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Forums - Gaming Discussion - MS CFO Tim Stuart defends throwing MTX into $70 games.

sales2099 said:
DonFerrari said:
sales2099 said:

So like you said. There's no comparison. You just had it backwards.

Just sounds like you are conditioned to lean towards single player only games...largely because I believe that’s all you are used to. 

You really underestimate what it takes to make a good multiplayer that stands the test of time. Maps, map design, weapon drops, balancing, preventing cheap tactics from being abused and promoting a sense of a fair yet challenging experience. Anything goes wrong and the community collapses. The idea is that it creates a successful continuous gameplay loop that can exist long after the campaign is done. You got to give props to games that are still being played today compared to other games that are now collecting dust and whose sole purpose is to be bragged about online. 

I think Gears 5 is a fantastic campaign. So much detail, coop, and all the bells and whistles of a AAA game. And it has a full scale multiplayer suite. With many updates over the last year. All free. You can downplay the effort it takes to make everything but point stands that it’s extra effort that should entitle them to compensation. Again it’s optional, cosmetic, and not pay to win. It’s done right. 

Sure sales, because since Sony is not making MP games (let's pretend here, because we know that isn't true) then only MS is doing them? He couldn't be playing MP games from 3rd parties if he liked those right?

Do I mean all their games? Of course not. Just going by the best of the best list warz I tend to see. Bloodborne, Infamous SS, uncharted 4, God of War, Horizon ZD, Spiderman, LOU 2 (which its announcement that the MP would be delayed was met with a collective “meh”), and GoT which has some kind of coop MP that didn’t make the launch. Let’s drop the act and actually acknowledge the actual difference between Xbox and PS first party games regarding MP. 

Point being, you simply can’t compare a single player only game with a single player/MP game, especially one with persistent content updates. OP argues it takes less manpower to make updates, and while true, the amount of work the team does post launch entitles compensation. 

The idea is to do it right. Gears 5, Sea of Thieves... all cosmetic, optional, non pay to win. NM Game Pass largely nullifies the upfront costs day 1. 

If we make the cut to include every Sony game that sold better than the average Xbox exclusive then well it would accept all those "minor" titles, right?

Your suggestion has to take into account the vast marketshare disparity, which ultimately has odds stacked against Xbox considerably. Also that Xbox measures “players” and not sold due to Game Pass. Too many variables to do what you offer.

Do what you like, I’m just listing near universal top tier games. Best of the best, and a clear pattern emerges. Can’t argue that. Doesn’t really address my core message though. 

You are on VGC time enough to know that the difference on the number of consoles sold don't directly translate to number of SW sold. If you want simple examples look at Mario Kart on WiiU and multiply the HW base to the same size of Wii or Switch userbase and you'll see it wouldn't sell that much, or you can look at BotW that had over 100% attach ratio for several months on Switch, but did that sustain over time? Nope. But sure if you want to blame all on userbase aren't Xbox games also on PC so they should have even more than PS4 userbase right? Or if you want to consider just console, where is the Xbox titles that are doing 10M on Xbox to compare to the 20M on PS4?

You do know why MS hides consoles sold and SW sold and only talk about MAU and number of players that tried a game on GP, don't you?

GTS is still among the best PS titles and have MP. UC4 have it (and is near 20M sold). GoT have it. So you are just wrong on multiple levels.



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Cerebralbore101 said:
LudicrousSpeed said:
Cerebralbore101 said:
BTW, I do absolutely love how people try to defend cosmetic MTX as "Who cares, it's just cosmetic!" The number of free cosmetic customization options in GoW, Spiderman, and GoT is unmatched. Having different costumes to find in a game has been a staple of the industry for years. And it was all free. Now they are trying to charge you for those formerly free costumes. And the kicker is that all it takes is a dude working for $30 an hour for 4-5 hours to make a new skin or costume. And in exchange for that roughly $150 investment the company gets to sell thousands of copies of that skin for $2-$5. They could sell these skins for a nickle a pop, and still make boatloads of money. Charging $2-$5 for this cosmetic crap is just pure greed no matter the way you slice it.

