Game Dev Holiday "Deals"

Please tell me I’m not crazy when I say devs are going completely overboard with in-app purchases this holiday season? This has been a trend for years, and I could go on and on but I think we are all on the same page:

  • It was cool when devs made holidays fun with free gifts thanking us for playing their games.
  • It was perfectly okay to have event rewards for playing the game, but not some obscene amount of time, maybe an hour or two per day max…and if they allowed purchase, more options for the time-challenged.
  • It was even fine when there were cheap cosmetics on sale for maybe a dollar, silly stuff that disappeared, icons, emotes, whatever. Some bought them, some didn’t, it wasn’t a status symbol it was just for fun and the game was still the core focus (or playing with friends).

Now…here we are in the era of Fortnite and Overwatch etc. and we are getting time-gated in BFA for those of us playing WoW (with the annual wallet-draining Festive Items), Fallout 76 is trying to milk $40 out of players for some emotes (static, not even gifs) and a Santa suit (same price as game…for now), the mobile game I play added an event that will cost $600 to complete (can earn about $5 worth of tokens), and Hearthstone added a $20 winter bundle to store (cheaper cards for whales and occasional spenders, :expressionless:). It’s sad when Fortnite, with their Seasonal Battle Pass ($10-25, depending on how much you plan to play), is somehow the most charitable seeing as they give players ALL seasonal content for that price assuming you play and enjoy that kind of thing.

Now from an investor standpoint I step back and think yes, the gaming industry is here to make money. Preferably lots of money. All the money if possible. And games used to be priced reasonably – $60, one and done for AAA, no DLC, no expansions, usually 100s of hours of content depending on genre. That wasn’t healthy enough (apparently) for video games as we saw many of the modest studios go bankrupt, disappear, or get gobbled up by larger devs. Even one-hit wonders were not safe – we would see a game smash through 1mil in sales, only to see the company release a mediocre follow-up and die.

The entire industry is renowned for extravagant spending and lascivious lifestyles when they “win big” by releasing a hit game, so it’s no surprise they rarely budget for the future, plan properly, anticipate failures, or build up a warchest to survive a winter/drought. That is a major factor – ballpark I’d say 80% of the industry’s money issues could be solved with a robot that asked “why?” every time a developer asked for something, having them justify it. The robot wouldn’t even deny them the purchase, it would just delay it long enough the devs might think “maybe we don’t need that” or “I really don’t want to fill out 17 pages of paperwork just to have the company buy me six curved-3D 2160p monitors”. The other 20% of the money issues does come from smart pricing – initial, sales, stairsteps, dynamic, in-app, etc.

When did it become okay to ask $15 to shade my Power Armor rusty blue? :face_with_monocle: Why do I need to summon 130 five-star heroes (the odds of which are 3.16% during the event, so estimated 4114 summons) to unlock a ton of new artifacts, gear, and a new hero? For perspective on this unnamed game, I have 526 five-stars after 15 months of playing, so I average about 40/month now…effectively 3 months of summons during Christmas event (1 week) only possible with ~$600 of bundles and “holiday packs”. :money_mouth_face: What happened to a thank you for playing?

Oh, and then there is Warframe and Path of Exile happily chugging along being awesome. Warframe did release some Winter Glyphs for purchase but you can earn it with raiding per usual (and it won’t take 3000 hours). Path of Exile devs gave us a DLCs worth of new content, for free. League of Legends did their tailored “just for you” shop which is surprisingly nice giving you up to 6 deeply discounted on skins for champions it already knows you play and like (my price 405RP vs 675RP cheapest: 40% cheaper than generic public sale, Dragon Sorceress Zyra so tempted). So there are exceptions.

TL;DR – Just wanted to know the games you are playing with microtransactions and in-app purchases, what they are doing for the holidays and what the most likely purchases you think are worth versus the most egregious and gouging. Also, make your prediction for market trajectory, like will the industry keep doing these things or scale back a bit, or push even harder down the road of monetization?


It will get worse, it always gets worse.


Personally I’d switch that from developer to executive/suit. Most of these problems don’t stem from the people who are connected to the games they’re making, but from the money hats who just see profit…a la Kotick.

Fortunately for me I don’t do micro transactions and aside from Dead Space 3 can’t think of anything I’ve played that has them.

The GAAS model is the future…more’s the pity for us all…


… i don’t, i try to stay faaaar away from those, so it doesn’t ruffle my beard…

“i fart in their general direction” and all that,
a pox upon “laive surhveeces” and dumbass CEO’s that don’t understand the concept of finite wallets and marketshares

oh boy :disappointed:
-well now might as well be as good a time as any for me to go hide in a dumpster, i mean what’s the worst that could happen, it catches fire? :grimacing: :smile:

anyone peddling mars tickets yet? :thinking:


Elon Musk is considering the MAAS-model (Mars as a Service), charging

  • $20,000/minute for video messages to loved ones,
  • $300,000/min for rover usage,
  • $500,000,000 for return trip to earth,
  • $0.99/min for laser usage in designated tunnels,
  • etc. :poop:

Meanwhile Rocket League is giving plenty of stuff for free, as they do about 4 times a year or more, even high-level expensive stuff can be unboxed for free as u can get 10 free cases which can be opened without purchasing a key


I really wish I got into warframe. When it came out and after a few years, it looked like it would shove micro-transactions in your face once players were invested. But it surprisingly didn’t.

