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Smaller Bang for a Bigger Buck

It was only 30 years ago when gaming consoles where the pricey luxury item that only a few could afford. Atari, Nintendo, even the Commodore cost hundreds of dollars, a price point which led to a rise in public gaming... arcades. Now, 30 years later, we can play games, for free on our phone. Consoles have lowered in value, and even complicated computer games run on simple systems. With this increasing visibility in the gaming world, you would think game designers and developers would be well compensated. Well, then, what is up with in-game purchases, and why are we pre-paying for unfinished games?

Let me be the devil's advocate for a moment and argue from the developer's side. Yes, this might not rest easy in your stomach, but I promise to feed you a fair share of insight. When I grew up, I had the good fortune of living in a household that supported gaming. In fact, when I was a little pipsqueak my father was selling Nintendo products as a job. Every month, a bunch of new games would roll through, I would port them into my console and away I went. Not a care in the world. I just wanted to play.

Thinking back, I can't remember most of those games. The main ones I remember were, of course, Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and I DO remember a fan-favorite Gaia. Nearly one-hundred games crossed my path as a kid, but only about ten of them were known by my friends. Most of these games fell short of expectation, or just never had any chance of hitting the market and winning a new audience. However, as we moved forward through time, this changed.

With the surge of gaming in the 90s, more and more developers began popping up, designing games intended for smaller interest groups. Coincidentally, some of these small interest groups were far larger than originally expected. Then as the Millenium came and went, the boom happened.

All of a sudden we were populated by Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, PC gaming systems, third party consoles and more. Education gripped the gaming community and realized opportunity on new platforms. Home computers now caged collections of educational games like Encyclopedia Britannica. Which, might I add, had the most challenging labyrinth possible. With this surge in popularity, gaming had become it's own entity. In a sense, it was a demographic of people. In fact, many players classify themselves as such: a gamer.

Now that games were a part of our culture, more than our parents would care to admit, developers were faced with a problem. What gamers expected versus the reality of the games themselves. Yes, I just played the blame game at you... us.

With our increasing expectations, developers frequently roll out season passes and in game purchases to lengthen the excitement of games, but also to perfect each title for release to the public. Extra maps, bigger guns, more players! Yay....? We want all these things, we want an advantage for spending more money, but do we deserve it?

Now, I said I would be fair to everyone, but I don't think I can be completely fair without your input. What do you all think about in game purchases? Should we have them? Or shouldn't we? Let us know in the comments below.