Well, that didn’t last long. While 2013’s Xbox One exclusive Forza Motorsport 5 did fairly well by critics, gamers ended up less than pleased with the final product. Their main complaint? The game’s aggressive use of microtransactions. This was particularly true when Forza 5 first launched, as many of the best cars were only available for exorbitant prices, while the game constantly pestered players to use ‘tokens’ (which cost real money) to unlock on-disc content.
Eventually, Turn 10 Studios listened to players, slashing the prices on vehicles and dramatically increasing the amount of in-game cash, but the damage was already done. Turn 10 Creative Director Dan Greenwalt admitted that Forza 5 wasn’t perfect, while the developers of Forza Horizon 2, the next entry in the Forza series, promised that the game would have no microtransactions at launch. To Playground Games’ credit, that was true; when Forza Horizon 2 came out in September, there wasn’t a single microtransaction to be found.
Today, that changes. In a post on the official Forza Motorsport website, Community Manager Brian Ekberg announced that tokens have returned, and can be used by Forza Horizon 2 players to buy “in-game items like cars, upgrades, etc.” using real money. It’s not as if Playground went back on their word, but that’s pretty sneaky just the same, especially given that the announcement is hidden amid a bunch of text about Storm Island, Forza Horizon 2’s massive DLC expansion, and a bunch of other new community features.
Now, Playground and Microsoft have clearly learned from their previous mistakes, and they’re going out of their way to make the new token system as unobtrusive as possible. Gamers who don’t like microtransactions can turn off any mention of them in Forza Horizon 2’s settings menu.
Further, many players on NeoGAF note that the microtransactions are completely unnecessary. Unlike its predecessor, Forza Horizon 2 gives out plenty of in-game cash, so dedicated players won’t need to grind too much to get the best vehicles. Instead of microtransactions, many of the commentators recommend that fans sign up for the Forza Rewards program, which gives advanced players millions of credits a month for simply investing time in the series.
That’s really what Forza Horizon 2’s token system comes down to; it’s not for everyone, and nobody has to buy extra content as long as they’re willing to actually play the game they bought. Microtransactions aren’t going away any time soon, and they’re always going to leave a sour taste in some gamers’ mouths.
At least, in this case, Playground Games seems to have handled the situation with as much class as possible. Even if the move is sure to rub some players the wrong way, they’re more free than ever to turn a blind eye (though the ability to do so without consequence may add a whole new dimension to the conversation.
What do you think of the studio’s decision? Are you against microtransactions in any form, or if they’re a necessity, is this approach one you can tolerate?
Source: Forza Motorsport