The gaming industry has truly come a long way! the visuals we have, the complex games we have, the mechanics, the story telling, there have been many advancements, but there is 1 area that has seen such advancements, such innovation it also leaves me flabbergast, and that is monetization, and eternals is simply another step forward in innovating in the area of monetization.
When(not if) eternals succeed we can look forward to what they will try next.
Remember the games industry will always try to push the envelope, they will always try to see with how much they can get away with, locking game features behind a paywall isn't new, it started off with small cosmetics, you used to unlock characters, skins, outfits or other small gameplay or cosmetic options through achievements, now they're either locked behind a season pass, microtransactions or lootboxes, then they took it a step further and locked game modes behind paywalls in some games, then nintendo took it even further and locked SAVE SLOTS behind a pay wall, then DotA 2 and LoL sarted locked your statistics and achievements behind a paywall, whenever we let them get away with it they PUSH FOR MORE.
Let's see how monetization really started
games had game expansions released, sometimes for half the price of the game which had huge swaths of content included in it, allot of people liked this, you pay a single upfront price and it could have enough content to keep you going for weeks, months or even years
**Attack Of The Dlc**
but then dlc came around, and developers thought, well we could produce a ton of content and say sell it as an expansion pack for 30 euro's, or we cut this expansion pack into smaller pieces, take this expansion pack, cut it into 5 pieces each costing 10 euro and sell it as ''dlc'' this soon became rather prevalent.
**DLC On Day1? Gosh Great!**
day1/0 dlc and dlc on disk, dlc that was already ready for the game, and is sometimes already on the physical disk, but either got removed from the game or not added to the game even if it was already finished just so they could sell it to you, that's what day1 dlc is, content removed from the game so that they can sell it to you, there was an outrage over it, gamers upset, but what did they count on? for it to all blow over, and blow over it did as people stopped caring.
**What A Season!**
then came the season passes, do you want to pay money for stuff that doesn't exist yet? of course you do! so buy our 50 euro season pass now! note however, how that is 20 euro more expensive than a expansion pack.
**All Downhill From Here**
this is where it all went downhill, MICROTRANSACTIONS, boy oh boy oh boy oh boy, did the game industry take this concept and RUN IT INTO THE GROUND, this is what ruined mobile gaming, mobile games for 99% turned into P2W games with a plethora of microtransactions, we started getting them in F2P games as well, fair enough right? they gotta make money somehow, but of course the game industry couldn't keep it at that so they started putting microtransactions in full priced multiplayer games, they started off small though, just some cosmetics, maybe a different outfit for your character, maybe a weapon skin here and there, but it wouldn't stay at that for long.
**Microtransactions In A Singleplayer Game?**
Having them in multiplayer games was bad enough as it is, but now in SINGLE PLAYER GAMES? I mean come on, do you HAVE to ruin the game so much? game experiences neutered, experience gain down, games made harder to incentivise you to buy the microtransactions, and what was the excuse? ''well we're providing this optional microtransaction to help those who don't have as much time to play the game or aren't as good'' and here's a fun fact for you, it was already possible to help people like that years ago, it's called cheatsm they serve to help people who either struggle with the game or don't have the time...AND THEY'RE FREE! but of course if it's free it doesn't make money so they didn't want to put those in the game anymore.
**Year Of The cosmetic Lootbox!**
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is where the games industry shat itself with excitement over legal gambling, I'm sure many of you know Team Fortress 2 lootboxes, you pay money for a chance at getting what you want, in other words, gambling, and boy oh boy did the game industry love it, they loved it so much they started putting it into every single P2W mobile game in existance, but of course you can't just move from mobile gaming P2W lootboxes to AAA games with P2W lootboxes, the pc/console crowd is more wary of that, so they introduced it slowly in games like fifa, now I don't mean to speak ill of people but fifa players, they didn't seem to care about lootboxes for the most part and appear to be more casual and so EA introduced them there succesfully, with barely any backlash, but of course, that is not good enough, so Activision Blizzard created and released Overwatch, a full priced AAA game with lootboxes, this is the game that truly popularized lootboxes and welcomed us to a age of lootboxes, after Overwatch the amount of games with lootboxes in them significantly increased, imagine that, you pay full price for a game and sucker people into gambling then hundreds if not thousands on your game, what a dream come true! AAA companies must have been jizzing in their pants after seeing the millions of dollars they made from it! this is also the year Activision Blizzard's rabbid fanboys vehemently defended them like their life depended on it and gave us the good ol''it's just cosmetics'' and ''it's optional'' phrases that are still said to this day.
