prices

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds adds new crate drops with a 0.01% drop rate for items

Hey, kids, you like random cosmetic rewards, right? The latest patch currently in testing for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds adds two new crates that can drop when you spend BP on a crate drop, and one of them requires a (paid) key to open. The other can be opened for free. Within both crates are a number of new cosmetic items, some of which have an astonishing 0.01% drop rate in the free crate. That means that on average, you would need to open 10,000 crates to see one of these things drop.

A helpful examination of other games with cosmetic crates reveals that those games tend to top out at one best-possible drop closer to once every 10 loot boxes opened. It’s also far easier or cheaper to get those boxes. Granted, we don’t yet know how much the keys for the paid crate are going to cost, and the drop rates are slightly better in the paid box (the rarest paid item has a 0.16% drop rate), but it’s still the sort of gouging for single items that is unlikely to sit well with anyone once the numbers are made clear.

At least the drop rates are right in the patch notes. That’s helpful.

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Raph Koster on the cost of making games from the industry side

All of this talk about the price of making games and the price of playing games thanks to Star Wars: Battlefront II has meant getting a pretty decent peek behind the curtain. Case in point: a lengthy discussion and explanation by Raph Koster about how expensive games really are. While Koster outright says that it’s wrong to say games are “too expensive to make,” he also points out that it’s undeniable that costs on making a game have risen hugely while box price has proportionally fallen. And as he points out, that’s because there’s no real market for second best.

The key thing to understand is that the public doesn’t buy B games. A game with stellar gameplay and less than state of the art graphics is generally simply left on the shelf. Yes, indie games with distinctive art have managed to break through so everyone will cite counterexamples, but looked at statistically, it’s something like 99.9% don’t.

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Master x Master is devaluing one currency to improve another

Have you found yourself playing Master x Master and thinking that the game was just too darn generous with currency? Probably not, but then, you aren’t NCsoft and thus trying to derive a profit from the game. A new post on the official site explains that the studio believes the game was giving out too much SOL (the currency earned just from play) and not offering enough advantage to players using X-Coins (the currency bought for real money). So the economy is changing.

Nightmare mode will no longer cost SOL, X-Coin prices on unlocking Masters will go down, and SOL costs for most Master items will go up. The stated reason is that players were earning too much progress for free and there was a severe imbalance, but the Reddit thread in response is full of players who feel unlocking Masters is already expensive and making their items more expensive just limits the game for no player benefits.

However you feel about the changes, you’ll want to spend your SOL before September 13th, when the changes are set to roll out to everyone regardless of opinion.

Source: Official Site, Reddit; thanks to Anon for the tip!

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Final Fantasy XIV sees a price hike for Brazilian and Russian players

Shock! Dismay! The prices for Brazilian and Russian players have risen for Final Fantasy XIV! But to confuse the issue a little further, they’ve risen to… just about the same level as everyone else pays worldwide. According to the official statement on the forums, this was simply a result of adjusting the pricing exchanges for different currencies, making sure that everyone worldwide is paying about the same amount.

Player outrage over the issue is unsurprisingly at peak volume, with the two main points of contention being that the adjustments were not announced ahead of time in any format (and indeed, even Square-Enix’s own staff seems to have been somewhat surprised) and that the price adjustment fails to take into account different incomes in different regions. It’s not the first time in recent days that we’ve seen some dispute over localized pricing for different regions, which if nothing else goes to show the difficulty in operating a global game with servers open to all regions.

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Oculus Rift price drops to $400

How cheap does a VR headset and motion controller have to be before you’ll consider purchasing it? Facebook is hoping the answer to that question is right around $400, it seems, as the company is dropping the price of the Oculus Rift and its associated motion controller to $400 for the moment. That makes this the cheapest VR headset on the market, at least for as long as the price cut lasts.

The price drop in question is officially just a temporary drop to see how the headset performs, but it may well become permanent if this is what finally motivates people to buy headsets in large numbers. The Oculus Rift previously cut prices back in March, so this is a rather quick turnaround on further drops; feel free to add your own doom-and-gloom explanation in the comments, if you like. Let’s not forget that Oculus lost a founder and has been embroiled in legal troubles for most of the year.

Source: Fortune

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Black Desert ups the in-game prices on cash shop items in the auction market

Players are making more in-game money in Black Desert than they were a year ago. Part of that is just, you know, a year to refine processes; the other part is that new mechanics have been added making it easier to make money. As a result, the supply and demand for cash shop items has gotten a little bit skewed compared to where it started. The developers are addressing this imbalance by increasing the silver prices on cash shop items by 50% across the board.

The change won’t be rolled out until July 19th, so you’ve got a little time to plan any upcoming purchase that might otherwise be affected. Of course, this announcement is in the form of a forum post, so you can see player responses unfolding in real time, and to the surprise of probably no one they’re overwhelmingly negative and filled with accusations about pay-to-win. We leave that determination up to time and our readers.

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League of Legends increases prices in the UK over Brexit currency woes

Your pounds won’t carry you quite as far in League of Legends at this point. The game’s prices for Riot Points (i.e., the currency you use to purchase everything else in the game) will be increasing on July 25th by roughly 20%. Developer Riot Games has stated that this is in direct response to the falling value of the pound and its consistently lower value following the unexpected Brexit vote a year ago; while altering prices was hardly an original goal, after a year went by and the pound remained low, it was time to make the change.

