Suppose the people who hate free to play games win the argument and get rid of microtransactions. Suppose they change the laws so you have to get your looter shooter Destiny/Anthem/Division dopamine drip for one fair fixed price. So you’re grinding hundreds of hours to get better armor, but you aren’t spending more money. Just time.

What is the creepy part? Is it evil to charge a dribble of money for a game so addictive it devours hundreds of hours of your time? Or is the problem making the game so addictive it consumes hundreds of hours of your time in the first place?

Jeff Vogel on addiction.

As someone who has far more money than she does time (or, frankly, patience), I confess I do have a preference for games that sell shiny cosmetic items via microtransactions (or even macro transactions) as opposed to making me grind shitty content I don’t want to do endlessly; it’s one of the reasons I prefer Guild Wars 2 over World of Warcraft, for example, because in the former I can just buy my shiny mount then use it to tool around running lowbie alts in the noob zone rather than repeating the same single boss fight over and over and over again for hundreds of hours.1

That being said, the microtransaction/loot box culture in mobile and triple-A gaming is… something definitely worthy of critique, at minimum.2

(Also probably worth discussing: the morality of “endless” games in general…)

  1. Though GW2 certainly has that sort of content, too, if that’s your bag, baby. []
  2. Or, let’s fact it; regulation. There’s no universe in which the system of lootboxes currently implemented in most games isn’t gambling which is, y’know, at minimum highly regulated—and often outright banned—in most places. So… y’know. []