'Gears of War: Judgment' Microtransactions Are Absurd [Opinion]

By Trevor Ruben , Updated Mar 19, 2013 12:54 PM EDT
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"Gears of War" players probably felt a nasty sense of Deja-vu when the booted up their brand new copy of "Gears of War: Judgment" on Tuesday. Much like "Gears of War 3," Epic is looking to make quite the pretty penny on in-game purchases of the cosmetic and player-boosting style alike. And it's it not coming cheap either.

Gamespot reports the full tally of day-one microtransaction and bulk deals is staggering, reminiscent of the "Gears of War 3"weapon skins, but at severely increased. But before we get into the pretty colors, let's touch on something we sort of knew was coming: XP boosts. The "Gears of War: Judgment" VIP Pass (1600 Microsoft Points/$20) gives players access to special lobbies where experience is doubled, in addition to upcoming downloadable maps and modes, yet little did we know players might be able to buy these experience boosts in needle-shots instead of the long-term drip-feed. Available right now, players can purchase experience boosts for a set number of matches (10, 50, 100 and 200) at similarly escalating prices (80, 320, 560 and 800 Microsoft Point, respectively). Quick math tells you the bulk deals are in fact deals, but take a step back first. 

In a world where experience points and player levels are generally your first indicator (of many) to a player's prowess in a given title, that "Gears of War: Judgment" allows you to double your gain at any time, for a price, is  a pay-to-win model. Unfortunately, "Gears of War" players are extremely competitive, they might just bite.

And one more note: this is a $60 title with four, count it again, four, competitive multiplayer maps included. Aside from the four other maps, intended for Survival and Overrun modes, everything else comes at a price. And Epic is already asking you to pay on day number one. It's time to start pointing the finger at Epic, my friends, instead of the easy EA and Activision targets. This is the worst AAA microtransaction manipulation to ever grace consoles. The absolute worst. We haven't even talked about the player and weapon skins. Brace yourself.

320 Microsoft points, that's $4, nets you exactly one "animated" weapon skin, which means it does something flashy instead of remaining static. Worry not, Epic says, for you can purchase a static skin for the greatly discounted 240 Microsoft Points. That's $3, three times the price of "Super Stickman Golf 2" on iOS. For a weapon skin. Armor skins are even worse, priced at 320 and 400 Microsoft Points for static and animated skins respectively. And you can buy all the skins at once. For a mere 4000 Microsoft points.

So, just for fun, let's say you buy all the skins, because you just love "Gears of War" that much, and the season pass, which gets you close to an acceptable number of maps in the first place, and you've already spent $75 on DLC. Add that to the price of the game and you're at $135 on day one.

Hypotheticals aside, Epic's plans for microtransactions will only grow in if players buy them. You buy those skins, for those absurd prices, or if you purchase even a single game's worth of experience boost, you're telling Epic this is okay.

It's not. It's really not okay. 

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