Microsoft’s Phil Spencer Responds to Microtransaction Outcry

Microsoft's Phil Spencer talks to Kotaku about Xbox One's future and the impact it will have on gamer's wallets.

So when he’s not playing Killer Instinct with Jimmy Fallon on late night television, Phil Spencer has been fielding some complaints about the Xbox One launch. While he did address things like not having a Halo game at launch, the hot topic right now is the presence of micro-transactions in Forza 5 and Ryse.

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Both of those games basically have a “pay to win” system built into them, where gamers can purchase content that they could have otherwise just unlocked through playing. There’s also been quite a fuss about the top cars in Forza 5 being cherry-picked and only available in a $20 car pack DLC, or $50 for a “Car Pass” that includes all 60 post-launch vehicles. Here is what Spencer has to say about that:

Maybe it’s not the end of the world if there are microtransactions in a single-player game, just as long as it’s easy enough to progress in the game without paying extra. Microstansactions in multiplayer games can tip game balance, if you can buy things that make one player more capable than another.

“…and if fans don’t like a micropayment? Don’t buy it.”

Then he goes on to say that they wouldn’t impliment something as stupid as “…pay five bucks and get 1000 achievements.” The statement that stood out to me the most is, “…and if fans don’t like a micropayment? Don’t buy it.” That is a very clear message to gamers. EA has been doing this micro-transaction scheme for quite a while now, and it’s profitable. As long as people are willing to hand over their money, the rest of us will continue to be gouged.

Other bits of interesting news from the interview included a hint of a new Gears of War title, and it’s possible a new Phantom Dust game could be made. There’s been some murmurs about Gears of War going multi-platform… so things could get quite interesting. 

So what’s the takeaway from this interview? There’s a sucker born every second that will shell out money to advance in a game they’ve already paid full price for. Microsoft says if you don’t like it… you can just go suck it. 


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Ryan Kerns
Lifelong gamer, artist, writer, lurker, occasional troll, and 1994 Blockbuster Game Tournament Store Champion.