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Sony Won’t Step in on Potentially Abusive Uses of Micro-Transactions in Games

June 19, 2014 Written by Jason Dunning

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During PlayStation’s E3 2014 press conference, new SCEA boss Shawn Layden said, “We’re committed to making PlayStation the best destination for free-to-play games,” “We think this category will explode on PlayStation in the coming years,” and “at PlayStation, at point of entry, free-to-play means free to play.”

With 25 F2P games set to arrive on PlayStation within the next year, Metro asked SCEE President Jim Ryan what their policy was regarding monetization, especially in full-priced games:

Well, it’s a very subjective value judgement that you’re making there. Is monetizing a game through a series of micro-transactions less abusive than asking somebody to pay €70 all-in-one go for what might not necessarily be a great gaming experience?

After Metro argued that it’s “absolutely more abusive,” they brought up Gran Turismo 6′s and its micro-transactions, noting how Sony hasn’t used them since. They then asked Ryan if micro-transactions are something Sony is moving away from now:

I think whether it’s the traditional model or the free-to-play model it comes down to providing proper value for money. I think whatever the model is it’s incumbent on publishers to provide value. To provide proper value. And you know what? Ultimately if they don’t they’ll go bust, because people won’t buy their games.

The conversation then turned to whether it’s the platform holders’ responsibility to make sure micro-transactions aren’t abusive, with Ryan saying, “I think ultimately the consumer has to decide.” Diving deeper, Ryan was asked if, provided the consumer decides a particular game’s micr0-transactions are abusive, would Sony step in:

No, because then nobody would buy it and the publisher would go bankrupt, ultimately.

Do you think Sony should be responsible for games that abuse micro-transactions?