Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")

Anything to do with games at all.
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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by OrangeRKN » Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:45 pm

The worst of it is pretty much all concentrated in competitive multiplayer games. If those are the kinds of game you like to play you'll be much more affected by lootboxes and their ilk than if you're into singleplayer titles.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Hime » Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:46 pm

Everything Tomous said really. You'd do well to name games with 'must play' DLC this gen, let alone ones that removed part of the story.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by JT986M2 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 1:20 pm

Again, I was purely approaching this from the position of putting forward my own reasons why it put me off gaming for a time, and that is why. I was trying to use the example to illustrate my reasoning and to show why the issue of DLC and additional content could be seen as controversial in another media-based industry. Not everyone is going to see it in the same way, but that is how I see it.

You could make the comparison that DLC is similar to extra features on a DVD or Blu-Ray, sure. However, in my mind it is more similar to a director's cut, where there was content held back (but in the film's case, it was likely due to studio pressure) that was originally intented to be present at release. I know not all DLC falls into that category, and some definitely does, and it was that early exposure in that 7th gen of consoles that put me off.

It's where the stuff was ready in time for release (rather than developed afterwards) but they held it back for further profit that really really gets my goat.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Hime » Fri Jul 03, 2020 1:47 pm

JT986M2 wrote:Again, I was purely approaching this from the position of putting forward my own reasons why it put me off gaming for a time, and that is why. I was trying to use the example to illustrate my reasoning and to show why the issue of DLC and additional content could be seen as controversial in another media-based industry. Not everyone is going to see it in the same way, but that is how I see it.

You could make the comparison that DLC is similar to extra features on a DVD or Blu-Ray, sure. However, in my mind it is more similar to a director's cut, where there was content held back (but in the film's case, it was likely due to studio pressure) that was originally intented to be present at release. I know not all DLC falls into that category, and some definitely does, and it was that early exposure in that 7th gen of consoles that put me off.

It's where the stuff was ready in time for release (rather than developed afterwards) but they held it back for further profit that really really gets my goat.

Which games do you think that applies to?

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by JT986M2 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:50 pm

Hime wrote:
JT986M2 wrote:Again, I was purely approaching this from the position of putting forward my own reasons why it put me off gaming for a time, and that is why. I was trying to use the example to illustrate my reasoning and to show why the issue of DLC and additional content could be seen as controversial in another media-based industry. Not everyone is going to see it in the same way, but that is how I see it.

You could make the comparison that DLC is similar to extra features on a DVD or Blu-Ray, sure. However, in my mind it is more similar to a director's cut, where there was content held back (but in the film's case, it was likely due to studio pressure) that was originally intented to be present at release. I know not all DLC falls into that category, and some definitely does, and it was that early exposure in that 7th gen of consoles that put me off.

It's where the stuff was ready in time for release (rather than developed afterwards) but they held it back for further profit that really really gets my goat.


Which games do you think that applies to?


We also have the "game is not going be finished by the deadline, cut some of it, and we'll finish it later and make a bit more cash" line of reasoning in game project management. Which I admit is a very pessimistic way of looking at any sort of software development, but if there is money to be made, then you can guarantee it happens.

Like I said, I am not saying all DLC is evil and studios who make it should be crucified. In fact there are probably some great ones. However, early experiences 10+ years shaped my thinking. It could have got better in the years since, but given that DLC is responsible for a good chunk of a games overall profits these days, I'd be sceptical.

The big ones I remember off the top of my head were:

Tomb Raider: Underworld (levels ripped to be used as exclusive DLC)
Assassins Creed II (cut levels to be monetised later)
Street Fighter x Tekken (DLC content on original release disc)
Total War: Warhammer (Day 1 DLC army downloads)

Again, just my opinion. I'm not trying to convert anyone. I was originally asked why it turned me off gaming for a while, and I responded.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Hime » Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:58 pm

JT986M2 wrote:
Hime wrote:
JT986M2 wrote:Again, I was purely approaching this from the position of putting forward my own reasons why it put me off gaming for a time, and that is why. I was trying to use the example to illustrate my reasoning and to show why the issue of DLC and additional content could be seen as controversial in another media-based industry. Not everyone is going to see it in the same way, but that is how I see it.

You could make the comparison that DLC is similar to extra features on a DVD or Blu-Ray, sure. However, in my mind it is more similar to a director's cut, where there was content held back (but in the film's case, it was likely due to studio pressure) that was originally intented to be present at release. I know not all DLC falls into that category, and some definitely does, and it was that early exposure in that 7th gen of consoles that put me off.

