Microtransactions: they’ve become an integral part of the video game ecosystem, but they’re also arguably the worst creation of the past few years. Yet, they are here to stay, as more and more franchises begin to adopt the business model.
One such franchise to jump on the mircrotransaction train is Gran Turismo 6, Polyphony Digital‘s latest simulation racer. The game has been in development for several years now, but it was only earlier today that we finally caught wind of the microtransactions.
Gran Turismo 6 deploys the fairly standard microtransaction business model — offering in-game currency in exchange for real currency. That in-game currency, called Credits, can then be used to bypass Gran Turismo 6‘s natural progression and unlock better cars earlier.
Here’s a breakdown of the Credit groupings and their associated cost (converted from Euros to USD):
- 500,000 Credits = About $6.50
- 1 million Credits = About $13.00
- 2.5 million Credits = About $26.00
- 7 million Credits = About $65.50
As Eurogamer points out, one of Gran Turismo 6‘s highest rated cars, the Jaguar XJ13, is valued at 20 million credits in game. That means that if a player wanted to unlock said car early, they would need to pay roughly $196, more than triple the price of the retail game.
Obviously, this is only an option, no gamer has to put forth the money — they can presumably unlock any car on their own — but that price tag is no less shocking. With Forza 5 and now Gran Turismo 6 taking on this approach to unlocking cars, it seems the microtransaction-based business model might be hear to stay, at least for the time being.
While microtransactions in triple-A titles are nothing new, their prevalence has grown in recent years. Sure, the idea of getting to a game’s top tier content faster by paying (read: pay to win) is a viable option for some, the idea becomes more complex under closer examination. For example, what’s to keep a game from gating a player’s progress to the point they feel “paying to win” is the only option?
With Gran Turismo 6, that answer is unclear, if only because the game isn’t available yet. But early reports on the game suggest the progression is not unlike what’s featured in past franchise iterations.
Nevertheless, the fact that GT6 adopted such a troublesome business model might put fans off. We’ll see how fans truly respond when the game drops on Friday.
How do you feel about racing games offering players the opportunity to buy cars early? Have you ever bought in-game currency to jump ahead?
Gran Turismo 6 releases December 6, 2014 for the PS3.