Thursday, September 29, 2022

It's Come To This

Eurogamer has an excellent review of FIFA 23: FIFA 23 review - a fitting end to a brilliant and grotesque era.

In the review, the phrase "engagement-farming" is used. Here's an excerpt:
All the worst parts of modern engagement-farming design are here. The red notification dots that keep you looking at your phone, the level-ups, the league-climbing system, the second- and third-screen web apps, the loot boxes, of course (the preview system is a nice try but does nothing, effectively giving you one free look a day, but positioning that right next to the blind pack you can infinitely buy - it's nothing more than a free taste, first roll on the house, masked as some kind of concession), and don't forget the actual games themselves, the kind of recurring head-to-head, just one more game multiplayer that would be almost toxically moreish as it is, goading you into another match with rage as much as enjoyment, without all the rest.

That's what AAA gaming has mostly become. It's not about providing enjoyment to the player; it's about manipulating them into spending as much money as possible. 

Isn't it incredible how much micro-transactions have lowered the quality of games? Particularly sports games, where the major franchises are essentially micro-transaction cesspools now. 

Think about how different games would be if micro-transactions were just banned. There'd be no reason to push game modes that involve spending more money, because there wouldn't be any. The quality of your game would actually determine how much money a company made, instead of endlessly milking the customer base by using casino-esque tactics to get them to continue purchasing. 

It's all gone quite insane, really. And what I can't figure out is how to stop it, because it just marches relentlessly forward.

Maybe the EU will propose banning micro-transactions someday, and we'll get to enjoy gaming companies testify (with a straight face) that such a law would hurt the consumer. 


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