Former Epic developer Cliff Blezsinski has called for a halt to the endless stream of vitriol aimed at the free to play market.
Instead of spending so much time shouting loudly at the internet, he argues, all gamers need to do is vote with their wallets. All publishers are businesses after all and must inevitably respond to lack of consumer spend.
“The video game industry is just that. An industry,” he wrote on his blog. “Which means that it exists in a capitalistic world. You know, a free market. A place where you’re welcome to spend your money on whatever you please… or to refrain from spending that money.
“I’ve seen a lot of comments online about microtransactions. They’re a dirty word lately, it seems. Gamers are upset that publishers/developers are ‘nickel and diming them’. They’re raging at ‘big and evil corporations who are clueless and trying to steal their money’.
“I’m going to come right out and say it. I’m tired of EA being seen as ‘the bad guy’. I think it’s bullshit that EA has the ‘scumbag EA’ memes on Reddit and that Good Guy Valve can Do No Wrong.
“Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of Gabe and co most everything they do. However, it blows my mind that somehow gamers don’t seem to get that Valve is a business, just like any other, and when Valve charges $100 for an engagement ring in Team Fortress 2 it’s somehow ‘cool’ yet when EA wants to sell something similar it’s seen as ‘evil’.
“No one seemed too upset at Blizzard when you could buy a pet in World of Warcraft – a game that you had to buy that was charging a monthly fee.
“Yes, guys, I hate to break it to you, as awesome as Valve is they’re also a company that seeks to make as much money as possible. They’re just way better at their image control. Making money and running a business is not inherently evil. It creates jobs and growth and puts food on the table.
“People like to act like we should go back to ‘the good ol’ days’ before microtransactions but they forget that arcades were the original change munchers. Those games were designed to make you lose so that you had to keep spending money on them.
“If you don’t like EA, don’t buy their games. If you don’t like their microtransactions, don’t spend money on them. It’s that simple. EA has many smart people working for them (Hi, Frank, JR, and Patrick!) and they wouldn’t attempt these things if they didn’t work. Turns out, they do. I assure you there are teams of analysts studying the numbers behind consumer behaviour over there that are studying how you, the gamer, spends his hard earned cash.
“If you’re currently raging about this on GAF, or on the IGN forums, or on Gamespot, guess what? You’re the vocal minority. Your average guy that buys just Madden and GTA every year doesn’t know, nor does he care. He has no problem throwing a few bucks more at a game because, hey, why not?”