Overkill Responds To Payday 2 Microtransaction Outcry
Developer Overkill recently implemented a form of microtransaction into Payday 2, despite previously stating it wouldn't. This upset fans, and Overkill's Almir Listo recently appeared on Reddit to answer some questions.
The microstransaction is a drill, costing $2.49, necessary for opening certain types of chests received at the end of matches. Initially, it did not appear that these drills would be available outside of the microtransaction purchase, but Overkill later confirmed they would periodically be available as a reward at the end of matches. For more on the microtransaction implementation, head here and here.
We reached out to Overkill and Almir Listo as part of our initial coverage, and did not receive a response. On Listo's Reddit AMA, he wrote in his introduction to fans on Reddit, "Please also note, that during Crimefest, we decided not to do any interviews with any press or media before talking to you; we feel it's important to make this point to you before we start, as you are all that matter." You can find the full AMA here, but here are some highlights:
Regarding previous comments about no microstransactions in Payday 2:
There were games that were released with in-game microtransaction systems at launch; players were asked to pay for the full game, and then continue to spend money directly after the initial purchase. At the time, PAYDAY 2 featured a relatively advanced weapon modifications system where players for in-game money could buy, sell and modify weapons, masks and modifications. When we discussed this with people, we'd receive a ton of questions regarding whether or not it was microtransactions or not in our game too. To make sure there was no confusion, we said what we did to make things absolutely clear. If you asked me then, there would be no way we would've added a system like we just did.
Regarding the coverage of the added microtransactions:
I think the problem here really is people in positions of power in media and elsewhere making uninformed, clickbait articles about things that matter a lot to a lot of people, instead of doing some serious legwork to get their facts straight.
Regarding fan reaction and Overkill's decision to stay quiet:
The reason why we didn't want to discuss this was that it wasn't fully launched until after Crimefest. Not in our wildest dreams could we anticipate the type of reaction that the update received during the first few days. Day by day people calmed down and started to discuss the changes - and here we are, discussing this now.
Regarding the main reason Overkill decided to implement new ways to generate sales from Payday 2:
Two years ago people would have us instantly start work on PAYDAY 3, right after we released PAYDAY 2, like developers usually do. Instead, we decided to continue work on PAYDAY 2, because we wanted to make it an incredible co-op experience. 88 updates later, we have to ensure the future survival of the game. We do sales when we can where we reduce the price point up to 75% in order to pay people's wages and create a buffer for a rainy day. Six months ago, we also made a bold move to permanently reduce the price point of 16 PAYDAY 2 products by 33-43% in the hopes of drawing additional sales. (http://www.overkillsoftware.com/games/meltdown/). Needless to say, we didn't see the result we anticipated, and have had to think of other ways to make sure we can continue creating content in the pace we want in order to keep PAYDAY 2 fresh and exciting.
Other specific details from the AMA include why Overkill believes stat boost items are okay for a game like Payday 2, as well as response to specific questions about the game's mechanics and updates. Listo ended one of his responses (specifically the one referenced above) writing, "We understand that there is a lot of fury, anger and disappointment with us adding this. From an economical standpoint however, completely based on statistics, we can already see that the Black Market update is working as we intended. Going forward, we hope we can convince the parts of the community that resist this change that this was the right decision to do to ensure the stability of OVERKILL as an independent developer and the future growth of PAYDAY 2."
Overkill and Listo makes it pretty clear that these new microtransactions will not be leaving the game, despite fan outcry. Comments above coupled with Listo writing, "Thanks to the PAYDAY community for being vocal, loyal and straight-to-the-point. We might not always agree, but we at OVERKILL respect your opinions and do what we can to meet you half-way when we disagree," point to Payday 2 moving forward in its current state for the foreseeable future. I can certainly sympathize with Overkill's need to make money from its game – it is a business after all – but its communication on the matter feels poorly handled. We'll have to wait and see if Listo's discussion here will alleviate matters, but as Listo points out, the Black Market is already working as intended, so I wouldn't expect any changes.