March 6, 2013
Cliff Bleszinski On Micro-Transactions: SUCK IT UP
Say whatever you feel is necessary for you to validate your feelings towards Cliff Bleszinski; his unnecessarily obnoxious behavior, his oversized teeth that give him the resemblance of the Easter bunny, or his radical opinions about the state of the gaming industry that have been dropping as of late. That last one has intrigued me to no end as the next generation of console gaming slowly approaches its birth and Cliffy’s opinion is nothing short of sorrowful and pumped with remorse in his latest blog on Micro-Transactions.
Of course, as gamers, when we read the term micro-transaction, our minds dash immediately to the name Electronic Arts (EA). These guys aren’t very loved by gamers in recently, and probably shouldn’t be when we consider the absolute drivel that our plates have been piled with in the last few years. It started with Mass Effect 2 walking away from the previous installment in the series with a less intensified RPG system and smaller weapon arsenal. These changes aren’t that much of a surprise. Every game developer is trying to make the experience easier for us to enjoy, but EA went a step further by offering in game DLC (Dubbed Micro-Transactions) for Mass Effect 3, and their latest published Battlefield game.
To begin, Micro-Transactions aren’t the worst thing in the world to me. In essence they’re just DLC items that are put in game to make it easier to purchase, with no loading screens or dashboard jumps to plague gamers trying to score a new sniper rifle. And yes, while neither DICE nor EA are forcing us to buy these DLC items, the fact of them still awkwardly being in the game takes away from the experience. How is this worth the flak that the gaming community as given to EA?
In recent years, EA has been branded “The worst company in America” for their so-called ‘Heinous’ acts of nickel and diming of the modern consumer. Cliff Blezinski thinks its absolute crap. Just recently, Bleszinski put out a blog about Micro-Transactions and the needs of the company to remain just that: a company.
Before this Bleszinski claimed that the gaming industry was in a “A State of Turmoil,” and is now calling out the haters and radical protestors of Electronic Arts recent claiming that they would continue to implement Micro-Transactions. Clearly they don’t care about pissing someone off.
Cliff thinks its absolute crap that EA has been branded the worst company in America “Simply because they found a business model that works”. Really, Cliffy? He goes on to describe the true purpose of what a gaming company is; a company that like all other companies, has a purpose rooted in making money and feeding their families. In essence, this makes them a profit based company, so any move that they make to pull in money is justified due to them being the manufacturer and you being the consumer.
He finishes off his blog by stating that if we hated the strategy so much then we need only look in the mirror for a finger to point; it was the gamer that made that model successful. He states that if we didn’t buy so easily into the practice, then EA wouldn’t have a micro-transaction model to implement. From here he states that the only way to beat it is simply by not buying into it.
“You vote with your dollars”
This is pointless. Cliff pulls the rug right under the gamer’s feet and claims that we have no justification for stating an opinion about a serious issue. In missing the point almost entirely, he swings the ball right over our heads and into a realm of logic that makes no sense. To be frank, it’s not the fact that it’s a business model that works. We’re gamers, not whining idiots. What bothers them so much is that it’s a disrespectful aspect to the art form of playing a game. Could you imagine traversing through Monster Hunter’s fictional world slashing dragons when all of sudden we see a Buster Sword that is priced at 0.99 cents?
It’s disheartening. No one wants to be taken out of the experience of the game because the publisher didn’t want to be patient enough to release a DLC pack at least three months after the main launch for this content. Not only that, but simply paying for boosters in multiplayer severely imbalances a game.
When Battlefield 3 released years ago, its multiplayer was regarded as one of the most polished and mind numbing experiences in today’s market. Its rank up system required gamers to push for higher points in matches so that they could rank up with more customization options for their avatar as well as a few really awesome weapons. Not long after Battlefield’s release, DICE announced a way for players to pay for their gaming experience: to bypass the dozens of hours it takes to achieve all of the unlocks in a single second.
This left a despairing community in awe and anger as they were chastised into playing games with other players that clearly hadn’t achieved their resources through noble means.
Is Cliff right about whining gamers and unfair/fair business practices?