Maybe you just don't understand how business works? I don't know, seems like it.

Also just like all your other hot takes in this thread, this one isn't well thought through and paints every situation with the same brush.

Cosmetics costing money gets shit on even in GaaS all the time, too. It all depends on how the game is designed. Look at Evolve, for example. $60 game with a day one season pass and a day one store loaded with expensive cosmetics while the base game had, IIRC, two skins to unlock for each character. Gamers rejected it, game crashed and burned. There are plenty of other games that give you plenty of skins and also let you unlock more and also let you buy others. Those are the types of situations where no one cares, because the MTX are all cosmetic.

Also thanks to the amount of money these publishers are making off of cosmetics and stuff, a vast majority have abandoned charging for map packs, etc, another big positive for gamers.

Map packs were free in Left 4 Dead. They should be free now. MTX or no MTX.

No thanks, I'd rather not have some draconian format that every video game must abide by. Hey games used to cost $90, I guess they all should now.



Gears 5 is a fantastic campaign. So much detail, coop, and all the bells and whistles of a AAA game. And it has a full scale multiplayer suite. With many updates over the last year. All free. You can downplay the effort it takes to make everything but point stands that it’s extra effort that should entitle them to compensation. Again it’s optional, cosmetic, and not pay to win. It’s done right. 

Sure sales, because since Sony is not making MP games (let's pretend here, because we know that isn't true) then only MS is doing them? He couldn't be x

The idea is to do it right. Gears 5, Sea of Thieves... all cosmetic, optional, non pay to win. NM Game Pass largely nullifies the upfront costs day 1. 

If we make the cut to include every Sony game that sold better than the average Xbox exclusive then well it would accept all those "minor" titles, right?

Your suggestion has to take into account the vast marketshare disparity, which ultimately has odds stacked against Xbox considerably. Also that Xbox measures “players” and not sold due to Game Pass. Too many variables to do what you offer.

Do what you like, I’m just listing near universal top tier games. Best of the best, and a clear pattern emerges. Can’t argue that. Doesn’t really address my core message though. 

You are on VGC time enough to know that the difference on the number of consoles sold don't directly translate to number of SW sold. If you want simple examples look at Mario Kart on WiiU and multiply the HW base to the same size of Wii or Switch userbase and you'll see it wouldn't sell that much, or you can look at BotW that had over 100% attach ratio for several months on Switch, but did that sustain over time? Nope. But sure if you want to blame all on userbase aren't Xbox games also on PC so they should have even more than PS4 userbase right? Or if you want to consider just console, where is the Xbox titles that are doing 10M on Xbox to compare to the 20M on PS4?

You do know why MS hides consoles sold and SW sold and only talk about MAU and number of players that tried a game on GP, don't you?

GTS is still among the best PS titles and have MP. UC4 have it (and is near 20M sold). GoT have it. So you are just wrong on multiple levels.

Actually it does. PS3 exclusives sold poorly relative to Xbox. PS4 exclusives sold great relative to Xbox. The reason I don’t see GTS listed among the all time greats is it’s 70s range metascore. Not my fault people don’t list it. Either way you sidetracking, take it up with people who make these lists.  

Of the games I listed only Uncharted and GoT kinda having one is still a quarter of the games I listed. Bloodborne, Infamous, GoW, Spiderman, Horizon, LOU2 (for now). I wouldn’t dispute this, it’s there. You better off owning it/being proud of it (if that’s what you into). 

Edit: Then you have Spiderman MM, Demon Souls, Ratchet, Returnal, Horizon FW, GoW Ragnarok. Only game with multiplayer is GT7, and you bet your ass it will have DLC. 

Last edited by sales2099 - on 19 November 2020

Xbox: Best hardware, Game Pass best value, best BC, more 1st party genres and multiplayer titles. 

