The Paw Print

Corporate greed ruins gaming

Dani Gonzalez, Editorial and Opinion Editor

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The video game industry is riddled with microtransactions, spanning from cheap in-game currency purchases to the pricey downloadable content (DLC). What used to be an industry thriving off creativity has transformed into a basic corporate money-grab.

Microtransactions are purchases of in-game items with real life money, most often used in free to play games. Clash of Clans and Candy Crush have become some of the top grossing apps because of its microtransactions, nickel and dime-ing it’s players with its deceptively low prices. These types of transactions began to weed their way into mass multiplayer online games (MMOs) with the creation of “loot boxes”, purchasable randomized packages of game items.

Electronic Arts (EA) recently came under fire for its use of loot boxes in its new release Star Wars: Battlefront II. The randomized loot was compared to gambling by Hawaii state representative Chris Lee, who started the push in legislation to ban them. Psychologists fear the impact early exposure to this gambling mechanic could have on kids.

Beyond the loot box controversy, Star Wars Battlefront II was met with positive reviews. IGN praised the fun, diverse gameplay, and beautiful environments. Polygon rated it a 7/10. We cannot know how well the game would have been received if the microtransactions had not given it such negative press.

DLC used to be optional, only bought by people who thoroughly enjoyed a game and wanted more without having to wait years for a sequel. Recently, they have been used to squeeze more money out of the player by marketing important plot missions as DLC.

Dragon Age: Inquisition released the ending of the game as DLC, forcing fans to fish out 15 more dollars on top of the initial 60 dollars for the core game. The other two bonus stories cost an additional 15 dollars each, totaling a completed Dragon Age: Inquisition to 105 U.S dollars. A game voted Game of the Year in 2014 has all but been forgotten because of the bad press generated after news of this money grabbing action.

The rising prices of mainstream gaming have paved ways for indie games as well. Developed by small studios, these games often have unique mechanics and storylines that mainstream games have been lacking.

Just this year StudioMDHR released Cuphead, a platformer praised for its creative Betty Boop inspired art style and challenging gameplay. It was nominated for several awards alongside AAA games developed by highest grossing video game companies, winning three out of it’s five nominations according to the Game Awards website.

Indie games have their own problems with crowdfunding, taking thousands of dollars from the interested fans, and delivering close to nothing. No Man’s Sky by Hello Games made 8.2 million dollars on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website, according to Polygon, but was met with overwhelming negative reviews as it failed to deliver on it’s promises.

The greed in the video game industry is ruining video games. Games are designed to churn out more money as opposed to telling a good, cohesive story. Games that have the potential to be classics are ruined by the obsession to make the most money.

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Corporate greed ruins gaming