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 Call of Duty  will soon have microtransactions
Call of Duty will soon have microtransactions
March 12, 2013 | By Kris Graft

March 12, 2013 | By Kris Graft
Comments
    25 comments
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing



Activision is using its blockbuster Call of Duty first-person shooter franchise to test the waters for microtransactions on Xbox 360.

It's a notable move, as game consoles have been slow to adopt games-as-a-service models that have made major strides on PC and mobile platforms. This little experiment could inform the publisher just how a core console game audience will react to microtransactions.

A blog post from Activision community manager Dan Amrich explained that the company is releasing the Call of Duty: Black Ops II map "Nuketown 2025" for free (it was previously only available as a pre-order bonus) on March 13, alongside "Micro Items" such as gun personalization packs, extra loadout slots, more media storage for theater mode and a "Nuketown Zombies" level.

Amrich said all the items for sale -- which so far range from $1-$5 -- are completely optional and are only for convenience and personalization (such as the "Bacon Personalization Pack," which wraps your weapon in your favorite cured pig meat).

Amrich didn't mention other platforms that would be adopting Micro Items.


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Comments


Phil Maxey
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Oh that's going to go down well with the players....If they can make IAP's work there then they literally can make them work anywhere.

It all depends on how it's introduced. If it's MTX to give your gun extra bling than I can see some players going for it, because right now from what I've heard trying to get a gold/diamond gun etc takes a lot of playing.

If however MTX's are introduced for the core play, then I think it will pretty much destroy the COD francise, as these players are super sensitive to anything which prompts them to spend more money than the initial outlay and DLC.

If I were Activision I might be tempted to set up a new brand/francise and not mess with the current dynamic.

Phil Maxey
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@Maciej Bacal

But that's the point, they don't mind putting the time in because it's almost a social thing for most players on MP COD now, clans etc.

They only buy the new version because there's always the hope that the game will be a lot better and the lag would of been gotten rid off, in other words they have been duped a number of times now, and I can't see it working again unless there truly is a huge improvement in what comes next. Next gen might help with that though.

Jimmy Albright
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@Maciej Bacal Consumers buy products they enjoy. 10 years ago you could have released yearly iterations of Counter-Strike or Quake 3 and it would have sold like hotcakes. There are actually huge differences involved with the depth of multiplayer that completely change the strategy from game to game, unless you spent time playing the various games you wouldn't know that.

If F2P actually meant players could get free maps with the addition of in-game purely cosmetic purchases this is a huge win for consumers. I don't know what your lag problems are, but I play from Alaska to players all over the USA and the lowest connection I've had is 3 yellow, this is on xbox.

Michael Stevens
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@M.Bacal: "with yearly iteration players don't have chance to explore any of the depth"
These are easily the most played console games. Even with three newer games in the series, MW2 still has more active users than most newly released games. There is a core skillset that transfers between games, but there's a lot specific to each game that keeps them individual.

Nick Harris
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They could prohibit the use of gameplay enhancements obtained through microtransations in all but a separate Social Slayer mode. The game would still have to match similarly equipped players against each other and would basically ignore rank and prestige in this "noobs mode". This would open up the game to people who lacked the time and skill to grind their way toward the rewards of a bona fide reputation, although this would exist in parallel to whatever they had paid their way to obtain.

Nicholas Lovell
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It's fascinating to see that Activision is choosing to run the test with Microsoft, not Sony, given that Sony has been more vocal in its support for this model than MS.

Rob Wright
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True, but maybe Activision decided to test this out with the bigger audience.

Nicholas Lovell
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That seems like quite a US-centric view. Does CoD sell that much better on 360 than PS3?

Ryan Salvatore
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If VGChartz is to be believed, it sold about 2 million more copies on 360 than PS3 (11.73 vs 9.74). A big difference, but not that big. Though perhaps the current active users are much higher for the 360.

Or maybe it's some other market research showing people are more likely to spend on XBL than on the PS Store. It would make sense, since it's a group that likely has the money to have a Gold XBL account.

Joe Zachery
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Yes Call Of Duty my be the best selling games on PS3, but it still sells better on the 360. Since they get everything first when it comes to map packs.

Nicholas Lovell
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Also, it shows why subscriptions are so difficult. Activision at first thought the best thing to do with an annual franchise was to make people pay a subscription to it. Now they have realised that it is a better business model if they allow people to spend a variable amount of money, rather than a fixed subscription.

http://www.gamesbrief.com/2012/02/subscriptions-are-not-the-futur
e-they-are-the-past/

Terry Matthes
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Was there ever a doubt it would happen? Now we're being begged for cash even when we spend $70 on a game.

Phil Maxey
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It's going to be interesting to see just how far the COD players (of which I'm one) can be pushed before they just give up on the francise completely.

John Flush
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So, there was an interesting comic this last week about the 'gold old days' before micro-transactions:

http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18h22b5cxbt2bjpg/original.jpg

The concern I have is if micro-transactions really are a compare to how it was 'back then' with arcades I think the industry should be pretty worried right now. The crash is coming.

Kujel Selsuru
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I completely expect the AAA market to crash within a few years but the indie scene to continue on becuase of support from the nerd/geek crowd. This is just another example of why gaming has suffered from going mainstream.

Joe Zachery
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Activision I would rather you just sale the online part separately from the single player game no one plays.

Phil Maxey
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Exactly, I've played most of the COD's over the years and never played the single player campaigns.

Lewis Wakeford
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Why don't they just not make the single player game at all? I'm sure it must eat most of the actual development budget with all the voice acting and stuff. They could probably still get away with selling the MP full price too.

Andy Lundell
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I've wondered about that myself. As much as I prefer single-player in general, I've never thought that the single-player on COD games was that hot.

Perhaps we're not the target demographic, I'm sure they've done the market research. Probably COD is popular with the silent majority of xbox owners who don't subscribe to Live.

Luis Guimaraes
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In PC for instance, I know that many people only care for the campaign in CoD, and play other MP titles.

Ian Brown
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What happened to the "micro" part of microtransactions?

Michael Stevens
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Some of these things should have been in the game, and were in previous ones. With the kind of sucess the series has had, I see adding these microtransactions post-launch as unnecessarily burning goodwill when you could build it. IW/Robert Bowling understood that, which is why we got 3v3 for free last year.

Giving everyone Nuketown is a good thing in general, but I really hope they don't add it to normal playlists.

Selling extra gun camo is kind of anoying and not something I'll ever buy, but if it's just a few items it could work as a pressure release valve for all the people boosting for Diamond camo.

Ujn Hunter
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I'd request a refund for any game that added in microtransactions in a patch after I bought the game for full price. Unacceptable.

Andy Lundell
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Really? How?

Nick Harris
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They are not denying you content that was formerly available.

At least it isn't as bad as the Pink Mustang replacing DLC cars in Test Drive Unlimited 2:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test_Drive_Unlimited_2#Technical_iss
ues


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