‘Destiny’ Plans To Swap Paid Expansions For Microtransaction Cosmetics
Destiny is currently one of the biggest multiplayer games out there. An awful lot of people who play games play Destiny and it’s received general critical acclaim since its release a year ago, and according to a report from GameRant, its first year anniversary expansion, The Taken King, shattered sales records on the PlayStation platform and performed very well elsewhere, as Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg noted in a press release.
“Destiny: The Taken King is officially the most downloaded game on day-one in PlayStation history and set a new benchmark for both total Destiny players and peak online concurrency on day-one, so it’s safe to say the Destiny franchise continues to gain momentum. Along with our talented partners at Bungie, we cannot wait to watch the community continue to grow and tackle the King’s Fall Raid kicking off on Friday.”
That being said, not everyone was happy about it. Several critics noted that the way The Taken King changed Destiny‘s core systems actually locked players who didn’t purchase the expansion (at a $40 price tag) out of past content; critic Sarmad Lillah from SegmentNext called it “pay and play or go away.” Luke McKinney of Cracked was even less subtle or sympathetic, ranking Destiny: The Taken King at the top of a list of game DLC that “should be considered scams.”
“That is specifically and carefully chosen to be the very least thing, the tiniest tweak most people would casually dismiss, but that is them taking something you already paid for and removing it until you pay again.”
This time around, Bungie and Activision seem to have realized that they may have gone too far. In a move mirroring similar free-to-play games like Warframe, it was announced (according to Design & Trend) that starting on Tuesday, October 13, players will now be able to purchase an in-game currency called Silver, which will be used to purchase player cosmetics. The first items purchasable with Silver will be a new set of player emotes, 18 in all, and current Destiny players will be provided with a little Silver to get started.
“This coming Tuesday, October 13th, Tess Everis will return to The Tower with a new look, a new storefront, and some new items to sell, courtesy of Eververse Trading Company. Initially, Tess will offer 18 brand new emotes. Like the trio of emotes offered via The Taken King Collector’s Edition, these emotes are completely optional, and won’t impact the action game in any way.”
According to Destiny, sources within Bungie who spoke with Kotaku, the new currency is a move toward supporting free DLC through cosmetic microtransactions. Along with emotes, the sources also confirmed that new Sparrow skins (the game’s land vehicle for players) will be available for Silver. Meanwhile, the team will continue to release free story DLC until the next paid “expansion” for Destiny next fall, which is actually Destiny 2, the game’s sequel, which will retail for $60.
That said, the free DLC hasn’t actually been confirmed by Bungie or Activision, but it’s a fairly safe bet at this point. The Taken King upset a lot of players, and may have been the final straw for many to move on to existing free-to-play games and if Activision wants to keep riding Destiny‘s 20-million-plus-player success, they need to be very careful not to drive current players away.
Given their experience with subsidiary Blizzard and World of Warcraft‘s drastic player drop – according to Forbes, World of Warcraft lost 44 percent of its subscribers in only six months – Activision is well-familiar with the consequences of upsetting the player base of a successful franchise and it’s clear that they’re hoping to milk Destiny for years to come.
[Image courtesy Bungie]