First off, when did SW:TOR let go of the hotbar saleman? Who the hell is selling you chunks of the UI for the low low price of ‘bend over this barrel please’ in that dumpster fire of a game now?
That aside, today he is talking about lockboxes, because everyone is (thanks EA, have a downvote!), and, no joke, is talking about how to ethically design them. That’s right, the guy who use to sell you pieces of the UI that was intentionally taken out to make playing without paying suck, is now talking about how to fairly design lockboxes. I think his next topic is going to be “Heroin, not that bad in small doses, try some kids!”.
“I’m pretty fine with those guys paying a lot of money so that a whole bunch of kids without money or credit cards can play my games for free “ – Damion “The whole UI is extra” Schubert
And of course he jumps on the whole “but but its 2017, videogames are oh so expensive to make now whaaa” train, which pulls up right behind the “but but what about the kids?” express of fake outrage over something.
You know what 1995 videogame devs had to pay to sell a game? Thousands and thousands for a short window of shelf space in a store, assuming they even had that possibility if Nintendo or Sega let them make a game for their console. Also the PC gaming market was super hot compared to today… The other option? Not make games and get a ‘real’ job instead.
Today? It’s $100 or so to get listed on Steam, which will put your game in front of millions of people, forever. Gee which one sounds cheaper? Oh you know what else cost money in 1995 but is absolutely free today? The physical box, the printing of the manual, and having to ship a game that is 100% fully done because you can’t change it later. But boo hoo in 2017 video game devs have it so rough because they can’t all take an existing engine, change a bit of code, throw in some pre-made art assets, call it PUBG, and be literally set for life after 20+ million copies sold in early access. Or hey, just take your fan made mod, give it a new title, and be able to retire at 30 because you own the company running LoL.
Banished and Stardew valley, both A+ quality games, were made by one person. ARK was made by a small team. How many games were successfully funded via Kickstarter and delivered? None of that was happening in 1995. The average game dev in 2017 is MUCH better off than that same dev in 1995, and it’s not even remotely close. And for gamers? Steam sales, humble bundle, the fact we have thousands of new titles a year? Please, 1995 sucked in comparison as well.
Of course if your gaming ‘talent’ caps out at “I removed the UI and sold it back to people boss!” you are going to cry about how rough it is, but spare me the sob story. Blowing 500m to bring us the much-wanted 4th pillar isn’t an example of the rising cost of video games, its an example of not having the first clue on how to make a decent game. The cost was just icing on the shit cake. You want to know the difference between 500m for SW:TOR and whatever GTA:V cost? One game was good and made money, the other drove all the big money out of a genre for a decade.
The saddest thing in all this garbage related to power lockboxes is that plenty of examples already exist in gaming of in-game purchases done right. LoL doesn’t sell power and somehow not only manages to be the biggest game out year after year, but pulls in a ton of cash. PUBG is the new hotness, and surprise, also only sells you fluff. Yes, via lockboxes, but if its fluff, I don’t care if its delivered on a unicorn or at the bottom of the ocean.
The reason games like SW:BF2 sell you power items in lockboxes isn’t because they are ‘trying something new’ or want you to feel a sense of accomplishment, but because they are shit-tier games that won’t be relevant or popular in 6 months, so they need to collect as much cash as possible right away. The lack of ethics here is knowing that if you polish a turd enough, you will fool people into buying in short-term. It’s pump-and-dump, but in the videogame world. And the saddest thing about all of it is that people get burned, get mad for a minute, and then when the next polished turd comes around, they get right back in line asking for more. That model will never lead to anything great or resume-worthy, but hey, it makes some money, and for some that’s all that matters.
To bring this back to talking about 1995, games that rely on power lockboxes to make money are the 2017 version of a movie-based videogame; a piece of shit produced by people who didn’t care, but knew they would sell enough simply based on the fact that they had a popular movie on the cover to fool enough people to make the next one.