Less than two weeks after the release of Ghost Games’ Need for Speed Payback, the team has pushed an update to the game that effectively speeds up players’ progression through the game’s systems by increasing rewards of in-game currencies.
What makes this particular update interesting is how it potentially lowers pressure players feel to spend real money (via “Speed Points” premium currency) to speed up their progression; this change comes amidst a flurry of updates aimed at similarly easing players’ progression through Star Wars Battlefront II.
EA released both games this month and, taken together, they paint a picture of big-budget teams (at EA, and perhaps elsewhere) struggling to find the right balance to strike when implementing progression mechanics, virtual currency systems, and microtransaction opportunities in full-priced games.
The sticking point in both cases seems to be that players feel the games are too demanding in terms of how much virtual currency they have to accrue to unlock in-game rewards (often received semi-randomly by opening “loot crate” analogs), and they feel pressured to spend real money to potentially speed up the process.
In response, a Ghost Games representative took to Reddit over the weekend to announce that the game is being changed to make earning in-game currencies like “Rep” and “Bank” easier in an effort to ” make the progression, especially around the ownership of cars, a much more enjoyable experience.”
By contrast, the dev team behind Battlefront II said last week that after a number of attempts to address player complaints about the game’s progression system, they would just temporarily turn off all microtransactions while they sorted things out.
It was a big enough deal that some NFS fans have speculated Ghost Games’ changes to Payback are a direct response, but the afore-mentioned representative claimed that “all this was already happening” before Battlefront II was pushed into the limelight.