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No blowing up on Reddit, no super-duper, 2,000 degree article rage-fest on N4G, no super-thread on NeoGaf, or a GameFaq spam-fest to get the point across, just silent rage... lots of silent rage. What am I talking about exactly? I'm talking about the revelation that the microtransactions in Ryse and Forza Motorsport 5 have lowered the opinion gamers have of these titles, even more so than some of the abysmal review scores (for Ryse that is. Forza 5 scored pretty well).
Previously, we had known that Ryse: Son of Rome would have microtransactions. Eurogamer did a diplomatic piece, sanctioned by the Dorito Pope, to ensure that gamers would be calmed when entering Ryse and recognizing that the game would have multiplayer booster packs.
The Eurogamer article tries to preemptively assuage the rage by claiming that Ryse's microtansactions were akin to sports games' “booster packs” (some of which have been found out to be scams). That gamers wouldn't have to worry about them.
However, when the reviews went up following the lift of Ryse's embargo, it was revealed that Ryse: Son of Rome wasn't just guilty of overdosing on excessive QTEs, but the game also contained a healthy dose of single-player microtransactions to completely skip the character progress in the game. Forza Motorsport 5 has a similar microtransaction setup, and you can check out the pricing for the cash shop tokens over on Sportra.
The thing is, most gamers recognize that these in-app purchases aren't “required” or “necessary” for the gaming experience, but a lot of gamers aren't entirely fond of the fact that these mobile-phone style monetary tactics are slowly encroaching on the $60 retail model. Jim Sterling appropriately labeled it as the fee-to-play system, since you're still putting down $60 but there's always that lingering design flaw where the game feels just grindy enough where a quick microtransaction purchase seems ever-so-tempting.
There was a recent article over on GamesIndustry.biz where Square Enix's CEO of US and Europe studio operations, Phil Rogers, expressed that gamers are beginning to see through games designed as a service and interactive software titles where their functions are hinged on addictive grinds that goad players into spending money on the cash shop to speed up the process.
This method comes across as exceptionally smug tactic for games like Ryse, where the main story barely clocks in at five hours and yet there's a pay-to-win mechanic to help you get through that five hour experience. I mean, who is this game made for where you need to pay to unlock character progress in a five hour game?
Anyway, gamers have silently banded together, keeping the issue on the down-low like Leonardo Dicaprio. Game Informer did right by the gamers by making them aware of these "insidious" monetary schemes. Neogaf has an ongoing thread about holding the wallet, Neowin has a smallish thread about the tactics, AV Forums and VG Chartz also joined the fray, and of course, there's still Hold The Wallet where gamers, well, hold the wallet.
While this issue hasn't blown up – and given the amount of times we see it and how its exploited so often – most gamers will keep their rage contained and simply not buy the title. Whether or not word spreads enough about these issues to affect sales remain to be seen, but given the unflattering review scores and lack of inveigles by the Doritocracy for the likes of Ryse, I doubt it'll take much to tank sales for that game.