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Op Ed

Eurogamer - Shooters: How Video Games Fund Arms Manufacturers.
While the benefits of using licensed weaponry are clear for the game maker, the benefits to the gun maker - aside from the licence fee - are less obvious. However, just as cigarette companies used confectionery to market their products to children, so gun makers can use video games to increase awareness of their products amongst those too young to buy them. As Vaughn puts it: "Video games expose our brand to a young audience who are considered possible future owners."

GameFront - Dead Space 3′s Microtransactions Set A Dangerous Precedent.
The worst part of all of this is the dangerous precedent it sets. I’m willing to give Visceral Games the benefit of the doubt and believe that Dead Space 3′s crafting resource drop rates aren’t tooled to encourage players to keep their credit card handy. But if the practice of including these kinds of microtransactions becomes commonplace, then it won’t be long before publishers clue into the fact that they can build psychological devices into a game to extort money from players — see Jamie Madison’s blog, The Psychology of Gaming, for frightening insight into how developers can and have manipulated us into playing longer, paying more, and keeping us as repeat customers. There isn’t a wide chasm between a CEO posing the question, “What content in our game can we allow players to pay to skip?” and, “What can we include in the game that players will want to pay to skip?”

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8. Re: Op Ed Feb 1, 2013, 08:46 Beamer
I'm going to start this by saying I think that microtransactions like this IS a dangerous precedent, and I think that once developers and publishers (yes, both sides) see the money rolling some, if not most, would be unable to prevent their design from being swayed.

In a perfect world, though, it would have made perfect sense. Create a game as you would, then let people pay to make it easier. I'm not saying you change the game to incent that, you just take advantage of people that have more money than patience.

Take, for instance, BL2. If they let you buy legendary weapons, even at just a quarter apiece, they probably would have made at least an extra buck per sale. Given that legendaries are randomized, some people would have spent $5 just to get a 94% Sham. People are already duping these like crazy, so it wouldn't really change the game. It just would have added a revenue stream for Gearbox without really harming anyone.

But, the flip side, is given how low those damn legendaries drop now, everyone would accuse them of having rigged the game for cash. We would have been certain of it. Convinced. And we'd hate Gearbox for it.
In that way, it's better not to burn that goodwill (fairly new for Gearbox) and create that suspicion.

And I don't think any of us doubt that Randy would see the extra several million bucks of pure profit and not think "hmm, maybe a 0.25% drop rate for the Sand Hawk is too high. Next time, 0.025%!"
Music for the discerning:
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