Microsoft’s Phil Spencer talks Xbox One microtransactions

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microtransactions

If there’s one new trend in gaming that hasn’t exactly created positive vibes, its microtransactions. The Xbox One has a launch library full of games that boast those features, and will most likely continue to do so in the future. But it’s going to be a learning process for Microsoft.

Speaking to Kotaku, Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer explained that the company was still in a learning phase when it came to microtransactions. A phase that will be tracking consumer spending as more games arrive with these features. "I want to be able to learn from what we put in," Spencer said.

So let’s make sure we are crafting the game and the analytics so we can see what the consumers — the gamers — like and don’t — if you assume buying habits are a reflection of what people like. So that we can craft the experience better for the gamer.

So where does Microsoft draw the line on microtransactions? "It’s easy to say something like, ‘I’ll never allow somebody to buy the win of the game, I won’t let them buy victory,’ but that’s kind of a trite answer,” Spencer said.

I’d say, ‘Yeah, I guess I have that line, that [we wouldn’t have] "Pay five bucks and get 1000 achievements" or something stupid like that.’ I’m always pushing against that. But, in reality, that’s not what the gamers are looking for. They’re usually looking for customization and their gameplay style opening up.

There’s a  right way and a wrong way to do micro-transactions, but that’s one hell of a fine line. The common consensus though, would be to make that feature as inconspicuous as possible. Microtransactions are here to stay for the long run, and hopefully, studios and publishers can get the formula right and create something that actually does add value to a game.

Last Updated: November 27, 2013

Darryn Bonthuys

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