Need For Speed Dev Talks Microtransactions, Finding a Balance Between Content and Cost

Need for Speed Payback

The debate surrounding loot boxes and microtransactions is one that’s most often spurred on by protests from agitated gamers, but from a developer’s perspective, it’s hard to ignore the fact that games are getting bigger while maintaining the same fixed cost.

When you go out to purchase a new game, you can expect it to cost $60, or whatever your currency equivalent is, without much difference to be had. If you choose to opt in for special editions or season passes, you’ll pay a bit more, and if the game is something like a multiplayer-only title and it’s sold for less, that’s even better. Paying your fixed price and being met with swaths of microtransactions once you boot up the game isn’t something that anyone looks forward to, but speaking to Glixel, Marcus Nilsson, the executive producer of Need for Speed developers Ghost Games, says that finding a comfortable balance of price and content isn’t easy.

“It’s clear prices haven’t really gone up. That’s clear,” Nilsson said. “I also know that producing games is more expensive than it has ever been. The game universe is changing in front of us now. We see more people playing fewer games for longer. Engagement is important. But how do we deliver longer experiences?”

How games are valued has a lot to do with what’s included as well in terms of content and length, something that’s been discussed in story mode-only and multiplayer-only games recently.

“The bottom line is that it’s very hard to find this golden path that’s liked by everyone,” he continued. “We make games that are $60 and some might think that it’s worth $40. What’s the value in the package delivered? Something like GTA 5 and GTA Online versus The Last of Us, which you can play through in 10 hours. How do we value that? That’s probably a long discussion.”

Ghost Games’ upcoming title, Need for Speed Payback, has its own microtransactions, but part of that is due to saving time and part is attributed to the ever-growing cost of making games, according to Nilsson.

Need for Speed Payback releases on Nov. 10.