I have been gaming for over 25 years, and even now, with my own family, I would consider myself a hardcore gamer. Whilst i am extremely excited about the technological advancements we have seen in this time, I have to admit I have lost a little faith in this seemingly greed-driven industry.
You cannot ignore that gaming has now become one of the biggest, if not the biggest industry in entertainment. Billboards that once advertised the latest Hollywood blockbuster, now display the next Far Cry release date, or The Legend of Zelda™: Breath of the Wild teasers. I do recall the the days when gaming was less of an attraction. Rather a passionate hobby as opposed to the ‘cool’ thing to do.
In those days, let’s see now, I am picturing 1980s – 2000s, when you purchased a game, you purchased it in its entirety; the complete game and all of its features unlocked and available to the very end. Mind you, there was little internet back then and these games were purchased on strange devices we knew as floppy disks.
Skip to present day and it is difficult to recognize the industry it has become.
Triple A games you pay full price for offering micro-transactions for extra equipment or in-game currency so you can buy your way to the end. Worse yet, you are prompted to purchase cosmetic items that SHOULD have been INCLUDED in the ORIGINAL PRICE!!! I am a fan of many big games and have lately sunk a great many hours into Assassin’s Creed: Origins.
It is an amazing game, sure, beautiful, expansive, heaps to do; yet I am baffled by the amount of options that are made available to spend more money than the original $60+ that it was sold for. Ludicrous. Disgusting. I make it a point to always avoid these micro-transactions. I feel it is important not to support this growing, money-grabbing mechanic. Yet unfortunately it seems to be proliferating as more and more gamers are getting sucked into it.
I understand this can be particularly tempting when playing multiplayer games. When the goal is to advance on the leader-boards, or to be the best out of all of your mates. But if you need to pay real money to get there faster, where is the sense of accomplishment? This again is the developer feeding off the competitiveness and vulnerabilities of their players.
Now don’t get me wrong; not all developers want to squeeze every hard-earned penny out of their gamers. A recent game that I paid once for and offered no further in-game temptations is the Witcher 3. A game so huge and packed with quests and achievements, that even after 100 hours I am not even half way through. I have also purchased their expansions that offer more additional hours than some other Triple A titles put together. The developer, CD Projekt RED, is one I will always support as they clearly have the hearts of their gamers in mind, as well as their own. Not driven by greed but by a passion of how the gaming industry once was and should continue to be.
This bring me to mobile gaming. This is where the true farce really festers. I am not just talking about the big developers here either. I get that developing a game takes time; especially for a small indie developer, where there is an element of risk involved. But to then make a game available for free and proceed to charge an overwhelming amount for in-game currency is just ludicrous, and I struggle to see how:
- this developer has any connection to their gamers and
- they have any respect for themselves.
I have never been a fan of games that are free to download. This reeks of one thing only. Plenty of in-app purchases. What most people continue to ignore is that a free game often means you can spend more on this tiny app than on a full scale PC or console game. I am so sick of seeing in-app purchases offering a limited amount of in-app currency for $99 to over $150! Who in their right mind could ever justify this, let alone have the nerve to offer it in their game? I make a point of deleting these games instantly as I do not wish to support this gluttony.
As a result of this changing industry, Rotate Gears has made the tough decision to offer our App and any future games for free. It seems the only way to really break into the market, especially as a new developer. Our games will be playable to the end at a small cost to either; 1. remove ads, or 2. offer extremely fair in-app purchase packages to appeal to some players and completionists. We do need some remuneration for the hard work we have done, as indeed do all developers. I am certainly a fan of many fair iOS games that I have been happy to sink $10-15 into.
In my opinion (and that is all this is), $15 should be enough to unlock every feature, or provide an almost limitless amount of in-game currency; especially for a mobile game (because c’mon, they are still far behind the abilites and scope of PC or console titles). I will always be a gamer, no doubt about it. I would love to see this industry I have followed and supported for so many years take a huge step back from the greed that epitomizes it now; but unfortunately I can only see it getting worse.