**After Microtransactions In Single Player Games Now It's Lootboxes yeeeay...**
The next big advancement in single player games, lootboxes! andt I'm sure we all remember what they said ''this doesn't affect gameplay'' remember shadow of war? ''don't worry, the game has been finely tuned, it doesn't affect the game at all'' but logic dictates, you aren't going to put something in the game without wanting people to buy it so, of course, it affected the game, shadow of war turned into a huge grindfest if you don't pay for the lootboxes, but the fanboys were convinced, ''they're right! my precious company wouldn't lie! it doesn't affect the game and it's just optional!'' then fast forward a year, shadow of war REMOVES lootboxes and oh look at that, the game is so broken they had to REWORK THE BLOODY SYSTEM, turns out without the lootboxes in place the game is near unplayable, truly a disgrace.
**The Year Where We Earned A Sense Of Pride And Accomplishment**
And here we come to the big one, Pay To Win lootboxes in star wars battlefront 2, the bad one mind you, not the good one, the better one, from 2005, not being able to hold back their greed and desire to have millions of dollars saved up in tax havens they rushed it and put P2W lootboxes in a full price multiplayer AAA game, the fanbase was LIVID, EA kept trying to give the fanbase a sense of pride and accomplishment but that darn ungratefull fanbase just didn't want it! for months EA did nothing, hoping it would blow over, just like all the previous bs I've mentioned, microtransactions, dlc, day 1 dlc, single player microtransactions ect ect had blown over, but this was star wars, this is not just a video game franchise, it is a movie franchise, it is known throughout the world, and it is because of that fact that pressure kept up for months, and so EA finally caved and they removed lootboxes, result? the game was just shit, progression was shit, it was borderline unplayable, with the lootboxes removed EA laid bare just how reliant on lootboxes their game was, and just like middle earth shadow of war they had to rework the entire progression system to make the game even playable.
**Konami With Great Innovation!**
We all thought it couldn't get worse, I mean gambling in free and full price games? how could it possibly get worse than that? and in a sense it didn't get worse, because the game industry didn't know how to make lootboxes even more profitable, so they started looking in other areas in the game to monetize, and that's where Konami showed us the way, save slots! I mean do you really need more than 1 save slot? of course not! but if you do, Konami will be generous enough to allow you to buy a second save slot for 10 euro, how generous! this was ofcourse not the beginning of it, we've had game modes like COD zombies locked behind paywalls before, but SAVE SLOTS? something which is a basic bloody feature of a game? now that is just new and innovative.
And now we come to the present day where people are upset about Eternals, but sadly, this too will succeed, for 1 simple reason, people only care about what affects them and them only, it's like the ''First they came'':
''First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me''
When DLC first came around, or even day1 dlc allot of people didn't speak out''well it doesn't happen to MY game so what's the big deal?''
Then microtransactions ''well I do not feel the need to buy them so what's the big deal?''
Then of course lootboxes ''well I can just ignore them so why are you complaining?''
and this just kept happening with every new iteration of monetization
And of course we live in a time now where news and media moves fast, all people care about is what is interesting at that time, you could make a thread about eternals 1 month from now and 99% of the people would say ''oh stop complaining this is old news, it's boring'' they completely lose all apathy for the problem because it's no longer interesting, but this is isn't about discussing something interesting, this is about bettering the games industry.
So now all we can do is have theories about what comes after Eternals, perhaps P2W mechanics in URF/ARAM? perhaps they will make it so you have to watch a round of e-sports before you can even play a game? maybe you will have to pay money to use skins you unlock from the hextech lootboxes who knows
TL;DR Games industry keeps putting more exploitative monetization in games and it will only get worse because people only care about what affects them and their own game.