Forza Motorsport 5 developer Turn 10 says the microtransactions in its game were an experiment and not Microsoft’s idea.
Microtransactions, small payments in a game for additional content, can be found in several Xbox One games. In the racing game Forza Motorsport 5, players can buy tokens with real money to then buy cars. Responding to rumors that microtransactions were mandated by Microsoft, Forza Motorsport 5 developer Turn 10 said the microtransactions were an experiment from the developer.
“Honestly I think, unfortunately, people attribute too much communication to this organization,” Dan Greenawalt, Turn 10 creative director, told Eurogamer. “The truth is, at Turn 10 while I’m a Microsoft employee, we’re off-site… For the most part, Microsoft sees it as we’re doing a good thing, so keep it up, and so we’re left alone.”
Forza Motorsport 4 introduced an element of microtransactions. The game had car tokens ranging from one to three dollars where the most expensive car was 10 million credits in game. Three tokens equaled 10 million credits, or three dollars. Greenawalt said feedback from Forza 4 players inspired Turn 10 to experiment with what they call “acceleration,” and the tokens in Forza 5 exist to give people “cheats” if they want to pay for them.
“But honestly if you look at free-to-play games they usually have things called paywalls, where you’re slowly wearing something down and the only way to get around it is to pay,” Greenawalt said. “That’s not what we implemented in Forza 4 and that wasn’t our goal in Forza 5 either. We don’t have paywalls. We have acceleration.”
Greenawalt is aware of players’ criticisms and hopes to fix the game’s economy. Turn 10 has adjusted the price of the most expensive car from 10 million to six million. He adds “the grind was not designed to be arduous,” but he admits the company made some incorrect assumptions about what players wanted in a “next-gen experience.”
“[Microtransactions are] happening more and more in games, and I understand gamers being resistant,” he said, “especially if they feel like they’re being short-sheeted. I think people are looking out for being short-sheeted, and they’re seeing conspiracy where there isn’t one.”