Marvel's Avengers now includes microtransactions for in-game boosts, contradicting a pre-launch pledge to only sell optional cosmetic content.
The addition of the new boost items, which can be used to temporarily increase the amount of XP or resources you receive from completing in-game activities, was initially reported by VGC (opens in new tab). Giving players the option to purchase temporary in-game boons like these is common for games with microtransactions, so it isn't unusual to see on its own.
However, the addition runs counter to assurances that the game will only ever sell aesthetic content, as stated in this Marvel's Avengers blog post from August 2020 (opens in new tab) that laid out how gear and cosmetics would work: "We’ve also committed that content purchasable with real money in Marvel’s Avengers will be aesthetic-only additions, which will ensure we can keep the game fresh for years to come. The fight against AIM is only just beginning, there is much more story and many more heroes on the horizon."
You could argue that the boosts aren't really "content" themselves, but it still runs counter to previous developer pledges that the game would never have "pay-to-win scenarios," as VGC points out. The addition of boosts follows an earlier change to Marvel's Avengers which made leveling up characters require more XP starting in March, with the developers saying the earlier progression system "led to pacing issues." It's entirely possible that these two changes to the game are unrelated, but it's still a pretty bad look.
Square Enix has otherwise honored its commitment to keep releasing new heroes, skills, and gear for free. That includes the addition of Black Panther in August and the impending arrival of Spider-Man later this year for PS4 and PS5 players.
Meanwhile, it looks like Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios are starting to align their stars with Multiversal Avengers.