Gamers were livid with Forza Motorsport 5, the exclusive Xbox One racer that managed to become the system's top-tier, top-rated launch title due to a thin set of software offerings for Microsoft's third generation console. Why were gamers livid? Because of microtransactions. Forza 5 was turned into a free-to-play style grind to influence the purchase of microtransactions, and that, my friends, is a cardinal sin for a $60 premium game. Jim Sterling has labeled scenarios like this as fee-to-play games.
Well, the reviews are in for Gran Turismo 6, another premium racer laced with microtransactions. We recently reported that Eurogamer would be keeping a close eye on the game's cash shop and report whether or not it affected the overall gameplay in their review. So how well did gaming media and the rest of the Doritocracy do with appropriately measuring the content versus the cash shop mechanisms? It depends on what you're looking for out of a review.
With the exception of a few websites like Giant Bomb covering Forza Motorsport 5's microtransactions, gamers noticed that reviewers have been failing to mention how big a role cash shops play in premium $60 games. Such as reviewers not mentioning anything about the pervasive grind in games like 2K Sports' NBA 2K14, where microtransactions were once again front and center as a game-currency modifier.
For Gran Turismo 6, gamers were exceptionally keen to keep the issue of microtransactions at the forefront of the discussion. Despite some graphics discrepancies between Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo 6, the important thing on the mind of gamers relates wholly and totally with whether Polyphony's latest is a wallet-ravaging beast or if it keeps the cash shop monster in place.
Well, the Metacritic score evens out at 79 out of 100, as of the writing of this article, with a wildly fluctuating user rating of 6.5, with plenty of 0 and 1 point reviews lamenting microtransactions.
For professional gaming media, the lower score has more to do with game mechanic consistency (or the lack thereof) more than it has to do with the cash shop. Thankfully, though, sites like Eurogamer kept to their word. They made mention of the microtransactions in their review and had this to say about them...
“Gran Turismo 6 is next-gen in other ways, too, with the spectre of microtransactions lingering near. Polyphony's at least been wise to partition them away from the game - if you weren't aware of their inclusion beforehand, you wouldn't know they're there at all. The economy is, to all intents and purposes, identical to Gran Turismo 5's - prize cars aren't handed out quite so generously, but payouts are on a similar scale while car prices likewise remain frozen.“
Eurogamer's Martin Robinson goes on to say that despite the cash shop goods not imposing on the gameplay in any way, it's still a dangerous precedent being set by including such a feature in a premium game.