• Jim Sterling

The Bullshit Roundup: September 16, 2016


The Bullshit Roundup hasn’t happened in a while, but that doesn’t mean the bullshit’s stopped. This is the game industry – there’s feces in every corner!


This week, we’ve got microtransactions, season passes and pre-order culture – the Holy Trinity of videogame bullshit.


Let’s dig in!


Rocket League adds microtransactions


Excellent carsports game and 2015 Jimquisition Award winner Rocket League has succumbed to the insidious allure of fee-to-pay, adding microtransactions to its wheeled soccer experience.


This dripfeed DLC comes in the form of crates, because if there’s one thing videogames need more of, it’s crates with bits of digital tat in them.


The arrival of microtransactions has been known for a while, and only recently manifested themselves in the game. Although the presence of microtransactions in any game with an upfront purchase price is bollocks, I’m willing to concede that Rocket League is a fairly mild perpetrator, if only by the rubbish standards of the wider industry.


For a start, the game costs $19.99, which is obviously a far cry from the sixty buck fee-to-pay games peddled by your EAs and Ubisofts out there. As an added softener, Psyonix offers an option to turn notifications off for the microtransaction content, meaning you can stem the flow of harassment that usually accompanies “free-to-play” elements.


With that in mind, I’m not prepared to go full-bore outrage in this situation.


However, it’s still sad to see another terrific game feed into the nickel-and-dime circus and further normalize what should remain an abnormal blight on the market.


What’s more, the nature of the microtransactions themselves eerily mirror the ones that controversially appears in Payday 2 before their joyously received removal. As with Payday 2, the crates will be given freely to players as they complete matches but they’ll remain locked until keys are purchased with real money.


It’s the kind of scheme I really, really loathe – tacky psychological manipulation designed to “give” you mysterious items and let human curiosity do the rest.


People have asked what I intend to do regarding the game’s Jimquisition Award, due to my standing policy of not considering fee-to-pay games for GOTY contendership.


Ultimately, there’s not a lot to be done – it’s not as if the JQ Awards are particularly prestigious so I doubt Psyonix would give a shit almost a year later. Plus, it’s not like the game had microtransactions at the time, so the award was most certainly legitimate when it was given out.


Rocket League retains its status as a 2015 game of the year… but not without a little asterisk next to its name.


Gears of War 4 gets a season pass that reveals massive DLC plans


Now that customers have grown fairly accustomed to the existence of season passes, it seems publishers are less and less bothered about making them worth a shit. They seem to get more expensive and less interesting, since companies have worked out enough people will buy them on pure faith.


Quite how anybody trusts the “AAA” game market to deliver on vaguely established promises these days is anyone’s guess, but there you are.


With that said, Gears of War 4 is the latest to sell the idea of downloadable content for almost as much as the base game’s MSRP. You know, because putting microtransactions in the fucking thing wasn’t enough.


$50 will net you six “gear packs”, and OH how videogames have made me come to despise the word “pack.” In addition, you’ll access the VIP Vintage Pack with a character skin, weapon skins, emblem, and XP-boost, as well as early access to future game modes and maps.


There is one thing that might make the offer tempting, however – the season pass also guarantees access to 24 maps planned to release over the year following Gears 4‘s launch. Apparently there will be at least two maps released a month, which adds up to what I view as an exorbitant amount of “additional” content.


So far, Gears of War 4 will be selling a $249.99 collector’s edition, a $50 season pass, microtransactions and twelve months of DLC.


I need you folks to level with me here… am I the unreasonable one for looking at that and thinking, “Wow… is there such a thing as enough fucking money for you people?”

Seriously, am I the asshole here?


The sheer saturation of “content” on offer strikes me as simply preposterous, but then, I guess that’s the problem when you view games as an artistic medium and not a gigantic cow with udders full of fucking money.


Resident Evil VII promises no microtransactions and we’re grateful for it


Resident Evil VII‘s official Twitter promised there’d be no microtransactions when the game releases, and there was much rejoicing.

You’ll also notice we have our obligatory pre-order DLC garbage announced alongside the happy news, too.


Capcom’s plan to marry its pre-order bonus reveal to the eschewing of microtransactions has certainly worked, as many are too busy celebrating the latter situation to take a look at the former. Most of the responses to the tweet in question are quite happy indeed about the lack of fee-to-pay horsesperm with nary a mention of the other stuff.


Anyway, yeah, it’s good news that Resident Evil VII won’t feature the same nickel-and-diming that preyed upon customers of some other recent Resi games, but can we take a moment to reflect upon how fucking sad it is that such an “announcement” has become headline news?


That we’re celebrating Capcom for essentially doing nothing is really fucking miserable, and a damning statement on just how overwhelming the fee-to-pay invasion of videogames has become. We’re now starting to head into a future where the lack of microtransactions in premium games becomes the laudable exception rather than the rule, and it’s just plain sad.


All that aside, I’m crossing my fingers for Resident Evil VII, and I’ll definitely take a confirmation of zero MTs over what Capcom did with Revelations 2. I’m digging the Texas Chainsaw vibe, and I like that this game seems to have an actual focus as opposed to the kitchen sink gibberish that was Resident Evil 6.


Plus the whole “murder family” thing puts the “Resident” back into Resident Evil. I like that quite a bit.


Long story short – fuck microtransactions in premium games. That’s certainly the moral of today’s tale.