Published on October 19th, 2006 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder
Lumines Live: The DEFINITIVE Reason to Hate Microtransactions
With all the hullaballoo about Xbox Live being down yesterday for updates, one of the highlights of XBL’s return was the announcement of Lumines Live! being available as soon as Xbox Live was, well, live again.
It didn’t take long for the gaming public at large to start hating the game they already knew and loved.
See, the problem with Lumines Live isn’t the fact that it has microtransactions – almost every piece of content on Xbox Live’s Marketplace requires some sort of microtransaction. The problem is that it’s basically a $15 – or 1200 MS Point – demo. Any game that only lets you play five to ten levels of a mode before requiring you to purchase additional content sounds a lot like a demo to me.
Most Xbox Live Arcade game and Xbox Live downloadable content pricing is fairly acceptable. Case in point: Would I pay 150 MS Points for a dashboard theme? I’ve done it before, so I can’t deny that. Would I charge MS Points specifically to download a theme? Not a chance, but most prices for content are set so you have a remainder of points to splurge at your leisure. From a business standpoint, it’s a fairly intelligent and straightforward way to do things. Of course it’s annoying at times, but it’s not a practice that angers me to any degree. Lumines, on the other hand, goes far beyond this basic outline.
Lumines Live! is the digital manifestation of the exact thing that Xbox Live gamers were wary of when microtransactions were announced. If only Xbox Live gamers could stay away from it – boycott it, even – we could teach developers with demo products that we’re not going to buy into their “vision” of charging us for every aspect of their game. Why should we let Lumines get away with charging us for what we expect to have paid for with the entrance fee? What if Halo 3 shipped for $60, but charged you $10 to continue the single player campaign, another $10 to continue the co-op play, and another $10 on top of that to play on Legendary? It would be a game I wouldn’t support, that’s for sure. Luckily, Bungie knows consumers won’t buy that kind of sceme and wouldn’t implement such robbery of their own free will. Unfortunately, for the developers of Lumines, they haven’t figured out the definition of decency.
Needless to say, I won’t consider downloading this game. That’s really a shame for me, because I owned it when I was a student and it was an awesome game that I would’ve loved to try out on my Xbox 360. If they see it as normal to charge $37.50 (3000 MS Points) for a game that you can get on two other systems for $29.99, and to dupe paying consumers into a bait-and-switch demo that doesn’t deliver on what was paid for, I see it as normal to place Lumines Live! on my “Never Purchase” list. And there it will stay until they bind it all into one downloadable purchase for less than $20 – hell, even $20 would be good if you’re getting the entire game.
Note to developers working on Xbox Live Arcade games: This practice will cost you more sales than it’s worth. Why, you ask? It’s simple: Lumines Live! is the definitive reason that gamers hate microtransactions.