I Should Probably Try Elder Scrolls Blades

Oh wait, I can’t because it isn’t available on Android yet.

I was just reading an article over at Forbes, ‘Elder Scrolls Blades’ Is A Glimpse Into The Potential Dystopian Future Of AAA Games. The author seems somehow surprised that a mobile game contains normal mobile game monetization. I didn’t really see him mention anything that makes the game seem particularly egregious. Even his main complaint regarding the chests and chest storage seemed a little out of place. Replace the word chest with the word Pokemon and it suddenly seems less foreign of a concept.

Of course, in his defense, I cannot actually try it for myself, so maybe he’s correct and it’s the most absurd mobile game ever made.

What really amazes me is that anybody can see a mobile port of any major gaming franchise and not go into with the expectation that “it’s a mobile game, but vaguely resembles this popular franchise.” Maybe I’m just to cynical and jaded, but it seems strange to expect anything else.

While I wouldn’t say that this is the future of our games, I will agree that we should simply expect this to be a thing. These games cost relatively little to produce, with many famous titles have development costs of less and $500K, yet have the ability to pull many times that in revenue. They aren’t even inherently bad games in many cases, just a different kind. Of course, they aren’t immune to failure either, but the cost can be low enough that it’s easy to at least break even.

I don’t know exactly how the wait timer mechanic came to exist. I can’t at this time find out precises how and where it was introduced either. I always just assumed it was added to keep people from playing “all the time” and then later monetized, but maybe that’s overly optimistic of me.

I do think we will eventually see more and more of these mechanics in the so-called triple A titles that are popular now. It has to be done extremely slowly, and the first one to do it is going to get raked over the coals hard. The foundation is already there, though. Lockboxes already exist in many games, especially the free to play ones, but not exclusively. How is a daily login reward, especially a random one, inherently different from a chest with a 24 hour unlock time? “Current content” raids in XIV often have a per day or per week limit for “fairness.” Secret World Legends, if you’re paying a sub, gives you a free key every day to unlock a box with. It’s all the same thing, with the notable difference that some of these are mandatory and can’t be skipped by paying. Only some of them though.

This means, though, that the biggest difference is only in how it’s presented. How it appears to function to us as a user.

Of course, this has led me to the conclusion that unskippable wait timers are inherently more fair than pay-to-skip ones. The latter give an advantage to the fiscally gifted and/or fiscally irresponsible.

Of course, life is inherently unfair, but are games are aren’t meant to be hyper realistic. We enjoy them because it’s life with the boring and unfair bits partially removed.

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