Mad Mack: Don’t Buy EA Games, Don’t Engage In Micro-Transactions – And Get Yourself A PC

Following Cliffy B’s rant to Kotaku, and EA continuing its general nefarious activities, disgruntled gamer Dave ‘Mack’ McConkey suggests how gamers everywhere can avoid being exploited by greedy mainstream publishers.

Cliffy B

Well, it certainly has been a busy couple of weeks for the games industry. First, Dead Space 3 decides that it wants to be Aliens. Then Aliens decides that it wants to be ET, and then EA decides it is sick of this whole ‘games’ thing – and proceeds to shit all over its fanbase.

I am actually getting tired of ranting about EA. What more is there to say? Yes, they take beloved franchises and fuck them into an unrecognisable pulp as they frantically try to pull in some of that sweet, sweet COD-esque money. We know that. Yes, they are corporate shills that crap out tie-in games and annual sports updates while at the same time offering less content for more money.

Just look at (for one, tiny example) the Dead Space 3 DLC. It will contain the most harrowing content in the whole series, and given how not-harrowing DS3 is, one cannot help but feel that this should probably have been included in the core game, rather than offered at additional cost. But hey, I have also covered this before. As I say, there is nothing more to say about EA that has not already been said.

So what else is there? Well, as predicted, there is an ever-increasing prevalence of games that will require ‘Always-On’ internet connections, and of course, the publishers will never provide enough server space for everyone who wants to play the game soon after launch, so you see the repeat of the Diablo 3 launch, only this time with Sim City – which just so happens to be an EA game.

"You bastaaaaaaards!"

“You bastaaaaaaards!”

In case you are wondering why there will never be enough space, it’s because servers are expensive to set up and maintain, so publishers will not set them up for the player volumes you see at launch, but rather they will plan for the more normal player volume you see a week or two after launch – the sort of volume that is (usually) set at a constant level for the duration of that game’s popularity.

Then there are micro-transactions. These have been at the front of all the discussions lately, again, mostly because of EA stuffing them into Dead Space 3 (apparently in the process disrupting the development as Visceral had to suddenly redesign the game to accommodate universal ammo, instead of the original planned different ammo types) going on the record to state that all their games will have them in the future.

It was put further onto the agenda when ole Cliffy-B stuck his oar in (unnecessarily) on Kotaku (which, remember, is basically the tabloid of games journalism – RockPaperShotgun or Eurogamer is where you should be getting your news) by firstly insulting his fanbase (calling us ‘hipster/boomerang kids’) and then using the cost of living in Seattle as justification for micro-transactions, and then railing against ‘Scumbag EA’ and similar assertions of EA being the Devil.

Well, apart from the fact that he showed himself to be woefully misguided (I am sorry Cliff, but EA is the Devil, you try fucking living in London and hipsters don’t play computer games – they use typewriters and Instagram) – and the fact that he is overlooking all of the things that make EA a fucking terrible company – unfortunately, he made a lot of good points.

"Go on..."

“Go on…”

Now, if you have not read the original article, then I would implore you to do so, because when other sites report on the content, then some of the message is lost. You do have to labour through the first few paragraphs, where he will liken you to a child molester, before you get to the meat of his argument. You will also have to persevere through some pretty terrible rambling prose. But if you read anything I write then you are probably well able to put up with Cliffy B. You can find the whole article on Kotaku HERE. Go on, we will wait.

The main standout statement for me was Cliff extolling us (as gamers) to vote with our wallets.  That’s it. He is actually right about a few things.

Firstly, there are no ‘Free 2 Play’ games out there. At worst, there are the Zynga skinner boxes of Farmville and its ilk, while at the other end there are the entertaining (and not overly punishing) XP or money driven likes of Planetside. But we as gamers don’t really have a problem with a free game actually having some kind of incentivised monetisation – most are mature enough to realise that there is no such thing as a free lunch. So, I am not sure what Cliff’s point is, save perhaps to highlight that games need to make money. So good one there.

He is also spot on to say that EA are not the only people to engage in micro-transactions – many games have had them for a long time, including Team Fortress from Valve or World of Warcraft from Blizzard. In fact, you are already paying a subscription for WoW – imagine the gall of them asking you to pay more money for cosmetic fluff! Of course, he is casually overlooking the fact that both games are possible to enjoy in their fullest without paying for those cosmetic add-ons, because they are just that – totally cosmetic. Unlike the resources you buy in Dead Space 3 that actually impact the game.

In much the same way as the cover-based combat, and human enemies

In much the same way as the cover-based combat, and human enemies

I could spend ages explaining how him likening buying Nintendo-branded products as a kid is just like paying for game content that has been denied you, or how as a games developer himself he should in no way be seen as an objective voice in this agreement, but I do want to wrap this up before I shit myself in incandescent rage.

So Cliff is telling us as gamers to vote with our wallets. And I completely agree with him. Don’t buy EA games, don’t engage in micro-transactions and send your money where it will be of use.

What games do EA have anyway? FIFA? Sure, if that is your thing, but if you are the kind of person who buys the latest version every year then you are really not my target audience here.

Battlefield? BF3 was a step change, certainly in console online multiplayer, but will BF4 really be that compelling? Or will it just be more of the same?

Listen to Cliff and just avoid paying for mediocrity. And yes, he is right that you will probably be in the (large) minority of gamers that cares about the decrease in quality of games and the near constant attempts to extort more money from the fans. But unfortunately, the increasing cost of AAA games will mean that the market is going to tend in that direction.

