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Monday, July 6, 2015

Metal Gear Solid V: The Microtransaction Pain

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Transactions have changed.

While absent from the formal E3 conferences this 2015, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is at the top of a lot of people's lists for this year, and a lot of eyes are on it. After all, this seems to be more or less the last thing famed designer Hideo Koijma is going to be touching before he's totally disassociated from Konami, and we all know that everyone thinks Konami is falling apart.

And perhaps it is with its mobile-centric focus, but The Phantom Pain is supposed to be one last console (and PC) hurrah. Unfortunately, its British page lists it as having micro-transactions, or "in-game purchases".

Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain pre-order in-game purchases optional
"In-game purchases"?! Noooooooooo!

"But Ludwig... They're clearly optional."

Let's take a look at what they're used for, and why whoever came up with the idea is a coward. According to Robert Peeler,
"It’s something that players can use to help them throughout the game if they’re having trouble but in general you can unlock everything. [...] We want to open it up to people who maybe haven’t tried the Metal Gear series before and they might have a little trouble getting past some of these hurdles.  We want to make it easier for them by using this method."
Basically, it's like if Nintendo made you pay them to get access to the Super Guide feature seen in some of their games, like New Super Mario Bros. U and Donkey Kong Country Returns. You know, instead of providing it for free. Now, it's unclear if one of Snake's many alter-egos or clones will suddenly appear and clear the story for you if you pay the in-app purchase, or if you'll get some super-powerful weapon that lets you stream-roll through the section. 

So why is this so bad? Besides the fact that Konami is having people pay extra (on top of the actual game price) for an "instant win" button which is totally contrary to why you should be playing games, Konami and Koijma are terrified of the idea of people playing a game but not getting to the end of it. This is a very common issue among game developers, and it's in fact pretty common among gamers to not fully complete their games.

What percentage of the games that you own have you beaten poll survey GameFAQs videogames finished
Keep in mind this is a GameFAQs poll, which means people are more likely to finish games here than general population.
Since, you know, that's why they go on GameFAQs... to figure out how to finish the game.

Hey, that brings up a good point: Some well-written guides on GameFAQs are all anyone should need to clear a game like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. So they're charging money for what you could get free, except taking away the satisfaction of execution. You have the knowledge, now execute actions from it. But now you can just pay for the easy road. Seriously, why the hell are you buying games anyway, then?

Not even child soldiers buy microtransactions.

Kojima is also a hypocrite. He said in an interview for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes:
"But as a creator I want to take that risk. As a producer it’s my job to try and sell the game, but I’m approaching this project from the point of view as a creator. I’m prioritising creativity over sales."
Doing things like in-app purchases (literally "pay-to-win") is totally not approaching the project as a creator. That's total producer-ism. The only thing with being a creator is that your heart aches if people don't get to the end of your story, but hey, what the hell makes you think they'd rather pay extra to get to that ending? They could just say "Screw it" and watch it on YouTube

Probably worse than this whole microtransaction deal was that Metal Gear Solid V was split up into two parts to begin with. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was criticised for its lack of length and content and stuff. The reason it existed is because Koijma wanted to basically make Metal Gear Solid V episodic (unequally so) and give people a "taste" of the real action. Reminds me of Super Smash Bros. For 3DS, which really shouldn't have existed.

A "taste" of the real action, or just stuffing tar in your mouth?

The creepiest thing of all is this "Mother Base". No, it's not your bachelor pad of MOTHER games, but a fully-customisable area Snake gets to hang out in. Maybe it's not actually creepy, but it reminds me of "My Castle" from Fire Emblem Fates, and that's an outright lesson in how to be creepy in game design. Big Boss's soldiers hang out in Mother Base just like your Fire Emblem troops and it's basically enough content for its own game, like Fire Emblem Fates. Seems pretty similar.

We just hope there aren't any petting scenes in spas in this game.

Ludwig absolutely despises pay-to-win and hates these schemes entering the mainstream. Is he totally off in his assessment? Let him know in the comments section! (Or let him know if he's totally on.) This is also KoopaTV's first article since KoopaTV has switched to its new domain!

Ludwig does not consider "pay-to-progress", which is basically what Pokémon Rumble World is, to be "pay-to-win".


  1. Hi Ludwig.... I was supposed to namedrop Sam? Anyways I don't know anything about video games in general sooo yeah cya around lol.

    1. Hi Angie.

      Did you like the article? (...did you even read it?)

      Wot are you interested in? We may have an article that matches your interests.

    2. Haha sorry Ludwig, didn't really read it. Promise I'll read the next one :) As for what I'm interested in... There's a lot I guess? Haha what field specifically?

    3. Well, at least you're honest about not reading it. :o

      Though whether or not you're honest about reading the next one is unclear, 'cause the next article (yesterday's) has already been published. :p

      I dunno, we've written almost 600 articles so we've tangentially covered a whole lot of things, videogame-related or otherwise.

    4. Oh didn't see it. I'll read it (and comment), but yeah I guess you'll just learn what I like through time lol... I'm not prepared to write a list :P

    5. So you'll be here with us over time? :D

  2. I don't agree with the fact that Smash shouldn't have been on the 3ds and I've never played a MGS game AND I rarely purchase DLC/ in game content so this article is irrelevant

    1. Thanks for your irrelevant comment. :p

      While it may be "irrelevant" to you, it's very relevant to other people. Metal Gear Solid fans are actually defending this decision 'cause they're crazy.

      For KoopaTV's very own review of an MGS game, click here.

      As for Smash 3DS, it didn't do anything but hold the Wii U version back.

    2. You're irrelevant lmao


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