It's where the stuff was ready in time for release (rather than developed afterwards) but they held it back for further profit that really really gets my goat.


Which games do you think that applies to?


We also have the "game is not going be finished by the deadline, cut some of it, and we'll finish it later and make a bit more cash" line of reasoning in game project management. Which I admit is a very pessimistic way of looking at any sort of software development, but if there is money to be made, then you can guarantee it happens.

Like I said, I am not saying all DLC is evil and studios who make it should be crucified. In fact there are probably some great ones. However, early experiences 10+ years shaped my thinking. It could have got better in the years since, but given that DLC is responsible for a good chunk of a games overall profits these days, I'd be sceptical.

The big ones I remember off the top of my head were:

Tomb Raider: Underworld (levels ripped to be used as exclusive DLC)
Assassins Creed II (cut levels to be monetised later)
Street Fighter x Tekken (DLC content on original release disc)
Total War: Warhammer (Day 1 DLC army downloads)

Again, just my opinion. I'm not trying to convert anyone. I was originally asked why it turned me off gaming for a while, and I responded.

I'm just having a discussion mate, I asked because I'm curious if your thinking not too have a go. That's a pretty sparse list of games, no?

What I'd add to the discussion is games are the same price or cheaper than they were 20-30 years ago. Also, why not try a subscription service if you feel that way?

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by OrangeRKN » Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:59 pm

Can't remember which but either Deus Ex Human Revolution or Mankind Divided has a pretty obvious missing level, that was pretty bad.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Tomous » Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:04 pm

The Assassin's Creed II DLC was dull and tacked on extra content, cutting it from the base game was a good thing.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Trelliz » Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:20 am

Hime wrote:
Trelliz wrote:
Hime wrote:I think you need to take a break from gaming mate, you seem to hate everything to do with paying money for them.


Way ahead of you, but on a semi-permanent basis. I've been selling my semi-valuable retro collection which I've never played, deleting loads of stuff from my steam account and can barely remember what any of them were. I'm pretty much only playing short/linear games, Yakuza and military wargames now, all of which are either self-contained and/or have defined expansions without grasping for more and more money for less and less value.

To keep it vaguely on track, I really enjoyed WD2 as an open-world stealth game that despite being very "greetings fellow kids" had some heart to it. This looks like another example of Ubisoft making something that looks like its making a statement without actually saying anything (see Far Cry 5) and the lack of a central protagonist may hurt that. If I still care I might pick it up in a year or two when it's cheap, but no guarantees.

Maybe not the right place for this but what games are you playing? I can't think of anything lately that has felt like it's tried to get more money out of me and the days of the 6 hour AAA game seem to be a thing of the past. Games quickly get cheap and the subscription services offer great value.


This thread seemed like the best place to carry on with this. What really flipped me was going from Assassin's Creed Origins to Yakuza 0. The former is a colossal sprawl of a game that will happily sell you ways to bypass actually playing it, with XP boosters, items etc. The latter is a self-contained and complete game that is a fraction of the "size" but has way more depth and I wanted to explore every nook and cranny because of how weird and funny it is. I suppose its not just about the money, but the way these large "open world action adventure games with rpg elements" are so disrespectful of your time; a by product of the process of trying to get you to spend past the grinds that were consciously implemented for that exact purpose through games which are dopamine treadmills of artificial fun - ticking off checklists, filling progress bars, levelling up etc that make your brain feel good but are not memorable at all.

I suppose prior to the AssCreed/Yakuza experience was what put me off the big pillar of games I liked, racing. I was playing Forza Motorsport 5 and Gran Turismo Sport for a while and suddenly noticed I couldn't remember what I had actually done in either of them for some time, other than doing isolated single race after banal race to tick them off a list in some sort of fugue state, despite the concentration needed to blast a supercar around silverstone or whatever. Certainly the former was inundated with options to BUY BUY BUY all kinds of boosters and extras, a design choice which led to that exact kind of artificial fun, at the end of which you have nothing to show for your time beyond some bigger numbers.

I really enjoyed the Call of Duty games I played this year as they just get on with it; no filler, no backtracking. All the season passes/expansions/lootboxes etc are either not there or are relegated to long-dead multiplayer modes and out of the way. Similarly new releases like the F2P Trackmania has taken elements that used to be part of the game you bought and carved them off into ever fancier-sounding subscription tiers. There is no benefit to you as a customer for this, however honeyed the words around them are.

