Remember all those people bitching and moaning how Dead Space 3 is jumping the ship to appeal to everyone in sake of it’s own design? If not, do a quick Google search and you’ll probably find topic after topic on message boards across the globe from fans decrying EA’s hand in manipulating their favorite franchise’s design away from a survival horror-esque game to a horror/shooter/rpg/cinematic hybrid that looks more like a mutated toad than a fearsome chimera. While that storm has subsided somewhat, EA decided to unleash fury upon its subjects for their outburst by bringing a free-to-play element to Dead Space 3…without the initial free-to-play.
In a rather dick move to the consumer, the free-to-play element Dead Space 3 will feature is microtransactions. That dreaded word is usually only uttered for mediocre iOS, Android, and some PC games that have a free-to-play model; meaning the initial start-up cost to play the game is nothing, but to progress further or faster, real life money will have to be spent at the game’s virtual storefront usually in the amount of a couple of bucks for a piece of armor, extra character, or experience orb. So how the hell does EA plan to get away with microtransactions for a game that’s going to retail for $60 you ask? By making people spend money when they want to craft their own weapons – a feature actually not seen in the series until now.
It’s actually quite admirable how EA can take a shit down consumer’s throats and justify it at the same time. Their reasoning behind it, aside from wanting to milk even more money from their cash cow, is that by spending money on weapon crafting, player’s won’t be able to buy their way towards the game’s more powerful weapons, but merely expedite upgrading their arsenal to the desired level at the player’s convenience. The system is entirely optional, and all of the required components for crafting can be found in-game, so it’s merely one avenue out of many to get morepowerful weapons. Because, you know, players may not have the time to scavenge for that rare ore they need to make the best shotgun the game has to offer, so why not give the ore to the player for a small finder’s fee? EA, and the game’s developer Visceral Games, is simply aware that people have lives, and those lives may interfere with their gaming habits.
You smell that? It’s the stench of week old shit covered in a cum shower the execs at EA and Visceral Games had when they thought up this brilliant money-making opportunity. I’ve always believed downloadable content had its place in this generation. You want additional characters or the ability to extend your game beyond the offered storyline? Alright, pony up another $10-$20 for the privilege and time the developer spent crafting this extra content for you. Want some extra cosmetic options on your favorite fighter or car? Here’s a costume pack for $5, knock yourself out. Wanna get some really powerful shit earlier in the game than you’re supposed to because we recognize you’re a lazy fat ass and we want your money? Pay up bitch!
I guess this is simply one more way EA is trying to hit up the “casual” game market that was introduced to the Wii and got fat and happy with crappy iOS and Android games. On one level, I have to acknowledge their business acumen. After all, there will be people who will pay a lot of money to get through the game that much easier. And those people are suckers for doing so. That’s right, I’m calling everyone who is reading this article a sucker for shelling out more money than is necessary to enjoy a complete gaming experience that is meant to be challenging on some level – I mean, you already paid $60 for the damn thing, and you want to waste more money just to blow through the game that much faster!? You’re getting ripped off for fuck sake! It’s a shitty business practice that, rather than be relegated to a niche market, is starting to become more mainstream. I understand that the cost of developing games has skyrocketed over the last ten years especially. However, there’s a tipping point for how much consumers are willing to pay for a luxury such as video games. Today crafting materials in Dead Space 3 are optional to purchase, but perhaps tomorrow you’ll be asked to fork over another $10 so you can progress to the next series of levels in a game that already cost you a tidy sum of money.
This is not to say Dead Space 3 isn’t worth your money or isn’t a good game. You’re still getting a complete game for $60 – it’s just that microtransactions are a slippery slope and used to occupy only the handheld market until publishers started looking for new sources of revenue. The problem is, developers and publishers alike need to reign in the cost of development for games. As I just said, video games are still just a luxury – something that is expendable when budgets get tight. Many publishers, EA especially, like to make that argument that since video games are a luxury, no one is being forced to buy them and therefore the publisher can do whatever they want. Unfortunately, they fail to understand basic supply and demand economics, which means as the demand falls off because people get sick and tired of shelling out more money than is necessary for a video game – up front and/or in addition – supply increases, and profits will sink. Continually raising the price of games isn’t going to help, nor will stupid microtransactions in an already-complete game. Rather than try and Febreze the scent of your shit and pretend like it’s not as bad as it seems, treat the consumer with a little more respect and don’t take a shit in their face to begin with!