NFS Dev on Microtransactions: Games Are More Expensive Than Ever To Make, Hard To Find Golden Path


The controversy surrounding microtransactions and their most recent incarnation, loot boxes (or crates, depending on the game), continues practically unabated.

Marcus Nilsson, Executive Producer of Ghost Games, talked about why microtransactions and the various implementations we've seen are becoming more and more common even in triple-A games. In an interview with Glixel, he said:

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It’s clear prices haven’t really gone up. That’s clear. I also know that producing games is more expensive than it has ever been. The game universe is changing in front of us now. We see more people playing fewer games for longer. Engagement is important. But how do we deliver longer experiences?

The bottom line is that it’s very hard to find this golden path that’s liked by everyone. We make games that are $60 and some might think that it’s worth $40. What’s the value in the package delivered? Something like GTA 5 and GTA Online versus The Last of Us, which you can play through in 10 hours. How do we value that? That’s probably a long discussion.

He does have a point. If games are more expensive than ever to make and the base prices aren't rising, then the studios are forced to find other ways to improve revenue.

It would be interesting to see how gamers would react to a higher base price if it meant no microtransactions at all. By the way, Ghost Games is about to launch Need for Speed Payback (out on November 10th; stay tuned for our review), which will also contain microtransactions in the form of card drops, as explained by Nilsson.

When you finish a race you get a card drop. There are three cards and you pick one of them and that’s randomized and you can equip that to the car, send it to garage, sell it for cash or recycle it.

There are also shipments in the game that the core of the economy. In a shipment you can have in-game cash, vanity items and part tokens, (which are a way to go for a specific part you want.) There are also premium shipments you can buy. The only difference are the vanity items. They are mostly time savers.