"Skinner boxes" as a way to milk the player's wallet

I just read this post about “Skinner boxes”, which encourage one to use real money to get a little advantage ingame, just to lose it shortly after. Aka micropayments.


I guess many noticed this with EA and Ubisoft. I find it worth to notice, that this is no cheap trick but actually well thought manipulation, normal today. Hell even cheap mobile games seem to be successful with it.

I didn’t give much thoughts into this. I always resisted to go deeply into modern multiplayers because I feel like I would have to spend too much energy for it. That I feel stressed, not able to play with the tempo I want. In singleplayers like Fallout I sometimes choose to use weaker weapons because they fit the idea I have for my character. I would have no chance with this in onlinegames.

Hitman for example is perfect for me. I can easily let others do the fancy flying phone speedruns as it isn’t affecting my gameplay. I can shine with stuff which is fun for me.

What is your opinion about this?

11 Likes

i dont have anything against DLC in general, the DLC’s for Hitman, Dying Light and especially for the Witcher 3 are great Add-Ons for the Games and truly worth their money.
But EA and Ubisoft just rip People off, with their Season Passes, Microtransactions and pay to win Shit.
iirc people paid more for the Battlefront Season Pass as people that bought the DLCs seperatly.

gaming-then-and-now-2

13 Likes

I wonder how it will go with Star Citizen. I want to play it when it is released (whenever that is), but I have a bad feeling because alpha players pay for space ships atleast as much as for an AAA base game costs. Some even several hundret dollars.

If Hitman was made by EA i can totally see reskins and unlockables being behind a mirotransaction paywall:

Be the ultimate assassin with these limited edition gold coins! only £3:99!

and then there will inevitably be the people who are like “don’t worry it doesn’t affect gameplay so its ok. if you don’t want it, don’t buy it”

I know the suits in the GOTY are just that, microtransaction reskins, and i sound like a hypocrite for buying that, but i feel there is more value than “just suits” since there are escalations, weapons (that do affect gameplay to some degree) and new unique dialogue depending on that suit you are wearing. plus the whole IOI square enix thing.

I dunno, i think my biggest worry is companies like EA and ubisoft are going to look at Hitmans episodic content and take it to the absolute extreme:

“buy this weeks content: 2 escalations and a new unlock. only £5:99!”

6 Likes

While they have EA to worry about, we have stuff of our own to stress over…First it was gloves and now it stuff like briefcases, human shields, dual wielding silverballers, etc. They should feel lucky.

4 Likes

Was reading this article this morning:

I feel quite sorry for DICE. It must be galling to create a superb game for a much loved franchise, only to have it tarnished by whichever departments are responsible for structuring how the content is offered to the consumer.

Mentioned it the other day, but I do think the controversy over this title in particular is a groundswell of resentment aimed at EA for years of shady dealings and poor communication (rather than solely about BF2).

It’s interesting you mention ways of playing certain games in the OP. One of the girls and I have been playing for the last couple of days, checking out the different modes and running through the co-op levels. While the implementation of the microtransactions is scummy as hell, I don’t think it’s necessarily a game breaker in this instance; there are ways to have a lot of fun with it and progress without spending anything, especially if you’re playing casually or not in a particularly competitive way.

1 Like

Hey guys… just a random thought… what if say for microtransactions… You could buy say a special reskin of a weapon, armor, or item designed by a legendary artist (eg: Character skin designed by say Alex Ross or something) and the Microtransaction store was only going to sell 10 of them or something…

So they’d be expensive but you’d have the rarest of items (albeit virtual) in the game universe you’d have an unperishable collector’s item.

What do you guys think of something like that?

Sounds stupid, but there will always be those people who “have” to have everything, evenin if it means paying out the nose for what is just code.

Yeah… random brain fart… sorry. :stuck_out_tongue:

In regards to the suit pack for GOTY, I would have never bought it if it wasnt for the fact I “wanted” to help IO and that the existing game was full of free content and provided value for money.

