Monetization in Gaming Is Getting Insane

Well, here we are again. Every time I think I’ve said all I have to say about this topic, another studio falls into the same cycle. Monetization in video games seems to be getting more and more out of hand. If you’ve played any AAA title in the last 6 years, you’ve surely seen it. Battle passes, exclusive skins, and sometimes pay to win features have spread throughout the gaming industry like a plague, and we need a cure. Badly. I never thought I’d see the day, but the first game that comes to mind is one that holds a special place in my heart.

Tekken Gives In

At the end of March, it was announced that Tekken 8 was going to have a fight pass. Already, I was a little skeptical. So far there hasn’t really been a good fighting game battle pass. On top of that, it’s a pretty common belief that a battle pass in a full priced game isn’t the best business practice. Well, Bandai Namco have proven that side of the fence right, as this current battle pass is possibly one of the worst yet. For starters, let’s look at one of the possible rewards for the paid pass.

Now I’m not one of those who claims this has ruined the game. It’s still fun despite the monetization and the new unintentional bugs from the latest update, but that’s a different discussion for another day. However, both issues have definitely affected my faith in the direction of the game. I mean, $10 for a pass that is mostly poses and an Unreal Engine 5 shader ball? I never thought I’d see the day.

This isn’t my first time I’ve went over this issue by any means, but it’s definitely one of the more disappointing instances. When I reviewed the game back in February, I praised it for not giving in to the dreaded mtx curse, as many reviewers did. It helped solidify a 10/10 score. But it feels like it was a purposefully omitted feature, one left out to boost scores and avoid bad press. But in all honesty, had it been in the game from day one, that ten would easily become a nine.

Fallen Foamstars

Angelus Victor, one of our editors and graphic designer, was the one who made me want to write this article when he brought up the issue with this game. Tearing a page right out of Fortnite’s book, Square Enix has woefully included an in game store as well, complete with pricey skins and a seasonal pass. While they caught flack for using AI art, I haven’t seen enough articles pointing out this cash grab of a feature. It seems the culture is so used to these passes that nobody bats an eye to them anymore, which I can say I understand for the average consumer. But for many like Angelus and I, often times it’s enough to turn one off of a game. For me, it was with Mortal Kombat 1’s in game store. If you read my last article on this topic, you know exactly how that went.

While it does allow for new characters to be unlocked, this Fortnite style pass is still a disappointment.

The Biggest Stomach Turner

I won’t talk about it long, because it’s pretty much a given at this point. But the Call of Duty franchise has cemented its place as the greediest AAA series of all time with its recent promotional premium content. Recently, to promote the new Kong x Godzilla movie, they released a new collection of packs, complete with a new weapon that costs $80 to unlock! That’s ten dollars more than the game itself. If the justification was to make money from players that play the free Warzone mode, that point is basically moot now. Because if one considers buying this for use in Warzone, they’d be better off buying Modern Warfare 3. How this was approved for sale is beyond me. But what does anyone expect? It’s modern Call of Duty one hundred percent.

Is There a Cure? Or at Least Some Medicine?

I’m gonna keep it real with you: I know that battle passes and in-game stores aren’t going anywhere. But that doesn’t mean they have to always be so damn egregious. The first major example that comes to mind is Helldivers 2. In that game, there are passes, and there are premium items, but you don’t have to spend your hard earned money or miss out to partake. In Helldivers 2, their passes (called War Bonds, aren’t a limited time affair, and the premium currency doesn’t require your wallet to interact with. You can find the premium currency in storage areas during your missions. All it takes is a little extra time and exploration. A small price to pay in a game that’s downright fun.

Plus everything is obtainable in the base pass. No fear of missing out here.

And that’s how it should be. Players shouldn’t be penalized for not wanting to or just being unable to spend their money on customization features. Why punish the people who already spent $45-70 on your game already? If you’re going to make money either way, gatekeeping any feature in a game shouldn’t be a thing. It’s a simple fix to a growing problem in the industry, and it’s nice to see that Arrowhead Studios gets it. I’ll gladly support any studio that doesn’t let greed get in the way of making a fully enjoyable experience.