Overkill defend decision to add microtransactions in PayDay 2

A few weeks ago, PayDay 2 received the Black Market update which added microtransactions into the game, despite developer Overkill stating in the past that they would never add such a system. As you would guess, it was met negatively by games press and PayDay 2 players.

If you haven’t heard about this little fiasco or know how microtransactions now work, where have you been?! In short, players receive safes in loot drops by playing the game and to unlock the safe, you need a drill which costs $2.50. Initially, these could only be purchased but Overkill have since made it that drills can also drop in loot drops. Unlocking a safe will reward you with a weapon skin which will have slightly boosted stats compared to the base weapons available in the game. These skins, safes and drills however can be traded on the Steam community.

Marking the end of Crimefest, Overkill Producer Almir held an AMA on Reddit where he answered questions from the community about Crimefest, PayDay 2 and of course, the controversial Black Market update. In short, Almir states that the reason Overkill went back on their word was because they need the money to fund all their staff so that they can continue developing content and working on PayDay 2.

Addressing the team’s statement previously that microtransactions were a no no for them, Almir’s defense was that circumstances have changed since they made those comments over two years ago.

“Two and a half years ago, during development of PAYDAY 2 and in the build-up for its release, myself and then Game Director David Goldfarb said that there would be no microtransactions in PAYDAY 2. At the time, there were games that were released with in-game microtransaction systems at launch; players were asked to pay for the full game, and then continue to spend money directly after the initial purchase.”

“At the time, PAYDAY 2 featured a relatively advanced weapon modifications system where players for in-game money could buy, sell and modify weapons, masks and modifications. When we discussed this with people, we’d receive a ton of questions regarding whether or not it was microtransactions or not in our game too. To make sure there was no confusion, we said what we did to make things absolutely clear. If you asked me then, there would be no way we would’ve added a system like we just did.”

He continued, “Fast forward to today, two and a half years later, and the addition of the Black Market update. There’s been a lot of articles written by a lot of people claiming a lot of things about us, our intentions and the effect this has on the community as a whole and the future of PAYDAY 2. It’s a bit hard to take some of these people serious when you know they don’t even play the game. One contributor on an esteemed website even said: “An earlier version of this post called the game “competitive multiplayer” as I wrongly believed there was a competitive component. There isn’t and I apologize for the error. However, paying real-world money to perform better in a multiplayer game even without PvP is still a problem.” I think the problem here really is people in positions of power in media and elsewhere making uninformed, clickbait articles about things that matter a lot to a lot of people, instead of doing some serious legwork to get their facts straight.”

While there has no doubt been websites producing articles on the topic without knowing 100% what the implications for the game are, such as Almir’s example, the fact of the matter is that PayDay 2 now has microtransactions which aren’t cosmetic but actually alters gameplay by improving the guns stats of those who have unlocked a safe and received a weapon skin. As one Redditor put it, if someone is performing better in the team, “I want that to be because they’re a better player than me, not because they’ve gambled on safes.”

The size of Overkill’s team has tripled since the release of PayDay 2, increasing from 25 to 75 and with that brings an increase in wages and overhead costs. The expansion has come from the developer’s growth of their ambition for post-launch content rather than opting to start work on PayDay 3. To cover the costs, Overkill have done numerous sales to generate a quick influx of cash. In addition to sales, they say they have also reduced the price point of 16 PayDay 2 products with the hope of gaining more sales as a result. In short, Almir says these strategies haven’t had the desired impact they were hoping for. As a result, the Black Market update was released with the microtransactions in the hope of generating more money to cover all their costs and to allow them to continue work on PayDay 2 as well as their other titles. And it is working, according to Almir.

“Two years ago people would have us instantly start work on PAYDAY 3, right after we released PAYDAY 2, like developers usually do. Instead, we decided to continue work on PAYDAY 2, because we wanted to make it an incredible co-op experience. 88 updates later, we have to ensure the future survival of the game. We do sales when we can where we reduce the price point up to 75% in order to pay people’s wages and create a buffer for a rainy day. Six months ago, we also made a bold move to permanently reduce the price point of 16 PAYDAY 2 products by 33-43% in the hopes of drawing additional sales. (http://www.overkillsoftware.com/games/meltdown/). Needless to say, we didn’t see the result we anticipated, and have had to think of other ways to make sure we can continue creating content in the pace we want in order to keep PAYDAY 2 fresh and exciting.”

“We have a partnership with our partner 505 Games, where we have a deal to produce a specific amount of content until 2017. However, we at OVERKILL want to create more than what we and 505 Games agreed on. We want to do everything we can to make PAYDAY 2 as awesome as possible. In order to do that, we made the decision to triple the size of the crew. To ensure that we can keep the size of the team, we decided that the best approach was to introduce the Black Market update to the game.”

Almir concluded by saying that based completely on statistics, the Black Market update is working the way Overkill hoped it would and believe it was the right decision to allow them to continue as an independent developer and ensure the future growth of PayDay 2.

“We understand that there is a lot of fury, anger and disappointment with us adding this. From an economical standpoint however, completely based on statistics, we can already see that the Black Market update is working as we intended. Going forward, we hope we can convince the parts of the community that resist this change that this was the right decision to do to ensure the stability of OVERKILL as an independent developer and the future growth of PAYDAY 2.”

You can view Almir’s full statement here along with the replies of fellow PayDay 2 players who still aren’t happy about all of this.

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