For a long time I was angry about in-game items. I consider myself an old school gamer, and the idea that something could be sold within a game world really irked me. Isn’t the very idea of games that you need to earn your victories? How can there be victory if you can literally pay your way to the top? (Insert your favorite joke about the Yankees or Real Madrid here.)
The reality is, I want games to be the biggest entertainment medium in the world, and I still feel we are on our way to that lofty goal. Who knew? People love to play games. However, as the number of gamers grows, the diversity and levels of interest change.
So who am I to judge what one person calls fair? You want to play a game that lets you pay to win? Have at it.
Do I need pay to play? That depends; some games are worse offenders than others. Ultimately, I put faith in the market that gamers will punish the companies that create unfair economies. That said, more often than not, pay-to-win games aren’t really for me. But that’s the thing: Not every game is made for me, you, or any one individual.
These days, games are made for all types of people. Anger over in-game stores that sell skins or boosts for single-player games is misguided rage. Don’t buy them if you don’t like them. They aren’t for you. But I can tell you in games that I love, I don’t mind investing more money to be different or to get access to different weapons or items if I feel they have worth to me. They key there is “worth to me.” It’s an individual’s choice.
There are rarely times in games when I would want an in-game boost to make single-player content easier, but I can see how people with busy lives or perhaps just lesser skills might find a benefit in having the option to invest in their entertainment, in a sense, to play the game the way they want to play.
I expect more games to have in-game stores as we move forward, as there are just too many people who want it. So it’s time to move on from raging about the fact that these items or boosts exist and instead focus on praising the games that do it right and punishing the games that don’t by not giving them your hard-earned dollars. That’s the most powerful vote we get as gamers.