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CliffyB: Microtransaction is Not a Dirty Word, EA is Not The Bad Guy

| 1 Mar 2013 09:45
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Cliff Bleszinski is tired of EA being seen as "the bad guy," while Valve can "do no wrong."

Cliff "CliffyB" Bleszinski, former game designer at Epic Games and the man who brought us Gears of War, has spoken out on the reality of microtransactions in videogames on his personal blog. He also thinks that maybe we shouldn't be so quick to grab our pitchforks and torches every time EA announces a "questionable" revenue model. "It blows my mind that ... when Valve charges 100$ for an engagement ring in Team Fortress 2 it's somehow cool, yet when EA wants to sell something similar it's seen as evil."

Bleszinski points out that the videogame industry is just that: an industry, and when a videogame company is trading on the stock market, its bottom line is making enough money to keep the shareholders happy, and put food on the tables of its employees. "Those talented artists, programmers, designers, and producers that spent their time building the game you love? They need to eat and feed their families. (Something that the hipster/boomerang kid generation seems to forget all too often.)"

Videogames can cost upwards of $100 million to make and market, says Bleszinski, and are actually cheaper than ever before for consumers when adjusted for inflation. Because of this, Bleszinski thinks that we shouldn't be so quick to complain whenever a company tries to squeeze a little more revenue out of these huge projects via microtransactions or DLC.

"I've seen a lot of comments online about microtransactions. They're a dirty word lately, it seems. Gamers are upset that publishers/developers are 'nickel and diming them.' They're raging at 'big and evil corporations who are clueless and trying to steal their money.' I'm going to come right out and say it. I'm tired of EA being seen as 'the bad guy.' I think it's bullshit that EA has the 'scumbag EA' memes on Reddit and that Good Guy Valve can Do No Wrong."

Bleszinski also defends EA's Origin service, saying "People love to beat up on Origin, but they forget that, for a good amount of time, Steam sucked. No one took it seriously for the first while. When Gabe pitched it at GDC to my former co-workers years ago they came back with eye rolls." Steam took years to become the undisputed king of digital distribution, and Bleszinski asks us to remember this before dismissing Origin.

"If you don't like EA, don't buy their games," Bleszinski tells us, reminding us that videogame companies exist in a capitalistic world, where consumers are free to spend their money however they see fit. "EA has many smart people working for them ... and they wouldn't attempt these things if they didn't work. Turns out, they do," says Bleszinski, mirroring comments from EA that gamers actually enjoy microtransactions.

Bleszinski finishes by telling us that "If you love a product, you'll throw money at it," citing the success of things like World of Warcraft's digital pet store. He says that the only way we can actually have any effect on the videogame industry is to get off our soapboxes and "vote with our dollars."

Source: Dude Huge Speaks

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