Late last week, rumors began to fly around that Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red would be going back on their promise about the inclusion of microtransactions after Polish videogame website GRYOnline.pl posted a click-bait article stating as such.
This all happened after CDPR had a financial meeting discussing an upcoming spinoff multiplayer game of Cyberpunk 2077 that will not be part of the main game. During the meeting, President and Joint CEO Adam Kiciński stated that they were looking at how to monetize this spinoff game, as it will be free to play and is still in the early stages of development. Here is his exact quote:
“We keep experimenting — that’s our first multiplayer game. We check various options and possibilities, and it’s definitely not the time to point you to a specific direction on that. Of course, you can expect that we won’t change our general policy toward ‘deals with gamers’ so I expect wise monetization and — always — value for money.”
So, as you can see, he never mentioned the term “microtransaction” and it was later confirmed that the term “microtransaction” was not even used during the call at any point in time. So not only was the baseless rumor not even about Cyberpunk 2077 (but a free-to-play spinoff), it had nothing to do with microtransactions at all.
GRYOnline.pl posted a follow-up article apologizing for their misleading click-bait article. Shame on them.
Microtransactions are dangerous but can co-exist within any game if done well by respecting the player’s time and dedication and not attacking their wallet
This just goes to show how versatile and sensitive the gaming community is right now. And this is not a criticism, as I find myself right there with them sharing the same skepticism when a developer/publisher of my favorite game franchise makes a promise. The fact is, games as a service is an extremely predatory business model, and companies like EA, Activision, and many others are pushing the envelope so far that states and even countries are trying to move towards banning the randomization of loot boxes due to being far too similar and addicting to gambling. While online gaming communities are still expressing displeasure with the quality of content that can be paid for through microtransactions in-game (random or not) versus content that is actually earnable by playing the game.
It is extremely important to point out that microtransactions are not a bad thing. They can be very useful for developing character identity and diversity for cosmetic-only items, but the line between what is a fair practice and predatory is one that should be much more clear. And it can be overwhelmingly frustrating to see game companies focus more on creating quality cosmetics (like all the coolest looking ones) for microtransactions and reskin other cosmetics or put no effort into their design and leave those for actually playing the game.
CD Projekt Red is Not Like Bungie
This wouldn’t be so bad if the game is free to play, like Destiny 2, but that game was originally $60 (and over $100 for special editions) and stands out as being a pretty big culprit of prioritizing microtransactions over quality earnable loot. Many of us, myself included, paid for Destiny 2 and have nothing to show for it. We bought the DLCs, we played through the weak development that was later tweaked (and all the features D1 had were now something players had to pay for AGAIN with the Forsaken DLC), and Bungie is still tone-deaf on the subject entirely.
Bungie no longer has that shield that Activision could be used as the blame for the mistakes and the scapegoat for shoddy development and lousy business practices. And now that Bungie has departed from them and gone solo, the microtransaction issues are much more prevalent than ever, in that Destiny 2’s in-game Eververse store is receiving objectively more focus, attention, and unique and interesting loot that is mtx-only, while the main campaign and activities are rewarding players boring reskinned items from other already existing activities. Shame on Bungie, just another reason why I have stopped playing the game entirely. But kudos to CDPR for addressing the issue and not falling among the worst of them.
Clearly, companies can get microtransactions right but many are knowingly pursuing greed over customer satisfaction. Thankfully, CD Projekt Red is not one of them. Chalk this up to irresponsible journalism and a lack of integrity for the sake of views/clicks.