“Wrath of the Microtransactions”, that seems to be the subtitle to this new generation of console gaming. An attempt to compensate for the “bloated budgets” of games that are continuing to expand beyond the confines of their own ROI/expense ratio.
One of the latest games to engage in the pay-to-progress paradigm is Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo 6. The video above details some of the prices of the vehicles that can either be grinded for or purchased with real money from the cash shop.
As we noted with Forza Motorspor 5, the game had been attuned to the changing climate of gaming, making the grind longer and harder while diminishing the rewards such as free cars and large payouts that helped shape the play/reward factor in previous iterations. In simple terms, Forza Motorsport 5 is built around microtransactions.
However, the top car in Forza 5 will run you a hefty $110, but in Gran Turismo 6, the most expensive vehicle is the Jaguar XJ13, which carries a 20 million credit price, or in real money, it will cost you £119.95, roughly $196.05.
Eurogamer does a breakdown of the credits to pound/euro ratio and it's an unpleasant thing once you start calculating how much it costs in real money. Check it out below.
500,000 In-Game Credits (£3.99/€4.99)
1 Million In-Game Credits (£7.99/€9.99)
2,500,000 In-Game Credits (£15.99/€19.99)
7 Million In-Game Credits (£39.99/€49.99)
Given that there is a limit of 7 million credits, it means you'll need to purchase multiple packs at various prices before you have enough to grab a high-end car from the cash shop.
Now any of those cars in the video above... measure the prices of the ones you want against the required in-game credits you'll need to purchase with real money to come up with the total price. It gets expensive, no doubt.
Eurogamer also wrote that...
“The issue is, will Gran Turismo's progression system be adversely affected by microtransactions? Eurogamer's Martin Robinson has been playing the game and tells me GT6's economy works exactly the same as GT5's, with progression, payouts and car prices very similar.
“Sony maintains that GT6's microtransactions offer players an alternative fast-track route through the series' famously grindy progression.”
Now there is a caveat to all of this: if the grind factor in Gran Turismo 6 is impacted in as negative a way as Forza Motorsport 5 or the recent NBA 2K14, you're in a for an unpleasant ride. If, however, the grind factor is as Sony says it is, and the system is identical to Gran Turismo 5, then all is well. There's just an added option to buy “cheats” to the cars you want without spending that time unlocking them.
None of this is particularly settling and it's all leading towards an unhealthy monetary relationship gamers may have to make with their favorite titles. Eurogamer promises to cover this issue in their upcoming review of Gran Turismo 6, and I'm hoping they properly clarify exactly how pervasive the grind is in Polypohny's latest racing title for the PS3.