These days, microtransactions are all too common in video games. Most are relatively harmless (comparatively speaking), but occasionally a publisher releases a microtransaction that just makes you want to throw your hands up in disgust. Konami did just that in Metal Gear Survive.
Several days ago, TweakTown broke the news that Konami is selling extra Metal Gear Survive save slots for $10 each. Several years ago, I would have written that off as an intentionally hyperbolic and fictional prediction that never, ever would or could come to pass. However, sites such as IGN have confirmed that this is actually happening; Konami is trying to get gamers who just spent $40 on a game to spend even more on a feature that has been free since it was invented in 1987.
Now, Konami is no stranger to controversial microtransactions. One of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s main features is the Forward Operating Bases (FOBs). Players can build their first FOB for free, but Konami demands around $10 for each additional base. Most video games with base-building mechanics either force players to rely on one base or allow them to eventually build new ones, but Konami decided to lock players out of owning more than one FOB unless they spent real money. To add further insult to said microtransaction injury, Konami introduced FOB insurance, a service that reimburses “staff/materials stolen by [enemy players],” during the FOB Raid multiplayer mode, and players were livid. It’s a band-aid for a mechanic that is ripe for abuse, as malicious players can invade FOBs controlled by others until nothing is left. Instead of fixing the fundamental problems with the mode, Konami decided to demand money for a temporary solution.
I also feel I should mention yet another of Konami’s unpopular microtransactions, Metal Gear Solid V’s tuxedo DLC. Sure, it’s just a costume, and plenty of other companies sell costume DLC, but the Metal Gear Solid franchise has a history with the tuxedo, namely by giving it to players who beat previous Metal Gear Solid games to wear in subsequent playthroughs. The costume is only good for a laugh, but it’s a series tradition, not unlike the cardboard box. Konami could have continued this tradition, but instead, the company placed the tuxedo behind a paywall – a slap in the face for longtime fans of the series.
While these microtransactions revolve around features that aren’t found in every video game, save slots are a universal video game feature. Even when players were forced to purchase memory cards for their PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Sega Dreamcast, and Nintendo Gamecube consoles, they still could use as many save files as they pleased. Not Metal Gear Survive, though. Konami literally coded in multiple save slots, but then the company decided to hold them for ransom, which demonstrates how much contempt the company holds for its customers. This kind of business decision makes EA’s loot box fiasco look magnanimous in comparison.
I wanted to give Metal Gear Survive the benefit of the doubt and had high hopes after somewhat enjoying the beta. It didn’t exactly fit with the rest of the franchise, but I would have given it a chance. Not anymore. The Kojima debacle and cancellation of Silent Hills was one thing – it comes with the territory of the video game industry. Telling players they need to spend $10 for save slots, though? That’s just unacceptable.