One of the reasons that microtransactions and loot boxes have been so criticised of late is because they often make aspects that used to be free in games now cost money. Metal Gear Survive takes that to a whole new level. The game that I completely forgot was even happening apparently came out recently, and, as it turns out, one of the many things that you can purchase with the title's in-game currency is something that not only used to be free, it's a component at the fundamental core of nearly every game since the late 1980s, a save slot.
You do get one save slot in Metal Gear Survive, but you can have up to four character slot in the game, if you're willing to pony up 1,000 SV Coins per slot. SV Coins are Survive's in-game currency, and 1,000 of them will set you back about $10, meaning that you need to spend $30 to get all of the game's available save slots. According to Polygon, Konami has been giving away some SV Coins as part of a game launch login bonus, but the max you'll be able to collect is 120 coins, and there does not appear to be any way to earn coins in-game.
Save slots are something that has never been standardized across titles. Some games only ever have one, while some have three or even more. However, to charge money for additional slots certainly feels greedy. If having more than one is an option in Metal Gear Survive, then this basic aspect of gaming should be included in a game that costs $40. Any pretense that the title could get away with some microtransactions because it didn't cost as much as most console titles go away when the cost of adding all the possible save slots causes the game to cost more than $60.
Konami has made it very clear in recent years that the video game business is no longer its focus. Ever since the studio fired Hideo Kojima and shipped an apparently incomplete Metal Gear Solid V, the company has been open and honest that it would rather put its popular gaming brands on pachinko machines than make new games. That's fine. It's a business, and if that is where the business wants to go, it has that right.
However, if Konami is going to make a game, it might do well to consider not making its naked greed so obvious. There are plenty of other things you can spend in-game currency on in Metal gear Survive that, for better or worse, have become much more acceptable practices. Making save slots optional has nothing to do with "player choice" (the justification that is so often given for the existence of all microtransactions) because you're actually limiting the way the game can be played. Who would choose to not be able to save their game?
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. This is what happens as microtransactions become "normal" in the world of gaming. Perhaps we should be thankful that additional save slots aren't a potential reward in a randomized loot box. That's probably coming soon.
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