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Published on August 22nd, 2014 | by gareth


Have Gamers Finally Had Enough of DLC, Pay To Play, and Microtransactions

I remember the days when entertainment consoles had no internet connectivity and for that matter neither did your computer. I remember having an Apple II c in High School and people thought I was nuts for having it and could not understand why I would want to type out papers when it was ok to do them on notebook paper.

To many this was a golden age of gaming as I remember having to write to Sierra when I got stuck on a game and the at times agonizing wait for my clue to come. This was before walkthrough books, cheat codes, and taking to friends on a social network for help.

Back then games had to be stable at launch as there was no magical fix for issues until a few years later when companies offered to mail a disk with updates to consumers who experienced severe bugs.

When dial up modems became all the rage in the days of Doom, players would obtain updates via Bulletin Boards and would often get the wrath of their parents due to long distance charges going into gaming forums, rooms, and other locales that did not have locale access numbers.

A lot sure has changed. In 1994, the Internet made great inroads into people’s homes as AOL offered access and many companies started to offer access thanks to the ease of the Netscape browser. Until then, they net was largely in colleges and corporations.

The internet changed everything as gamers could match up with people a world away and have 24 access to gaming partners and content. Blizzard had a thriving chatroom and match system for players looking to play Warcraft and Warcraft 2, and life was good.

Sadly the internet also gave rise to games being shipped before they were completed as consumers could be promised that fixes would come later. Developers eager to cut production costs and time shipped games out in order to earn revenue on them and patched them up while the bucks flowed in.

Sadly games like Battlecruiser 3000 A.D. and Outpost shipped without features that were listed on the box and gave consumers plenty to be angry over. The net built the hype but could kill a game fast if enough customers were upset.

It was at this time that Add on packs were the range. Often running $19.99-$29.99 they offered a continuation of the story and also a few multiplay bonuses and maps.

When consoles became connected to the internet, we saw the rise of DLC and paying for expansions and items. With increased development costs publishers were looking for any way they could squeeze more revenue out of a game.

As a person who games mainly on the PC I loved getting my new maps for Call of Duty free with my updates while console players had to pay.

Sadly this was short lived as microtransations and DLC have not become standard for most games with Season Passes offered for several games before they even ship.

However the times are a changing as anyone who has followed The Elder Scrolls Online and World of Warcraft   will tell you. Subscriptions are falling and consumers just do not seem as willing to pay $59.99 for a game and then $9.95-$14.99 a month for the privilege of playing their purchase beyond the initial 30 days. Many costly ventures had to adopt the free to play model in order to stay in the game.

Which leads me to ask have consumers hit their limit on what they are willing to pay for? It seems that they have voted clearly that they do not want to pay a monthly fee to play a game no matter how good it is, and are willing to consider DLC but only at packaged prices and only if it truly enhances their game experience and offers something new.

With revenue streams in a state of flux, we have seen consoles charge for the ability to play games online, but have offered users who pay bonuses in the form of free games and other perks.

DLC seems here to stay so where will developers turn next? We have long heard that in game ads are coming but they have failed to really take off to the level that was expected. Microtransactions are something that could go either way as they seem to me to be geared more to the hardcore rather than the casual gamer.

As someone who has worked in the industry and covered it for years the only thing we can be certain of is change and that no matter what, publishers will always be looking to find more ways to get money out of a game franchise, the only difference is consumer patience for extras may be wearing thin especially when so many games have not lived up to expectations. I am sure there are more than a few fans who purchased the passes for Aliens: Colonial Marines who experienced severe buyer’s remorse.

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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