Animal Crossing: Pocket (Money?) Camp

Journalism

The new Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is coming out for mobile platforms (IOS and Android) in “late November”. This is the first Animal Crossing for mobile and due to the past history of mobile games as well as the new industry trends (shown here), it is quite worrying how the game will unfold.

Update: Arrived yesterday in Australia but still set for a November release in New Zealand.

The game is also free. This is the biggest draw for most players.

The biggest worry that I alongside many Animal Crossing fans have is the use of microtransactions. At the end of the trailer, it states “Optional in-game purchases available” and this is not good. I understand that free-to-play games have to have some sort of income in order to make itself financially sufficient but games often achieve this in a wrong manner and thus suffer and lose their player base.

How much will microtransactions impede the game in general?

This is my biggest concern. Animal Crossing is a game in which you play casually (or not) in which you work hard to earn “bells” (the in-game currency) to upgrade your house and get the goods you desire eg clothing, furniture. In later instalments, you were also able to upgrade your town as mayor as well.

The use of microtransactions will affect the games overall flow. The entire basis of the game will be affected.

Polygon explores this topic in their article.

Players will be able to purchase “Leaf Tickets” which either fasten up the time to build objects or are used to buy resources. Leaf Tickets can also be earned in game (but often in games with microtransactions, earning is much slower than buying (obviously)).

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A few of the responses on Twitter in relation to microtransactions.

 

One of the biggest draws for the game, however, is multiplayer. Due to the ease of playing the game on mobile, playing with friends can make the game more fun and lengthen the life of the game as well (if the game does good in reviews and has enough players playing consistently).

Players will exchange ID’s and then are able to visit the others campsite and play together.

Until the game releases, all worries are just speculations. Be sure to check the game out on release and form your own opinion.

You can pre-register for the Android version here.

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Updated: First gameplay video

Loot Box: A form of GAMBLING?

Journalism

Video games have been an industry for decades now, entertaining individuals with their robust stories and competitive multiplayer modes. Everything seemed quite well, with the occasional scare which is to be expected in any industry, however recently a new design has entered the video game world.

Loot boxes.

Loot boxes are digital goods that once obtained, allow a random selection of goods to be obtained. Picture it as a mystery box from Call of Duty: Zombies. The object obtained from within may either be of high quality or not desirable. You do not have a choice of what you get. The system has now entered newer video games such as Overwatch, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Middle Earth: Shadow of War. This is concerning.

Individuals have expressed their concern for it, claiming it is like online “gambling“. Lootboxes can either be obtained through in-game progression at a slower rate or purchased using real-world currency.

The latest Star Wars Battlefront 2 in which I played the beta, has progression limited to the use of loot boxes. This means that in order to get better weapons and abilities for your “soldier” to use, you must earn experience and crafting resources. Star cards (or abilities) and weapons are earned through the loot box (loot crate as its called in Battlefront 2) system.

The main way to achieve star cards is through in-game progression, login bonuses as well as “microtransactions”( the purchase of in-game goods using real-world currency). This is troubling because through progressing as well as purchasing of loot boxes, you may still not even obtain the items you wish due to it being a random selection.

 

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box system. As seen above, to purchase more loot crates you need resource points which can be earned via playing or purchasing with real-world currency. Source

 

To read further about Star Wars Battlefront 2, click here.

This is getting even more concerning as the latest Call of Duty WW2, is using a WHOLE system dedicated to the use of microtransactions. Pretty Good Gaming, a YouTube channels covers this story. “For example, in one implementation, the system may include a microtransaction engine that arranges matches to influence game-related purchases”.

Microtransactions and loot boxes are becoming so concerning that a petition was created in the UK to try and make gambling laws focused on video games as well. In the UK, if an online petition accumulates more than 10000 votes it must be investigated by the government.

The petition is here. However, only UK citizens can vote.

PC Gamers covers the story here.

The video game industry is changing rapidly and the direction it is travelling is not for everyone and thus, many individuals are becoming vocal about their concern.

Now I will leave you with a few questions. Do you believe loot boxes to be a form of gambling? Also, do you believe microtransactions should be welcomed into more video games? Why? Why not?

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Video Games: A structural necesitty

Personal

Video games; A short post by myself

The video game industry is incredibly large, is flowing into other industries continuously shaping them and growing insanely rapidly. Most individuals have played a video game at least once, and have been affected in one way or another. From the old game consoles of Atari to the Nintendo 64 to the newest PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One S, the video game industry is always changing, to both remain relevant and also remain competitive in its fight against its rival consoles in regards to sales and technology.

When I think about video games I think about the large influence it has had in my life. Helping me get my mind off bad situations, immersing me in detailed worlds and teaching me skills that are applicable in real life situations just to name a few. However, I truly believe that sometimes video games can get a bad reputation with individuals relating violence and other concepts to the playing of video games. That may be the case in some scenarios but this logic can also be applied to movies, tv shows, the reading of books; truly anything in which you consume and by shunning all these forms of entertainment, life can and would become empty, void of any forms of fun.

I know a lot of individuals can agree with me when I say, video games can help you through some difficult times in your life and have also been a key learning tool in growing up. Some of my earliest memories are that of playing Spyro on the PS1, taking on the Scourge in Warcraft 3 and also expanding my Roman Empire in Rome: Total War.

 

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I played Spyro Year of the Dragon recently alongside the rest of the PS1 Trilogy. A lot of memories came flooding back.

 

I believe that video games and ultimately video game companies should be funded more, because of the large importance that this industry holds for individuals and society. Video games are largely for entertainment and education, and I truly believe that if these 2 concepts are really tapped into in relation to the industry, they can have an incredible impact upon society; more so than they already do.

Video games are important and that point must be recognised.

Leave a comment of your earliest video gaming memory and why it is so important to you below.