I feel for the poor publishers, really I do. How to make the big bucks when so many games A: suck and B: cost millions to produce? Some have taken refuge on the rock of microtransactions. From a penny to a couple bucks, publishers and developers have found that sometimes people will shell out a little cash for a little something extra in-game. Nobody’s really nailed it down, yet — most models are either unprofitable, reviled by gamers, or both. But that won’t stop a 900-pound gorilla like Take-Two from giving it a shot.
I doubt anything like Bad Company’s extra weapons will ever sit well with consumers, but Guild Wars tried doing away with monthly fees in order to sell episodic content, and now they eat off solid gold plates. Take-Two says it is pursuing ad placement in its sports games; now that’s something I can deal with. Updating the ads on the Jumbotron and alongside the field doesn’t interfere with gameplay, and may even make it more realistic to some. I can’t say I’m looking forward to more in-game advertising and buyable items, but if those enable excellent games, then I won’t object.