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2017 started off with some really fantastic games during the first quarter of the year. You had Yakuza Zero, Resident Evil 7, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nier: Automata, Dragon Quest Heroes II, and Persona 5 to name a few. That’s not even counting the slew of fantastic indie games that have been taking up more and more of my time these days. Sadly, it seems like after the halfway point of the year, some incredibly disgusting things started to happen. Games that I was looking forward to were coming out of the woodwork with really despicable, greedy, undeniably shady, and should probably be illegal-by-law tactics within them. These practices come in the form of loot boxes and microtransactions that cost real world money. I mean, these things have been around from maybe 2012 to now, but for some reason, the industry decided to go full force on making sure that your $60 purchase just wasn’t enough to make the developer and publisher money. What games inspired this article? Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, Star Wars Battlefront 2 (the new Battlefront, not the old one), 2K’s sports games, Destiny 2, Forza 7, and Activision just constantly shoving those things into a 10 year-old game that just got remastered. It’s gotten to a point that publishers are more willing than ever to make sure you spend money on those additional expendable purchases. Those one-time purchases that cost you money will be forced into these games, the games will be balanced out to make sure you spend more money than you honestly should, and you get the idea.
It made me think really hard as a critic/content creator, and as said critic, as of right now, I will no longer be supporting games with loot boxes, microtransactions, and other really shady business ideals. That means I will not be reviewing the games listed above, or any future game that has microtransactions or loot boxes that require real world money. I will probably play these games secondhand through Gamefly, but I will not be talking about them or supporting them from this point on. I don’t want to give them the time of day when I would rather talk about games that have great value that aren’t asking for more money on top of your purchase of the game. I won’t be blacklisting season passes unless they pull something like Star Wars Battlefront did where they wanted you to spend $50 more on top of your $60+ purchase. I just don’t feel good in reviewing a game, and enjoying it, while these newly deep-rooted tactics are shoved into the game, changing how the game is played, and manipulating people who might have gambling problems, or people with more money than brains. I wish the developers didn’t have to suffer through this, since I know they work hard to deal with big publisher shenanigans, but if that has to happen, then so be it. I hate that I have to decline giving Shadow of War press, because I loved what I have seen of the game with the improved Nemesis System, the multitude of Orcs that have varying and amusing personalities, and so on, but sorry, I won’t be buying or reviewing your game. I hate that I won’t be reviewing Assassin’s Creed Origins, since I love the setting and the gameplay of it, but sorry, you won’t be getting a review from me. I might check them out down the line, but that will be more my own personal time with the game, than for reviewing purposes.
These studios and publishers act like they need more money from consumers, since buying an already expensive game in an already expensive hobby is simply not enough anymore, when I just don’t believe that garbage they are spewing. If a $60, $80, or more purchase is not enough, then maybe, just maybe, you should stop bloating up your ridiculously expensive budgets on the game and marketing. I don’t believe them when they say they need more money. EA makes billions every year off their sports games. If they need more money when Fifa makes $800 million, then that’s scary. It helps that some games and studios know how to balance out budgets and make sure they are not in the red when a game doesn’t do well, unlike EA that takes no blame for the failure of its games, and instead swallows up developers and blames them.
So, yeah, I might be a smaller reviewer than some, but I will be making a stand right now. I will not review games that you have to buy, and have loot boxes, microtransactions, and other shady elements. This means, that I will not review most big budget third-party games, and will instead talk about more indie titles and first-party titles. People can argue that, as of right now, these controversies over loot boxes and microtransactions aren’t hurting them, but the gaming industry is super short-sighted, and we have seen what happens when they get too big for their pants, and we watch them crash and burn. I hope my stance and my reasoning for this will be taken to heart, and others will make other similar vows. Hopefully, people will wise up, fight, and argue back against them. I know it may seem like nothing is happening now, but just keep fighting, and hopefully, things will change. Or maybe the entire industry will crash and burn, but I hope for change to happen.