Microtransactions

We’ve been selling items in Rust for a while. People get angry when they hear the word microtransactions. I understand why. They’ve been fucked over. Why would an early access game have microtransactions?

If you’d have asked me if I’d ever have a game with microtransactions in 5 years ago, I’d have probably laughed in your face, but the way Valve does it is different. The idea is that no-one loses out. Everyone wins with every transactions.

Money Guy

You’ve got the guys with money, who don’t mind microtransactions. They like to dress their character up, have nice weapon skins. All that. Generally more money than time, instant gratification guys.

They’re happy because the stuff they buy makes them happier than having an extra $2 in a jar in their house.
They’re making people happy because when they get killed people can loot their purchased items.

Poor Guy

So you’ve got the poor guys with no money. They hate traditional microtransactions because it’s a paywall. But on Steam they play the game and get random drop items, and can then sell and trade those items on the marketplace. It’s not unfeasible that a player will make more money selling items than the game itself cost.

They’re happy because they can sell the stuff they get randomly for free, buy games from Steam.
They’re making people happy because they can buy stuff from them.

Modding Community

Then you’ve got the modders. The unappreciated guys who tinker around and make stuff in their bedroom which is in their parents house, because no-one will give them any money because paying people for their creations is terrible.

They’re happy because they get to see their work in a game that they love while getting paid for it
They’re making people happy because they’re creating more game content for them

Developers

Then you’ve got the developers.

They’re happy because they give players more reasons to play their game
They’re happy because they link their game with a thriving virtual economy
They’re happy because they get more money to make more games

When you see the system up close and far away, it’s a total no-brainer. In fact I would go as far as to say that by not being involved in the marketplace we’re screwing our community.

25 thoughts on “Microtransactions

  1. Nice read.

    In many games skins play a small roll in appearance and nothing more than just eye candy, while Rust can be very much a cloak and dagger game. Some concerns were raised within community when the skin/marketplace was launched, one concern was purchasing skins that may have a set advantage in a certain environments giving the paying player an advantage.

    Do you think this is a valid concern and are you mindful when selecting skins to place in game?

    1. It’s hard to measure any advantage from a visual point of view. I’d have expected people to flock towards buying black/green/camo clothes, but they seem to choose the brightest and most obnoxious stuff they can find.

      1. Honestly, this is the same thing that validated CS as a sport vs a murder simulator. Did people want skins that had some sort of minor technical advantage? Hell no. They want the giant gold/pink/techno whitegold skins that look like paintball guns! AND THAT’S WHY IT WORKS. :)

  2. I certainly agree with this, as long as the items are in no way beneficial to the player and are only cosmetic, micro transactions can add a lot to a game. With the random drop system I would personally like it if the community could vote on how drops would work based on rarity, and how often items would be dropped based on playtime, or some other aspect. Doing that or posting a blog/update describing how the drop rates are calculated (like in TF2) would definitely make the community happy.

  3. “but the way Valve does it is different”

    How is what you described any different that other microtransactions? This literally sounds exactly like every other microtransaction setup that I’ve encountered unless I missed something obvious, in which case I apologize.

    I honestly don’t care if microtransactions exist because let’s face it, that’s the direction most games head these days, but this article reads like some fluff description of how ‘this will be beneficial for everyone’, and it just sounds like bullshit in my opinion.

    The real concern I would have with adding more microtransactions are skins that blend in better with the environment which would give players a distinct edge when playing in different biomes or the fact that now the art team will be pressured to work on more ‘revenue generating skins’ versus polishing the things that are in the game natively, because let’s face it, that will probably happen.

    Realistically it doesn’t matter what I think, I’m not someone who would buy skins anyway so I’m not even your target audience, guess I just felt like posting my opinion.

    1. Regular microtransactions = buy in game item, use it, wear it, etc.
      Steam inventory = buy/win in game item, use it, abuse it, trade it, sell it

      1. My apologies, I did not realize they would function like CS:GO weapon skins and be tradeable/sellable.

        However I did just go look at the store and see a bunch of black and camo gear which touches on my other point of that it is providing a distinct edge.

        Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your time and attention to my concern, but this is probably just going to be it for me. Been playing on and off since Legacy but now it will be even more difficult to see threats while traveling at night since I refuse to abuse gamma/grass quality because I won’t buy a skin. This is really only the straw being completely honest, it’s the hackers that just absolutely ruin the game for me, people jumping into your base, or blowing up a wall exactly where your TC is because of ESP, or daytime mode, etc it’s just beyond frustrating to deal with it every day. While EAC had a ban wave go out today which is great, there hasn’t been a solution to the core problem, and I’m sure this is one of the most difficult aspects for you guys to figure out, but the game has just become not fun any more. Can’t go anywhere near an official server and servers with admins can only do something after the damage has been done. Just IP ban these people imo and let them cry bloody murder, I feel like more players are alienated by people cheating than if you were to IP ban a household that may have multiple players, and yes I understand they can VPN, get a new IP, use other methods, but it is significantly more difficult than just signing up for a new steam account and refunding after 1h50m.

        Thanks again for your time and best of luck in the future. Hopefully when this game moves into Beta I can come back.

    2. I like the system Garry decided to use. First you are buying mostly skins that where made by the community, which is really really great. I don’t mind if developer going to make some skins by them self, as long as game development goes well.

      Yes Garry would really screw community if he wouldn’t use that mcrotransaction method.
      Community making skins for community, plus you get free stuff, everybody wins.

