Home Technology Dragon’s Dogma 2 microtransactions show what the games industry at large thinks of us

Dragon’s Dogma 2 microtransactions show what the games industry at large thinks of us

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Dragon’s Dogma 2 microtransactions show what the games industry at large thinks of us

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Customers. That’s what we are. A commodity to be parted from our cash as much as possible. Here we are in 2024, the games industry seemingly in tatters with wave after wave of layoffs as a multi-billion dollar industry cries poverty.

It happened in sports at the turn of the century. Fans suddenly faced the uncomfortable realization that teams they had loyally followed through thick and thin, suddenly saw them as nothing more than a resource to be mined to extinction.

As ChatGPT writes dialogue for games and MidJourney produces the art, excited boardroom execs look at two AI $20 monthly subscriptions and see it has an opportunity to lay off staff and save that cash for bonuses and shareholder dividends.

All that would be bad enough, but hey we still get our games right? We can wait years for say, a Dragon’s Dogma 2 to come along, knowing that dumping $80 on a single-player game is money well spent, knowing the hours of toil that went into it and how much we will enjoy it.

And then it launches. And suddenly the curtain draws back to reveal a whole host of game mechanics that should be taken for granted, well, you have to pay more for those. Convenient fast Travel across the enormous game world? That will be $2.99 please – and that’s just for one spot. You can have up to 10 though. At $2.99 a piece. Thanks guys.

Still. At least I can still change the appearance of my character like I can in every other game ever. Bazinga you can! For $1.99. Every. Single. Time. “Obtain an item that allows the Arisen to edit their own appearance or the appearance of a pawn. It can be used only once when visiting a barberie.” Fancy some new eyebrows? That will be two bucks please. WTF is going on?

I refuse to believe that the core game designers are on board with this. We have probably all seen Mythic Quest. Brad is real. Brad is everywhere. Heads will be shaking quietly, not daring to speak up because they know the threat of the axe is swinging like a pendulum.

Just stop it

This is unacceptable, yet we accept it. Every, Single. Time. Review bombing on Steam changes nothing. Refusing to pre-order might. If a game suddenly appears with a load of sneaky microtransactions on launch day, just don’t buy it. Don’t buy it months ago and think leaving a salty review will achieve anything. The number of Steam refunds that get processed won’t scratch the surface of the pre-orders. While review bombing is recognized as gamers giving a game the finger, it has almost become a meme, with games getting review bombed for things that a sub-section might see as “woke”. Its impact is lessening by the day.

Capcom does not do much to endear itself to PC gamers at the best of times. Earlier this year it was slipping DRM that affected performance into 10-year-old games to stop them being modded. It is a big customer of Denuvo DRM, a system used to prevent piracy at the cost of purchasers of authentic software, suffering glitches and suffering on their systems. Obviously, DD2 has Denuvo and people are reporting struggling to get it to run at 40FPS in some circumstances. Normally Capcom removes it further down the line, once the clamor to pirate the game has subsided, so if you paid $80, just hang tight for a few months more. Think of it as an extended pre-order.

Dragon’s Dogma is a much loved historic IP, it deserves better treatment than to just be wantonly commercialized to sell extra horse armor.

It feels as though a backlash against the games industry is coming. There is something in the air. Pass the popcorn.

Featured image: MidJourney

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