Clearly choosing to wilfully ignore the controversy surrounding the introduction of micro-transactions to Payday 2, Tripwire Interactive has gone ahead and done just that with Steam Early Access title Killing Floor 2. Despite no mention of micro-transactions for customers who've bought the co-op shooter up until now, the next update will bring cosmetic items, payable with real cash through an in-game store called the Trading Floor.
Long-time fans are fuming, and it’s Very Positive rating on Steam is being hit by a torrent of negative reviews. The micro-transactions are just for weapon skins and cosmetic accessories, at least at the moment, and can be found inside crates or USB sticks in-game. Once you've picked either of these items up, you can purchase an encryption key which will unlock a randomised cosmetic item.
Most of the cosmetic content is player-made, so revenue will be split much like with Valve’s titles, with the content creators earning a 25% share of all revenue earned when their item is bought. As you’d expect some content is going to be rarer than others, boosting its price on the market.
I think Snake might be getting a bit carried away there when he called it 'pure unfiltered evil', but I love his sense of drama.
I’m not a huge fan of cosmetics personally so this is no skin off my back, but I can see why it would get many people angry. Where things get a whole lot more controversial, however, are in Tripwire’s future plans...
"All of the content added in Trading Floor at launch will be cosmetic only and not affect gameplay in any way," writes the developer. "In the future we may be adding weapons with new gameplay for sale, but this will appear in the 'Shared Content' area on the server. This means that, if any player on the server has a weapon, then every player on the server will be able to use it."
Once you start messing around with exclusive weapons and gameplay changing elements, this is where it gets a lot more contentious. It’s exactly how it backfired against Payday 2 developer Overkill, who recently added paid micro-transactions themselves.
What’s certainly clear is that Valve is encouraging this behaviour, so Killing Floor 2 and Payday 2 certainly won’t be the last we see of these systems. We’ve seen recently with Valve launching the Item Stores for Rust that it’s thinking of alternate ways to feed gamers additional user-created paid content, having been spectacularly rebuked during the Skyrim paid mods fiasco.
Do you buy cosmetic micro-transactions? Do you have any problems with them? Is this just Valve's attempt to integrate paid mods in a different way? Let us know what you think below!