I know the argument about microtransactions has been done to death. As such, let me get my view out of the way before delving into a subject that I think has been avoided publicly for too long.

I like microtransactions and think that the idea has merit. I like buying VC games for a few bucks. I have a job and can afford to buy my TG-16 collection over again for pennies on the dollar. I know this isn’t the case for everyone; I am not writing from everyone’s point of view.

I like buying add-ons. I like Live Arcade and I like picking up schwag/gear/icons/whatever for my games. I endorse monetary obfuscation by way of numeric transmogrification; I think it is a neat idea that my American dollar is actually equal to 80 crazy moon credits and I like spending those moon credits on pointless crap to enhance my gaming experience. A luxury? Sure. Essential? Nope. Fun? Hells yeah!

What I do not like is paying for shit I should already have. Please don’t think what I am talking about here is that new beast wherein they give you something for free and you have to buy its constituent parts; I am for this practice. What I am talking about here is paying for crippled or incomplete software that is available in full elsewhere and asking me to pay you to finish it.

I will use Worms HD as an example, though it is by no means singular.

For 800 crazy moon credits you get an incomplete mess. For a worms fan, this is disheartening. For anyone who has spent hours modding voices and making custom teams and LANning the hell out of the original Worms titles this hobbled ‘taste of what Worms might be if you give us more money’ is a joke.

So here is my question, framed in such a way as to disregard the publicly affected notion that this shit doesn’t go on absolutely every day:

Why the hell does any developer/publisher/distributor/human fucking being believe for a second that I want to pay, in microtransactions or not, for something I can get for free via various sordid liaisons de internet?

We’re paying for landscape textures now? Ones that shipped with the last 3 crappy Worms titles? How removed from reality are the decision makers on this particular subject? Won’t a Google search for ‘Worms, ISO‘ do me just fine? I’ve got BearShare right? Shareaza? Limewire? Gnutella? Hello?

Before you start in with whatever rationalization you have as to why this makes sense, if you indeed think it makes sense, I would like to point you to the very same internet that can provide you every Worms title since the ugly Scorched Earth clone from the BBS days.

It’s us, guys. We’re why they think they can do this. They can. We will buy it. We will hand them our doshers and thank them for giving us crap we’ve already got and that should have shipped with that $10 we dropped a month ago.

More than half of what I am reading paints a picture of a gaming community thirsty for this crap; SO excited that we can now pay to get textures from 1998 for a game we’ve already paid more than fair market value for.

And that fact hurts my soul.

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17 years ago

This is a fascinating dilemma because of the aspect of these downloads. As already stated, we’ve shown we’re willing to lay down money for cosmetic improvements to our games (like horse armor and icons). When it comes to background textures, MS can certainly argue that these too are “cosmetic improvements”, which we’ve already shown a market for. Worse yet, if we continue to pay for these things, it might not be too long before companies pull and Orwellian twist on us and act like we never got these features in a standard game. That or just say “times have changed, tough luck”. Now I’m incredibly interested to see what happens when Valve games hit the 360, and what were traditionally PC freebies come into the realm of Marketplace.