Saturday, January 06, 2007

microtransaction model/strategy = the future of techie/gamer hell?

recently, we as consumers are starting to see a shift in marketing/business strategy in the gaming world and technology world. we are seeing a shift of selling a complete product to the idea of selling a core product which you can purchase smaller upgrades/add-ons for (for an additional amount of course).

some examples of these microtransactions would be buying extra clothes/weapons for a XBOX360 or PS3 or PC game, purchasing of cars and tracks, different levels and even the gaming systems themselves, excluding the Wii since there is only one version available.

we also are seeing the inclusion of ads into games, from bilboard signs in racing games to graffiti ads in a fps game. a trend that until recently hadn't been tried or implemented.

to me, this sucks. most of us are getting nickeled and dimed all the time each day, the last thing we want is to have the same thing happen to us when we are trying to get away from it all and relax w/our games. the ad thing doesn't bother me too much since they do need revenue and if its not too intrusive its more realistic in a sense.

however the microtransaction strategy is just annoying. why can't the original game have all of the cars and upgrades? yes, i understand that being able to add more cars (newer ones) or the latest rosters is a justified sell. i guess its hard for me to think about paying extra to get the white lamborghini countach vs unlocking it via a challenge (anyone remember how great Gran Turismo was on the ps1?). to me it seems like it lets developers get off easy on an unfinished product while us consumers/gamers pay the same price and then some for all of the cool add-ons.  pricing and the quality of the content will ultimately determine my final thoughts but i'm still very leery of the idea. hopefully the quality of the core game isn't limited and requiring the add-ons to be a great game.

i guess we'll see how this all pans out as time goes on. 2007 will the be the year of the micro-transaction i fear. however, if it succeeds or fails is us up to us.

don't forget that we are paying their paychecks and without us consumers there would be no industry.
just my $0.02