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Cliffy B Defends The Games Industry's Right To Make Money

Who bought the purple camo assault rifle?

Cliff Blezinski, or in this case Clifford, has taken to his personal blog ‘Clifford Unchained’ to defend the ubiquitous micro-transactions that have become a standard component of modern game releases. He makes the valid point that the games industry is by its nature a commercial enterprise, which has to make money, for itself, its publishers and its shareholders, simply for it to continue to function.

No one will dispute that fact. However, he then goes on to defend micro-transactions.

‘I’ve seen a lot of comments online about microtransactions. They’re a dirty word lately, it seems. Gamers are upset that publishers/developers are “nickel and diming them.” They’re raging at “big and evil corporations who are clueless and trying to steal their money. I’m going to come right out and say it. I’m tired of EA being seen as “the bad guy.” I think it’s bullshit that EA has the “scumbag EA” memes on Reddit and that Good Guy Valve can Do No Wrong…’

‘However, it blows my mind that somehow gamers don’t seem to get that Valve is a business, just like any other, and when Valve charges 100$ for an engagement ring in Team Fortress 2 it’s somehow “cool” yet when EA wants to sell something similar it’s seen as “evil.” Yes, guys, I hate to break it to you, as awesome as Valve is they’re also a company that seeks to make as much money as possible.’

I think many would argue that $100 engagement rings are unnecessary, and a clear effort to make more money. Either way, as we explored this morning, console gamers simply aren’t used to a continuous stream of payments and it’s them that are the majority of vocal dissidents, not people used to playing on their iPhones. Blezinski is completely right that the games industry has to make money, but many gamers, not just a vocal minority as he would have it, don’t agree with a system in which we’re constantly paying.

His full post can be found here.

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  1. Sad Panda
    Since: May 2010

    I don’t have a problem with developers making money. I do have a problem when they take the piss charging £60 for a game and then have the nerve to charge for in game items like a so called “free to play” game.

    Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 14:32.
    • SH Number 7/Mini-Lipscombe
      Since: May 2011

      Where are you buying a game for £60 you should probably shop else where.

      Comment posted on 04/03/2013 at 09:55.
  2. The Lone Steven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    There is a different between making money and being damnright greedy. Publishers make cash by releasing games and we buy them. I think everyone agrees that that is acceptable. But releasing day one DLC, putting mircotransactions in £40 games and trying to convince the gamer to use it by making sure that it is tedious to do without buying the transactions is not acceptable. We seem to be getting less for our cash. What used to be unlockable rewards in games are now sold as DLC. In fact, you can buy a key that unlocks everything. Which defeats the point of playing a game. EA are one of the worst offenders as they seem to be cutting content out to sell as DLC. Such as the ME3 Ashes to Ashes DLC and forcing their developers to develop a game within a strict deadline. Thus leading to half completed games sometimes.

    He would be annoyed if films started to use Mircotransactions. Pay £1 to skip the promos or wait 10 minutes to do so. I do agree that Valve were being greedy by charging £100 for an ingame item but they own steam and steam is generally regarded as one of the best online services in the industry so gamers may overlook that. Whereas, EA are EA.

    Many people don’t mind DLC being released as it gives the game more replay value and the developer makes more cash. Games like Skyrim tend to use DLC to extend it’s life and the publisher/developer recieves more income. In fact, i can’t think of a single open world RPG that has had day one DLC or online passes. O-o Focus on releasing DLC a few months after release, not one week and gamers may view you in a postive light. Instead of suspecting you of cutting out content to flog back to us. Or selling the bloody true ending as DLC! Yes, i mean you Capcom!

    Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 14:34.
    • kjkg
      Since: Apr 2010

      I don’t think you can actually believe we are “getting less for our cash”.

      I just can’t believe that is the case. Just look at the size of games, the scale, the replayability, the MP (which I personally don’t want), the backstory. All for the same price we were paying back in the 90’s.

      Technology has a huge part to play, I know. But I can’t understand anyone saying we are getting less for our buck.

      Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 14:39.
      • kjkg
        Since: Apr 2010

        Oh and as an example. Take the Tomb Raider series. New one is coming out. I believe there was chat of it being about a 15 hour campaign.

        Well that’s about the same as pretty much every TR game in the series. And quite a bit longer than TR the original from 1996. It was about 10 hours.

        We aren’t getting less for our games. We are being given more but getting asked to pay for some of it.

        Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 14:43.
    • CR8ZYH0RSE
      Since: Sep 2012

      plus 1.

      Comment posted on 02/03/2013 at 00:43.
  3. kjkg
    Since: Apr 2010

    The guy speaks sense. Everything he said is true. It’s not always nice but if you don’t like, don’t buy.

    And until a game (on the major consoles) comes out that is basically impossible to complete, then microtransactions are not an issue with me. I won’t buy them AND I’ll complete the game. Very simple.

    Oh and this paragraph is so accurate.
    ” You’re the vocal minority. Your average guy that buys just Madden and GTA every year doesn’t know, nor does he care. He has no problem throwing a few bucks more at a game because, hey, why not?”

    That’s why, when people on this website ponder who are these “idiots” that spend money on MT’s,they have to remember something. The “idiot” in videogaming is, and possibly always will be from now on, the majority.

    Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 14:34.
    • KeRaSh
      Since: Nov 2009

      I agree. There is a fine line between making money and screwing people over by holding back content to monetize it even further. I think there are worse companies out there than EA. Capcom seems to love charging a small fortune for Street Fighter costumes and lock DLC on discs but EA seems to get flak for basically implementing DLC content directly in the game.
      It’s a new direction and people tend to hate new things. It’s always been that way.

      Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 14:55.
    • bunimomike
      Since: Jul 2009

      With you all of the way on this one. People need to be vocal about things that don’t appeal to them. If things gather momentum, the publishers will sit up and take notice in the end. Especially when they’re earning themselves a genuinely bad reputation in the press.

      I’m enjoying Draw Something (still!). I’m on round 900 with one of my mates. Every couple of months I probably spend $5 on bombs/coins. Why not, eh? The game was close-to free for me to start with and has been very enjoyable month after month. If this wasn’t the case they wouldn’t get my money.

      People need to stop thinking that they have to buy these things. Head honchos will soon get the message if the majority is pissed off with something.

      Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 16:24.
  4. Starman
    Since: Jul 2011

    I fear that when we do vote with our wallets the publishers are more likely to blame the devs for not making a good enough game (regardless of whether it is) rather than blame their own forced in game purchases.

    Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 14:53.
  5. leeroye
    Since: May 2012

    Microtransactions do not belong on a full price retail game – end of. Fair enough for free to play games, but Console games are the most expensive form of games you can buy, theres no need to include transactions within them.

    Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 15:08.
  6. quinkill
    Since: Oct 2010

    I never really had a problem with Cliffy B until now. Unbelievable that he doesn’t actually understand the issue at all. People are pissed off about micro transactions because often it’s pay to win but even more often its pay to get the full game. The most recent example that comes to mind is Dead Space 3 (yes EA) when they wanted £2-3 to give scavenger bots a personality. This is not an essential part of the game but certainly gives the game character. Unfortunately another example that annoyed me (yeh EA again) was mass effect 3. So I played the full game and really liked it. Was a bit miffed about the ending but not really. Then I learn that EA have released the “proper” ending to mass effect 3 as dlc….what???!? So I payed £45 for the full get and didn’t get the ending?!? That’s the sort of thing we’re talking about Cliffy! Do some research next time rather than browse the Internet for popular memes!

    Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 15:14.
    • kjkg
      Since: Apr 2010

      In the case of Mass Effect, did they not only do that DLC due to the outrage at the original ending. I thought it was more (expensive) fan-service.

      Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 15:20.
    • wolf-OF-chaos
      Since: Feb 2012

      “Then I learn that EA have released the “proper” ending to mass effect 3 as dlc….what???!?”
      I thought that the extended ending was free, unless i’m thinking of something else

      Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 15:25.
      • KeRaSh
        Since: Nov 2009

        Yes it was/is free. People just like to blame EA, that’s all.

        Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 15:46.
      • Kennykazey
        Since: Mar 2010

        EA killed my cat!

        Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 18:49.
      • The Lone Steven
        Never heard of him.
        Since: May 2010

        Yeah, EA killed his cat. *breaks into a nervous sweat* Is it me or did it just get hot in here?

        Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 19:14.
      • SH Number 7/Mini-Lipscombe
        Since: May 2011

        Steven why is there a cats tail hanging out your mouth?

        Comment posted on 04/03/2013 at 10:04.
  7. Eldur
    Since: Nov 2012

    I’m getting increasingly tired of ‘Cliffy B’ since he’s left Epic. He wanders around making self-aggrandising and increasingly arrogant proclamations, expecting his words to be treated as some kind of gaming gospel.

    Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 15:16.
    • Motalla
      Since: Dec 2011

      Gaming gospel … that is something what could drive me back to church. Listen to the preachings of the new space pope, amen brother!

      Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 15:58.
  8. DJ Judas
    Since: Aug 2008

    15 years ago most DLC would have been a simple button combo away, and it was just called a cheat code.

    I don’t mind dlc that actually includes additional content, but paying for in game currency or cosmetic items that have no real use is pointless to me.

    Someone must be buying it though.

    Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 15:52.
  9. KillFelix
    Since: Feb 2011

    1) Gaming industry introduces micro transactions to all AAA titles
    2) Gamers lean more towards piracy to eliminate said pesky microtransactions
    3) Game sales suffer
    4) Gaming industry blames piracy, pirates blame gaming industry, everybody loses

    Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 15:57.
  10. Mathematicool
    Since: Mar 2011

    I agree with him in that I think that developers and publishers are allowed to make money however they want. It is the job of the consumer to show whether they agree or disagree with the decision by voting with their wallet. If someone is willing to pay $100 for an in-game item then that item is worth $100. That’s how it works outside of video games and that’s how it should work inside video games.

    However, I don’t like how he claims EA shouldn’t be labelled badly because of this. It wasn’t just overpricing that earned their reputation. For some it was the on disk DLC and for me personally it was because they have some of the worst customer service I have ever encountered and the fact they would force me to use services I don’t like (Origin). That is why I don’t buy games from EA any more.

    Comment posted on 01/03/2013 at 15:58.

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