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Former Naughty Dog Employee Defends Use of Microtransactions

November 18, 2015Written by Michael Briers

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Eric Monacelli, former Community Strategist at Naughty Dog, has weighed on the issue of microtransactions and their implementation in games, stating that the feature tends to evoke “a sort of negative connotation” among consumers.

Citing The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion‘s by-now infamous usage of horse armor as an example, Monacelli admits that monetizing post-launch content is something that has always been controversial. Although in his mind, the argument that said content is taken out from the final game with the intention of selling it separately is often incorrect. 

Speaking to MCV UK, Monacelli, who has now set up shop at Infinity Ward as Director of Communications, shared his two cents on the matter. 

“Microtransactions tend to get a sort of negative connotation in the games industry. If you remember back in the day, people bristled when they sold horse armour [for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion]. It’s something that has always happened. A lot of times I’ll hear people say: ‘That’s just something they cut from the game so you can pay for it.’ No, often it’s not.”

Indeed the former ND employee had first-hand experience of this particular flavor of community backlash, recounting his experience with the introduction of microtransactions 

“A clear-cut example of that is the burst rifle in The Last of Us. A lot of people thought ‘Why are they charging for guns?’ We did the research and noticed that a lot of players were having trouble jumping into the game for the first time, so we wanted to give people a weapon that was easily accessible and would give them a bit of a leg-up. There were other weapons if they were a more experienced player that they could buy – it’s up to them. If you’re already kicking ass, you probably don’t need these, but if you want ’em, have ’em. It’s just a matter of personal preference.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is slated to launch on March 18, 2016. Its multiplayer beta, stress testing a mode that will include microtransactions upon release, is due to go live in December. 

[Source: MCV UK]