Another microtransaction controversy that I’m on the unpopular side of (Metal Gear Survive)

Once again the hive mind is in a tizzy about microtransactions, whipped into a frothing rage by gaming sites generating ad-revenue through manufactured drama.

The game is Metal Gear Survive, a game the mob was pre-disposed towards hating anyway because they think Hideo Kojima was treated badly by Konami so now Konami is way up at the top of the “game publishers we hate list.”

The issue in question is one of character slots. The game charges you the equivalent of $10 in their real-money currency to purchase character slots beyond the first one. People are losing their shit over this.

While I’m not going to condone this (or maybe I am, see below) I think it is taken out of context. There are very few reasons you’d need more than 1 character slot in this game. There are no classes and you can unlock everything on a single character. You can redesign your character at any time for free. There are no “A or B” decisions that would lock you out of options.

The only thing you can’t change is your character’s gender. So maybe some players would want both a male and a female character for some reason (there’s no difference in the two other than visuals…no romance options or anything like that).

So I can think of 3 reasons why you might want a 2nd character slot:
1) You want both a male and female avatar for some reason.
2) Two people want to play the game on the same system profile
3) You leave the game for a long time, come back and want a fresh start but want to save your old progress

If you really want a 2nd character and don’t want to pay, just create a new profile and use that. It takes just a few minutes to do. It’s trivial to side-step this microtransaction. It’s worth noting that you can delete an avatar to free up your 1 slot (not that case in all games…again, see below).

So why would I be in favor of it? MGS launched at $40. I have no way of knowing if this was part of the reason why, but if I had a choice of the game at $40 with paid extra character slots, or paying $60 and having a couple extra slots I’d never use, I’ll choose the $40 package.

So why did they do this at all? Only Konami knows for sure. This is one of those “always online” games so I assume it has something to do with data storage on their end (your data is stored on their servers). Y’know how Destiny limits the number of slots you can have, one for each class? Same thing, I’d imagine. Destiny just doesn’t offer you the opportunity to pay to unlock more.

Let’s talk about Forza Horizon 3 now. You get 1 character slot in that game, too. There’s no way to buy an extra one. There’s no way to delete the one you have (it is stored on the Forza servers). If you want to re-start FH3, the ONLY way to do that is to create a new profile. (I know this from personal experience, which is also why I have a second profile on my Xbox. I wanted to start over.)

You know how much controversy that generated? Zero.

So Metal Gear Survive offers options that Forza Horizon 3 didn’t offer, though they charge for them. More options apparently equals more controversy. Konami would have had fewer PR issues if they’d not even implemented extra character slots. To me, that seems backwards. Why are we punishing a company for offering more options?