  4. I know it’s your game so it’s kind of embarassing to disagree, but in my opinion Rust is about interacting with other players and not about getting stuff with your credit card. It is ruthless and unforgiving, if you want to stand out you should have to fight for it. Let’s not underestimate the importance of standing out and wearing pretty colors in a “social” game like Rust. If you drop a rare t shirt on a shore and announce it, people will fight for it.

    If you want to wear pretty clothes, you should have to risk going out to get it. It’s lame that you can just buy it with your credit card. Now you can even do so with building parts like the new signs…

    Not to mention advantages from clan uniforms to camouflage, only a credit card number away…

    More generally, though, it sucks to be nickel and dimed for content. Also Valve seems to be pushing this kind of thing so people will be more and more locked in their ecosystem, which is also kind of lame. I don’t care about earning a few dollars every month for playing games, I can work for that.

  5. Garry I have purchased every skin and sign in the game. It started about 4 weeks ago I was unable to craft my skins due to a bug I’ve just recently found out recently you have 125 items or more in your Rust inventory you’re unable to craft your skins. Got rid of the doubles and all is good, but the current item count in the Rust Market is 117. What is your plan once you come out with more skins that exceed 125 and people will be unable to craft the skins/signs they paid for?

  6. I stopped playing CS:GO when it got crates etc, and did the same with rust

    Not that you care as I’ve already paid for Rust

  7. I am astonished at some of these negative comments about skins. I’m no fan boy–Garry’s made a few decisions that make my head feel like it’s going to explode–but WOW! how can you be against people buying and selling clothing with zero impact on the way the game plays or on what it costs? Between bugs, hackers, and balance issues, sniveling about other people’s clothing should be at the bottom of anybody’s list.

    “It gives a distinct advantage”: Nonsense. A very large amount of clothing is given away free by the system, or being sold on the Steam market for 5 cents in all kinds of colors and patterns. Even YOU, basement boy, have got five cents. And if you don’t want to go through the hard work of figuring out how to transfer a dollar into your Steam wallet, you can get someone to just give you one of their extra copies for free.

    “it sucks to be nickel and dimed for content”: Then just don’t buy it. Extra content is being rolled out for everyone constantly in the form of attack helicopters, turrets, new weapons, dungeons…all of it free. And if you think you should have to work in the game to get this nice stuff, then find someone wearing some nice clothes you can’t afford, shoot him in the head, and pry it off of his cold, dead corpse. Savage enough for you?

    “the art team will be pressured to work on more ‘revenue generating skins’ versus polishing the things that are in the game natively”: A somewhat smarter argument, but wrong. In this case, the COMMUNITY is doing the artwork, not the art team. That’s the beauty of it.

    “I stopped playing CS:GO when it got crates etc, and did the same with rust. Not that you care as I’ve already paid for Rust”: Glad I’m not playing the game with you anymore, ya whining sack.

  8. Remember pre-2004 where people made modded content for fun and were more than pleased if it appeared on any server other than their own? Pepperidge Farms remembers.

    Why do some people think they should get paid for spending 30 mins in MSPaint recolouring a skin?

  9. You took the right approach by adding the skins the way you did, not like cs:go or h1z1 where you mostly need to pay to get the skins, the only thing we really miss in the current system is a way to buy as a gift, steam has the system created, when you buy a game you can buy as a gift for a friend directly, and he will receive the game on a pop-up window when he loggs-in, a system like thos for the Rust Item Shop, would be great. Hope to see it in time for christmas.

  10. So long as the Micro-Transactions don’t move to a pay-to-win model like they just did at OverKill Studios I have no concerns.

    I’d happily spend another $2 for a pretty hat, when dev’s start adding additional stats to purchases, that’s when things start to go down hill.

  11. Garry, this all rings true and seems reasonable to me, except this one point – and I speak from experience:

    “Poor Guy

    They’re happy because they can sell the stuff they get randomly for free, buy games from Steam.
    They’re making people happy because they can buy stuff from them.”

    The second part I’m sure is true. The first part isn’t as true as might superficially seem to be.

    I’ve played games where this has been the case, or where that feature (allowing you to legally sell things found in the game), and, when I was poor, that actually massively reduced my fun, rather than improving it.

    Why? Not because I’m perverse or hate getting money, or whatever. Because it changes how I see stuff in the game, and changes my experience of the game. Before, getting stuff in the game was pure fun, and I didn’t have to think about it – I could use it, or I could trade it or give it away. Great!

    But if I can sell it for real money, suddenly it’s not like that. Every item I can sell, instead of using it, trading it or giving it to a friend, I’m having to look at it as if it was X amount of cash.

    I’ve been poor enough that it wasn’t justifiable for me to not sell certain items, and that can be heart-wrenching. I might love that item and want it – but I can’t justify holding on to it. And once you start selling them, it feels like you have to keep selling everything, even if you’re only making 10 cents here or 30 cents there. Especially with small value stuff, actually.

    You get this slow shift away from the game being your escape, your relaxation (which is healthy, modern studies show), into a sort of very low-paid second job. Even if you resist it, and keep the stuff, and refuse to sell it, you suffer because part of you is saying “You needed to sell that… you could have used that $5.00 or 50 cents”. Especially so if you’re remotely a responsible person.

    I know there are people who absolutely revel in this kind of play (getting stuff and selling it for real money), but my experience is that they aren’t the poorer players.

    1. WTF..
      I have no idea how people can think of themselves as victims of poverty when they have access to a machine that can play Rust and an internet connection. You are poor enough to worry about digital goods? What the fuck kind of shit is this?
      Can you explain to me how this works?

  12. Do you expect other games / game companies on steam, to follow your example and establish paid items stores? :)

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