This direction

This direction

However, there is a chance. We all have a chance. At freedom. Freedom from oppression, from bullshit, from EA. And now, more than ever, we can we break out. With the new console generation upon us, consider this – there is a whole market of games out there where you don’t have to put up with petty, money-grabbing bullshit?

The PC. The PC ecosystem is much less dominated by a small number of AAA gaming titles. They are there of course, but there is so much more out there. And not just generic-indie 2D platformers with quirky artwork. No, there are big budget games doing amazing things that could not be dreamed on consoles. I am entreating you – if you are considering being an early adopter of the new Xbox or PlayStation, please consider a PC as an alternative.

I will not mislead you – they are more expensive. A build-yourself can cost around £800 just for the components, and you can add another £150 (at least) if you do not already own the peripherals.

But the games are a lot cheaper, and you are less of a slave to the kinds of bullshit that are beginning to plague the AAA gaming market. So instead of spending £400-£500 on being the first asshole to own a PS4, save up a bit longer and spend the money on a gaming PC, and you will never look back. Steam is one thing, but what about Good Old Games (GOG) – seemingly endless lists of older games just waiting for you to download and play, for a fraction of the cost of a console game.

Gamers, I implore you – Listen to Cliffy B and buy a PC.



Comments
9 Responses to “Mad Mack: Don’t Buy EA Games, Don’t Engage In Micro-Transactions – And Get Yourself A PC”
  1. DarthDiggler says:

    I didn’t have time to read all of this (I have read this same article about 100 times before on other sites) but a few things for you to chew on…

    How many more developers and publishers (like THQ) have to go under before assholes like you will realize that there isn’t enough money going around in this industry?

    Suppose everyone moves to PC, know what happens then? Premium DLC and Microtransactions would be just as prevalent. The market will follow the audience and if the audience is willing to pay (and it is) the market would respond to that.

    The industry is shrinking, Microtransactions and DLC are a way to keep it alive!

    Look I get it you are passionate about games but that doesn’t mean you have a lick of understanding about business and the economics at play here.

    • bigevilworldwide says:

      I’m tired of all these people who go on about the dead space micro transactions as IF you actually have to pay for them….You can completely beat the game without buying 1 single resource pack ….They aren’t necessary they are a damn OPTION…People want to get their pitchforks out because a game gives you an option. Just like the impacts the game excuse people keep using, even though it only impacts that persons game….Personally I don’t give a rats ass what people do in their game, nor should anyone else….People who want to buy them great have at it, people that don’t guess what don’t….I beat the game just fine without buying resource packs

      • Hasselhoof says:

        The problem is when good, compelling content is held out of the release to really wrench the consumer from it’s dollar. Dead Space is already posturing the Dead Space DLC as the most scary levels of DS3. Well that is a bullshit way to treat such a great IP.

        LIfe is not more fun when every time you turn around someone has their hand out requesting your money.

        • Xjxjxjxjsj says:

          Listen now. I feel ashamed for you because you believe they will deliver horror in the dlc.

          Lol, you people are so stup— naive.

  2. DarthDiggler says:

    Cliffy B’s article was spot on and most developers don’t have the opportunity to be so candid. He is “retired” so he wasn’t beholden to any contracts about what he could and couldn’t talk about.

    The thing is for every article against micro-transactions there are like 1,000 people that HAVE NO PROBLEM with them.

    Some of us don’t like a platform riddled with hackers to call our homebase for online gaming. You can keep your aimbots I will gladly keep my microtransactions.

  3. DVD says:

    Are microtransactions really that evil? In some cases, when the game is actually designed around them and players are either forced to grind for about a thousand hours or pay five bucks, I can see the complaints. In Dead Space 3′s case, however, it’s only offered as a bonus and you can still complete the game without paying out more than the $60 you paid up front. I really don’t see what the big deal is.

  4. Jerrific says:

    Haven’t played Dead Space 3, but, from what I understand, its use of micro transactions is far less player limiting than some other games (I’m looking at you, Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer.) EA sucks, no doubt, but I really don’t have a problem with this. Actually paying for the micro-transactions sounds like it would only destroy the balance of the game to me, so if that’s your thing more power to you. I’d rather beat it for free (besides the original asking price) as it was intended by the people that actually created the game.

  5. Bob says:

    I actually enjoyed Dead Space 3 pretty much, and didn’t spent any money in these micro transactions, which by the way, if it weren’t because of all these articles rambling about them, I honestly wouldn’t even notice they were there in the first place. That’s how optional and unintrusive these micro transactions are. If EA or any other publisher want’s to do this in future games I couldn’t care any less. It’s like DLC, I rarely, if ever, buy any DLC, but I’m sure there are gamers who like that, so what. Why can’t we just forget all about this micro transactions thing and go play some games?

  6. Bryan says:

    The article is about more than micro transactions…

    It’s about EA not being aligned with players interests….

    Did you guys play DS3 or are you just EA hacks paid to post on forums? Lol… A good micro transaction is one that you are not STEERED toward, and is preferably cosmetic in a fully paid game.

    The bigger issue with EA is stuff like new SimCity being broke and not offering refunds…

    Read more here: http://www.gamechup.com/ea-refuses-to-refund-user-for-simcity-threatens-account-ban/

    It’s just gone on for years, you can’t even begin to cite every example where EA puts profits over player satisfaction…completely missing the entire point of business ethics that a satisfied customer base leads to maximized profit…ie Valve, or even in the public company space, a Johnson & Johnson.

    Instead of pulling the poisoned Tylenol off the shelves, EA would charge you to turn it in.

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