I reject the argument that "games are more expensive to make" as if it is some uncontrollable force of nature; spending billions on development is a choice. Its even more egregious in the face of how little tax many of the companies pay (and often get rebates on), how ludicrously paid their CEOs are and all of this while pleading poverty and adding more and more exploitative and time-wasting mechanics to make more and more money. I get it, businesses exist to make money etc, but there comes a point where its taking the absolute piss.

This is probably in tl;dr territory but wanted to answer in some way with explanation rather than confrontation.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Hime » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:22 am

I can't think of a single player game other than Assassin's Creed Origins that pushed paid for loot in the single player. I completed that game and never came close to needing to buy anything and found the side content fun, I mean grinding is nothing new and is far less egregious than it used to be. If RPG's aren't your thing maybe try more linear games? The examples you have given are pretty old, there must be some newer games you'd like to try? As a counter to your argument they have been pumping out Yakuza games at a rate of knots lately, at what point are they just reusing assets?

I don't know how you can reject the cost of games as an argument, yes it's a choice but developers can't put out games that look and play like N64 games if they want to compete in the AAA space. Games have stayed the same price or gotten cheaper in the last 20-30 years and everyone is trying to figure out new ways to make it work as clearly having a 2-3 year development cycle with the success defined by the day one sales is not sustainable anymore. I reject the audience being bigger as a counter argument as based on that logic every game would have varying levels of financial success.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Trelliz » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:01 am

I think I'm just getting over games as a thing, my bought/played/abandoned/complete list is pretty skewed towards not sticking with stuff, even games which are generally considered good but I just quickly lost interest in
like Doom or judged that the required effort to git gud is not worth it for me, like Hitman. I got back into miniature gaming over the last year or so and so a game has to do a lot for me to not think that I could be doing something creative with physical results instead, and while I resist all the lootboxes, season passes and other attempts to pull more money, they don't do a lot to encourage me.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Prototype » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:06 am

I signed that petition that was doing the rounds the other week and received an email from the Digital Media and Culture dept saying there will be a call for evidence this summer.

So that's good news.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Hime » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:46 am

Trelliz wrote:I think I'm just getting over games as a thing, my bought/played/abandoned/complete list is pretty skewed towards not sticking with stuff, even games which are generally considered good but I just quickly lost interest in
like Doom or judged that the required effort to git gud is not worth it for me, like Hitman. I got back into miniature gaming over the last year or so and so a game has to do a lot for me to not think that I could be doing something creative with physical results instead, and while I resist all the lootboxes, season passes and other attempts to pull more money, they don't do a lot to encourage me.

Maybe just take a break and see how you feel? From the amount of threads we've had over the years it's fairly common that people worry about losing interest in gaming. Personally I've never thought about it, if I don't play anything for a couple of months, who cares? I obviously felt like doing something else.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by KK » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:43 am

BBC News wrote:Loot boxes: I blew my university savings gaming on Fifa

Like many teenagers, Jonathan Peniket enjoyed buying random player "packs" to build up his team on the Fifa football video game.

But when his mum was diagnosed with cancer, his spending on these packs, or "loot boxes", became - as he sees it - an addiction he couldn't control.

The House of Lords Gambling Committee is calling for loot boxes, which are not currently considered to be gambling, to be regulated urgently.

"I have loved video games since I was a child. I remember waking up early on weekends and heading straight downstairs to play Fifa 05 with the sound off so that I wouldn't wake my parents," says Jonathan.

"Now 21, I am fortunate to have made some of my closest friends online, and I think video games can be great for any child.

"I stress this before saying that I feel compelled to tell my story of how 'loot box gambling' led to one of the worst experiences of my life.

"In 2009, EA Sports launched the Ultimate Team game mode in their Fifa series. It's like a huge online football trading card game, and users can then add these players to their teams.

"Better players give you an advantage, and there is a virtual currency and market where these cards are traded. You can buy packs containing a random selection of cards.

'Gambling'

"I distinctly remember back in 2012, when I first asked my parents if I could use my money to buy packs, and my frustration when my dad said the packs were "gambling", before finally agreeing.

"The idea that it was gambling seemed ridiculous to me at the time. I understood that the chances of 'packing' my favourite players were low.

"I spent the money, opened my packs, got lucky a couple of times, and tried to be positive, despite being left feeling slightly underwhelmed. 'If I could just spend another £15…', I thought.

"Four years followed of spending more and more money on player packs - each time seeking that buzz that would only occasionally come.

"As time went on, I was becoming increasingly secretive about it. I would buy a voucher from a High Street shop and hide it in my room, so my parents wouldn't find out how much I was spending.

"At the time, I had nothing else I would rather spend my money on. I thought each time that this time would be one where I got lucky.

