It looks like Sony Online Entertainment has finally given in. I’m all for consumer activism, but the uproar over micro transactions in the alpha of the studio’s new zombie survival game “H1Z1” is really just ridiculous. It’s a manufactured controversy that doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.
Now, the studio is taking it seriously, and they’re offering refunds for the game. Why did they do this? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because they genuinely felt they’re in the wrong. It’s more likely that they just fear the mob of angry gamers that exists on the internet.
Now, the studio is offering refunds because of a slight miscommunication. For those of you who don’t know, the supposed controversy is all about the fact that in a Reddit post not too long ago, the developer said said that it would not be possible to buy weapons in the game with real world money. This isn’t technically true. No, you can’t directly buy weapons in the game. However, you can buy what function as kind of care packages, which drop in from a parachute onto a random point on the map. Inside these drops are food, water, and yes, weapons.
That’s it. That’s the big controversy. It’s really not an issue here, largely because the developer didn’t intentionally lie or mislead the consumer. The post indicated that players would not be able to directly pay cash for weapons, to prevent a pay-to-win system. But it’s not a pay-to-win system. The drop appears at any random point around the map, and is meant to create an event that can generate excitement within the game. Anyone can pick up the weapons, and it’s dropped at a random point within the map.
This is all besides the fact that the developer has been open about this feature for a long time. They haven’t hidden its existence. The feature was public on their website for some time before the alpha launched, available for anyone who wanted to see.