Thursday, October 19, 2017

Malicious monetization, a short story by Activision and Bungie...

I was literally going to start this with a rant that went something like: "These motherfuckers right here..."

I've opted instead to intelligently express the same sentiment using my brain instead of my anger.

Activision has already started to get a reputation as a terrible game developer. Equal to or worse than EA, depending on who you ask and what day of the week it is. I already didn't like them for their business practices and their decisions to try to milk every dime out of their customers, all the while deceiving their customers and basically telling them that they would never engage in those practices, ever. Of course not...


That is a link to a report about their patent for creating hate and breaking friendships. It doesn't read that way? I'll explain.

A few years ago some friends convinced me to purchase a game called Destiny. I say convinced, because in this case I'd literally never heard of it before they said anything. I had no intention to buy it whatsoever. They convinced me it was worth my time and my money and we were all going to play together, so I played the beta, and believing it was going to be much bigger than what I had already seen, I bought the game. We had some fun, for a while.

It didn't take long for us to notice something. I got EVERYTHING. If there was a drop in the game, it dropped for me. So much so that it became a habit for my friends to see me get another extremely rare drop and simply reply, "fuck you, man." You see, in Destiny, others can see a scroll on the screen that displays when someone gets one of those rare drops. I always wondered why before. I don't anymore. Because that was the experiment. What they were trying to do was make my friends want to be like me. They wanted them to want those same drops. Nevermind that they played as much as I did, or in some cases payed WAY more for the game because they bought the collector's edition. When I say I got everything, what I mean is that by the end of the first week, I had a Gjallarhorn. That rocket launcher was so rare that a lot of people never got one. At all. I lost count of how many of them I deleted. Now, if you don't know Destiny, right about here is where you ask, "but why didn't you just trade the extras to your friends?" An excellent question. You see that was also part of the experiment, the fact that trading was never allowed in Destiny, in spite of Bungie's initial insistence (that later just disappeared) that it would be implemented later. It never was in the first game and it's now not a part of the second game.

So, how did this create hate? Well, when you're the only player on your team that's getting every single epic drop there is, it builds resentment pretty damn fast. I had one friend quit playing Destiny altogether and another that wouldn't play on the console I was on because they only got somewhat better drops on a different console. I literally had friends quit playing because of this mechanic.  But hey, what we found out with the DESTINY 2 release, is that you don't have to worry about that... Because with micro transactions, you can get some of the very best weapons in the game, if not all of them. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Now, what makes this worse, what makes it a betrayal, is how we were all deceived, by Bungie, and Activision. They straight out lied when we asked about this when the game started. We were told several lies, but the one that was most repeated in the early days, was that it was a problem with their RNG (random number generator) and that they were working to fix it. That was bullshit. There was no glitch, there was no error, in the proper parlance, it was working as intended.

The truly sinister part, is that they lied again and again, knowing full well that they were subjecting their paying customers to this; their players. And they didn't give a damn, because I guarantee you they never expected us to find out.

I will not, in any future purchases, support Activision, and I'm adding Bungie to that list as well. I can't make anyone choose to do the same, but I would invite anyone that feels betrayed by them, to join me in doing so.

Game on.

1 comment:

  1. Hey man, don't know if you'll read this, but a funny series of links and forum sigs lead me here. You used to run Fearful Symmetry, back in the day. I played Firebreak in that guild. (Blind, too, but that character was never in the group.) Just wanted say hey!