Animal Crossing: The Argument For Microtransactions

This piece was made in response to Pretty Good Gaming’s video on the new Animal Crossing. 

After it’s initial announcement in April 2016 and almost a year of delays, Nintendo has belatedly announced what is hopefully the final launch-window for their mobile Animal Crossing game.

Unlike what some believe to be its exorbitantly priced counterpart, Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is coming to mobile devices, by the end of November, at no upfront cost to players.

Animal Crossing once caused an uproar for gating players by simply forcing them to wait; in New Leaf, if you wanted Cyrus to customize your furniture you’d have to wait 42 [real time] hours for it to be completed. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp adds a frictionless way for impatient players to expedite the customization of their furniture while paying for the development of the application and its updates. Unlike other games, which have to mold game mechanics with microtransactions in mind, Animal Crossing took an organic gameplay feature and decided to monetize it.

Now some might not see the difference between this and other microtransactions. In free to play MMOs like Dauntless the money you pay, as part of a “Founders Pack” exponentially increases the loot you get from monsters, letting you spend more time in the city and less time repetitively battling the same bosses.  (Dauntless has removed microtransactions from their game and is considering a normal pay-to-play, one-time purchase model.) In Animal Crossing you’re having a timer removed: both give you the ability to make time inconsequential. But my argument is that the developers were not forced by their higher-ups to alter a major mechanic of the game just to institute a transaction – it was a part of the gameplay that has been integral since the beginning of the franchise – and they finally gave gamers an option to make that process frictionless; something that many impatient people would have been paying since’s Animal Crossing’s inception if given the opportunity.

This is the way that in-game purchases should be implemented. A company should make you want to throw money at them because you’re enjoying their game so much, and not make you feel like you need to pay them, out of fear that you’re missing out on portions of a game you’ve already paid for. There should be no badgering or constant reminders that other people are spending money on things that you don’t have, and gamers should not be pressured by subtle or overt signs that there is more content behind a paywall.

Those arguing the game should be like Nintendo’s Super Mario Run, should know that Nintendo felt it was a disappointment, with Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima saying that revenue “did not meet our expectations.” And that although, a month after its launch 90 million users had downloaded the game, only 3% of them purchased it. In the time Nintendo’s pay-to-play game earned $30 million in gross revenue, Pokemon Go’s free to play with in-app purchase model had earned Niantic $200 million. As someone who’d prefer to pay for an app one time than be nickeled and dimed to access its best features, I never thought I’d be arguing for in-app purchases. But after taking a look at the numbers, I can’t think of a studio that’s come up with a better compromise.

@WASDmeta

This is part one (and a draft) of a series I’m writing about consumerism in video games; both their price and the value they hold for us. 

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BLUEHOLE, INC. ANNOUNCES THE FORMATION OF PUBG CORP. FOR PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – September 29, 2017 – Bluehole, Inc., announced today a change to its organizational structure with the formation of PUBG Corp., a subsidiary focused entirely on the development and global business opportunities for PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG).

Gang-Seok Kim, the CEO of Bluehole, Inc., has appointed Chang Han Kim as the Chief Executive Officer and Woonghee Cho as the Chief Operating Officer for PUBG Corp. Chang Han Kim led the development of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, previously working as Vice President and Executive Producer for Bluehole, Inc. Woonghee Cho, who previously served as the CEO of Maui Games and as Head of Business Development for Neowiz, will focus on accelerating overall business development and managing global operations for PUBG.

Download the PUBG Corp. logo HEREhttps://spaces.hightail.com/receive/Rk6fqKTOqc

“Given PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS global success, we want to ensure that we have the operational efficiency that is required to support the game globally,” said Chang Han Kim, CEO, PUBG Corp. “This new structure allows us to be nimble as we look towards the expansion of strategic business opportunities that include the game’s potential in the esports sector and the growth of PUBG as a true global IP franchise.”

As part of its international expansion, PUBG Corp. has recently established an office in the United States and is preparing to do the same in Europe and Japan. This expansion will allow for more centralized points of contact for players around the world, ensuring that development for PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS continues to be global in nature.


PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS has sold more than thirteen million copies and has surpassed the all-time record for the most concurrent users (CCUs) on Steam with over 1.5 million active players in the game at a given time.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS drops players on a realistic 8 x 8 km island with visuals that showcase Unreal Engine 4’s capabilities. Starting with nothing, gamers must fight to locate weapons, vehicles and supplies as they strive to be the lone survivor.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS is now available on Steam Early Access and is launching exclusively on Xbox One as part of the Xbox Game Preview program in late 2017, with the final version launching in early 2018 across the Xbox One family of devices.

To learn more about PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, please visit www.playbattlegrounds.com , ‘Like’ it on Facebook, and follow its development on Twitter @PUBATTLEGROUNDS for all the latest updates and news from the team.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS – Not Just a Game. This is Battle Royale.

