Update 4/25: Mortal Kombat 11 director Ed Boon clarifies on Twitter that a "vast majority" of skins will not be made available through the Premium Shop. Original story follows.
Since yesterday's Mortal Kombat 11 release date, an increasing number of details about the game's progression system have become clear, and the picture being painted is not a pretty one. Indeed, fans are voicing a great deal of frustration about the grind associated with obtaining cosmetics in Mortal Kombat 11, and NetherRealm Studio has already promised that a fix is on the way. However, what the developer has not addressed is the absolute absurdity of the microtransactions currently being offered.
From within Mortal Kombat 11, players can access the game's Premium Shop, which allows them to directly purchase cosmetics such as character skins, intros, and taunts. Purchasing these cosmetics through the shop requires Time Krystals, a virtual currency that can be obtained in extremely small quantities through gameplay. They can also be bought for real world money at a rate of approximately $1 per 100 Time Krystals.
This sort of cosmetic-only microtransaction configuration will not likely come as much of a surprise to many veteran players, but the extent of the Mortal Kombat 11 microtransactions might. At this point in time, a single new skin for a fighter costs $5. Getting one new intro for a character will set a player back $7.50.
For comparison, some fans have been quick to point out that Nintendo has recently allowed players to purchase Persona 5's Joker as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. With this offering from Nintendo, players receive a new playable character, a new stage, and new music for $6, which is less than the price of a single character intro in Mortal Kombat 11.
Attempting to parse the full scope of the Mortal Kombat 11 microtransactions is currently a challenging endeavor, as information is still coming in. That said, there are inferences that can be made based on the details that are available now.
For instance, each Mortal Kombat 11 character in the roster has 60 possible skins. Thus, if a player wanted to pay to unlock all of the skins for their favorite character through the Premium Shop, they may find themselves spending money in the realm of $300, with each skin costing $5.
It has also been reported that gear pieces are hitting the Premium Shop for $3 each. Each Mortal Kombat 11 fighter has 90 possible gear pieces, meaning that players may need to drop around $270 to directly purchase all of the gear for a single character.
The reason that this information still remains a bit speculative is due to the way that the Premium Shop functions. Specifically, only five cosmetic items are available at a time, and they seemingly rotate every six to eight hours. This means that, with the Mortal Kombat 11 release date coming just yesterday, only a handful of items have been available through the shop so far.
As such, players are not currently able to confirm that every cosmetic will even be available through the shop, or if costs may be variable within a specific type of cosmetic. One thing is for certain though, and that is if a player wishes to buy a specific cosmetic through the Premium Shop, they will need to wait for the item to find its way there, and then hope that they catch it before it rotates out.
This is extremely problematic, because players that would simply like to pay for the cosmetics they want are not able to do so. Those interested in entirely bypassing the progression system and buying every one of a character's Mortal Kombat 11 skins can't do so under Mortal Kombat 11's current microtransaction system.
To provide some further context for the egregiousness of all of this, Mortal Kombat X offered a DLC package that instantly unlocked all Krypt items, including costumes. The price tag for this was $20, an amount that would net a player just four skins in Mortal Kombat 11.
Again, NetherRealm is working to implement changes to Mortal Kombat 11 that are intended to alleviate the grind associated with obtaining cosmetics through gameplay. Hopefully, this will make it feel more possible for players to get the things they want simply by playing Mortal Kombat 11, minimizing the sense that microtransactions are really how the developer and publisher intend for players to obtain cosmetics.
However, even if this fix is perfectly executed, it still does not address the obscenity of the real world costs attached to Mortal Kombat 11 cosmetics. Of course, players can choose to simply not engage with these microtransactions, but a game with a premium price tag attempting to extract $5 for a single skin feels downright mean.
Mortal Kombat 11 is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One.