As I’m sure most gamers have, I’ve developed a big list of gaming-related pet peeves over the years. Some are admittedly minor, but others are what I’d dub “severe”. Take in-app purchases, for example, something I feel has to be one of the worst things to ever come to gaming.
When I rant about IAPs, I tend to be talking about mobile gaming, and there is no exception here. While IAPs exist in console and PC games, it’s mobile where the problem is at its worst. Call me old-school, but I fancy the idea of purchasing a game and simply enjoying it, not worried about having to extract funds from my bank account. I don’t even mind DLC or expansion packs, since those could result in a lot more content.
But DLC and expansions are a far cry from in-app purchases in mobile games that are designed to milk as much money from you as possible. The irony is that a lot of people have a hard time stomaching $50 for a brand-new AAA game. At the same time, these mobile games that one person can build and has substantially less content are designed to encourage you to spend that much, or more.
If you peer into the games section of an app store, be it the Apple App Store or Google Play, I can tell you what you’ll see: About 75% of the games marked “free”. You’ll see a handful of games at about $1. About 90% (I am just making numbers up, but I believe them to be close) of those will have in-app purchases.
It’s not that I’m opposed to spending money on games… that’s not the point at all. I just want to pay for a game up-front, rather than pay for individual things in a game that was creatively designed to make you want to spend money. In an article a friend passed me the other day, it’s demonstrated how the new version of Dungeon Keeper is nothing like the old one – it takes you far longer to accomplish the same exact objective in-game. Why? To get you to cough up funds to speed the process up, of course.
The entire concept is annoying to me. A lot of indie titles on the PC have a flat up-front fee, and tend to be far beefier in the content department. Then we have games like Dungeon Keeper and many others which think nothing to include a $100 option in the game. Imagine spending $100 on a mobile game, rather than $100 on two brand-new PC titles. Or hell, 20 or so games during a Steam sale. It’s foolish, and disgusting.
But that’s just me. The entire situation has come to bug me enough where I don’t even look at the games section at Google Play anymore… I know what’s there without looking. There have been a couple of games I’ve purchased out-right that don’t have IAPs built-in, but they are far and few between. It’s rather unfortunate that this is what mobile gaming (and gaming in general) is becoming.