Having microtransactions in full price video games is bad enough. What’s even worse is adding them in post-launch, which is the case with PopCap Games and their Microsoft-exclusive Plants vs. Zombie: Garden Warfare title. According to a blog on the EA website, in addition to new information about upcoming free DLC (the good news) there is information provided about the inclusion of microtransactions into the game (the bad news).
Starting next week, players will be given the option to purchase coins from the Sticker Shop, which allows players the ability to access new packs and character content more quickly – all the same content that can be earned through regular gameplay. Now you have the choice to play your way; you can play to get new packs and content via earned coins in the game, or you can purchase coins to get more of the packs and content you want right away.
Microtransactions in a free-to-play games make sense. It’s difficult to create a game experience on mobile platforms and in the realm of MMO games, charge a significant amount of money for participants to pay in order to make a profit and be popular enough to succeed. It becomes less egregious when the paid content doesn’t fuel a win status, either. What doesn’t make sense is a retail game (going for $39.99 at the time of this post) providing stat and equipment boosts for paid money, creating a pay-to-win state. There are even rare and super-rare characters held behind packs, and due to the randomization of what’s in a pack it further breeds the desire to spend until you’re content.
It would be less offensive if this were to be announced at launch, as players of the game would know what they’re getting into. Now players who are opposed to microtransactions in their games are stuck with having purchased the game and directly supporting something they do not agree with.
If this is the sacrifice made for providing unpaid downloadable content, then it’s a clever way of doing so. It allows EA to look charitable by providing something other companies charge for, while profiting off of the slippery economics of the free-to-play whale, and, at the same time, charging an entry-level $40 at the store. It’s a win-win-win for them, if sales of the game stay within expectations.
You can check out Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare now on Xbox One and Xbox 360, with the PC release coming June 24th.
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