I’d say these models made me very jaded with respect to trusting what game developers say their games are going to become. Paying for early access, season passes, DLC with game plots withheld, etc. I never know what will be done to trick me before I enjoy the whole game.

what the most likely purchases you think are worth versus the most egregious and gouging

If I ever pay for in-app purchases, it is way way after already investing a lot of time into the game and not feeling cheated the entire time. Which is subjective.

“Buying this will help me enjoy the game more” vs. “I can’t believe this game is trying to make me buy this.”


I find very funny that your avatar is Mind Control Tech from Heartstone. A tribute to not-so-old times maybe? Or try was a carefully chosen word, when you fail into the abyss of card games? Because I would understand that. I’m a sucker for card games. Luckily I stopped going sper mega duper arena pro in Heartstone; I only needed to find a greater addiction, MTG.

Don’t send help please, it’s too late for me. Save yourselves.


you do know WoW came before Hearthstone right?
and Hearthstone is basically ripped “assets” from WoW, so it might have been from a Hearthstone trailer, but i assure you i’ve never even considered touching that drivel or its mtx,
-like the other fellow Gnomes, this one comes straight from Azeroth baby :+1:


As much as I’m not fond of Blizzard at the moment I find it rather unfair to group Hearthstone in under the microtransaction and other “in-app purchases” umbrella of scumbaggery. Hearthstone is a collectible card game, just so happens it’s digital and you don’t have to pay up front for the client through which to play. In every other aspect it is no different from MTG, yugioh or pokemon.

The point of CCGs is that you buy cards to collect and play with and Hearhtstone is in that capacity one of the most generous ones there are. It is not at all possible to play Magic the gathering “for free” other than borrowing a deck from a friend. The additional cosmetic BS is really just that, if you want to pay $10 for a jpg and a few sound assets then be my guest. Hearthstone was always very up front about what it was and there’s really no trickery or preying on psychological weaknesses going on there. There’s a lot of predatory games out there but hearthstone really is not one of them.

That’s not to say it’s a great game, it got kind of boring and pointless some time ago and not worth putting neither my time nor money into, but I don’t regret what I spent on it. I spent what I wanted to spend and I got what I expected to get. Can’t really say anything against that.


The picture is literally from Heartstone, and yes, I did played WoW for a while. I find…strange that you use a picture of a game you never touched. Did you know N’zoth didn’t had any “face” until HS?

Edit: It happens to be one of the most iconic cards in the game by the way, you just picked basically a front-flag of the game.

It was the gnome who did it, without touching it, it seems. I play Heartstone and I find the monetary system quite fair. I just pointed out the use of the picture.


It always confuse me when things are picked out of context to another use, even if it has been done several times, with the roman eagle for example, and what not.


literally not :triumph:

see i really thought this would be enough to end the argument… i guess not :thinking:
but allow me to counter

Edit: maybe for youngsters that don’t know any better :wink:


Let’s play a game. What do you see here?

(Old photo of Swastica, now deleted for sensitive reasons)

New photo:


For anyone interesed, this was a politcal move to improve the image of Teodore Roosevelt, if I recall correctly because he was ill, the same with the secret train station. To this day, this is just a Teddy bear, or a plushie bear, and older meaning it’s just a relic of the past.

Nobody in their right mind would say to a kid: “So, I see you admire the figure of Theodore Roosevelt even after years of his work, kid! Good thing you support your country!” (or America, if the kid lives in another country).

While I have no idea why a non-empowering or apologetic use of a nazi symbol is a problem, I apologize to anyone who felt bad for seeing it.

you mean the old symbol from Asian/indian culture that’s been misappropriated to mainly be associated with Nazis these days?
apples to rotten oranges comparison out of this earth wiseguy, just because you want to be a smartass don’t mean you are any less wrong and farfetched
yea, kindly fuck off at this point

PS “everything” you see in Hearhstone is from WoW, even whatever stuff they haven’t copied straight off, -hope the revelation doesn’t make your pillow wet at a night


Woah woah woah, how did we go from talking about good and bad in-app purchases during the holiday events in our favorite games to @Eidos posting National_Socialist_swastika pictures? This is the silliest hijacking I’ve seen in a long time, cut your :poop: and get back on topic or I’ll boot both of you. :stuck_out_tongue:


Back to the topic at hand:
This gross monetization is the fault of publishers and executives, not developers. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.


Cmon @eidos what is with that? even if you are trying to make a point that is not cool, choose a different example and please don’t do that again.


Language and symbolism evolve, whether you like it or not. I was gonna use a Teddy Bear (Roosevelt) example but, to be honest, if you have to spit out disrespect every time, with with either passive aggresive emojis all the time pr with plain “fuck off” but kindly, sure, (because you’re very polite) I don’t really think you’re worth the time.

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@Gnuffi here says it’s not a nazi symbol but an indian one, and that was exactly my point. I didn’t know that symbol was so problematic used as an example. I don’t know, in fact, still, why it is. I guess we play this game here:

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