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According to IGN Video Games
“Emotional value, not mechanical value.”
By Joe Skrebels
Sea of Thieves will launch without microtransactions, but will add them in its first major content update, planned for around three months after release – but they’ll be for cosmetic rewards only, and won’t feature loot boxes.
During a visit to Rare, executive producer Joe Neate told IGN:
“Our focus at launch [is] on a great game experience. When we deliver this first major update, that’s when we’ll turn on the ability for players to spend money optionally.
“We thought long and hard about what’s right for our game experience, and the key thing we think is that it has to add to the fun, social nature of the game. So anything in this area will not impact power or progression, and you’ll always know what you’re getting – so that means no loot crates.”
Neate explains that there will be opportunities to earn paid currency through normal play. While the plans for how this will happen aren’t yet final, he suggests you could find items in the game world, or receive it as a reward after high-level quests.
The first paid content for the game will come in the form of pets. “It’ll either be on a shoulder, like a monkey, or like a cat on the ship”, explains Neate. “But it’ll kind of benefit everyone socially and emotionally. So if I’ve got a cat, I can pick up it up and look at it, or you can pick it up and run off with it. Obviously when you put it down it’ll come back.
“I really, really want to allow us to fire cats and other animals out of cannons. It’ll land on its feet, it’s a cat, it’ll be fine!”
Beyond that, Rare’s looking to include potions that can alter you cosmetically – like a draught that turns your character model old for a certain amount of time. The mission statement is that microtransaction items have “emotional value, not mechanical value.”
As for why the game has microtransactions at all, Neate puts it down to the increased costs of running a game that will continuously add content beyond launch:
“It’s always an interesting topic, but ultimately I have to look at the reality of running a game-as-service as a business. My goal and everyone else’s goal here is to have as many people as possible working on this, and just keep giving people reasons to return, reasons to have fun. We have to run that like a business, you need revenue coming in.”
As we covered in our new preview of the game, Sea of Thieves is seemingly set to receive far more free extra content than paid – aside from timed events and smaller additions, the first major update is primed to turn the base game’s endgame into its “start-game”.
Joe Skrebels is IGN’s UK News Editor, and he wants a skeleton parrot that screams the names of dead men. You know, fun stuff like that. Follow him on Twitter.
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