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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Trying from the skin Diablo 4 looks as if an entire con – Reader’s Characteristic Specific Occasions

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Diablo 4 – hellish costs (Image: Blizzard)

A reader is shocked to find how monetisation works in Diablo 4 and begins to know why publishers are so eager on stay service video games.

Earlier within the week there was a narrative about Blizzard polling its followers over what they’d pay for a Diablo 4 expansion, with the options ranging from $50 to $100 (almost certainly £50 to £100, if it happened). At that time I didn’t know much about Diablo 4, but it turns out it’s not a free-to-play game but costs £60 and already has battle passes that cost up to £20.99 each.

Maybe I’m out of the loop but this shocked me. Looking at the different options, for the various DLC price points, instead of making the expansion larger or having more locations of enemies, the only difference seemed to be very inconsequential sounding cosmetic items and in-game currency – the DLC equivalent of getting a gift card for Christmas.

I’d say who on earth would pay money for that, but I assume the answer is millions of people, because Diablo 4 has been one of the biggest games of the year. Indeed, I think the only unusual aspect of this set-up is that the game is not free and you have to pay for that as well. Am I the only one that thinks that’s crazy?

I don’t want to pick on Diablo 4 in particular, it’s just what caught my eye and initially inspired me to write in about it to the Inbox. But it got me thinking more about live service games and why companies are so obsessed by them. I think the fact that people are willing to pay these prices, for such easy to create content, pretty much explains it all in one.

The only reason every game isn’t already a live service title is that publishers are aware that they have a very low hit rate. Make a universally praised single-player game and it will almost certainly be successful, to at least some degree. Make a live service game and it seems to be a lottery as to whether it’s a hit or not.

Epic Games deserves a lot of credit for supporting Fortnite so well over the years, but it’s never been a particularly good game in itself. It’s just a focus for a massive community, where the game is secondary, at best, to all other concerns. There was no way of knowing it’d be the biggest game ever when it was first launched, it was just one game mode amongst many and could’ve easily vanished into obscurity within a few months.

That’s what happens to most live service games, whether they’re good or bad; I think because people only have the time in their lives for one or two and so it’s not just a question of quality but also of timing, where a large number of people need to be looking for the next big thing at just the right moment.

Either that or it has to be part of a well-established franchise, like Diablo, that has been moving towards this kind of monetisation for years already. Personally, the whole concept appals me. These are games without end, whose primarily interest is getting you to spend money on microtransactions, not entertaining you. If this was all that games were I would’ve lost interest years ago.

If you enjoy these games then I don’t want to stop you from doing so, but what I do want to stop is publishers getting the idea that all games need to be like this. We already know that Sony is thinking along exactly those lines and the only thing that’s stopping them and others is the uncertainty of whether they’ll be a hit or not.

But Diablo 4… if that’s the future of gaming you can count me out, forever.

By reader Lolish

The reader’s features do not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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