Naughty Dog on microtransactions: ‘You should pay for good work’

Matthew Jarvis
Naughty Dog on microtransactions: ‘You should pay for good work’

Uncharted developer Naughty Dog has hit out at players that criticise in-game purchases.

Former community strategistEric Monacelli was speaking to MCV ahead of next year's launch of Uncharted 4.

The game will be supported with post-release story DLC – a decision that Monacelli admitted would raise the ire of some fans.

Microtransactions tend to get a sort of negative connotation in the games industry," he explained. "If you remember back in the day, people bristled when they sold horse armour [for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion]. It's something that has always happened.

"But if it's good enough content and you want to pay for it, why not pay for it? That's what it comes down to."

Monacelli recalled the reception to the introduction of microtransactions to The Last of Us' multiplayer mode, and rebuked the oft-repeated argument that content is held back from the initial release of a title to be sold as DLC later on.

A lot of times I'll hear people say: 'That's just something they cut from the game so you can pay for it.' No, often it's not," he retorted.

"A clear-cut example of that is the burst rifle in The Last of Us. A lot of people thought 'Why are they charging for guns?' We did the research and noticed that a lot of players were having trouble jumping into the game for the first time, so we wanted to give people a weapon that was easily accessible and would give them a bit of a leg-up. There were other weapons if they were a more experienced player that they could buy – it's up to them. If you're already kicking ass, you probably don't need these, but if you want 'em, have 'em. It's just a matter of personal preference.

There are hot debates around this all the time in the office, because everybody's got their own opinion. For me, the more thought that's put into DLC, the more you should be able to charge for it, because it's one of those things where you're creating another game unto itself – The Last of Us: Left Behind was another game. It's essentially the second Last of Us game, right?

"It's work, and you should pay for good work.”

Edit: This article previously stated that Eric Monacelli is community strategist at Naughty Dog. He has since moved to Infinity Ward asdirector of communications.

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