This actually is an unpopular opinion among gamers. But here is where I am coming from on this perspective – games should only be more expensive if it stops microtransactions. Recent leaked info from EA has it that they are going to start pursuing more and more microtransactions. After the fiasco with Battlefront II, some people are speculating if Disney is going to pull the license from them. It took a literal phone call from Disney to get them to take the loot boxes (temporarily) out of the game. They will be coming back later, it’s almost a guarantee. Leaked audio from a former EA CEO showed that this is the path they want to follow. To Hell with the consumer, let’s make video games a money factory that can push their consumers until they squeeze every dime out of them.
I am never buying another EA game. That’s a fact. You vote with your wallet, and my wallet is saying that I will NOT give this company my capital when all their games are multiplayer games that can integrate microtransactions. Nope. Anyone who gives this company, or Ubisoft, or Capcom your money, this is the mentality that you’re endorsing. I won’t. I refuse. For the same reason that I am not spending $60 per episode of an episodic release of the Final Fantasy VII remake. Nope. If they won’t sell a game in a complete version and will make me pay a total of $180 to get the entire package, then I’m just not going to buy it. I’ll wait until a cheap complete version is out that I can get on Amazon.
So some of you may be wondering why I don’t have a problem with games costing more. All of what is happening right now is indicative of gaming having an issue – it’s too expensive to make games anymore. Clearly, the market is such that games are now so expensive to make that if there is not some massive influx of capital, the market crashes. Some people are saying that that’s fine. Part of me wants to agree. But I see another option. The whole deal with microtransactions evolved because the gaming industry has gotten so massive, budgets so bloated, and the hardware so expensive to make. Everything points to gaming just having gotten too big. Maybe it’s a sign that we need more AA games that have cheaper budgets, skimp on some of the bells and whistles, and can stand to not be major hits. That’s another thing.
But I think that we all need to accept that gaming is going to get more and more expensive as time goes on. Since that’s the case, for a AAA game, I think we need to accept that they need to get more expensive. If we don’t want microtransactions, which I most authoritatively don’t, then there needs to be something that gives to offset the cost. To me, that would be a hike on prices of AAA games. I honestly don’t mind spending an extra $10 or $20 if it means no more of this microtransaction bullshit. If DLC that isn’t major story expansions can be free.
Look, I get it that people aren’t made of money. I’m not either. I have to make hard choices about getting games. I only get a couple new games a year. If that. This year has been pretty quiet, so the only games that I got brand new were Horizon: Zero Dawn and Persona 5. Both of which were absolutely amazing and showed that AAA games can be single-player only without all the bullshit and still be massively successful. One of those games is going to be my game of the year. It’s been pretty cool. Next year looks to have a lot of major hits, and I am curious to see where it goes from there.
Modern gamers are people in their late-20’s to early-30’s. We have thin budgets and have to be frugal. I am not unsympathetic to this. But AAA gaming is getting more and more expensive. That’s a fact. If we are going to avoid all the microtransaction nonsense, then we have to find a way to offset that cost. Some gamers and game critics argue that the $60 price tag alone is enough. I know that’s not true. With the true cost of developing, marketing, and porting games to various platforms, at the end of the day the cost just keeps going up and up.
Now this isn’t a fool-proof solution. All of this microtransaction stuff also does reek of corporations seeing a new medium to exploit. There’s no arguing that. But where you all see anger, I see anger and decisions that have to be made, if gaming is to survive. There is a crash coming. It won’t be as bad as some people think. Gaming is too big for that to happen. But there will be a crash. If nothing else of at least the AAA market with companies who are hedging all of their bets on stuff like microtransactions. These companies all seem to think that they can bilk their consumers more and more of this sort of thing and it won’t have any consequences. The reality is that gamers are starting to have enough. EA just had what was supposed to be their high-end release of the winter blow up in their face. Their stocks took a major hit. It hurt them. Disney is now tightening their leash on them because their business and the Star Wars brand could potentially be damaged by their greed.
A lot of things need to happen, and I would love to have a discussion about whether or not the path I am on is the right one. However, if we can get companies like EA to stop with this nonsense by being willing to pay a little more for AAA games, I don’t think that is too dear a price to pay. And maybe this can have Square Enix not wanting to sell their most-anticipated remake ever as a stupid episodic game where each episode is sixty fucking dollars. That’s madness.
Until next time, a quote,
“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” – Edward Abbey