Cliff Bleszinski has a lot of time on his hands these days, and has been weighing in on every industry hot topic under the sun in these past weeks. Today it's time for CliffyB's appraisal of the microtransaction situation.
His view? Well, according to the Cliffmeister, everyone should lay off EA, and remember that this is an industry, and that the number one purpose of large publishers is to appease their shareholders.
Oh, and Valve are just as bad. They just have a cuddlier public image.
"I’ve seen a lot of comments online about microtransactions," wrote Bleszinski in a recent blog post. "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.
"Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of Gabe and co most everything they do. (Remember, I bought that custom portal turret that took over the internet a while back and I have friends over there.) However, it blows my mind that somehow gamers don’t seem to get that Valve is a business, just like any other, and 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.” Yes, guys, I hate to break it to you, as awesome as Valve is they’re also a company that seeks to make as much money as possible.
"They’re just way better at their image control."
The point Bleszinski eventually reaches is that voting should done with one's dollars (or pounds), and that if you don't like a company's practices, you shouldn't buy their games.
"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.
"If you’re currently raging about this on GAF, or on the IGN forums, or on Gamespot, guess what? You’re the vocal minority. Your average guy that buys just Madden and GTA every year doesn’t know, nor does he care. He has no problem throwing a few bucks more at a game because, hey, why not?"
Why not indeed? See, it's really just our own fault. We asked for this as a mass consumer horde. When there are hundreds and thousand of people number crunching to work out ways to manipulate you out of your money, the oblivious window shopper doesn't stand a chance. But, apparently, that's fine. Everything's fine.
I need a drink.