Apologies in advance to my non-gaming readers. I need to rant for a moment. If you check back in a day or so, I’ll say something more constructive and less nerd-ly.
The gaming world has been buzzing for several days now about microtransactions, a concept that will be introduced with the next iteration of the XBox, presumably before Christmas of this year. The idea behind this concept is that – for a small price – players can purchase various items for use in the game that will enhance the game experience. Thus, in sports games, new bats, uniforms, and golf clubs will be available. Likewise, in action games and RPGs, new weapons, spells, and characters and/or character abilities can be purchased.
What has surprised me about all of this news is the lack of skepticism that is being expressed (or at least, published) about this concept. Call me overly cynical, but I am suspicious that the end result of the availability of microtransactions will be this: stripped-down games that require the player to pay ADDITIONAL money to get full content. Thus, instead of paying $50 for game and content (as is currently the case), a typical player will pay $50 for a bare-bones game and between $10 and $20 more for the content that he/she really wants. Publishers of products like The Sims and racing games (which thrive on a variety of cars and couses) will have a hey-day, repeatedly charging users for new, updated content.
Someone please tell me that I’m wrong.