Micorosft promises 'nothing sinister' with Ryse: Son of Rome's microtransactions
When I hear the word "microtransaction," a red flag usually goes up. While the business model has proven quite successful for many free-to-play games, it's met with hesitation when applied to AAA console games -- just look at how gamers reacted to microtransactions in Dead Space 3.
Ryse allows gamers to purchase Booster Packs similar to those in FIFA Ultimate Team. These packs, which are random, include armor items for use in multiplayer. They can be purchased with in-game currency or real life money, which gamers fear -- and rightfully so -- will lead to a "pay to win" mechanic. Looking to calm fear, Microsoft has explained the system with further detail.
So here's how it works, according to Eurogamer, who spoke with Microsoft producer Justin Robey at Gamescom.
"...multiplayer progression is an armour-based progression system. In the arena, the mode in which multiplayer takes place, players earn experience and gold. The gold is used to purchase equipment in packs, similar to those in Mass Effect and FIFA Ultimate Team. These packs come in tiers, which can be purchased either with in-game currency or real world currency."
The tiers allow the packs to be locked behind a gate that you can only purchase if you gain access to them. This means that you'll first have to play the game to that point before paying real money for the highest tier packs; you can not purchase tier five packs right away.
"We specifically do that so you cannot pay to win," Microsoft producer Justin Robey told Eurogamer. "Microtransactions are merely there as a convenience thing for people. It's completely optional and is not required in any way shape or form for gameplay. All content is accessible without using it.
"The message is very simple: it's optional and it doesn't give you really any major benefit," he added. "We put it in for people who like to collect a lot of different things. You're probably going to progress to the next tier before you have everything in the lower tier. They might be like, I don't want to grind for this, so I'm willing to buy the lower tiers if I can.
"But in terms of what the perk is for buying stuff ahead of time, it's actually really slim. It's literally a convenience thing. That's it. That's the only reason it's in there," he assured. "I really want people to understand, it's optional and it's just convenience. That's it. There's nothing sinister, we promise."
Hear that everyone? They promise. It's not like Microsoft has ever backtracked on promises or anything....