"When I was 17, I got my first debit card, and suddenly the decision to spend money on the game became instant, just a click of a button away, with no need to buy the vouchers and worry that my parents would find them.

"2017 was the year that changed everything in my life. I was completing my last year of A-levels, with vague plans to go to university. In September my mum was diagnosed with cancer.

"Everything became about waiting until it would all just be a memory. Waiting until the day that my mum's treatment would be over, when I'd have finished my exams and we could all appreciate normal life again.

"I searched for any way to cope. The buzz of opening packs offered me an escape.

'The money ran out'

"Any rational sense of moderation and the value of money that my parents and grandparents had saved for my future began to subside. I felt like I needed the money now, to cope, and that in years to come my future self would somehow understand.

"I was spending £30 at a time, then £40, then £50. By the time my card began to block my transactions, I was throwing £80 into the game four or five times a night.

"A few weeks before my exams, after days of watching people open packs on YouTube whilst my parents thought I was upstairs revising, the moment came when the money ran out.

"Money that my parents and grandparents had worked for, that had been given to me as savings for my future. I had blown almost £3,000.

"I accept responsibility for what happened. The decisions I made to spend that money were made by me. My parents were heartbroken when they found out and read through the bank statements.

'Addicted to the buzz'

"Looking back at what happened, one of the things that sticks out to me is how my spending was going on without any of my family knowing.

"We had family rules with restrictions on gaming time, so there was no lack of parental regulation, and I frequently told my concerned parents that I was not addicted to video games themselves.

"I stand by that now, but I was addicted to the buzz of chance when I bought packs. I agree now with what my Dad said that so angered me back in 2012: video game packs and loot boxes [a general term for in-game purchases involving chance] are a form of gambling.

"With the House of Lords Gambling Committee calling for randomised reward purchases like these to be urgently regulated under gambling laws, I want to do what I can to educate and protect other people from going through an experience like mine.

"I owe it to my teenage self, and to others who will regret spending money on loot boxes, to do what I can to end what is utter exploitation."

EA's response

The makers of Fifa, EA Sports, deny any aspect of Fifa constitutes gambling and agree with the assessment made by the Gambling Commission that loot boxes are not gambling.

They say Fifa Ultimate Team can be played without spending any money and that purchases are entirely optional.

They go on to say the well-being of players is paramount - and all their games, including Fifa, have the ability to use parental controls provided by gaming platforms to cap or prohibit spend.

Fifa was approached for comment, but has not yet responded.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53337020

Being covered today on BBC 5 Live from 1pm.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Trelliz » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:46 am

The fact that such a thing is possible, and that parents need to protect their children from what looks like and acts like gambling despite not being technically gambling is a strawberry floating disgrace. To hell with the lot of them.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Karl_ » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:18 am

I'm no psychologist but that has to be a textbook case of gambling addiction. Really hope they ban this disgusting, predatory business model soon.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Tomous » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:27 am

I don't see any way you could argue that it isn't gambling frankly

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by JT986M2 » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:47 am

I hope the predatory practice dies a quick death. It's staggering that it's been allowed to continue for so long.

I've not played online multiplayer in years, so I've been playing Halo 5 multiplayer the past few nights. I never realised just how easy it would be for a kid - or adult for that matter - to easily blow through money buying those REQ packs they offer. Especially since one of the 'bundles' costs about £60! They don't even direct you to a separate shopfront, it's just built for speed and convenience. A few clicks of the 'A' button and you've spent over £100. I'm sure Halo isn't the worst example either.

As an alternative - and probably where it will go once loot boxes are hopefully banned - would be to offer the items for direct sale, even if it's for a inflated cost. Like Fortnite or Apex skins. They are pretty god-damned expensive for what they are, but at least someone can justify it's just a one-off cost for a thing they like/want. Unfortunately, games like Fifa have built a whole mode around the loot box method.

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Hime » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:48 am

Tomous wrote:I don't see any way you could argue that it isn't gambling frankly

It isn't gambling by the definition as there is nothing you can gain. Why don't we just call it predatory and illegal in the way some adverts can't be put on at a certain time?

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PostRe: Paid content in videogames (DLC, season passes, micro transactions, loot boxes, "surprise mechanics")
by Tomous » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:50 am

Hime wrote:
Tomous wrote:I don't see any way you could argue that it isn't gambling frankly

It isn't gambling by the definition as there is nothing you can gain. Why don't we just call it predatory and illegal in the way some adverts can't be put on at a certain time?


Gambling just means taking a risk for a reward. I would say lootboxes fit that.

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