Spore Microtransactions Still On The Menu

Spore Microtransactions Still On The Menu

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Despite earlier denials by Electronic Arts, it appears that Spore may incorporate microtransactions after all, charging for access to body parts, planets and other game components.

After a March report by Gamasutra said the Spore Store would allow for the purchase of "asynchronously downloaded assets from other players," EA responded with a statement claiming the Spore Store is intended solely for "out-of-game merchandise," like t-shirts or posters. "'Sharing' or 'downloading' player created content is a core feature of Spore, not at all something that is part of the Spore Store or even under consideration for additional charge," the statement said. "The entire game is based on players making creatures, buildings and vehicles which can be accessed from what we call our Sporepedia - a web-based collection of all player created assets."

"We have also mentioned that we will be providing the Creature Creator tool as a stand-alone product in the month or two before the game launches so that players can begin to design their creatures, but we do not have plans to sell individual parts via microtransactions," the statement concluded.

But things have apparently changed between then and now, according to a GameCyte report, which said EA CEO John Riccitiello is keeping the possibility of Spore-based microtransactions in his sights. In a conference call following the release of the company's first quarter financial results, Riccitiello said, "Job one with Spore is to make the launch successful. I would love to imagine that two years from now or a year from now the debate is whether we need a Spore label inside of EA, because the back-end system works so well that we're able to monetize body parts, plant parts, car parts, planets - as a way to generate incremental revenue off an install base of several million active users. But it's a little bit like pool, in that I'm a little afraid that if we spend way too much time setting up the second shot we'll miss the first shot, and I don't know if that metaphor works for any of you, but right now, it's all hands on deck to make September 7th the event that matters."

"Yes, we've got a clear, obvious and very compelling post-launch monetization opportunity. This is a game where basically, the parts are what make the sum of the product work," he continued. "So selling parts as we do with the Sims Store online right now in The Sims 2 is incredibly obvious, we have all the technology for it, but that's really not what the overwhelming portion of our focus is on right now. It's on making that a successful launch and making sure we have the right to ask that question down the road."

Obviously, microtransactions won't be waiting for Spore fans when the game launches, but should the franchise take off like The Sims it will be far more surprising if they don't make an appearance than if they do. The reaction of the fan base will be worth watching, as it may have a real impact on similar moves by EA in the future. While gamers overwhelmingly rejected a plan to make certain weapons in Battlefield: Bad Company available only to players who paid extra for them as DLC, the Spore demographic will presumably be somewhat more casual, and as a result may be more receptive to forking over the dough for additional content.

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I suppose the question really is whether these microtransactions would come INSTEAD OF or AS WELL AS whatever expansions EA would want to churn out.

As an alternative to standalone 30 expansion packs, I can see microtransactions being a fantastic addition to something like Spore. If you're going to be looking at charging 30 every three months for an expansion as well as whatever downloadable content for whatever fee, it gets a little more ridiculous.

maxusy3k:
I suppose the question really is whether these microtransactions would come INSTEAD OF or AS WELL AS whatever expansions EA would want to churn out.

As an alternative to standalone 30 expansion packs, I can see microtransactions being a fantastic addition to something like Spore. If you're going to be looking at charging 30 every three months for an expansion as well as whatever downloadable content for whatever fee, it gets a little more ridiculous.

Idd, as long as they add new and interesting thing to do I am fine with microtransactions.

Ugh. Microtransactions for individual parts is just wrong, on the level of EA's charging DLC prices for what were originally cheat codes on the 360 version of the Godfather game. Content PACKS, however, are a different story. Content packs should work like a Sims expansion, though presumably smaller. It'll be like those extra costume and creature packs for Folklore on the PS3, and since Spore can be a multiplayer game, these pack downloads shouldn't be able to affect game balance, as the DLC weapons were undoubtedly going to do in Bad Company.

Microtransactions are just legalised gold farming in my opinion.

If they're worth something, then it puts hardcore gamers on much stronger ground.

If they're not, why buy them?

Nah...count me out of that.

Considering Spore is entirely single-player, it's hardly the same as goldbuying or such in an MMO.

