When does a micro-transaction become a full payment?

4 min read


The buzz word in gaming right now is micro-transactions, gamers universally hate them but yet still utilise them so we are currently wallowing in the cess pool that is freemium gaming.

Freemium gaming has really been around since the early 80’s where it went by the moniker of shareware but in the last few years it has really evolved into an entirely different and disgustingly ugly beast.

The latest freemium AAA title is Killer Instinct on the Xbox One. Killer Instinct is a top end fighting game that you can download for free which comes with a single fighter. To unlock more fighters you simply need to hand over a mere $5 or R50 each. Right now there is no top limit to the number of fighters released but there are a guaranteed 8 fighters so if you want the full game it’s going to cost you at last $40 (R400).

But we all know that if people start buying these fighters then the new fighters will just keep on coming.

Then you have World of Tanks which dominates the Eastern European and Russian gaming landscape which offers you the ability to upgrade your tanks and sign up for a premium membership. The premium membership costs 24 000 gold coins a year which works out to around $120 a year.

And what do you get for $120 a year? 1 1/2 times the experience in battles and the ability to research tanks at a faster speed. You will however still be expected to buy more tanks and DLC as you go.

But all of this pales into comparison to what Rovio has done with their latest milking of the Angry Bird licence. The new Angry Bird game is Mario Kart with Angry Birds and it is free. Take a look

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It looks like fun and something my kids would be really into and this is where it gets nasty.

You start with a rickety wooden cart but with just a few taps of your fingers you can use your shiny new credit card, linked to your iTunes account, to upgrade all the way to the Big Bang Special Edition for a mere $99.99, that’s coming on R1000 for a virtual go-kart.

But that won’t be enough as your little bird gets tired after racing a few races and needs to rest for a certain period of time. Or you can use more of your hard earned money to boost his energy level to keep on playing. But even your new energised bird still is unlikely to win races as everyone else has special boost abilities that you need to, yes you guessed it, buy separately.

You could quite easily spend over $200, R2000 in just a week on this game and that’s being classed as micro-transactions.

Now to be fair to Rovio, that poor multi million dollar corporation who we are hating on for milking humanity dry, they have announced that these are soft launch prices and they are relooking at them now. Well you would since the media made a stink about it wouldn’t you?

And let’s end this little rant with the upcoming Forza title for the Xbox One. This cutting edge next generation title is shipping at full price with 200 cars while the existing Forza 4 boasts a count of over 500. But don’t fear since if you buy a $50, R500 season pass you will definitely receive an extra 50 cars over the next 6 months. At that rate it’s going to cost you $300 to get to the same number of cars that Forza 4 currently offers.

And before you Gran Turismo fans pipe up, your loving company actually posted this image to show how much you can get for your micro transactions. Or in other words how much stuff they’ve made that they won’t put in the game unless you hand over more cash.


How is this acceptable? We gamers are not cash cows designed to fund your lavish lifestyles, how about you tell your shareholders to only buy one island this year and to stop milking the golden goose that is gaming.

You all disgust me.

No more

When you are now paying over the price of the original game, or an original game, then it is no longer a micro-transaction it’s a rip off. Stop doing it.

Last Updated: November 28, 2013

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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