Square Enix and developer Crystal Dynamics have announced Paid XP boosts are coming to Marvel’s Avengers; despite promising at launch it would not.
During the game’s full reveal presentation, Crystal Dynamics Senior Community and Social Media Manager Meagan Marie promised players no random lootboxes or pay-to-win scenarios.
Nonetheless, the game would later feature a “Games as a Service” business model- micro-transactions and updates of additional content. Crystal Dynamics’ Studio Head Scot Amos told GamesIndustry.biz in June 2019 “In terms of how we monetise, we’ll have cosmetics. No gameplay paywalls.”
Now, VGC reports that players can buy XP and resource collecting boosts with real money. Similar “accelerators” can be seen in free-to-play mobile games, and occasionally MMOs. Combined with the previous promise to only sell cosmetics, and already having endured slowing down progression by adjusting XP rates, fans are furious.
Nearly every top thread on the game’s unofficial subreddit at this time of writing is discussing players leaving the game, outraged at the boosters, or just upset they were lied to [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19]. One user– MercwithMouth82- highlighted that based on past statements and the gradual inclusion of free boosters, it was all but certain the game was going in this direction.
“The outrage now is of course a good thing but to me it is unfathomable how it didn’t happen when CD nerfed XP and introduced boosters.
And the things I mentioned so far are only a fraction of the writing on the wall that has been around for months. To summarize multiple signs:
Avengers was operating at a loss
SE only mentioning Avengers COMBINED with other HD games in their financial reports
dropping player numbers / empty lobbies
multiple free trial periods
Avengers going PS Now for a time
Avengers joining Game Pass recently
Avengers being incapable for over a year to MAINTAIN player engagement and loyalty
The sold boosters that we have now are just the icing on the cake and nothing but F2P mobile bullshit.
Multiple people and I myself have been calling out CD for months for steering the game into a F2P direction. And here we have it. Shitstorm, outrage and all. Well deserved of course.
What we definitely don’t need is people posting how well Avengers would be doing and defending the game at every opportunity. A game doing fine wouldn’t have to pull the shit Avengers has been pulling basically since release.
People still keeping at defending CD and SE for how they are treating Avengers now will obviously never learn their lesson and should enjoy their full price console F2P title.”
This is the latest bad news in a disastrous game for Square Enix. They made a reported $61.23 million USD loss in FY 2021 Q2 from HD games; with the only notable game in that period being Marvel’s Avengers (launched September 4th, 2020).
At the time David Gibson, co-founder of Astris Advisory Japan KK, tweeted that Square made a ¥6.5 billion JPY loss on HD games that quarter; “driven” by Marvel’s Avengers. He also proposed the game sold 60% of estimated sales goals, and had development costs of $170 million USD to $190 million USD.
In June of this year a patch caused a bug; making the game exposed the user’s IP address on screen. A hotfix was launched soon after.
Square Enix president Yosuke Matsude later stated Marvel’s Avengers did not recoup its development costs in the two months since launch, during the Financial Results briefing for FY 2021 Q2. The game also received middling scores from critics, and harsh scorn from players [1, 2, 3].
Our own review stated “at its highest highs, Avengers is generic.” This was furthered hindered my microtransactions, rarely having enough in-game money to buy want you want (tempting you to buy more), and an out of place loot and leveling system.
The game even made our list for our worst video games of 2020; and the slowing down of the game’s XP progression and cosmetic acquisition after launch made us consider if the game was going free-to-play. This new addition would be akin to a free-to-play game.
Marvel’s Avengers is available for Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Google Stadia.