Xbox One Games, Specs, and Tech: Microsoft Talks Microtransactions, and the Future of Gears of War

By Prarthito Maity , Updated Nov 27, 2013 10:57 AM EST
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While Microsoft’s Xbox One has arrived with its massive set of launch titles, it seems like a good deal of the games in the library somehow need the user to pay a bit extra to access those cool in-game features. While companies look to make the most out of this, there’s a general feeling among gamers that developers are forcing them to pay more even, on top of the purchase of the title itself. However, Microsoft states that this is completely a user-oriented matter and anyone who’s not a big fan of micropayment can easily choose not to.

Recently, Microsoft Studios chief Phil Spencer was in an interview with Kotaku where the topic of microtransactions popped up. Spencer admitted that Microsoft doesn’t have a fixed strategy for introducing microtransactions in a game, as the company is “still learning” how to handle microtransactions.

Spencer added that he's making sure that all of the Xbox One game will include some kind of a feedback mechanism that will allow Microsoft to closely track what gamers actually purchase.

"I want to be able to learn from what we put in," he said. "So let's make sure we are crafting the game and the analytics so we can see what the consumers—the gamers—like and don't—if you assume buying habits are a reflection of what people like. So that we can craft the experience better for the gamer."

"It's easy to say something like, 'I'll never allow somebody to buy the win of the game, I won't let them buy victory,' but that's kind of a trite answer. I'd say, 'Yeah, I guess I have that line, that [we wouldn't have] 'Pay five bucks and get 1000 achievements' or something stupid like that. I'm always pushing against that. But, in reality, that's not what the gamers are looking for. They're usually looking for customization and their gameplay style opening up."

While games like Killer Instinct asks users to make additional payments to bolster their roster, and Forza 5 asks the same to unlock better and faster cars, others like Ryse: Son of Rome completely ignores the concept of micropayments. But the bottom line is that if you don't like the idea of microtransactions, don't use them. If Spencer's feedback mechanism works, then the message will get across.

With a new console now upon us, fans are curious about one of Xbox's exclusive franchises, and the possibility of another Gears of War, for which developer Epic is rumored to be considering crossing party lines. Said Spencer on the issue, “I'm a huge fan of the franchise. I want to continue to work with Gears. I think there's a lot of life left in that franchise. We had an internal discussion on it even yesterday.”

“It's something that's active in discussion about what we can do with Gears. Obviously, I know [Epic's management] Tim Sweeney, Mark Rein, Jay Wilbur incredibly well, so nothing to announce yet and I'd say, yes, there's nothing even pending that I'm holding to announce, but I understand the importance of the franchise to the Xbox platform and to gamers—I'd say gamers first. It'd be great to do something forward with that franchise.”

"It's Epic's game and we have to talk to them about a partnership and what they want to do. As you know, you probably know right now they're more focused on other areas of their business right now," he added.

Microsoft’s Xbox One launched this November in 13 countries all across the planet, with the console now looking to overtake the Wii U in total sales.

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