The long-awaited Metal Gear Solid V is due to arrive in just a week and early reviews have been incredibly so far, praising the game and declaring it the best of the series. However, the game isn’t without controversey as it came to light that the online portion of the game, where players can build their own Forward Operating Base (FOB) and then defend it from other players, contains microtransactions.
Gamespot broke the story, posting an image of what appeared to be a pay-gate blocking access to the online portion that was asking players to spend MB coins to purchase “territorial waters” in order to begin construction of their base.
Konami have since responded, hastily attempting to clarify how these microtransactions work, which they probably should have done already as it seemed rather obvious that reviewers would pick up on it. Speaking to PC Gamer Konami stated that, “Gamespot posted an article following the review that the PVP (FOB) mode in MGSV TPP will be restricted behind a micro-transaction paywall and that is simply not true. The FOB mode will be fully accessible at launch and the micro-transaction layer to that specific feature in the game primarily acts as an accelerator. We’ll have more details at launch, but we did try and clear these rumours up when they started circulating during E3. We even addressed this in our official E3 2015 demo when it went live during that show.”
Konami then spoke to Gamespot, saying, “To clarify, the initial FOB, which includes the FOB command platform and all sub-platforms, is not behind a Mother Base coin paywall. Maintaining other FOBs past the initial set of FOB platforms can be purchased with Mother Base coins. More information regarding the payment model for FOB will be provided closer to launch.”
Exactly why they couldn’t simply provide the information now is a mystery. Indeed, it would seem sensible to provide as much information as possible to help alleviate concerns.
Regardless, it seems that microtransactions are very much a part of the game, where they don’t belong. I love the idea of free-to-play games, but when it comes to full retail releases microtransactions have no play. Many attempt to argue that provided they are optional then they don’t affect the game, except they do. It’s impossible to implement a system like this without it affecting the game at least a little, and that’s not to mention developer’s tweaking things to help push players toward paying instead of playing. We’ve paid full-price for the game, and thus no element should be held back in order to get more money from the customer.
Jim Sterling provides a wonderful argument for this in his latest video. Interestingly Konami have issued a Copyright ID claim on the video: