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  1. And games sell game visuals and character designs as cosmetic transactions. I believe we encountered another instance that should be elaborated on as far as microtransactions go. Microtransactions can also be a combination of gameplay + cosmetic design. For instance, in Street Fighter, they currently have a freemium design where they sell fighters. People buying characters have two factors in their purchase: their functional power (playstyle), and their design. Competitive players lean more toward the former. Everyone else lean toward the latter. Between them, there's obviously crossover of intentions with someone picking cause they like the character's personality/ design (cosmetics), and a casual person choosing a character cause they like their playstyle (functional). That's why I believe cosmetic transactions are equal to mechanic microtransactions, if not more. Cosmetics influence most of our video game decisions. You see visuals as separate from cosmetics (which we take it is optional visuals). I can understand that, but then that becomes subjective because each game can scale up and down said base visuals and make base visuals into cosmetics, which is one of the business models of current microtransaction heavy games (and one of my biggest pet peeves).
  2. Then we're taking most differently. You can have the whole percentage argument, but my side was always that a lot of people value cosmetics just as much as gameplay, if not more. Even the characters you pick are psychologically affected by choosing what looks better to you. The next point of that would be investment of time, which freemium games use as another resource to collect optional currency that can buy the same things, albeit at a slower rate. I likely won't convince you of the argument that most people do care about cosmetics, but the history of video games and the multibillion dollar industry of real life cosmetics (clothing, makeup) hold a pretty good pillar on the importance of looking good to yourself and others. You're free to not continue the discussion, however, as it seems you've somewhat settled on that.
  3. I'm going to correct something since it seems there was an assumption made on what I said. I used League as an example of how profitable and valuable cosmetics are. For me, I'm pooling together all the consumer market that purchases cosmetic microtransactions in all video games. You might see this as me moving the goal posts, but that was my point in the first place, so I don't want us to stick to League specifically in explaining how many people are buying said micros. Just to fix that now before we lose the thesis of my side of the debate. But to at least top off the League debate, the number 4% is currently not known due to not have the data of 2016 of their current users versus that of 2014. But due to the increase in profits from 600 mill to 1.7 bil, that definitely shows more than 4% in some matter or another. I will give you that we don't know how much it currently is, but if there's 100 million players active in League, a good chunk of them are spending some amount of money. They are. Cosmetic microtransactions are the soul of a visual media like video games. Removing them is removing the reason we admire video games to begin with.
  4. To add to this, the only instance I found with someone in search that even faintly agreed with my viewpoint is some random user on a Steam thread about cosmetic microtransactions, who said it simpler than I ever could.
  5. 1 million players minimum of the playerbase are making it that way. They've also expanded their markets into China and Japan, which has only grew their fanbase. Which makes sense considering Tencent owns them now. And since last year, Riot introduced a lootbox system into their game to make gambling one of the consumer money sinks, which has proved successful with people buying 50 to 100s of chests and keys (it's like Counterstrike or Team Fortress where you need a key to unlock a chest in order to get the random item inside). The one blurring line that is on this issue is that Hodgman is taking into account the whale problem, while I am saying having at least 1 million of players (which is likely more than that), purchasing microtransactions is a very high amount for people who consider them important to the game. I agree that my views are uncommon consciously to the rest of the consumerbase. Unconsciously, they agree with me due by the fact they cannot stop buying them. Aka, returning to the immersion angle I spoke about earlier. "Cosmetic microtransactions are fairer to me," they say. That is because a player is not a game designer nor a businessman. To them, they consume the game by what is in their hands. And then someone somewhere started this rumor that cosmetic microtransactions are fairer than mechanical ones. One of the industry's biggest lies, and yet not much of a secret with how much money is made out in the open. Hidden in plain sight. I can understand if we're still not reaching agreement here, but my thoughts are purely based on how consumers view video games versus how a businessman looking to make money will. Consumers: "Cosmetics don't affect the game, so they're fairer." The ignorant consumer says, realizing that he really meant "it doesn't make me win or lose more." Businessman: "Cosmetics are the number one reason people play games." The suited CEO grins cheek to cheek as he wields a pocky between his fingers, exported from the great land of the rising sun. "These fools believe cosmetics are fair. In reality, they don't realize we've monetized the visual experience that comes with video games. Back then, we freely provided them with in game skins and customization choices. Now we lock them off from them unless they pay for it. All we have to do now is push the pay-to-win narrative, and it'll be smooth sailing." The CEO bites down on the chocolate cookie stick. Another million dollars ticks into his account. Not one company. Several companies. Mobile companies. Freemium companies. Even Blizzard themselves. I am consolidating that the profit of the cosmetic microtransaction market is proof that consumers want and need customization features that were once not locked away behind a paywall. Because the greatest lie of the game industry right now is that video games were never about the player expressing themselves by choosing their own playstyles, skin colors, and other options. In effect, developers have cut away an important part of the game and monetized it. And the public are unaware of what should have been the greatest sin of them all by these devs fabricating tales of "pay to win", which was really a blessing in disguise to cover up the more offensive powerplay. The lost of shaping your in-game identity. There's two kinds of microtransactions to me: pay-to-win, and pay-to-look-good. They are equal to me because they are part of the same whole. And as said above, developers shaved the latter from the base game. There's a reason why they are very popular in multiplayer games. In a world of over millions of users, identity is the most valuable thing of them all. The main point of all this is: cosmetics is just as fun as the game's mechanics. And sometimes, it's more important than the game's mechanics (Second Life).
  6. From my side, there are a couple of things I agree on cosmetic microtransactions: They affect a player's experience. If we're all in agreement there, then I think we're all good. I'm aware that cosmetics don't affect the game's control interface or mechanics, like how much money you get or how powerful a weapon is. I'm in complete agreement of that point. My separation of concept is mechanics are not the only part of a game, so Hodgman and Nova saying that cosmetic microtransactions are "fairer" than mechanical ones is unfair to say considering it's not only a very opinionated viewpoint, but the profiting of cosmetic microtransactions undermines such an opinion. Another is what you pinpointed on with colors altering people's perception of the game, which is a very good one, and a point I was going to bring up if the conversation didn't devolve into me having to deflect assumptions. It's something I never hear anyone actually speak out against. When you do ask that to someone in an argument about cosmetics, they almost seem to shrug it off in a way. It's very strange.
  7. My disagreement was over him saying: "That is... not a very common opinion." In response to me having said: "Cosmetic microtransactions do, in fact, affect gameplay as much as purchasing guns or characters, if not more." Upon my reply, he answered: "Yeah, nah. Most people actually don't care about how their character is dressed up. It really doesn't affect their game experience anywhere near as much as other game items, and your viewpoint is actually extreme to them." Which I said is a lie based on said statistics. Even his use of ARPU, which doesn't account for the games where whales are the minority compared to majority paying money, for instance League of Legends, Second Life, Counterstrike, did not apply to said games. Then my post after is me explaining that both his underestimation of cosmetics and calling those who buy them addicted doesn't discount the fact that cosmetic microtransactions are more important than mechanical microtransactions like heroes, guns, etc. The debate was quite simple. "That is... not a very common opinion", happens to be a very common one based on profits alone.
  8. You imply that I'm insulting anyone with those statements. I'm not assuming things based on feelings. I just don't get how we're ignoring what the consumers see as important versus what you two are saying is important. You guys believe cosmetic transactions are not any better than mechanical microtransactions. And yet, both consumers and developers more successful than you and I have proven otherwise. I rather believe the guys with over millions of dollars in profits than idealistic worlds where cosmetics have no meaning. If they did not, developers would not be making much money from them, even with a couple of whales.
  9. That is only one type of player. And I would even argue that those players are in fact affected by cosmetics mechanically, through the psychology and symbolism of colors, shapes, and sounds. Even choosing your avatar or your name is a cosmetic choice. Anyone who believes that they are absent from cosmetic influence on their game experience do not understand the immersion that comes with video games and choice making within them. The player that is immersed and happier with their game experience will play better. This is simple psychology created by dopamines, which shows how pleasurable a game is making a player, and thus heightening their mental state. As said to swiftcoder, yes, it does affect users as much as items that affect gameplay. You also mention the presence of whales as a defense that most people do not purchase cosmetic items, which I will turn you to a couple of statistics. In 2016, League of Legends made 1.7 B in revenue. RP is purchased with real money, which is used to buy champions, skins, and other cosmetic items on the shop. Cosmetic shops make up the bulk of what is available on the shop. The best selling items are skins. When a exclusive high priced skin goes on sale, it ends up one of the best selling skins during its launch. In 2016, Second Life generated an estimate $49 M. Their revenue comes from in-game purchasing of virtual items, which has created an actual real money economy between players in a virtual real estate. Counterstrike Go in 2015 made $9 Million on stickers alone. Stickers. Not guns. Not mechanical items. Just stickers. Each of those games tailor to over a million in playerbase. If we go by your ARPU that 1 in 100 people buy an item, for example for League of Legends there were 100 million users reported active in 2016, then that would mean 1 million of those users are whales, and each on average spent $1700 each. Which doesn't seem surprising considering there's many accounts of players revealing to the public of spending over $1K on League alone over their lifetime. You're calling people who pay for cosmetic items addicted, but I would also say they are no different from the people like yourself that claim to only consider mechanical items as "better" than cosmetic items. This is a opinion-based thought that fails to account for the massive spending by a large sum of consumers on what is suppose to be a useless item that doesn't affect gameplay. To clarify again, gameplay means: mechanics, presentation (graphics, sound, story, characters), and interface. All of them contribute to a person's feel of the game. Thus, cosmetics are equally as important as items that contribute mechanics to the game. Because mechanics are equal to presentation. This is NOT an opinion based thought. My thoughts come from the profits earned by the very people at the top of the industry. As advocates on a forum about business, I assume following the statistics of accomplished businesses was the model that we should follow. The above to Hodgman is directed at you, as well.
  10. Woah there, I wasn't projecting any of my feelings at all. I was stating a fact. You just said: " Most people actually don't care about how their character is dressed up. It really doesn't affect their game experience anywhere near as much as other game items, and your viewpoint is actually extreme to them. " Except my viewpoint has been proven by the huge profits established from games like League of Legends, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Second Life, and a lot of other games with these kinds of models. If they're selling, then they must be affecting people's game experience more than just buying a new character or mechanic in the game. So I don't know where you get off suddenly saying "most people", when those very people are constantly buying skins, in-game avatars, and collector editions. Yes, collector editions is a certain kind of cosmetic. You're assuming a little too much about me from statements that were meant mostly for informing. The goal of video games is for immersing players and making them forget they're playing software that is calculating their every move with numbers in the background. They're entertainment products first and foremost. If they aren't captivating the person, they already failed their goal. Minecraft's graphics and sounds are just enough to keep it satisfactory. Being 3D also helped its appeal, along with its cube based world. And the sounds were crisp and appetizing enough to the ear whenever you swing your axe at a dirt mount and that appealing crush follows. These are all cosmetic features of a video game, so it makes sense why in minecraft, using your example, people enjoy changing out the world textures or changing their avatar's skin, which is one of the bigger enjoyments from the game itself. And once again, as evidence shows, Microsoft knows the value of cosmetics as the bulk of their DLC are skins. It's really hard to accept you guys saying "cosmetic microtransactions aren't important to the game," while developers are making bank off a so called "useless" feature.
  11. League of Legends and Second Life are great examples of cosmetic successes. My comment was not on the why they use cosmetic microtransactions, but the how it got successful. And the reason they did was because cosmetic transactions are equal to if not better than pay-to-win microtransactions, which still exist in the industry through buying different characters with different functions, the core of freemium games. That was my point. That cosmetic micros are important to the game because game mechanics are only one part of a video game. It's not because most of the common man are brainwashed that the only thing that affects a game is the mechanics. Which is natural because the goal of a video game is to make a player become dazed by the sounds, graphics, and full on presentation. And when you have a player hypnotized, they are unaware of what is causing said hypnosis.
  12. The item is worth buying, which is why developers already make a fortune off cosmetic based microtransactions. It's not a coincidence that happened. Mobile games and even League of Legends already figured out ages ago that cosmetics keep players feeling like they're dressing up or special, and the social aspect of having a specific skin is the core of social interactions online. When the game is singleplayer, players use it as a way to show off to other people in real life. For instance, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas is a great example of this concept in action. Video games, in the end, are about a player expressing their identity. The more customization options a game has, the more immersive and fun it is for the player.
  13. No. My thoughts were that cosmetic microtransactions are not forgivable compared to ones that affect in-game functions like mechanics. Most people believe that they do not affect gameplay when it's far from the truth. Graphics is the primary function of a video game. Without it, it becomes a text game. Every color, shape, and texture determines how someone experiences a game. Some will increase said pleasure or entertainment, which is a major reason why we play video games in the first place. Cosmetic microtransactions do, in fact, affect gameplay as much as purchasing guns or characters, if not more.
  14. I'm likely one of the few people in existence who think microtransactions are bad, especially cosmetic ones. Cosmetics absolutely affect the game experience and has been the greatest lie told in our video game industry. I don't know who started that myth that cosmetics do not affect the game, but any intelligent person, or rather business person, could clearly see that cosmetics are the most profitable area of the business and for the single reason that people love having them, meaning it affects their game experience.
  15. Zido_Z

    Kickstarter Critique

    I think taking some pointers from Matt and Trey on how they approach South Park (the show and the game) would be interesting, too. They tell jokes during interviews, but they are often serious and stressed when developing. And yes, as game developers, we all know too well that development is never funny.
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