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Published on October 19th, 2006 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder

48

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.


About the Author

Deejay has been a gamer since the Atari 2600, has wrestled–and defeated–alligators with only his toes, and once aligned all the planets in the Solar System by uttering the words "Coo Coo Ka-Choo". In his sleep. He currently bides his time behind the scenes here at GAMINGtruth.com, streaming at http://www.twitch.tv/deejayknight and teaching.



  • Drfred

    I wish gamers as a whole were informed about crap like this and decided as a whole to boycott crap or atleast if MS found out about this they said hey screw you guys were taking you off XBL.

  • Drfred

    I wish gamers as a whole were informed about crap like this and decided as a whole to boycott crap or atleast if MS found out about this they said hey screw you guys were taking you off XBL.

  • Johnvanjim

    I second the above.. I was excited about lumines, but charging that much for gimped content on a game that’s already out on multiple platforms through a platform that has no packaging costs. That’s not a good deal at all. I’ll wait the year until it drops to $20 for everything and snap it up then.

  • Johnvanjim

    I second the above.. I was excited about lumines, but charging that much for gimped content on a game that’s already out on multiple platforms through a platform that has no packaging costs. That’s not a good deal at all. I’ll wait the year until it drops to $20 for everything and snap it up then.

  • Brad

    I love that when the game retails for $50 on the PSP at launch, it’s okay. But if it’s over $20 on XBLA it’s a rip off. I too wish they would have made it more clear what the ‘full’ game was, but it’s hardly anything to be outraged over.

  • Brad

    I love that when the game retails for $50 on the PSP at launch, it’s okay. But if it’s over $20 on XBLA it’s a rip off. I too wish they would have made it more clear what the ‘full’ game was, but it’s hardly anything to be outraged over.

  • http://www.gamingtruth.com D’Juan

    Brad, I don’t think you get my point with this article. I don’t think that charging over $20 for a Live Arcade game is all that bad, if people are willing to pay that much.

    My point with this, though, is that if you’re going to charge a total of 3000 MS Points for a game, make it 3000 points to begin with. The way it is currently just nickels and dimes for content that should be a part of the game, inappropriate because with that $15 download, it’s expected to be an entire game. If they charged the 3000 points from the beginning, you would get you the entire game from the initial download.

    So it’s not about the game being as expensive as it is – costing more than it’s PS2 and PSP bretheren when it has more content is understandable. It’s about paying for something that you can’t enjoy for more than 10 minutes without paying MORE to unlock what should be a part of the game you already paid for.

    Does that make more sense?

  • http://www.gamingtruth.com D’Juan

    Brad, I don’t think you get my point with this article. I don’t think that charging over $20 for a Live Arcade game is all that bad, if people are willing to pay that much.

    My point with this, though, is that if you’re going to charge a total of 3000 MS Points for a game, make it 3000 points to begin with. The way it is currently just nickels and dimes for content that should be a part of the game, inappropriate because with that $15 download, it’s expected to be an entire game. If they charged the 3000 points from the beginning, you would get you the entire game from the initial download.

    So it’s not about the game being as expensive as it is – costing more than it’s PS2 and PSP bretheren when it has more content is understandable. It’s about paying for something that you can’t enjoy for more than 10 minutes without paying MORE to unlock what should be a part of the game you already paid for.

    Does that make more sense?

  • O D S T

    I know that the whole microtransaction nickel and diming is not that cool, but honestly for the first 1,200MS points u get a fully functioning game with a challenge mode and a timed mode. This is 2twice as much as geometry wars had for 400MS points. 800MS points was the amount for Mutant Storm reloaded. 1,200MS points might be a little pricey but i daresay that it’s a FULL game. Everything else is extra…

    PLUS there’s XBL challenge. the only thing that i can see that was missing is the VS CPU mode which who needs if u have xbl, and advanced mode, which i have no idea about.

    I don’t see what all the bitching is about…

  • O D S T

    I know that the whole microtransaction nickel and diming is not that cool, but honestly for the first 1,200MS points u get a fully functioning game with a challenge mode and a timed mode. This is 2twice as much as geometry wars had for 400MS points. 800MS points was the amount for Mutant Storm reloaded. 1,200MS points might be a little pricey but i daresay that it’s a FULL game. Everything else is extra…

    PLUS there’s XBL challenge. the only thing that i can see that was missing is the VS CPU mode which who needs if u have xbl, and advanced mode, which i have no idea about.

    I don’t see what all the bitching is about…

  • blah

    Live Arcade games are required to be less than 50MB.

    Note the size of the two Lumines downloads and you can quickly see why it is broken up into two pieces.

    Or you can keep crying and freaking out about it.

    Either way.

  • blah

    Live Arcade games are required to be less than 50MB.

    Note the size of the two Lumines downloads and you can quickly see why it is broken up into two pieces.

    Or you can keep crying and freaking out about it.

    Either way.

  • thomas

    A big push is occuring in the videogame market by non less than the marketing gimps for in game Ads (aka spyware and spam) and ‘microtransactions’ (aka game blackmail… want to play the real game.. pay up.)

    It almost reminds of of the ‘multimedia’ junk that was Sega Cd and that awful time period where they wanted us to view movies and make decisions (aka night trap) . They forced it down our throats and in turn we puked it up on them and banned most of the game. Thus hurt profits.

    we need to ban game black mail and game spyware.

  • thomas

    A big push is occuring in the videogame market by non less than the marketing gimps for in game Ads (aka spyware and spam) and ‘microtransactions’ (aka game blackmail… want to play the real game.. pay up.)

    It almost reminds of of the ‘multimedia’ junk that was Sega Cd and that awful time period where they wanted us to view movies and make decisions (aka night trap) . They forced it down our throats and in turn we puked it up on them and banned most of the game. Thus hurt profits.

    we need to ban game black mail and game spyware.

  • Drfred

    I hate that I personally won’t see any benefit from ad placement but lying to the consumer and microtransactions are on a completely different level of evil that we should boycott. ODT I commented on your 365 post. I’d tell you what I said but I suspect you have already recieved enough flak for your opinion.

  • Drfred

    I hate that I personally won’t see any benefit from ad placement but lying to the consumer and microtransactions are on a completely different level of evil that we should boycott. ODT I commented on your 365 post. I’d tell you what I said but I suspect you have already recieved enough flak for your opinion.

  • http://stevemccullough.blogspot.com/ Steve_o_3000

    Isn’t it due to the fact that the game is too big for a single download? Live arcade games can be no bigger than 50 meg, and that’s how big both downloads are. I’m pretty sure if it were just one big download, you’d be charged the same amount as the two part download the game is right now.

  • http://stevemccullough.blogspot.com/ Steve_o_3000

    Isn’t it due to the fact that the game is too big for a single download? Live arcade games can be no bigger than 50 meg, and that’s how big both downloads are. I’m pretty sure if it were just one big download, you’d be charged the same amount as the two part download the game is right now.

  • Drfred

    Then noone would buy it Steve-o because 1200 for the first demo part was bad alone on xbla standards. I heard Doom was 800 points. They could have made the second part free. It’s a rip-off however you look at it.

  • Drfred

    Then noone would buy it Steve-o because 1200 for the first demo part was bad alone on xbla standards. I heard Doom was 800 points. They could have made the second part free. It’s a rip-off however you look at it.

  • Liquid_Mind

    I know that guy didn’t seriously just dis Night Trap….

  • Liquid_Mind

    I know that guy didn’t seriously just dis Night Trap….

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