Friday, January 30, 2015

Pay To Play: Worth The Investment?



Downloadable Content: Is it necessary?

Pay to Play? What does this mean? In most cases, gamers initially purchase games at fairly low prices considering the content that is in the original versions of games, but then as time goes on packages will be offered by game development companies for the gamers to add on to their initial gaming experiences. We are in a day and age now in gaming where different avenues of technology are utilized and of course game companies are going to take advantage of these avenues. However, recent experiences with this method of "Pay to Play" have made gamers a bit sour for the most part, leading one to wonder whether or not this method is sustainable over a long period of time.

Downloadable content initially served the purpose of properly adding on to the original build of the video game that you bought, but there was a catch. You had to pay a little extra in order to obtain this new content. Perhaps the origins of this payment method were innocent, but as time has gone on, it has become obvious that this method is now a fractured way to entice gaming audiences to invest in a single game. Some gaming companies in particular go so far as to charge gamers for the most trivial parts of gaming content, and it's not to the point where most of us gamers should question why DLC packages really exist now.

In an unfortunate twist to this story, it appears that DLC packages have done more harm to the Replayability Factor of some games than good. Unless a gamer has enough money and resources to purchase the extra content that is needed, that gamer will most likely lose interest in playing a given game in general knowing that he or she only has a few limited times to play said game. The general gameplay experience of said game slows to a halt and soon comes across as boring and too niche for that gamer, so that gamer simply moves on to something else.

The sad truth to tactics such as DLC packages and Pay to Play programs is that some of these game developing companies see these things as parts of their own oil fields, so to speak. They can't have enough of this oil. You will know just how greedy a game developing company is when they obsessively keep charging you here and there for separate packages that didn't come with the original game that you bought. These companies will spin these situations around to make it sound like you, the gamer, are actually benefiting from emptying your wallet for features that could have easily been implemented right from the start.

Mobile games are most likely hit the hardest with such tactics. Since mobile games are free-roaming and more independent compared to console games they are more susceptible to offering gamers DLC packages or Pay to Play programs to entice them with features that they really want to use. The problem? Why weren't these enticing features available for the original game? Why did there have to be a wait to implement these new features? Why do these kinds of tactics need to be implemented to slow down or even stop the fun that the gamers were originally having? There is something not fundamentally right about this.

I have previously discussed the dangers of intellectual dishonesty, and this is yet another glowing example of what happens when intellectual dishonesty is taken too far. If a game developing company already has something in place to be implemented in the original game, then that company should put that feature in the original game without hesitation rather than wait a few months and then present that feature as a DLC package or a micro-transaction. Gamers may get overly passionate about certain things but they are educated on business practicality, and there's no practicality with the obsessive reliance on DLC and Pay to Play just to get by economically.


This picture is one way to look at the DLC controversies.

Below are quotes from other gamers who had their own thoughts on the matter of a recent Need For Speed game charging players to pay for gas refills of their vehicles. Something that can be so trivial as to having a virtual vehicle needing a refill of gas can be made into a Pay to Play situation, and this is just one part of the heart of this entire mess. Check out the quotes below.

Soldierone 
THIS is why mobile games can never be taken seriously. Just like social games, people will get fed up with it and leave. Why is it so hard to find decent mobile games that don't pull this card? "Oh you actually wanted to play the game? Well you have to pay by the hour....." Heck some of the options for these are absurd too. Their sim city one has options like $100 and it didn't even give you enough items to play for an hour......Yet here I am more than willing to pay 30-40 dollars just to play a standard SimCity, but I'm not paying for that pay to play [nonsense]. 

Think about it.
I HATE the freemium model. I prefer to buy a game and then play a balanced game instead of a free game which then just begs me for money. That is annoying. 

Michael 
No other industry treats its customers so poorly as the video game industry. People who have been playing games a long time can see so many terrible trends that didnt exist before. Its getting seriously out of hand and will continue to as long as idiots keep paying their (parents) money for [nonsense] that developers and distributors put out. I'll just touch on a couple trends that bother me.

1) Freemium [Nonsense] - This stuff is designed for LOW IQ people, I don't know why anyone with the intelligence to hold down a job would pay it.

(Steven: ^ I wouldn't support this kind of response.)

2) Additional content (DLC) - Back before DLC was a recognized term, the majority of high level game studios would release FREE additional content from time to time. That's right.... FREE. The new content consisted of much of the same thing DLC's provide now. New characters, weapons, equipment, etc. On top of that, most games had mod tools that allowed people like you and I to create and share new content with other players. The result was tons of extra content, not costing the consumer a single dime.

3) Pre-purchasing / Beta access - This is just the WORST trend to ever hit gaming and I hope it dies a painful death. When you pre-purchase a game you remove the one thing that keeps the developer motivated to make an excellent product in good time. Incentive. Incentive drives people to make things better and quicker. When the developer already has your money, he has nothing to gain from pushing out the product as described and on time. This is yet another way for game makers to dodge the dreaded game review process, which around 90% of the time, decrease the sales potential of a game. And that brings me to an even worse variation of this, which is paid alpha/beta access. You buy a game, possibly at a slight discount, to receive access to the alpha or beta version of said game. Not only have you given the developer your money upfront and removed the incentive for them to do a good job, you're now PAYING THEM to help test out and improve their product. You see the irony here? 10 years ago, if you said "paid alpha/beta access" you'd be laughed out of whatever room you were in. Same goes for a handful of other trends that are now commonplace in this age of anti-logic.

Chelle Anderson 
EA is just a bad company that tries very hard to milk their customers and then mock them when they say something to them in a negative review. EA is the worst gaming company ever. I stopped buying from them for their give me, give me more and more with each game they come out with. Then their treatment of customers is awful and rude. Had a post deleted telling them in a nice way that they should stop treating their customers like poop. This was after their CEO and devs openly mocked their customer base.

Example of bad customer service (even worse than their out look on their customers):

Fiancé came home one night and found his account had been hacked somewhat. A game was purchased he did not purchase (not even his style of game and we don't live in Spain)..So he went into live chat, which he waited hours, only to get someone that didn't speak enough English or read it to understand what was going on.

One day gamers will catch on to EA....One day!

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