Being the next big triple-A title expected to release, Red Dead Redemption 2 has caught the eye of gamers and those with anti-microtransaction sentiments. However, Take-Two Interactive—the publisher of Rockstar’s western-themed title— seems to have a monetization system planned for RDR2 that will avoid Electronic Arts’ mistake with loot crates in Star Wars Battlefront II.
Since Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick announced that the game would have a microtransaction system, gamers and anyone following the SWBII fiasco have voiced their strong opinions about how the game’s economy should be handled. It is important to note that there has always been an outcry on monetizing games, but EA’s loot boxes in SWBII revealed how a monetization system could undercut and significantly affect organic gameplay, progression, and perception of a single title. Hence, hearing that RDR2 will have a monetization system has left players feeling a little unnerved.
However, the negative reactions RDR2’s system is receiving may be unfounded. According to Express, the game will have a similar microtransaction system as another Rockstar hit, Grand Theft Auto V. Those familiar with the title know that GTA Online’s in-game economy involves shark cards which allow players to convert real-world money into the game’s currency.
Based on a discussion thread on Steam, most players feel that the shark card system is vastly different from EA’s loot crates. For one, gamers who pay for shark cards know precisely what they will be getting for their money. In contrast, loot boxes are randomized so players aren’t entirely sure if they’re getting their money’s worth. So, EA’s in-game economy was essentially gambling.
The way shark cards and the original loot crates could affect RDR2 and SWBII’s gameplay, respectively, also differ. It would appear that shark cards don’t affect the overall gameplay and progression of GTAV. In fact, most gamers have reported that shark cards just save on grind time.
There is a stark difference between the way shark cards work when compared to loot crates, which seem to assert their presence throughout the game. As per The Verge, Star Wars Battlefront II make players feel like they are continually being funneled towards buying loot boxes because the crates significantly affect progression and gameplay.
EA’s SWBII debacle caught the attention of governing bodies all over the world. Now, other game publishers and microtransactions, in general, are being scrutinized, reported RDR2—a site dedicated to Red Dead Redemption 2 news. Gamers and legislatures alike are paying close attention to in-game economics, among them is RDR2.
However, Take-Two appears to know how to balance microtransactions, gameplay, and progression. Zelnick hinted as much during his speech in the company’s Q2 earnings call for investors, as per WCCFTech.
“If we have something great in the market and we continue to support it with great content, people will continue to show up… [Red Dead Redemption 2] will stand alone and succeed on its own merits.”
Red Dead Redemption 2 is slated to be released in the spring of 2018. A recent leak on Amazon Italy suggests the exact date of the game’s launch.