Just a few days before Ghost Recon Breakpoint‘s wide release, a furor erupted over the quantity and pricing of the microtransactions. Ultimate Edition owners got their feet wet on Auroa a few days early, only to discover that nearly everything and anything is for sale. As posted on Reddit and disseminated in Forbes, WCCFTech and more, microtransactions have wormed their way into Ghost Recon Breakpoint in a big way. Everything from visual customization to gun attachments and new weapons can be unlocked before they’re acquired through normal gameplay.
Ubisoft has since responded to the community backlash surrounding Breakpoint‘s microtransactions. In essence, the experience and skill boosters have been removed from the shop for now, and Ubisoft reiterated that Breakpoint contains no pay-to-win elements. Of course, for fans looking to customize their operator to suit their wishes, this is little recompense, as someone who’s just started playing wouldn’t have access to the full array of clothing options. Additionally, removing the boosters won’t placate community members who feel that Breakpoint is just the latest Ubisoft game to feature extensive monetization and microtransactions, even in games that traditionally don’t carry them.
Which begs the question, how necessary are the microtransactions? If you opted to skip 2017’s Wildlands, set in a fictionalized Bolivia ransacked by a drug cartel, few could blame you. Tepid reviews praised the gunplay and co-op potential, but little else. Still, much of your time was spent rummaging through hamlets and fortified compounds in the lush countryside, searching for weaponry and intel on the next cartel target. Much of the enduring fun to be found in Wildlands came from leisurely completing missions and otherwise immersing yourself in the military shooter/RPG.
Thus microtransactions only serve to cheapen Breakpoint’s gameplay. While cosmetic microtransactions to support Ubisoft’s “games as a service” model are nothing new, as in Assassin’s Creed Origins or The Division 2, here in Breakpoint, using them to skip over core gameplay is both offensive and unnecessary. There have been time skippers to some extent in different titles but, at launch in a multiplayer game is a new level. It’s worth noting that Wildlands bore many of the same microtransactions that Breakpoint currently comes with, but such purchase options were added later, and used to supplement the PvP “Ghost War” mode. Furthermore, Wildlands relied heavily on the use of crates to award cosmetic items for free, with a staggering 516 items available in loot boxes as of writing. Even more modern Ubisoft titles like The Division 2 are guilty of using loot boxes, albeit only containing customization options.
Unfortunately, such monetization is a byproduct of the “games as a service” model that is now commonplace in the industry. Players expect games to be supported extensively for years to come, and such development is neither cheap nor free. Full-scale DLC or expansions were largely abandoned in favor of bite-sized purchases, if only because they represent a constant stream of revenue. That’s not to say that Breakpoint’s or any other game’s microtransactions aren’t egregious; to the contrary, locking many of the diverse clothing options behind a paywall was only going to generate angry fans. But for Ubisoft, which has seen revenue increase year-on-year for the past four years, microtransactions are working, and are here to stay.
What do you think about the microtransactions in Ghost Recon Breakpoint? Let us know in the comments below!