 

Maybe it's part of their strategy to increase Game Pass subscriptions.



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shikamaru317 said:
Cerebralbore101 said:
shikamaru317 said:

Sorry, I meant to say Infinite will probably earn $1b+ in revenue, not profit. After you factor in the development budget (which is already huge due to 343's large size and the fact that the game has 5 years of development already) and the marketing budget (which is sure to be huge, probably over $100m), the profit will be much lower. Sure MS could technically afford to support Infinite with all free multiplayer DLC, but spending $72m on DLC development over 6 years with no return on investment for that spend looks bad to the shareholders.

With a 150 man dev team their multiplayer mode would have to be insanely massive with a new map every week, new weapons (made from completely new 3D models), a new game mode every month, two or three new vehicles every month, massive 120 man war maps, etc. I'm not expecting that though. I'm expecting a new map every month, and five new skins a week. 

If they really are spending that kind of money and manpower, just for the bolded, then they are massively mismanaged. Multiplayer content simply does not require that sort of money or manpower. 

Also, let's remember that something like Halo Infinite is supposed to be a loss leader. It is supposed to be the one game that gets everybody to buy their console, which gets everybody to buy 3rd party games on their console, which gains them royalty revenue off those 3rd party games. So yeah, they could conceivably drop 72 million with no return on investment and justify it to shareholders. 

150 people on the post-release multiplayer team is a guestimate on my part, no idea what the actual team size will be. 343 has nearly 600 devs now, an after Infinite releases they will presumably be split between ongoing Halo MCC support, Infinite multiplayer support, Infinite singleplayer support (MS said they want to support Infinite with singleplayer and multiplayer content all generation), and a team working on a Halo spinoff game or new IP maybe. What the ratio of devs per team will be, I have no idea. I would guess the Infinite singpleplayer team will be the largest, since they will presumably be developing paid singleplayer expansions for Infinite's campaign. Who knows, maybe they will release the singleplayer updates for free as well, and fund both the free multiplayer maps, modes, weapons, and vehicles, and free singleplayer expansions, with the microtransactions for the multiplayer. 

If they did a new 10 hour single player campaign, with all new assets, story, locations, etc., every year for free, then that would be fine. Something like that would make the MTX make sense. 

zero129 said:
Cerebralbore101 said:
zero129 said:

@Cerebralbore101 

The only part of your post id like you to answer.

"All signs indicate that Halo Infinite is going full on GaaS mode though, that is where the idea that MS wants MTX in all of their games."

Where has MS said the full Halo Experience and all their games going forward are going to be GaaS games full with "needed" micro-transactions?.

A better way to put it for you. If say Horizon 2 launched and it was coming with 2 modes separate btw from each other You get the full single player experience. But then you can also download a free2play online mode that clearly is going to have cosmetic items for sale to keep up the costs for this free2play portion that people can play for nothing and in no way effects the single player portion that people who like single player games can buy. How does that effect you?.

Can you not see the difference here or is your bias clouding your judgment?.

You're assuming a free2play multiplayer mode that was built off the assets of the single player game would cost a significant amount of money to make. It doesn't. Your theoretical HZD2 multiplayer mode could be sold for $15 as a stand alone purchase, no MTX involved, and still make a ton of money.

Thats side tracking the question i asked.

And your also assuming that the Online part costs nothing to make or keep on supporting. It is free2play you know...

The single player part your talking about thats what your paying for and that has no mtx in it..

It's not sidetracking anything. It logically follows that since multiplayer costs next to nothing to make, taking a HZD2 multiplayer mode, and adding MTX is a rip off. Multiplayer modes take 10% of the effort to make as single player modes. Making multiplayer is just a matter of recycling the assets that were already done in single player. Continual support of a multiplayer mode costs pennies compared to the main development of the game.

sales2099 said:

So like you said. There's no comparison. You just had it backwards.

