"Let's make sure we are crafting the game and the analytics so we can see what the consumers, the gamers, like and don't [like]."
- Microsoft Studios general manager Phil Spencer on implementing microtransactions on Xbox One games, in a Kotaku interview
While microtransactions and the free-to-play model have been pervasive on mobile and PC games for years, video game consoles have largely been a refuge for people who'd rather pay for a full game upfront, rather than in tiny bits and pieces.
However, next-generation consoles and evolved business expectations have opened up opportunities for microtransactions. Microsoft, for one, is treading carefully as it experiments with the model in games like Ryse
, Forza Motorsport 5
and Killer Instinct
. Like so many PC and mobile developers understand, analytics will be key going forward.
"I want to be able to learn from what we put in," Spencer said. "So let's make sure we are crafting the game and the analytics so we can see what the consumers, the gamers, like and don't [like]—if you assume buying habits are a reflection of what people like –so that we can craft the experience better for the gamer."
Spencer sounds very aware that a bad microtransaction scheme could cause an uproar with the console crowds, and knows that pay-to-win is out of the question, as well as "pay $5 for 1000 achievements"-style offers. "In reality, that's not what the gamers are looking for. They're usually looking for customization and their gameplay style opening up," he said.
"...We're still learning."