So imagine you're playing your favorite game; you're kicking butt and taking names. You're owning up. You're about to deliver a massive blow to an opponent -- oops, wait, you can't deliver that final blow until you first watch a few commercial ads and build up some game time. Welcome to the future of digital gaming.
Kotaku wrote rather mockingly about the new Core Online digital service that allows gamers to buy their premium games in parts, or to play for free via browser tech powered by Haptico.
Despite the sarcasm in the Kotaku article, everything it says is true. You watch ads to build up game time (usually it's five minutes of play time per every ad) or you can buy the levels separately via microtransactions. It's pretty much exactly how you would expect a service to operate if Activision or Electronic Arts was plastered all over the bottom in the corporate legal lingo.
Now here's the best part, which you can follow in the series of screenshots below. One of the games available on Core's service is Minij Ninjas, so you can see how the service works in the example below.
You can earn up to 60 minutes of play time by watching commercials before or during your play. Accruing this kind of playtime will vary to the length of the ads you watch.
Now the upside is that the price of entry is free. You can pretty much play the entire game just by stockpiling your experience of the game, one level at a time, one hour at a time.
Kotaku took the extra measure to copy and paste some frequently asked questions regarding the service, to which some of the details are as follows...
How will the transition between game and advertisement be handled?
Now I'll go ahead and say this definitely benefits gamers who are Bush-era broke or living in the butt-crack of the Earth, where they magically have internet but no brick or mortar buildings in sight and the word “consumer” isn't transliterate.
However, for the rest of us who have become accustomed to buying full video games and paying retail prices for complete gaming experiences, I imagine Square's experiment will resonate with a foul-tasting flavor among the general core gaming base. I could be wrong, but for me personally, I could never play a hardcore game this way. Ever. Paying per level or watching ads every few minutes while trying to concentrate on fighting a boss, beat up goons or manage an inventory is straight up horse vomit, pigs piss and ostrich feces rolled up into an omelet of anti-gaming propaganda.
I can imagine plenty of casuals buying into this method of a la carte microtransactions, but boy does this spell trouble if this thing really kicks off. If Diablo fans are having a fit now, can you imagine if they had to pay per every new act or difficulty? Or having to watch ads every 10 minutes of play. The results would be a enough fanboy rage to cut through and sink the Titanic all over again.
Alternatively, if you think this is a good idea for gaming, an idea that Electronic Arts and Ubisoft are 100% behind, feel free to test out the service and offer up your feedback to Square by visiting the Official Core Online Website.