Sony Boss Defends Overpriced ‘Gran Turismo 6′ Microtransactions

Dec 5, 2013 by  

Gran Turismo 6 Jaguar XJ13

Driving simulators and microtransactions now appear to be two ideas that are growing synonymous with one another. With not many additional next-gen games are releasing in the wake of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launches, the gaming world’s largely been left to analyse a certain questionable trend that seemingly came hand-in-hand with the new consoles – namely the reaction at the increased inclusion of microtransactions in games like Forza 5 and Ryse, and the sports titles from EA and 2K. It’s not just the next-gen releases trying to force it on gamers, as Sony’s major PS3 exclusive Gran Turismo 6 is coming with absurd microtransactions as well.

Microstransactions started as a way to sustain struggling MMOs that couldn’t survive on an expensive subscription based structure and as a way for cheap or free mobile apps to earn. Today, they are increasingly becoming a way for game publishers to attempt to squeeze more money from consumers on top of the expensive $60 retail costs. We won’t even mention the sad reality that content is being left out and included in expensive DLC packs and season pass subscriptions. With so much clawing at consumer’s money, it is unnervingly common for a gamer to end up spending in excess of $100-$150 during a game’s lifespan.

Earlier today it was reported that Gran Turismo 6 was next in line to go after gamer’s wallets in a big way. It was announced that if players wanted the Jaguar XJ13 right off the bat, they’d have to cough up roughly $196. That is over three times the original price of the entire game  – or just as expensive as the PlayStation 3 you need to play the game on. It’s not hard to see exactly why gamers are concerned about the practice. They should be.

Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida had to go on the defensive over the decisions via Twitter after coming under-fire from concerned consumers. As one gamer threatened to boycott the game, Yoshida explained:

Yoshida Defends Gran Turismo 6

He continued, defending the practice by saying that there was nothing wrong with microtransactions as a concept, but that it could be problematic if games begin to be designed around it. In a manner of speaking, Yoshida is correct. Microtransactions can be used well and it’s only their dodgy implementation that is bad. The problem is that the implementation of  the microtransactions in Gran Turismo 6, which asks buyers to pay $60 for the game and then has the gall to charge nearly $200 for one of the game’s cars, is definitely dodgy implementation.

In saying that microtransactions are just another path for “busy people”, it suggests that Sony really just wants to capitalise on that niche. Every car in the game is available through normal play, but that understandably takes time. The problem is that in the past these kinds of short cuts were saved for cheats, letting players mess around with what they hadn’t earned yet. What Sony and Microsoft are both asking is for player’s to pay for permission to use cheats online – or access content they already paid for immediately. That is definitely a problem. Both in terms of what is ‘fair’ and also for players who do just want to play with certain car yet have to throw away money to do so.

While it perhaps isn’t as deplorable as selling a kart for $100 in a game aimed at children, it is comparable. The bottom line is that microtransactions in a game that a consumer has paid full price for is a shady, anti-consumer practice. Players of course don’t have to literally buy into microtransactions, but developers have the incentive to design games to force to grind for longer than they should in order to access content in an attempt to break their patience and make them pay (again). Gran Turismo 6 may not end up like that, instead allowing players to unlock cars with ease, but it is certainly opening another door for worse practices in the future. This is a slippery track that gaming is headed down and neither Sony of Microsoft are helping the situation with their respective franchise driving simulators.

There’s also the simple reality that no single digital vehicle in the game should cost $196. It’s absurd.

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Gran Turismo 6 releases December 6, 2014 for the PS3.

Source: Twitter

17 Comments

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  1. Yes. Reviews because they’re always so honest.

    Wait…is that… Kim Jong-il? In the picture? World renown golfer? It can’t be.

  2. If you think of playing a video game as “taking time” in a negative context, you’re probably not a gamer, or you’re playing a terrible game.

  3. I really don’t see what the big deal is. The microtransactions are for people who don’t have the time, meaning they have a busy job/family, so that they can get these cool cars. That doesn’t mean you have to freaking buy a 196 dollar car because you got the game. Just because its IN the game doesn’t mean people have to buy it. Microtransactions are stupid when its on my phone games and the level is impossible to beat without, then i have a problem, but this, no not at all. Its like putting you in a room saying “you can have car #1 which is free but its a little slow, or car #2 which is 100000$, but if you work for me for a week or so you can have it for free, but if you’re too busy just give me the money and be off.” See my point.

    • I see where you are coming from. You don’t HAVE to buy it. It only bothers me if that’s the ONLY way to get it. I don’t have time to game like I used to but I sure as hell am not doing that lol.

      Microtransactions like this could be accepted IMO if the publishers host tournaments for you to make a little cash over time.

      • The problems arise when you get developers who decide to jack up the difficulty of a game to try to force gamers to spend additional money just to move ahead in-game or stay competitive in multi-player.

  4. Also if people HAVE the money to spend on this, what’s the problem. I’ve definitely seen worse ways to spend 100$.

  5. Microtransactions: the scary future of gaming.

  6. I honestly don’t see what the big deal over micro transactions is, in this case I think buying $196 worth of in game money for just one car is very extreme to me, but for what its worth in my opinion I doubt its meant to be used like that, it would seem for feasible to do if a car was say 1.5 mil and I had just 1 mil on me but I didn’t feel like doing a bunch more races to get the last 500k, the 4-5 bucks doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea just to get yourself the rest of the way there for a car you’ve been waiting to get, personally I wouldn’t spend extra $ for anything like that, but that’s just me, but I seriously doubt seeing anyone spending that kind of cash just to unlock a bunch of high end cars quickly

    • It’s not in game money, it’s your real money.

  7. You don’t have time, don’t play

  8. Micro transactions should not even be in a fame if the game itself can stand on its own as far as longevity is concerned. If people end up losing interest, then something was not done right to keep people interested.

  9. Here is the great part… If game companies are going to use microtransactions, you can always put your money towards something else. Maybe a car, computer, etc…

  10. This has been around for YEARS, almost every title has a “time saver pack”.

    This is nothing new.

  11. Microtransactions themselves aren’t inherently BAD, but come on, people! 200 bucks for a freaking car in a video game? Are you serious? This should not become some kind of standard. I give game developers a LOT of slack as it is, but this is just ridiculous!

  12. Microtransactions in a game that cost $60.00 is stupid. Why don’t the publishers and developers just come out and say, we can’t manage a budget and belive consumers must pay more.

    Microtransactions are just more proof on how bloated the industry is. They can not sustain these budgets so instead of them making cuts, the consumer has to pay. I will laugh so hard when they all file for bankruptcy.

  13. Imagine a business where people hand you money and you hand them back absolutely nothing. -Ricky Tan, Rush Hour 2

  14. I just paid £200 for a wrecker that I’m going to race in real life on a rallycross circuit. £200 for pixels is ott imo. GTA5 charges 11.99 for 1.25 million ingame cash, I guess its just the trend at the moment to pillage and steal from Gamers wallets after they’ve already paid for the game originally.

    Sure if they were adding in additional content 6 months from now I might consider paying out another £30 but no way am i paying out for cars in a game that i’ve bought outright. I can sell the game disk and get real cash for that. items bought with micro transactions only benefit the company as they have no real world value and cannot be refunded, resold. It’s dead cash.

    I am appalled that in the age of recession, debt crisis and austerity world wide, companies are greedily making money by designing games that have a sole purpose to milk the cash cow.

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