news\ Feb 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Designer Cliff Bleszinski defends Electronic Arts — and microtransactions

Dead Space 3

Former Epic Games employee and Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski wrote a heated blog post today about the response to Electronic Arts and microtransactions.

"I’ve seen a lot of comments online about microtransactions," he wrote. "They’re a dirty word lately, it seems. [Gamers] are upset that publishers/developers are 'nickel and diming them.' They’re raging at 'big and evil corporations who are clueless and trying to steal their money.'

"I’m going to come right out and say it. I’m tired of EA being seen as 'the bad guy.' I think it’s bullshit that EA has the 'scumbag EA' memes on Reddit and that Good Guy Valve can Do No Wrong."

Bleszinski pointed out the hypocrisy in how people view Valve, which is still a business at its core, versus the more unpopular Electronic Arts. The publisher made a controversial move recently when it decided to bring microtransactions to Dead Space 3, a console and PC game.

"When Valve charges $100 for an engagement ring in Team Fortress 2, it’s somehow 'cool,' yet when EA wants to sell something similar it’s seen as 'evil.'"

Valve is just better at image control, he wrote.

"If you don’t like EA, don’t buy their games. If you don’t like their microtransactions, don’t spend money on them. It’s that simple. EA has many smart people working for them (Hi, Frank, JR, and Patrick!), and they wouldn’t attempt these things if they didn’t work. Turns out, they do. I assure you there are teams of analysts studying the numbers behind consumer behavior over there that are studying how you, the gamer, spends his hard-earned cash."

Bleszinski encouraged people to stop supporting games if they don't like their companies' practices, such as pay-to-win. He pointed out how players paid money for pets in World of Warcraft when they were already subscribed to a monthly service and how arcade machines were designed to make you lose and pay more money.

"If you don’t like the games, or the sales techniques, don’t spend your money on them," he wrote.

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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