Microtransactions are just another part of video gaming nowadays. Most of the time, these add-ons offer something cool, or interesting, or vaguely recognizable as a thing worth value ... if you squint and smack yourself in the head first. Most of the time. But sometimes a game expects you to pay money for stuff so stupid that it makes horse armor look like a Vanguard portfolio.
Sports games like NBA 2k19 are fertile ground for microtransactions, as companies can offer fans the opportunity to wear their favorite player's shoes, jerseys, or, uh ... megaphones?
See that "250,000" up there? That means the only way to acquire this item is either A) accumulating 250,000 virtual currency points by playing hundreds of matches without upgrading your stats, or B) swiping your dad's credit card and paying $50 in real-world money. Bear in mind that the game itself costs $60. Also, you can only buy this fancy megaphone after building your character up to level 92. Naturally, fans figured such an exclusive item had to do something awesome, and were excited to get it.
Then someone did, and they weren't so excited anymore.
Your reward for all the extra time and/or money spent is a janky animation of your character panhandling on a speaker. You can display 14 characters of your choosing on a sign next to you, and force other players in your immediate vicinity to hear you babble (as long as they have the in-game chat turned on). As for the value of such a proposition, let's hear some opinions from the players themselves:
Where most video game companies see basic functionality, the relentless innovators at Konami see dollar signs. Your first save file on Metal Gear Survive is free (or rather, included in the $39.99 price tag), but the next three will set you back $9.99 each. Want to replay the game on a harder difficulty, experiment with other characters/paths, or simply prevent your dumbass brother from messing with your file? Time to pony up.
With other games, at least you have the possibility of grinding for several hours if you want to accumulate in-game currency, but Konami made sure to make that as tedious as possible. The only ways to get "Survive Coins" are by logging in on certain days (which gives you a small bonus), completing limited game events, or giving up and throwing money at the company feasting on the carcass of your favorite series. Your call.
Guitar Hero Live was supposed to be that series' glorious return to relevance, but it ended up being a more frustrating and expensive version of iTunes. For starters, the base game only gives you 42 songs, making it the stingiest entry in the series (the previous installment had 93). You could purchase over 200 additional songs with play tokens acquired through the usual "grind or pay" system ... except you weren't really purchasing them. You only got to play the song ten times before having to pay for it again. Yes, this franchise has been around for so long that Activision is banking on most players having dementia.
You could also spend $6 to play any song as much as you wanted for a 24-hour period, but short of forgoing food and having a dedicated Guitar Hero Live budget, there was no way to own them permanently. Then there was TV mode, wherein random tracks were streamed 24/7, but that left you at the mercy of the programmers. We're guessing not a lot of people turned on the game thinking "Man, I hope I get to rock out to Hillary Duff today."
Of course, all these issues are moot, since Guitar Hero Live terminated the service on December 1, 2018. So now players are stuck with the 42 songs that came with the game and nothing else. Hope you still like timeless bands such as Paramore, Avril Lavigne, and Skrillex. Hahaha, remember Skrillex? Good times.
There once was a time when the Call Of Duty series' main gimmick was "making good games." The peak of that was Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, so fans were hyped when they heard the game would be getting an HD remaster. Sure, you could only get the remaster bundled with the $80+ special editions of Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare, but to some, it was worth it to get back to a simpler time before bloated storylines, weird celebrity cameos, and microtransact-
Huh, should have seen that coming.
Every item in the original Modern Warfare was unlocked by playing it. That's sort of the entire point of a progression-based leveling system. Purchasable "drop crates" actively work against that, but they actively work in favor of Activision making more money, so of course they added microtransactions to an existing game. Defenders pointed to the fact that the content of the crates was purely cosmetic, but that didn't last long.
Soon the developers were adding purchasable weapons that weren't in the original game, including an automatic rifle and a gladiator sword. Also, unlike pretty much every other HD remaster ever, this one did not include the DLC from the original game. Not only do you have to re-buy the DLC maps, but they're also more expensive now ($10 vs. $15). 50 percent inflation in only nine years? Thanks, Obama.
Microsoft's Solitaire started as a way to teach people how to use the mouse, and has since become a mainstay on all Windows operating systems. Apart from Windows 8. But we don't talk about Windows 8.
Anyway, Solitaire made a triumphant return for Windows 10, with some extra features -- mainly ads. Not little banners you can easily ignore, but full-screen, unskippable videos that play between games. To be fair, there is a way to turn them off, and that is to give Microsoft $1.50 per month, or $10 per year. Wait, that's worse.
For the full garbage mobile game experience, there are also "Daily Challenges," which give out extra coins. Another way to get coins is to play a bunch of new game modes so uninteresting that Microsoft has to bribe you to try them. Oh, and if you want to change the game's difficulty setting, you have to be online -- which is unfortunate, because no one has ever tried to play Solitaire while their internet was actually working.
E. Reid Ross has a couple books, Nature is the Worst: 500 reasons you'll never want to go outside again and Canadabis: The Canadian Weed Reader, both available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Follow Mike Bedard on Twitter to see a bunch of stuff and things.
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