Much like the Model-T or Bell’s telephone, some folks simply refuse to change with the times.
We live in a truly innovative time. While there have been others throughout our history that people have dubbed a “golden age,” some would suggest that 2014 represents just such a period. Of course, there’s no way of knowing what the future may bring (perhaps the industry we love is destined to reach even greater heights), there’s no denying it’s an absolutely wonderful time to love video games! On virtually every front, our hobby is making strides and pushing the envelope of both entertainment and technology. Our slice of creativity has a cross-over appeal unlike any other medium.
So can someone please explain to me why a small hand-full of gamers still piss and moan about our new direction?
I mean, enough is enough. Frankly, I’m so freakin’ tired of hearing about “microtransaction this” and “DLC that.” I feel like we’re still having the same old conversations over and over, and it needs to stop. Trying to convince those who continuously bitch about these new digital conventions is very much like trying to sell the idea of the light bulb to someone who says they prefer an oil lantern. “I’ll never get behind the wheel of one of those new-fangled automobile contraptions” I can almost hear them say, as the horse and buggy is apparently all they’ll ever need. That’s about how ridiculous this argument sounds to me.
The advent of both DLC and the microtransaction has proven not just an innovative way of marketing content, but an absolute necessity in how we receive our media. It seems like the next logical step in our journey to a complete digital distribution system, yet some still push back tooth and nail. This has forced many developers to always be on the defensive, wasting energy and resources to justify their positions. Konami (a well-respected presence in the industry for years) recently found themselves in a similar boat. Regarding the microtransactions they plan to implement in the upcoming Pro Evolution Soccer 2015, they say, "If you don't have a lot of time, then with microtransactions you can go buy a lot of players that you want…The idea is that we're trying to just give the players the choice of what they want to do. Some people have more time, some people have more money. Some people have a bit of each! Either way, you'll have the choice.” Said studio head James Cox.
Ubisoft has even stated that the season pass model has become “…pretty much accepted. Now it's interesting when you start to think of Season Pass as a Service Pass… there's an evolution going on there.”
So I must ask, how long will this minority voice continue to drag us down and hinder our evolution?
The games industry has usually been ahead of the curve when it comes to trends that match those in pop culture. Gaming innovations have sparked many renaissances in both music and film at various times, all because we know how to adapt. In 2014, we currently find ourselves in a time where recognition is of paramount importance. Whether it’s your status update on social media (via Twitter or Facebook) or that Instagram picture you just posted…we want instant gratification 24/7. Does that not translate to our games as well? While some might look forward to investing the weeks (and sometimes months) it takes to unlock certain game content, others would rather get their bag of goodies opened all at once. I say, to each their own. Things like microtransactions provide a vehicle to do just that (and can keep the experience fresh and new). In truth, it’s no different than the cheat codes this very site has provided faithfully for decades. I don’t care if you’re skipping a level, unlocking a character or filling your arsenal with a new array of weapons, it all amounts to the same principal. Sometimes getting from A to Z without having to make your way through the entire alphabet is incredibly appealing. Plus, with the advent of things like iTunes, we’ve become accustomed to buying our media on a “piece meal” basis. I seriously doubt those who have a problem with microtransactions apply that same mindset across the board. When it came time to purchase that single MP3 they really wanted, it’s unlikely they dropped cash for the entire album of filler tracks simply out of principal. How is this any different?
It’s time to get over it people. This is the future, like it or not. I for one am elated with this new direction. I’ve never had more control over my content, and I have no intention of letting naysayers and Debbie-Downers take it away (and you know who you are). Don’t get me wrong, I’m affected just as much as you are when things like DLC and microtransactions are done wrong (which result in getting nickel and dimed to death). But that’s no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The current state of game marketing mirrors how we consume content in other avenues of our daily lives (better than it ever has before). Period.
So band together with me my brothers and sisters! Help me drag our antiquated brethren out of the 8-bit era…despite how fun those times may have been.