EA and Popcap have announced that microtransactions will be coming to Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare next week, allowing players to purchase coins for real money.
“Starting next week, players will be given the option to purchase coins from the Sticker Shop, which allows players the ability to access new packs and character content more quickly – all the same content that can be earned through regular gameplay. Now you have the choice to play your way; you can play to get new packs and content via earned coins in the game, or you can purchase coins to get more of the packs and content you want right away.” Stated Popcap in an update.
Previously it had been confirmed that Garden Warfare would have no microtransactions at launch, but no promises were made about them being added at a later date, and given the way the in-game store works the majority of players were sure it would become a reality.
Okay, so let’s try and look at this fairly.
Garden Warfare is actually quite generous with the amount of coins it hands out, and recent updates have even added in more ways to earn those coins, making it even easier. Chunks of free DLC have also been a highly unusual bonus considering the EA label stamped on the box.
Considering that Garden Warfare is quite a balanced game, it’s hard to get too upset about the ability to simply purchase items using real money, as it shouldn’t give anyone an advantage, assuming, of course, Popcap also don’t alter the rate at which you earn coins in an attempt to “encourage” players to break out their wallets and purses. So long as it remains simply an option for those that don’t have a lot of spare time, then I can handle it.
Where my problem lies is with the concept as a whole, and how games like Garden Warfare can set an unhealthy precedent. Forza 5 was a prime example, where the ratio of time spent versus in-game money earned was clearly pushing players towards spending actual cash in order to get anywhere. Whenever we’re asked to buy a game, the idea of then spending more money in order to grab in-game items that other players played to earn irritates me, although from a logical standpoint one could certainly argue that even though you bought the game the stuff isn’t actually yours until you jump through hoops to unlock it.
So, microtransactions in Garden Warfare. Surprised? Annoyed? Accepting?