Devil May Cry 5 will feature microtransactions, allowing players to pay real-life money for Red Orbs, the in-game currency used since the series' beginning to purchase upgrades and abilities. There have been defenses from Capcom - that the game is still balanced, that it's about offering players choice, etc. - but the fact of the matter is that the addition of this business model represents a significant change in the series. And, as significant changes are wont to do, it's got the DMC community talking.
Well, debating, really. Over on r/DevilMayCry, the "Microtransaction Megathread" contains a veritable buffet of opinions on the matter. Some plan to boycott the game over the inclusion of microtransactions, while others are totally fine with it. This by itself isn't particularly unexpected; microtransactions have been a contentious item for years, with staunch defenders as well as those seeking an end to a practice they consider manipulative and sleazy.
What's interesting about the conversations happening on Reddit is just how involved and in-depth so many of them are. Far from a simple "I think they're fine" vs "I think they're awful" flame war, there are fascinating discussions about how this move could impact the game's economy, difficulty curve, playerbase, and more.
One of the biggest sticking points is how this will impact revives; the DMC series has always been known for its difficulty, and it's not uncommon for players to die mid-level or mid-boss fight. Previously, players had to have a Yellow or Gold Orb in order to revive - if you didn't, it was back to the beginning of a mission/fight for you. In DMC5 however, reviving costs Red Orbs. And given how Red Orbs can be bought with real money, there's a concern about balance.
"Reviving always cost Red Orbs, just indirectly. And regardless, this is not a real issue," writes LoyalLedger, who asserts that the way people play is more important than whether or not microtransactions (abbreviated "MTX") are in the game. "If you die on Easy, then MTX are not the problem. If you die on Hard, you probably aren't interested in using revives anyway. The DMC fanbase is hardcore enough that most players don't use any items at all. Some players never even get hit. If casuals want to spend real money to restart half-way through a boss fight, let them."
But right below that comment is another stating that the system changes the flow of gameplay, regardless of whether you personally use them or not. "It's just bad game design. Even if you couldn't pay RL money for red orbs, it'd be bad," writes homer_3. "Finding or purchasing Gold Orbs to use to revive just has a different dynamic to it. For one, you've already invested those orbs, so the option to use them for something else if you don't die isn't there. Using specialized items is also more clear to the player. I have 1 Gold Orb? I have 1 extra life. I have 50k Red Orbs? Let me break out the calculator. I don't doubt the game will still be fantastic, but this just seems like a very poor design decision to me."
User endneo is fine with microtransactions, provided they add value. But DMC5's won't, they argue. "What they are selling are digital Red Orbs. That isn't something that is worked on or even content like skins and cosmetics which deserve pay in exchange for service. Red Orbs and currency in games can literally be added in as the publisher pleases, like a number you adjust in a digital engine. It's an economy that they control and can choose to inflate as they want, and that's what I take issue with. Regardless of DMC5 handling them well or not, as a matter of principle, I'm against this kind of practice."
Really, the whole thread is worth a read, even if you're not planning to pick up DMC5 or not even a DMC fan. The discussion about how microtransactions and other business models impact gameplay is one players should be aware of as the industry continues to evolve.
A final note: while not everyone in the thread is on their best behavior, I want to give kudos to the large majority of players weighing in respectfully, even when they disagree. Y'all are doing it right.
While opinion continues to be split about microtransactions, at least we can all agree that Devil May Cry 5 Dante gameplay trailer was pretty SSStylish, right?