The silver lining (of sorts) is that players should still receive the same points from a single purchase as they would if they converted from dollars to pounds and then purchased a point bundle, so it’s more about parity than just hurting gamers in the UK. Any points bought before July 25th will be unaffected, so if you want to stock up, now may be the time to do so.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic opens up direct sales of the Unstable Arbiter’s Lightsaber

When Star Wars: The Old Republic first introduced the Unstable Arbiter’s Lightsaber with one of its random item packs, players were unhappy about it. It was a highly desirable item locked behind an uncomfortable amount of random chance, which is bad enough in and of itself, but it was also being advertised as if it were common. Bit unfair, that. So now you can, in fact, buy the lightsaber directly, the first time that a high-rarity reward from an item pack has been available for purchase directly from the game’s store.

The down side, of course, is that it’s pricey. Sixty bucks for a lightsaber pricey.

The rationale is that this will, hopefully, preserve the rarity of the item (and the sense of it being either very expensive or a very lucky drop) while also making it directly available to fans who want it. Naturally, no one is happy about this, either. Expect a similar reaction in a few weeks when everyone just gets a half-dozen unstable lightsabers for logging in and the people who had already acquired one are unhappy about having their work ruined.

Source: Official site via Dulfy; thanks to Sally for the tip!

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Paladins is simplifying its founder’s packs on January 12th

Are you confused by the Paladins Founder’s Packs for sale right now? “No,” you answer, “they’re quite straightforward; you’ve got the entry-level tier available, then the middle tier, and the most expensive one with the largest amount of gewgaws. It’s quite simple.” However, in this hypothetical scenario you never get to finish that explanation, because midway through your “no” the person who asked you cuts you off by revealing that the people at Hi-Rez Studios are simplifying the packs down to just one option instead of three confusing options.

At this point, you would likely begin protesting that “three tiers” isn’t confusing, but you’ve also probably sussed out that your participation in this conversation is optional.

The new Founder’s Pack will have a $19.99 price tag and is within spitting distance of the current $20 Founder’s Pack in terms of contents, so you can also look at this change as being more about removing the higher tiers. The other packs are still available until January 12th, however, with all three types on sale until January 9th (which would be today). So if you want to get more of the goodies available through a higher-tier pack, act now.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Jake for the tip!

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Perpetuum posts premium packages to power up players with popular pricing

The developers behind Perpetuum want you to be able to get in and start playing the game on the cheap. Said developers also want to provide a way for players to spend additional money on the game without anyone feeling ripped off. Thus, the game’s new premium packages. Each of the two packs is priced at $10 and contains various benefits for any new or existing player, but each one can be purchased only once per account, turning them into shots in the arm for anyone who is playing the game or just wants to start out stronger.

At the same time, the base game has been dropped to a $10 price as well, and a new player can pick up the base game and both packs for $28. The hope is that this change in pricing will make the game more accessible to new players without alienating existing players or creating a sense of resentment. These packages are currently available only through Steam, but they should be available via the game’s site in the very near future.

Source: Official Site, Steam; thanks to Zoltan for the tip!

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Ron Gilbert explains how video game budgets work

If you’ve never designed a game for money, you probably do not have a very clear picture of what video game budgets look like. This is honestly not unusual; if you don’t work in plumbing, you probably do not have a very clear picture about how to price out installing a new tub. But it also means that a new entry from Ron Gilbert (the man behind classics such as Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island) about the distribution of funds and budgeting for his upcoming game Thimbleweed Park is particularly enlightening.

The spreadsheet Gilbert shows off outlines where all of the money is going, accounts for ramping up production times, and breaks down the amount of money it takes to produce even a small game with a relatively small team. Gilbert points out that even a project as small as his easily costs $20,000 – $30,000 a month just to keep moving forward, something worthy of consideration when discussing MMOs and the Kickstarted budgets thereof.

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Bungie responds to Destiny’s ‘tone deaf’ DLC fiasco

Destiny has already launched some downloadable expansions for itself, and they’ve been cheaper than the upcoming The Taken King. In fact, they’ve been much cheaper than The Taken King‘s Collector’s Edition, which contains several bits of physical swag and some exclusive emotes, which has caused considerable uproar in the Destiny community, particularly veterans who feel they’re being asked to rebuy content they already own (sound familiar?). A recent Eurogamer interview with the developers focused around defending the price, which largely came down to saying that it’s a justified price for a very large amount of content.

Players didn’t like that either. Forbes called the entire interview “tone deaf.”

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Leaks indicate Destiny’s next expansion will launch September 15th

You can never be sure if a leak is on the level or if it’s just a bunch of speculation. But you can make an educated guess, and the news that Destiny‘s next expansion, The Taken King, will launch on September 15th certainly seems plausible. It’s not as if anyone was planning on doing anything else in September, right?

According to the leak the expansion will be priced at $40 and will include a new subclass for each of the main classes, a new elemental super ability, and a new raid pitting players against Oryx, father of Crota. This leak lines up with what players already know about future updates to Destiny, but you can feel free to speculate on whether or not it’s completely legitimate or complete hogwash.

Source: Kotaku via Polygon

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