I had a little spare time this weekend and I suddenly felt the urge to start up The Sims again, for the first time in a few months. I instantly remembered why I had stopped playing: the game isn’t complete without additional paid content and it can be frustrating to be constantly confronted with the fact that it isn’t, and that you should buy this expansion, or that accessory pack to fulfil your playing needs. While this is not a very recent trend, EA was one of the first to start it: paying for additional content in order to make your game more complete. In fact, they started it with the first Sims game back in 2000. And other game producers have followed suit, to the detriment of the player and the game as well.
A Game Is not Enough Anymore
While gaming is still very prevalent in today’s society and became even more so when the pandemic hit and people had to sit at home, it has become somewhat of an expensive hobby. Most games that are widely released and across several platforms cost around 60 euros. Some offer Ultimate Editions, such as the upcoming Call of Duty: Vanguard, which sells for 100 euros. This is often not the end, however. Whenever creators feel there is more money to be made, they will release a DLC pack, often costing another 20 to 50 euros. This means that avid players of video games can often spend as much as 150 euros in order to play a fully complete game, while in the past this could often be done for around 40 euros. In the case of The Sims, this goes to the extreme. If you pay full price for all expansion packs, game packs, stuff packs and the newly introduced kits (which contain even less content than the stuff packs) it will cost 845 euros. This is quite an extreme price to pay for a game, which I (as you may have seen in the images above) have unfortunately also fallen victim to. This is because EA has a different strategy than other gaming companies. They produce their games unfinished. Players have to wait months, and sometimes even years, for essential gameplay to be added to the game. And this is a consequence of this trend of having to pay for extra content to add to the game, and while I would absolutely recommend playing the game in its entirety, maybe it’s better to refrain from it as the game is quite dull without its additions and you’re better off saving that money for something else.
Pay to Win
Pay to win is a term that has emerged in the last few years, mostly due to mobile apps, and their ability for in-app purchases. The concept is that a player pays real money to the developer of the game through their respective mobile accounts and gets better weapons, defensive items and clothing in return. This is not entirely based on equality, as people who have less money to spend therefore also have less chance of winning at this specific game. A good example of this is Genshin Impact. It allows you to buy weapons and characters that will help you get further in the game faster. While the game is free to play initially, a player notices at some early levels already that it is hard to progress without those bought with real money weapons, encouraging you to buy them. The game earned over 1 billion dollars in its first six months, showing how successful this business model actually is. The worst part about this model is: if you do pay, it is not a guarantee that you will win. Instead, it increases your chances, but others who also pay to win, get those same chances. And the people who do not pay, hardly stand any chance at all.