Just sounds like you are conditioned to lean towards single player only games...largely because I believe that’s all you are used to. 

You really underestimate what it takes to make a good multiplayer that stands the test of time. Maps, map design, weapon drops, balancing, preventing cheap tactics from being abused and promoting a sense of a fair yet challenging experience. Anything goes wrong and the community collapses. The idea is that it creates a successful continuous gameplay loop that can exist long after the campaign is done. You got to give props to games that are still being played today compared to other games that are now collecting dust and whose sole purpose is to be bragged about online. 

I think Gears 5 is a fantastic campaign. So much detail, coop, and all the bells and whistles of a AAA game. And it has a full scale multiplayer suite. With many updates over the last year. All free. You can downplay the effort it takes to make everything but point stands that it’s extra effort that should entitle them to compensation. Again it’s optional, cosmetic, and not pay to win. It’s done right. 

Sure sales, because since Sony is not making MP games (let's pretend here, because we know that isn't true) then only MS is doing them? He couldn't be playing MP games from 3rd parties if he liked those right?

Do I mean all their games? Of course not. Just going by the best of the best list warz I tend to see. Bloodborne, Infamous SS, uncharted 4, God of War, Horizon ZD, Spiderman, LOU 2 (which its announcement that the MP would be delayed was met with a collective “meh”), and GoT which has some kind of coop MP that didn’t make the launch. Let’s drop the act and actually acknowledge the actual difference between Xbox and PS first party games regarding MP. 

Point being, you simply can’t compare a single player only game with a single player/MP game, especially one with persistent content updates. OP argues it takes less manpower to make updates, and while true, the amount of work the team does post launch entitles compensation. 

The idea is to do it right. Gears 5, Sea of Thieves... all cosmetic, optional, non pay to win. NM Game Pass largely nullifies the upfront costs day 1. 

@boldedNo it doesn't. That post launch work costs next to nothing. That's what the MS defenders in this thread don't get. The idea that continual support of an online multiplayer mode costs serious money to make is as laughable as the idea that maintaining Xbox Live or PS Network costs serious money to make. The fact of the matter is that XBL/PSN don't cost much of anything, and should be free. Everybody knows that. But 15 years ago when XBL, and PSN were relatively new nobody really questioned that monthly online fee. Why? Because people didn't know enough about online networks to know that it costs next to nothing. Now, here in 2020, people simply don't understand that making new skins, new maps, and new weapons for an online multiplayer game don't cost much to do.

Monster Hunter World has free updates, because it costs next to nothing to do. Animal Crossing has free updates because it costs next to nothing to do. GoT has free updates because it costs next to nothing to do.

Cosmetic stuff is completely free in games like Spider-Man, GoT, Odyssey, BotW, etc. Charging money for cosmetic stuff, in a game you already bought, is a rip off.

You are right that Gamepass largely nullifies the upfront costs. The problem is that in order to get the full experience you need to spend much more than the average $60 game price, in MTX.

LudicrousSpeed said:
Cerebralbore101 said:
LudicrousSpeed said:
Cerebralbore101 said:
BTW, I do absolutely love how people try to defend cosmetic MTX as "Who cares, it's just cosmetic!" The number of free cosmetic customization options in GoW, Spiderman, and GoT is unmatched. Having different costumes to find in a game has been a staple of the industry for years. And it was all free. Now they are trying to charge you for those formerly free costumes. And the kicker is that all it takes is a dude working for $30 an hour for 4-5 hours to make a new skin or costume. And in exchange for that roughly $150 investment the company gets to sell thousands of copies of that skin for $2-$5. They could sell these skins for a nickle a pop, and still make boatloads of money. Charging $2-$5 for this cosmetic crap is just pure greed no matter the way you slice it.

Maybe you just don't understand how business works? I don't know, seems like it.

Also just like all your other hot takes in this thread, this one isn't well thought through and paints every situation with the same brush.

