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Monday, January 26, 2015

Refill Your Need For Speed With Micro-Transactions!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - With Need For Speed: No Limits. With a sub-title like that, this article writes itself.

Electronic Arts isn't really reaching new lows, they're just redefining what it means to be low.

KoopaTV's disdain and contempt for everything related to Electronic Arts isn't going to stop just because we finally got to the bottom of the "Madden Curse" movie scandal. It turns out that EA can be very despicable with their business model as well.

According to "Android Police", who is apparently the source for the story — you should be able to identify that as a site I've never been to before, so if this is a hoax then it's going to our bad sources list —  EA is going to be charging to fill up your gas tank for their mobile release, Need For Speed: No Limits. Believe it or not, EA has a mobile division they're trying to make into a big thing, so as someone who despises both EA and mobile, sure I'll take opportunities to bash both in the same article!

...Just in case you missed it in that paragraph of extraneous information: Your in-game gas tank for your in-game car is finite, and to replenish it you will either have to wait for your car to magically replenish itself, or you can pay REAL MONEY to go to the gas station in-game.

This comes at a time period where we've had falling gas prices at the pump in America for the past several months (no thanks to the Obama administration), so EA is presumably enacting this as a time where filling up your gas tank is a lot more fun than, say, a few years ago.

Average United States price of gas from 2013 to 2015
We last looked at this chart almost a year ago, in March 2014. And my, have things dropped since.
How much will pumping your virtual gas tank cost? $2? So it's a one-gallon tank? What a terrible fuel economy. As for the in-game economy, there are apparently multiple currencies that are standard with free-2-play models that I don't really want to discuss because we don't know enough specifics, and I suspect you don't care about them.

What is more interesting is the fact that apparently your gas tank will magically replenish itself without any input from you. Don't pretend like you're not intrigued. EA has figured out the secret to energy success. The problem is that it doesn't seem very economical. If you're on a road trip with a one-gallon load of gas in your car, you're not likely to go very far before having to refuel. If you have to wait, say, 24 hours for that gallon to replenish, you're going to take a very long time to get across the country.

But what if EA has developed a much-faster fuel-replenishment system but they're just hiding it from the public? I wouldn't put it past them. Even if it's a deplorable company like EA, it still speaks to the innovations of the "private sector", as Mitt Romney would put it!

Anyway, Need For Speed: No Limits has a mini-site featuring a guy named Ken Block, who, to our knowledge, has no relation to KoopaTV folk hero Mark Block.

The guy is a hardcore racer or something.

Ken Block playing Need For Speed: No Limits
Why would anyone want their device's screen smudged like this?
KoopaTV would like to make sure you understand that Need For Speed: No Limits obviously has limits. KoopaTV would also like you to understand that the free-2-play model is being abused. It can still be quite beneficial to the consumer, as I argued back in 2013. (It has the incredibly disgusting side effect of people valuing games down to $0, though.) That won't happen in games like this, where the consumer would probably like to pay upfront and not have to deal with buying gas when you could (if you really wanted to) play any of the previous games in the series where you don't have to do that. Maybe they'll have an electric vehicle expansion pack?

Optimistically, even if it's EA fans we're talking about here, people should be smart enough to realise that EA is trying to rip them off with these micro-transactions. The previous games did not have this. This one does. It's basically the same experience. Figure out the difference. Then be outraged.

In typical EA fashion, they don't have a release date announced for the Android version of Need For Speed: No Limits. Fans are taking to Facebook to ask for the release date, which indicates to me that they actually want it. I guess we have a long way to go...

KoopaTV staff member Vortexica brought up the point that next, we'll have to buy in-game ammo in a game like Call of Duty with real money. I know buying real ammo with real money is illegal in many jurisdictions, but have legislators thought about virtual ammo with real money? Did they contemplate that? Or did they figure, "Hey, no one would be dumb enough to do that."

We live in dark times, my friends.

Ludwig has boycotted both smartphones and Electronic Arts, and does not play F2P games, because he would rather pay up-front. What about you?

Ludwig finds some good in the wait-to-play model, to his surprise upon actually trying it.
Ludwig hypocritically plays a free-to-play game that was a sequel to an existing pay-to-play game.

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