Ubisoft sugarcoating Trials loot boxes

In a recent post in the Steam community forums Ubisoft responds to the community backlash regarding loot boxes in Trials Rising which is released on February 12th in 2019.

Ubi_Warlock responds:

As has been pointed out, these loot crates are purely cosmetic. I do appreciate why players feel the way they do about them (not a huge fan myself), however, as it was also pointed out, you can always just not buy them.

Ultimately, they’re intended for players who want something to help them stand out from the crowd when playing online, or even just those who are big fans of the game and want to support us further.

I get the feeling game companies have understood how gamers feel about the pay to win model, with the Star Wars Battlefront II debacle being the prime example, as it really back fired on EA last year. But they haven’t just yet understood how gamers feel about cosmetic items locked behind pay walls. Ever so often the best looking cosmetic pieces are behind these walls, being unobtainable if you don’t suddenly get the urge to be ripped off to acquire the item.

Yes, it means that some players end up spending more on our games than others and that does result in increased profits for us. It also helps us to put more money into new titles and to understand what players look for in their games. If players simply didn’t buy these crates, they would not be added into games in future.

In essence, loot crates are gambling, and they are advertised and sold to anyone, even preying on consumers under the age of 18. Saying that the loot crates help you understand what players look for in their games is a very strange statement, because we are pretty clear about how we feel about loot crates. We don’t want them in our games.

All in all, loot crates / cosmetic items in general have been a huge boon for the Gaming Industry, being a driving factor in the increased popularity of Gaming over the past decade or so.

Wow. Loot crates and cosmetic items have been fantastic for Game corporation revenue, nothing else, squeezing as much money as possible out of sometimes all to young consumers. Claiming that loot crates and cosmetic have been “a driving factor in the increased popularity of Gaming” is a bizarre statement with no backing evidence what so ever. If anything, it is slowly suffocating the art of creating new, unique and rewarding games.

They aren’t a bad thing if done right.

Your feedback on the topic is still very much appreciated as this is a hotly debated topic. I do hope you consider the impact it would actually have on your enjoyment of the game though.

The thing is, loot boxes can never be done right. They feed on the essence of what makes a good game. The sooner the game industry understand how gamers feel about this, the sooner we will all be playing better games which are rewarding real game play progression.

The Fallout 76 Atomic Shop

When Bethesda announced that their new Fallout game was going to feature both a multiplayer mode and microtransactions, it of course made gamers wary. The news of a multiplayer mode were of course good news, but in what way and form were they going to implement microtransactions?

Pete Hines, the vice president of Bethesda Softworks recently stated:

If you don’t want to spend money in the Atomic shop for cosmetic stuff you don’t have to. We give you a shitload of Atoms just for playing the game. Folks that want to spend money on whatever the hell it is because they don’t have enough Atoms, they can, but it’s not, I’m now better playing against other players because I spent money. It’s not pay-to-win. And it’s not loot crates.

The most straightforward way to earn atoms in the game is to complete either the daily or the weekly challenges, which will net you around 50-60 atoms for completing all of the daily ones, or around 140-150 atoms for completing all of the weekly challenges

If you aren’t happy with the rate of earning atoms, you can of course pay for them instead. Adding 500 atoms will cost you $5, $10 buys you 1,100 atoms, $20 buys you 2,400 atoms, and $40 grants you 50,000 atoms. The exchange rate is basically $1 per 100 atoms, with a small discount for the more you spend.

The in game shop, the Atomic Shop is where you spend your atoms. So what does the Atomic Shop have to offer? Like Pete Hines mentioned, so far, there are no kind of loot boxes available in the shop at all. You know how much you pay, and what you get before hand.

The shop itself is divided into apparel, skins, camp equipment, emotes and styles to mention a few. The vault 76 cap is 500 atoms, $5, and if you want a water purifier for you base, it will set you back 300 atoms or $3. You will have to make up your mind if you think it’s worth spending $5 for a virtual cap yourself.

One of the more refreshing business practices regarding the microtransactions in Fallout 76 is that Bethesda will be using the revenue to fund the future development of downloaded content for the game. Yes, you heard it right. Future DLC for Fallout 76 will be free. Pete Hines:

All the content we ever put out for Fallout 76, all the DLC, all the post-launch stuff, is going to be free. That’s important. And to say, the Atomic Shop is cosmetic stuff. To make sure folks understand. Look, there’s a line. There are people who have crossed it, but we’re going to stay on the right side of it in terms of the things you can spend money on and how this stuff works and what you’re getting for your $60. That you know, when they put out new content or features or whatever, I’m getting that stuff for free. That feels right.

This is a welcomed step in the right direction and it will probably make gamers feel less milked of cash, if they feel that the money they spend is actually going to mean more content in the future.

Black Ops 4 adds microtransactions

When Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was released none of the reviewers mentioned anything about microtransactions. The reason for that is because there weren’t any in the game at that point. As players started progressing through the game tiers, many people noticed it was slightly grindy. Three weeks after the game release, as many players already have purchased the game and have invested a lot of time into it, Activision Blizzard silently adds microtransactions to the game.

If you want to own that tier 200 weapon variant you better come with cash in hand, $200 to be precise, or grind 250+ in game hours. To top it off there is a time limit, making it an impossible feat for most people. £1.79/$2 will buy you 200 points, £8.49/$9.99 1100 points, £16.79/$19.99 2.400 points, £34.99/$39.99 5000 points and £84.99/$99.99 will buy you 13.000 points. The points can then be spent on a simple outfit, basically a set of in game clothes, for 800 points, or 200 points to advance through one of level tiers.

Call of Duty fans are naturally upset about the direction Activision Blizzard are moving the game, and at this point you wonder exactly what is going to tip the scale to the point when the gaming community has had enough. It seems like all of the AAA publishers are all moving along the same path of microtransactions, but have learned from their earlier mistakes, and now are trying to sneak them into their games. I wish them all the luck in world.

Diablo Immortal and microtransactions

Activision Blizzard announced Diablo Immortal at Blizzcon 2018 to an, let’s put it mildly, unenthusiastic crowd which expected something completely different. For those of you who don’t know what Diablo Immortal is, it’s a mobile device Diablo game confirmed to only going to be released on the Android and iOS platforms. A statement that stunned  the Diablo fans at Blizzcon, leading to a member of the audience asking if the announcement was “an out of season April fools joke?“. It was also confirmed that the game would not carry an M for Mature content rating. Yes, you heard right. A Diablo game without a Mature rating…

So why does Activision Blizzard move down this route with a game that is seemingly not going to be very playable on a small handheld device using a touch screen? Although nothing has been confirmed in terms of microtransactions as of yet, speculation among fans are that this is the exact the reason why.

The game is likely to be free to play, couple that with the fact that it wont carry a Mature rating to achieve a greater market penetration. Excellent news for investors who want to riddle the product with in game purchases. Nothing is however yet confirmed and we will report further on this topic as everything unfolds.

Will microtransactions save Destiny 2?

Destiny 2 and its expansions has failed to meet Activision Blizzard’s sales estimates and the company is now scrambling to please its investors. Activision Blizzard recently made the base game free to claim in the battle.net-app for PC players until November 18th, in an attempt to try and boost the player base and potential expansion pack sales. But is that all?

According to Kotaku:

“…the publisher said today on an earnings call, promising investors a faster content model and new forms of monetization for the game.

While this may sound good on paper for the investors, how will gamers react to such news?

Destiny 2 just added its third expansion Forsaken this September, an expansion which has received positive reviews from journalists and somewhat positive reviews from gamers. Destiny fans feel Forsaken is a step in the right direction, in which direction will the next step be?