Cosmetics costing money gets shit on even in GaaS all the time, too. It all depends on how the game is designed. Look at Evolve, for example. $60 game with a day one season pass and a day one store loaded with expensive cosmetics while the base game had, IIRC, two skins to unlock for each character. Gamers rejected it, game crashed and burned. There are plenty of other games that give you plenty of skins and also let you unlock more and also let you buy others. Those are the types of situations where no one cares, because the MTX are all cosmetic.

Also thanks to the amount of money these publishers are making off of cosmetics and stuff, a vast majority have abandoned charging for map packs, etc, another big positive for gamers.

Map packs were free in Left 4 Dead. They should be free now. MTX or no MTX.

No thanks, I'd rather not have some draconian format that every video game must abide by. Hey games used to cost $90, I guess they all should now.

TIL a making a company give away things that cost next to nothing to make for free is draconian. Giving that extra content away for free often drives sales of the game. Animal Crossing will likely sell 40+ million units, because of all the free updates it gives out. GoT will probably hit 20 million units sold thanks to it's free updates. There's nothing draconian about it. These guys are getting paid. I promise.



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Here's an example of how much of a rip-off MTX are in GoW5.

Let's take the delivery driver mac skin.



Is this an all new 3D model for multiplayer? Or is this just a character model from the single player mode that was repurposed as a skin. I haven't played Gears 5, so I don't know. If it's a 3D model from the single player, then the cost to turn this into a skin was likely next to nothing. I'm going to give the devs the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is an all new 3D model made for multiplayer.

How long does it take to make a character model like this, complete with texture maps, bumpmaps, rigging, and animation? About 100 hours. But I'm feeling generous so let's bump that up to 200 hours. No, let's make it 300 hours.

Now let's assume that your average 3D artist over at the Coalition makes 80K a year. Let's also ignore that they are salaried employees, and often forced to work insane amounts of overtime for free. At 80K a year, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, it costs them $38 per hour to have a 3D artist create this asset. Multiply that by the generously assumed 300 hours that it takes to make such a character model, and we have a cost of $11,400 to make this character. In reality it likely isn't anywhere near that cost. But again, I'm assuming that these character models take 3 times longer to make than I know. Now imagine that Gears 5 has an active playerbase of 1,000,000 players. If just 5% of the active playerbase spends $10 on this skin (yes, they really are asking $10 for a simple skin. It's LOL prices, except Gears 5 is not F2P), then they've made $500,000 off of a 3D artists $11,400 worth of work. That's a profit margin of 4,300%.

This idea that devs continual support of a game means they have the right to charge insane amounts for things as simple as a skin, is just downright laughable. In reality making a new 3D model entirely from scratch costs $3,800 or less. Taking an already finished 3D model, and giving it a new texture, in order to sell it as a skin costs something like $1000 to $1,900. And that's what most skins are. They are just retextures of an already existing character model.



You dont know that map packs cost “next to nothing” to make, youre just throwing out assumptions based on your own ideas of cost. No, just because some games have some specific content structure doesn’t mean all games should, that’s silly. Like I said, it’s no different than expecting all games to cost $90-100 just because games used to cost that much. There have always been games that offered free post launch content and there always will be. Nintendo do for example can be more open to free updates because their games sell at full MSRP for years. MicroSony and third party publishers don’t have this luxury.At the end of the day you’re essentially bitching because businesses operate like businesses.

Yes, we all know it doesn’t cost them a fortune to make a skin and we all know they make money off of them. That’s what businesses do. But again it comes back to whether the monetization is done in a balanced manner or not. If it is, then there’s no issue. If it isn’t, gamers can take care of themselves as we have done throughout this gen.



MS better be careful, raising game prices is unacceptable. Unless the game is free, MTX should be a thing. AAA games at $60 with MTX is okay as long as they aren't P2W, charging $70 with MTX is laughably disgusting. Publishers are breaking profit records with that garbage and now they expect to also raise game prices? I guess it makes MS's Game Pass service more appealing which would be an interesting strategy.



