see? Do they read your text messages? Say you’re on “Clash of Clans” on Android and, since you haven’t cared to deactivate the permissions, it has access to… Read more »

Natalie
Member
Natalie

It really gets me when people like this CEO try to shift the blame onto customers who are fed up with this nonsense. Saying that if the industry collapses, it will be our fault for not buying the games anymore. Imagine an orange industry. A large part of this orange industry is dominated by a couple of big players. Now, let’s say that these big companies have started smearing fecal matter all over the oranges. We’re all gonna stop buying their oranges, right? And now you’ve got the defenders saying, “oh, it’s just cosmetic, oh, it’s only on the peel,… Read more »

Michael Prymula
Guest
Michael Prymula

Absolutely sickening, I only wish I had known about this before I gave my speech on microtransactions for my public speaking class.

Rifleavenger Sashiro
Member

“Machine learning” being used for purposes like this is how we get an AI that “optimizes” the planet for a maximal number of paper clips.

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Jim, please.. please dress up as Sans for Halloween!
I feel it’ll fit perfectly with your dry wit, and personality!

Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

JIm, you’re one of the loudest most renowned whistle blowers in the industry. Of course they are going to discredit and dehumanize you… but from all of us consumers out there who see things in a similar way as you, keep up the good fight good man! As I’ve said in previous posts, I have a friend who works in the industry and who goes out of their way to insult you regularly when I bring up an idea they do not agree with, or feel is exaggerate they claim I sound like you. Once again, you mentioned their company… Read more »

Riuny
Member
Riuny

I’ve heard some people say that what Jim said in this episode is all lie and completely based on blind assumption. I can clearly tell what Jim said is 100% true. I know this because, I’m one of those “fuckers” who works in game industry. I work as a game designer in certain mid-sized game company. You think that game designers should be working on how games would operate and how are we going to make this game better. But no. That is far from what I do in daily basis. Almost every single “game designer” in my company is… Read more »

Chris
Member

This. This is where the crash is going to come from. You already see “AAA” games emulating the mobile business model. Putting monetization in front of game design. Turning franchises into different genres or adding multiplayer or co-op because it makes micro transactions easier to sell. It’s why we can’t have a single player Star Wars game now, it needs to be a Destiny clone to have micro transactions. It’s why more and more publishers are going to start copying the worn out, tired, Ubisoft and Warner Bros open world sandbox model because wasting your time is a perfect way… Read more »

Greene Scott
Member
Greene Scott

Also also lastly from me and this is something I’ve asked elsewhere and not related to the article, would you count tamagotchis as video games or things like it like Digimon started out as and things inspired by those two things.

(I may or may not be trying the unsubtlely wonder if Jim would ever do Summer Wars, one of my fav feel good films or one of the Digimon movies on the Spin-Off Doctors… Yes I am kind of pathetic).

Greene Scott
Member
Greene Scott

Also one last thing from me, it was revealed that Dead Space 2 have a development budget of $60 million and sold 4 million copies but was considered a failure because it barely made it’s full budget back on copies sold alone because of the extra $60 million spent on the game’s marketing which was famously awful. My question, how much should marketing actually cost and what and what should be done to stop stuff like this from happening? Like briefly looking it up, did Call of Duty Modern Warefare 2 need a marketing budget ($200 million) 4 times bigger… Read more »

Deena
Member
Deena

RIP The Escapist. Much like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense, you were dead all along but we still kept seeing you around.

Greene Scott
Member
Greene Scott

Should I use this as an excuse to rag on Capcom for being sleazy as hell while quietly not getting much attention despite doing awful money grubbing things? Nah not worth it, I’ve think I’ve said all I can do here besides I could fully see Capcom using something like that scienticrevenue.

Holy crap this is shady as f***,

Terry-Osaurusus Hex XI
Member

Though I mostly agree with you on these points, I honestly believe this industry is too big to fail at this point and will just eventually become like the music industry; where publishers will splinter between either corporate sellout hacks utilising every shitty trick to prioritise money over art (and mostly succeeding because their market is oft aimed towards younger people who don’t know/care they’re being manipulated), or those publishers that actually give a damn about the medium as an art-form and seek to maintain their artistic integrity, with the downside of not being able to make all of the… Read more »

TemplarGR
Member
TemplarGR

I love the pinned comment in that video. It showcases how much shilling goes on in this industry. Whether the guy who made it is a shill, or just an ignorant consumer who has fallen for the propaganda, it makes no difference: Publishers strive to make the public believe that games are so expensive to produce that they absolutely need those microtransaction shenanigans or else they won’t be able to produce games. Which is bullshit of the highest order. Everyone even remotely near the gaming business knows that development costs aren’t nearly that much higher than 10 or 20 years… Read more »

Sperium3000
Member

I mean, there’s still mobile games who are exceptions to the trash rule. One Epic Knight and Steppy Pants are fine, as is Dead Ahead methinks. The fact they’re exceptions is horrible, but eh…

Greene Scott
Member
Greene Scott

Why did I have Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl in my head when watching this episode?

Anton
Member
Anton

Is $5.65 the new tree-fiddy?

R.M.Renfield
Member
R.M.Renfield

Great episode, Jim. The greatest weapon we have is awareness. Last week people were sceptical about my claims Star Citizen was using techniques that equal microtransactions for being ethically questionable. People were sceptical, dismissive. This week Star Citizen made a new ship available for sale, which means they have a new picture of a ship for sale. The ship doesn’t exist and neither does the game. Here’s its features: It costs $850. Yes, $850. You can’t pay for it with “war bonds” – Star Citizen’s version of store credit, only new cash is accepted. There are a limited number of… Read more »

Lythene
Member
Lythene

There are a few lesser affected niches out there but I daresay not for long. It’s infuriating for me to see this happen just from the sidelines – I can’t imagine how pissed off I’ll be once it starts permeating the stuff I tend to play. I think in the future I’ll almost be glad I’ve accrued such a back-log, since games worth playing will be so few and far between.