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ABOUT BLUEHOLE
Founded in 2007 and based in Korea, Bluehole, Inc. is the developer of the popular action MMORPG, TERA, which has attracted over 25 million registered users worldwide. TERA is live in seven different territories including North America, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Europe and Russia and has reached the #1 spot on Steam’s MMORPG charts. Having achieved high standards and worldwide recognition for its online roleplaying games, the studio has also expanded into the mobile gaming market. Bluehole’s first non-MMO title, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, has sold more than thirteen million units since its Early Access launch on March 23, 2017.PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS is fully developed and published by Bluehole worldwide. For more information, visit www.bluehole.net/en .

Why Creators of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Were Upset By Fortnite’s New Game Mode

Last week this time Chang Han Kim, following a press release about his feelings towards Fortnite’s new battle royale mode, requested an interview with PC Gamer to clear up any misconceptions the audience had about his comments. He went on to say that, rather than being upset by the mode itself, he was bothered by how they went about it.

He started by saying he wished they’d come to him before they made the trailer, that “it “was just a bit surprising and disappointing to see our business partner using our name officially to promote the game mode that is pretty similar to us and using the PUBG name and confusing players, by making them think they had something to do with the project.”

By saying that players were confused by Fortnite’s trailer is to basically say they’re idiots. Epic Games made their inspiration clear in the trailer, but they did not – for a second – give viewers the idea that Bluehole Studio had anything to do with Fortnite’s iteration of it. And to, even for a second, say that players could not tell the difference is to say that they don’t have sense. Now, a week later, we know exactly why Chang Han Kim was so upset by Epic Games creating a battle royale mode that was not only free but could make it to consoles first – he had just become the CEO of a company that existed solely to push PUBG to the corners of the earth and license the game [mode]to other people; something that he couldn’t admonish Epic Games about a week ago because the announcement of his new position was still under wraps. 

Now, anyone paying close attention to the PC Gamer interview could tell it was more about their relationship with Epic Games muddying the water between dev studio and engine creator. Chang Han Kim took every opportunity to explain that, although the genre was not new, everyone that had taken part in it so far had paid to play. Following Brendan Green’s creation of the “King of the Hill” mode in Arma 2, Daybreak Games paid to have their King of the Kill mode, and so did Bluehole to follow – it was the fact that Epic Games had beat them to console, without paying a dime, that seemed to upset Chang. And to me, that’s fine. Knowing that in less than a week you’ll be the head of a company that exists just to license a product, but being unable to reprimand someone that’s doing it for free today must be very difficult. But I’m disappointed by the fact that both him and Sammie Kang, Marketing & Events Manager, pretended it was about the confusion of us gamers; closing with

Right, and there were players like, “Oh it’s cool, now we get to play PUBG in Fortnite”, and there was nothing we could do about it, because it was depicted that we were officially involved.

@WASDmeta

 

PUBG v. Fortnite

Early Friday morning Chang Han Kim, the Vice President and Executive Producer of Bluehole Inc., developers of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, released a statement regarding the similarities between their game and Fortnite’s new F2P battle royale game mode.

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We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of UE4, the engine we licensed for the game. After listening to the growing feedback from our community and reviewing the gameplay for ourselves, we are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.

We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press, this was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right. The PUBG community has and continues to provide evidence of the many similarities as we contemplate further action.

Some, siding with V.P. Chang Han Kim, are arguing that many of the game’s core mechanics have been ripped off – that its blatant theft and there need to be ramifications – while others are taking a more intellectual perspective.

The birth of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was not a stand-alone incident, simply the most noticeable outgrowth of a culmination of events. Years before Bluehole’s development of PUBG, PlayerUnknown made his name creating an Arma Mod dubbed “King of the Hill,” in which players would scrounge the map for weapons and armor, while battling to be the last one alive on the battlefield. PlayerUnknown, whose real name is Brendan Green, said he got the idea from watching a Japanese movie called Battle Royale (2000).

It was years later, that H1Z1 created their version – carrying the moniker King of the Kill – that “battle royale” officially became its own game mode, with thousands leaving the original game to spend more time in this new standalone offshoot. A migration so massive that the publisher Daybreak Studios, made plans for it to be available on systems other than the original PC. It was then that South Korean game publisher, Bluehole Studios reached out to PlayerUnknown, inviting him to become creative director and help them create a full game; battle royale the way he envisioned it.

Now, there’s no way for us to know how many copies of PUBG sold before Epic Games decided to add the battle royale game mode to Fortnite but it seems that Bluehole has forgotten their success’s origin. Their game is simply the current zenith of the battle royale game mode, and if it weren’t for the various incarnations that came before it, it’s unlikely their game would have had the mindshare to even garnish half of their 10 million sales.

dims

Fornite’s Battle Royal Mode that goes F2P tomorrow, September 26th is simply the next step in battle royale’s evolution. Their game does take a lot from PUBG, even using the game’s name in their marketing materials, but Epic Games adds its own flair by keeping the building mechanics from Fortnite’s primary game mode. Is the game mode remarkably similar to the source material, yes. But the ability to build a fort and protect yourself, in a game where the primary goal is to survive, provides a spin on the game that no prior iterations have attempted and I think it’s a great addition to Fortnite. The creation of Fortnite Battle Royale is not theft, there is no “further action” to be taken here. It is simply the next game in the line of the battle royale lineage, and the possible birth of a genre.

@WASDmeta