LudicrousSpeed said:

You dont know that map packs cost “next to nothing” to make, youre just throwing out assumptions based on your own ideas of cost. No, just because some games have some specific content structure doesn’t mean all games should, that’s silly. Like I said, it’s no different than expecting all games to cost $90-100 just because games used to cost that much. There have always been games that offered free post launch content and there always will be. Nintendo do for example can be more open to free updates because their games sell at full MSRP for years. MicroSony and third party publishers don’t have this luxury.At the end of the day you’re essentially bitching because businesses operate like businesses.

Yes, we all know it doesn’t cost them a fortune to make a skin and we all know they make money off of them. That’s what businesses do. But again it comes back to whether the monetization is done in a balanced manner or not. If it is, then there’s no issue. If it isn’t, gamers can take care of themselves as we have done throughout this gen.

Actually, I do. Map packs are just levels made in a level editor. 90% of the assets for a new map pack have been already made for the single player mode. It's just a matter of dragging and dropping different assets into place. Anybody that has made their own custom dungeon in Skyrim knows this. Anybody that has worked with a level editor of any sort knows this.

Yes, businesses exist to make money. I get that. But they don't exist to charge $10 for a single apple, or $10 for a digital skin. Sorry, but 4,000% profit margins is not "just what businesses do".

MicroSony and 3rd party publishers don't have the luxury of free updates? Last I checked MH World and lots of Sony games do free updates. What are you talking about? And again, updates don't cost a lot of money to do.



Cerebralbore101 said:

Here's an example of how much of a rip-off MTX are in GoW5.

Let's take the delivery driver mac skin.



Is this an all new 3D model for multiplayer? Or is this just a character model from the single player mode that was repurposed as a skin. I haven't played Gears 5, so I don't know. If it's a 3D model from the single player, then the cost to turn this into a skin was likely next to nothing. I'm going to give the devs the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is an all new 3D model made for multiplayer.

How long does it take to make a character model like this, complete with texture maps, bumpmaps, rigging, and animation? About 100 hours. But I'm feeling generous so let's bump that up to 200 hours. No, let's make it 300 hours.

Now let's assume that your average 3D artist over at the Coalition makes 80K a year. Let's also ignore that they are salaried employees, and often forced to work insane amounts of overtime for free. At 80K a year, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, it costs them $38 per hour to have a 3D artist create this asset. Multiply that by the generously assumed 300 hours that it takes to make such a character model, and we have a cost of $11,400 to make this character. In reality it likely isn't anywhere near that cost. But again, I'm assuming that these character models take 3 times longer to make than I know. Now imagine that Gears 5 has an active playerbase of 1,000,000 players. If just 5% of the active playerbase spends $10 on this skin (yes, they really are asking $10 for a simple skin. It's LOL prices, except Gears 5 is not F2P), then they've made $500,000 off of a 3D artists $11,400 worth of work. That's a profit margin of 4,300%.

This idea that devs continual support of a game means they have the right to charge insane amounts for things as simple as a skin, is just downright laughable. In reality making a new 3D model entirely from scratch costs $3,800 or less. Taking an already finished 3D model, and giving it a new texture, in order to sell it as a skin costs something like $1000 to $1,900. And that's what most skins are. They are just retextures of an already existing character model.

That character in the picture is a Multiplayer character.

Also there is nothing wrong with optional MTXs, that's why they are optional. The problem is game content being cut out and sold separately, like one of the old Street fighter vs Marvel games where one character was on the actual disk yet weren't available to the player as they needed to buy the character to unlock it. Dicing up game content while still charging full price is unacceptable. Pay to win systems are also extremely bad ways of milking gamers to pay more to win games. Actual cosmetic store buys, i have never had an issue with as long as it remains optional. 

However charging $10 more for a game is not optional, we are better off sticking with $60 game prices with optional MTXs so if you want to spend more in a game you enjoy you can.