ith some games these days, it’s all about paying to play and paying to win. You pay, pay and pay. Now where’s the fun in that? by Kenny Yeo

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

ith some games these days, it’s all about paying to play and paying to win. You pay, pay and pay. Now where’s the fun in that? by Kenny Yeo

My Reading Room

In my mind, one of the biggest problems with games today is not that they are unoriginal, boring, or repetitive; but rather they require gamers to pay and pay.

When the idea of downloadable content or DLCs was mooted, it was supposed to provide a way for game developers to release new content for games easily and at a low cost. However, there’s an uncomfortable sense today that DLCs are being used as an opportunity to wring more cash out of gamers. And the worst kinds of DLCs are those that could potentially break the game by giving paying players an unfair advantage, such as a powerful gun or a fast car.

DLCs aside, another way game developers are milking gamers of their cash is through freemium games. These games are free to play, but are designed in a way that entice gamers to pay for in-game purchases. These purchases typically alleviate inconveniences within the game, such as remove waiting times, or give you more game credits to continue playing.

But the most annoying thing about gaming these days is how you sometimes don’t even get to unlock items anymore. Many games these days incorporate some kind of a random loot feature where gamers are rewarded with random items as they play. That sounds fine, after all, many games, like Diablo, have had randomized loot for the longest time.

But my gripe with these games is when they entice gamers to pay to get more randomized loot. In many of these games, paying only gets you more in-game credits which can then be exchanged for more bags of randomized loot, not the item you are eyeing itself. This makes unlocking items incredibly tedious, frustratingly, and not to mention expensive.

All of which only takes the fun out of games. Doesn’t anyone else remember how games were supposed to be about playing, not paying?

My Reading Room

In Overwatch, gamers can earn Loot Boxes as they play. Each Loot Box will yield four random character customization items such as skins, emotes, and animations. Players can speed things up by purchasing Loot Boxes for real money. On the bright side, the items from Loot Boxes are completely cosmetic and have no effect on aactual gameplay.

My Reading Room

For the past couple of Call of Duty games, the developers have introduced map packs that added new maps for multiplayer game play. This led to a fragmented online community, where players can’t play with each other unless they have the required map pack. In addition, these map packs sometimes included new, powerful weapons. As a result, buying map packs would give gamers an unfair advantage.

My Reading Room

Tsum Tsum is a puzzle game where gamers compete against friends on the LINE messaging service to see who gets the highest score, and can collect the most characters known as Tsums. To collect more Tsums, one needs to play games and earn coins to buy boxes which contain random Tsums. Games cost tokens to play, and you are only given a limited number of tokens, which regenerate at a glacial pace. Gamers can speed this process by buying rubies, which can then be exchanged for tokens, to play more games, or coins to purchase boxes of random Tsums.