In episode 51 of the AOTF Podcast we talked briefly about the microtransactions in NBA 2K18 and how they’d grown so intrusive that they detracted from the overall enjoyment of the game. Now, for AOTF Podcast #52 we’re diving into the topic which has become a firestorm in the gaming industry. NBA 2K18 was just the start, and now we have more games riddled with microtransactions and loot boxes releasing around the same time. Do Forza Motorsport 7 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War deserve the same hate, and could they spark the end of microtransactions as we know them?
It’s an odd thing to say right now as we see microtransactions only getting bigger and more significant in the games we play, but this could be the beginning of the end if this trend gets worse. Players are already enraged at how microtransactions and loot boxes have invaded almost every aspect of the gaming experience, including single player campaigns like Shadow of War.
It’s one thing if developers want to toss some fun cosmetic items into these boxes and use the funds generated to support the studio and game. That’s not what we’re seeing lately though, with Will pointing out that Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is essentially pay-to-win in its current state. Getting a huge advantage over your online opponents, especially one that they can’t possibly know you have, throws the entire game’s balance out of whack.
Looking at it from the other side, you can also see what is driving so many companies to include these things in their games. The money is huge, and until gamers, especially the casual crowd, stop spending so much money on these things, they’ll keep spreading. But all of this attention is only getting more intense, and it could reach the level where it gets shut down.