Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain may have microtransactions
The above listing taken from the UK Playstation store has raised eyebrows amongst the gaming community fearing for the inclusion of microtransactions in the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5. The big question is – what will they be and what does this mean for the game? Well, we're not sure yet but based on certain evidence we can speculate.
One assumption is that the optional in-game purchases may relate to DLC. It's a safe bet to assume that DLC will be present, chances are that at least the pre-order items will be sold as DLC at some point anyway. That could be anything from guns to cosmetic items to more missions, you know, the standard stuff we see in DLC.
However, multiple previewers who have attended Konami preview events of the game have noticed in-game prompts for “accelerated time” features that can't be used in “offline mode”. It's unclear exactly what this means but we know of a few things in Phantom Pain that require time: the phantom cigar and mother base progression (research and construction). Konami has been talking about moving towards a different business model lately, namely talking about selling features. On the surface that sounds like a kick in the dick to gamers who purchase a £60 game but lets take a rational look at things.
We know from previous Metal Gear Solid games that Mother Base can be constructed and research conducted by your staff. Both of these things take time, in Peace Walker time passed via you doing missions but we might see a shift in mechanics for Phantom Pain whereby research and construction take real time to progress. This would be a good candidate for the microtransactions – selling “accelerated time” to skip a few hours wait. Sadly we've seen this kind of thing before – namely in mobile games and it's invariably presented in such a way that you have to pay unless you want to spend 90 hours waiting to be able to spend 30 seconds queuing up the next task.
Another option is that the phantom cigar we've seen may have limited charges, again this is just speculation, but we might see microtransactions to refill whatever Big Boss is smoking. While I don't think Konami are stupid enough to make it an exclusively paid-for item I suspect we might see something like a per-mission or per-day allotment of the phantom cigar, perhaps a very slow refill rate and Konami will sell instant refills for a small fee.
We're not a fan of microtransactions here and it's hard to maintain an objective outlook when talking about them but at the end of the day if they don't interfere with the game and the game hasn't been gimped so that you have to pay to progress (e.g. Dungeon Keeper on android/iOS) then we can just ignore the option to pay and enjoy the game we bought.
Do you think microtransactions should appear in paid for games? Does their possible inclusion in Metal Gear Solid 5 worry you? Is their “offline mode” exclusion worrying? My personal answers to those questions are “no, yes, yes” but you can leave your own answers in the comment section below. Stay tuned for more information as we get it.