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OpenCritic Aiming To Track In-Game Microtransaction Models

by Matt Miller on Oct 09, 2017 at 02:35 PM

In a series of tweets today, the game review aggregating site OpenCritic has made clear plans to begin tracking the use of microtransactions in games. “We're going to take a stand against loot boxes. We're looking into ways to add business model information to OpenCritic,” reads the opening tweet.

The tweets go on to suggest that plans on how to address the issue are still ongoing, but that early aspects that they’re considering for tracking are whether the microtransactions are exclusively paid or available to be acquired in-game, in-game prompts, as well as exploring how they can indicate how intrusive those systems are within the game. 

OpenCritic is exploring an interesting and expanding aspect of the gameplay experience. Even major triple-A games now regularly feature options for microtransactions, including games like Overwatch, Destiny 2, NBA 2K18, and this week’s release of Middle-earth Shadow of War. However, OpenCritic has a big challenge in front of its team; almost every game handles microtransactions in a different way, and finding clear descriptions that speak to each game will be difficult. 

[Source: OpenCritic on Twitter, via Polygon]


Our Take
If OpenCritic can figure out a way to succinctly communicate information on MTX in games, I think that is great. I deeply dislike the way microtransaction systems have infiltrated many of the games I enjoy. Even when they aren’t especially disruptive, their presence pulls me out of the immersion, and makes the broader experience feel a little cheaper. However, I know lots of players who readily embrace these systems, sometimes spending hundreds of dollars for even cosmetic drops. Publishers are balancing the push-back against microtransactions against the money they’re raking in by including them in games.