I am very much against pay-to-win microtransactions and all types of loot boxes, i.e. Skinner boxes, and don’t want them to ruin more games (because, in my opinion, that’s exactly what they are doing – reducing video games to a mere service, devaluing the artistic and humanistic side of them), therefore I do the following:

  1. I boycott games containing loot boxes that can be purchased with real money;
  2. I spread the word around – inform people (gamers and non-gamers) about dangers and ethical issues of loot boxes in games
  3. I sing petitions/support causes that try to fight these unethical business practices – here is a petition to make ESRB declare lootboxes as gambling
2 Likes

I signed the petition. I am so done with companies like EA that keep thinking that the customer is nothing but a cow to milk,so retarded to not know what is going on. Their shitty excuses just do nothing but enforce my point,which is how greedy and shitty they are. They are as bad as Konami,Konami ruined P.T. and Metal Gear right?They fucked Kojima? Oh well EA killed so many studios and sold so much garbage to customers it’s a miracle no one hasn’t yet made a petition to eradicate them from the market.They are cancer to our beloved industry and I hope that sooner or later karma will catch up with them. From mistreating emplyees to D1 DLC they have done it all. I am also done with paying 60€ for a game,then spending 60 more to get the stuff I payed for or to win. Lootboxes should be taken into an open field and shot between the eyes. I agree on DLC when it’s done right and it’s customer friendly but EA just shits on the whole idea of dlc. Here’s my 2 cents. Fuck EA,fuck lootboxes,fuck paytowin.
.

1 Like

TH-TH-THATS COMMUNISM!

FREE MARKET!

– people

thats why.

1 Like

The gaming industry would be better off without EA,Activision and all that garbage. Hopefully one day bankrupcy will hit them.
Or the suits upstairs will be replaced hy people that actually give a shit about the customers. Either way,not buying an EA game 'till the moon turns pink.

1 Like

Looks like there could be hope yet. Not talking about for EA.

3 Likes

Highlights of the EA predatory behavior announcement

It bugs me a little that the loot system in BF2 keeps getting compared to mobile games, when it’s also the same point and pack structure EA Sports have been using in their annual titles for about five years now.

BF2 is at least a 16+ game in the UK due to the violence; titles like FIFA are 3+, and introducing this form of gambling to arguably a much younger audience. Almost all the 9/10 year-old boys in our daughter’s class play FIFA: what’s worrying is that many of those, not knowing any better, probably consider this type of structure to be the norm, and may – unless it’s nipped in the bud – take it as accepted practice as they get older.

While legally the gambling element is masked by a points system and a very vague description of what each pack/crate contains, you would hope that at some point somebody would step in, investigate, and legislate against these practices. In the UK at least it has been covered by programmes like Watchdog, but only ever in a sardonic and typically British way.

I know fellow players and colleagues who spend hundreds/thousands of £s/$s every year on these titles: they have the potential to make even perfectly sensible adults get caught in an annual addictive cycle of over-spending on pixels with a shelf life. I really do hope this recent BF2 uproar has enough momentum to keep going and spread right across the industry. It would be wonderfully poetic if the Star Wars franchise and its fans were the ones to bring these dark practices to an end. :grinning:

2 Likes

An open letter to DICE, EA, and other devs: I am 19, and addicted to gambling

I started spending on in app purchases, moved to real video games, started on CS:GO skins, then into the gambling scene there. Spent around 10k, that I can prove, in the last two years. Please help micro transactions to be known as a far more dangerous type of purchase than a pack of gum. At my worst I was working two jobs and considering dropping out of high school. Please consider how unregulated micro transactions can effect the youth of the world.

Spread this. We have to stop this unethical business practices! Loot boxes are bad - cosmetic or non-cosmetic!

1 Like

Microtransactions are a rip-off, and their only place is free to play games. Also, there are excuses for microtransactions, not matter how much they affect the gameplay. Shadow Of War, for example, is defended a lot, while it did almost the same thing as EA.

Nice jab at EA!

2 Likes