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One of the biggest problems that plagues most aspects of modern-day gaming is the dreaded ‘microtransaction’. As the name suggests, these are small payments that a player can ‘optionally’ make in order to access in-game content, whether it be at a faster pace than unlocking it on their own or just entirely. Many gamers complain about this practice, yet it continues to grow in popularity. The recently released Super Mario Run is one of the very few mobile titles that does not have this feature, instead going for a standard flat-rate payment of $10 in order to access the full game. This has many people up in arms, with many saying that the game is “not worth” the price. If you happen to be one of these folks (or know someone who is), here’s a question—what’s the big deal?
What I don’t get about the numerous complaints is that realistically, microtransactions tend to add up very quickly, so paying a flat-rate of $10 should be seen as heavenly. The lure of those smaller payments is that they trick your mind into thinking that you’re not spending all that much, but in reality you are (depending on how many things you buy). Think of it like this—a game could have ten items priced at $2 each. You may purchase all of them thinking: “What’s two dollars?”, but in reality, you just spent $20. Let’s get a petition started for ‘microtransactions’ to be officially changed to ‘microtrickactions’.
Such a sleazy act like that is why so many people have a strong disdain for microtransactions. That isn’t to say that all are bad: take Rocket League, for example. Most of the ‘premium’ cars are available for $2, but you can still completely enjoy the game with just the $20 base package. It’s primarily mobile games, the “free-to-play” ones, that really abuse the microtransaction system. Nintendo is doing the exact opposite with this game. You can download Super Mario Run for free and gain access to the first three levels, and then go ahead and fork up the cash if you want the full experience. Really, more mobile games need to adopt this method of doing things. Giving people a chance to demo something before they buy into it ultimately benefits both the developer/creator and consumer. A consumer may be apprehensive about buy something if they can’t try it out first, which then leads to a loss of profit for the developer/creator. By giving consumers a ‘taste’, they just might go ahead and buy the ‘full meal’. Thank you for realizing this, Nintendo.
Despite the fee, you can still try Super Mario Run for no money at all. More mobile games should adopt this system.
This method also benefits the game itself in another way: it helps it to stand out. There seem to be an endless number of endless runners, so despite the fact that the Super Mario franchise has one of the biggest levels of brand recognition in the entire entertainment world, consumers may have been very apprehensive about getting into the game because there are already so many other choices out there. The gameplay itself is pretty different from most endless runners, but Super Mario Run’s uniqueness is also manifested in its pricing system. Ultimately, this gives the game more exposure.
Really, it doesn’t make sense to hate Nintendo for choosing to go this route with Super Mario Run. If it really wanted to, Nintendo could have easily made this yet another free-to-play game and stamp microtransactions all over the place. Imagine having to pay a fee to unlock the extra characters, get power-ups and collect more coins? The addictive nature of a game like this (which is most mobile titles in general) would no doubt get players hooked onto making those seemingly small, yet very sneaky purchases. Pokemon GO had a lot of microtransactions, and over 6 million people spent at least $20 on the game due to these small fees. This is Nintendo’s third app, and while the other two have been pretty successful, I have a feeling Super Mario Run just might catapult above the rest; but only if people would stop whining and just look at the logistics of it all.