This year, I was actually observing the multiple announcements of new or coming games. Each time when it was something I might be interested in, I had the same thoughts:
- “I hope it’s not for mobile.”
- “I hope it doesn’t get ruined with micro-transactions.”
- “I hope its DRM doesn’t break it.”
“I hope it’s not for mobile.”
Why am I so against mobile games? 3 reasons:
The mobile gaming space is plagued with unengaging free-to-play shovel ware: they keep you coming back by using cheap tricks, not stellar gameplay. They usually have some energy system to prevent you from finishing the game too fast. That way, you regularly come back and fall into a routine and keep playing the game even if it stops being fun. Even well-known developers aren’t immune to it: there’s a long list of free-to-play games that I tried and turned out to be bland.
Sometimes I see advertisements making games look like they might have fun gameplay, like problem-solving puzzles, but after downloading them, they turn out to be a completely different game, usually a matching game. Why is it that those adverts aren’t pulled?!
Bad mobile conversions just feel clunky. I’d rather play on a real console than deal with that.
So far, I have only found a few free-to-play mobile games that actually are engaging and make me comeback by being engaging! Sadly, most aren’t available in my region, at least, in the Google Play Store. While you can get around that with side-loading you still need to be able to do it. That’s extra work. And it’s something you can’t do on unmodified Apple devices. But I’ve had my fill with bad mobile games. I’m sticking to what I know are good games.
“I hope it doesn’t get ruined with micro-transactions.”
What’s wrong with micro-transactions?
If micro-transactions are implemented well, I don’t mind. I mean, that’s the business model of good free-to-play games! Good micro-transactions feel fair to those that don’t buy them, meaning you can earn whatever benefit it is just by playing. The game doesn’t feel like you need to buy the benefit to play.
But time and time again, micro-transactions are implemented badly. You need way too much time to unlock whatever it was you unlock or the game just becomes unplayable without buying the micro-transaction or you can’t earn it by playing.
That’s just for free-to-play games but when I buy a game at full price, I expect to be able to get full enjoyment from playing without buying extra stuff. Paid DLC is very borderline in that regard, but if there’s core game content locked and micro-transactions is the way around that it just feels like exploitation.
The argument “that’s just how it is today” is not true. We, the consumer, just let the companies do this to us. We can just stop playing such games. Without people leaving, companies won’t realize what we want. As long as we just blindly accept the current state, companies will continue to do whatever they want. But alas, people just keep buying… The economy doesn’t fix issues if we don’t use the instruments economy gives us.
“I hope its DRM doesn’t break the game.”
What’s wrong with DRM? If it’s done right, there’s not much wrong with it. Heck, I can understand that developers want to protect their sales!
But bad DRM makes games unplayable. Be it because the game servers went down, your internet connection has failed or is choppy, or the DRM just fails for other random reasons and makes the game unplayable. If consumers have to crack the game to play what they legally purchased your DRM is the definition of bad DRM.