I PLAYED THE SPORE FULL GAME AT COMIC CON 08! its worth paying for bew parts i and the others there wanted to make more things that the full game couldnt give us

The trouble with this kind of thing is that it's very easy to go from adding new stuff after a game's release to leaving things out prior to it.

Read what the guy said. "If it matches the Sims success".

Therefore it obviously has to be a success first. So why would they leave things out and risk making a mediocre release?

Because it's Spore. The very nature of the game ensures it will never be a failure, even if you only have 2-3 leg pieces initially.

It's just comments like this that enforce the sense that whatever mutual respect once existed between game makers and the public is now utterly gone, and they've adopted caveat emptor as there motto to explain the constant patching, hidden cost bullshit.
And yet they wonder why piracy is such an issue.

Totaly rediculus, and I don't care I spelt that wrong! They done it with 2142, and modern combat as well. Even worse, if it follows the 2142 trend in the EA download place, you will only be able to download them for a certain amount of time. I had that problem, I had to re-install windows, but I couldn't get the northern strike map pack because the timer had run out! So if you spend all that money on those parts, you might not be able to download them again?!

Why have EA turned into a bunch of idiots?

John Riccitiello:
I would love to imagine that two years from now or a year from now the debate is whether we need a Spore label inside of EA, because the back-end system works so well that we're able to monetize body parts, plant parts, car parts, planets - as a way to generate incremental revenue off an install base of several million active users.

So... he is openly admitting that he wants to make huge loads of money selling things that should be given away.

So Maxis shows us their word means nothing and they are are happy to trick us into believing one thing, and then laugh as they pull the rug out from under us after we've got the game, by selling extras have to be paid for.
Obviously, if they are planning to sell things bit by bit, they will be holding back items from the game editors so they can suck more money out of us for them later.
I say stuff the greedy bastards. There are plenty of other games to play instead.

John Riccitiello has single-handedly destroyed all desire I had to own/play this game.

I had such high expectations for this game when I first heard about the concept and read all about it, when they first talked about it a few years ago. But man, the microtransactions thing is a new low... i mean, in what way exactly does it make the game better and make more people want to play it? I hate to play this role but I just see it as horrible typical money milking. I mean seriously... how can you just relax and play a game and immerse yourself when you've got the little idea in the back of your head on how you've got to pay for more extra stuff... i mean... gah. Seriously. You don't take pride in a game like that, you take pride in it's buisness model, you don't talk to your colleagues about this amazing game you're publishing, you boast about how much money you'll be able to make out of the microtransaction buisness end of it and what a good idea it is.
Just the idea gets me feeling like, seriously wtf, games are getting shittier the bigger the companies get. Look at what happened to our beloved Nintendo.

I doubt it's going to get that bad. And the microtransaction model is infinitely better than the content pack model -- why spend $30 for a content pack with 5 things you really want and 45 things you couldn't care less about when you can just spend $2.50 for those 5 things you wanted? (Dollar amounts completely made up.)

I've never once purchased a content pack for any of the Sims games, nor subscribed to community paysites for similar pay-as-you-go downloads, and I have doubts that I'll buy anything for Spore either. But I can see that it'll appeal to those people who *do* buy that sort of thing.

meatloaf231:
So... he is openly admitting that he wants to make huge loads of money selling things that should be given away.

Why exactly should it be given away? This is content that they didn't have time to produce prior to launch and that they will have to pay someone to produce. It doesn't make *sense* for it to be given away. (Of course, if they do give stuff away, that'd be awesome and would build goodwill. It's just an economic reality that they can't keep doing that.)

Malygris:
The trouble with this kind of thing is that it's very easy to go from adding new stuff after a game's release to leaving things out prior to it.

Quoted for universal truth.

Receiving extra content as soon as they make it instead of waiting for them to compile it in an expansion pack: good.

Spending $60 on a game and finding out i have to spend another $120 before i'm allowed to use all of it's features: bad.

Off to cancel my preorder and lurk thepiratebay untill they release a game that doesn't hold half it's content ransom.

I know what you mean. And they wonder why people download their games for free when they start trying to bleed their target markets for extra gold.

 

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