Assassin’s Creed Shadows Seems To Be Drowning In Microtransactions Already

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Assassin's Creed: Shadows of Greed!

Story Highlight
  • Assassin’s Creed Shadows is the latest example of Ubisoft’s shift towards aggressive monetization in its games.
  • It’s a worrying trend that prioritizes profits over player enjoyment.
  • The base game’s $130 ultimate edition, with early access and bonus quests, is a blatant rip-off.

Being a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed series, I was thrilled about the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Shadows. The idea of exploring feudal Japan, a setting fans have been asking for, and playing as both a samurai and a shinobi sounded amazing.

But my excitement was dampened when I heard about Ubisoft’s frustrating money-making tactics. At this point, it’s become a tradition for the developer, and they seem quite proud of it, too.

Ubisoft is no stranger to microtransactions. Previous installments in its flagship series have been criticized for their in-game stores, offering various cosmetic items and time-saving boosts for real money.

While some players find these options convenient, I see them as predatory.

Why it matters: Star Wars Outlaws comes with similar microtransactions, creating a recurring pattern for Ubisoft’s games.

Assassin's Creed Shadows Editions
Ubisoft wants everyone to fork over $130 for the ultimate edition.

The Game’s Outrageous Price

Can we just talk about how absurd the prices are for different editions of Assassin’s Creed Shadows? The base game is $70, while the ultimate edition is $130, which provides three days of early access, the season pass, and other quests.

That means I have to spend a whopping $130 for the complete experience. It blows my mind how ridiculous Ubisoft’s prices have become. To make matters worse, the studio is really pushing its subscription service.

It’s tempting players with early access through this subscription, playing on people’s FOMO to get them to sign up. It feels manipulative as if they’re forcing players into regular payments to play the game a bit earlier.

Insider Gaming: Assassin’s Creed Infinity’s Live Service Hub detailed
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The Live-Service Element

If the $130 price wasn’t enough, Assassin’s Creed Shadows is reportedly introducing “mini battle passes,” adding another layer of microtransactions that players have to deal with to access all the game’s features.

This feels like the dreaded “live-service” model, where you have to keep spending money to enjoy the game in its entirety. It’s frustrating to think that enjoying the whole experience might require constant financial investment.

I never imagined that Ubisoft’s live-service failures would come full circle, with the publisher turning its biggest single-player franchise into a live-service extravaganza of skins, monetization, and the dreaded battle pass.

I can already imagine how Assassin’s Creed Shadows will look a year from now. Opening the game will likely result in players being bombarded with various pop-ups for missions, the battle pass, and other cosmetics.

Microtransactions in Ubisoft Games
Ubisoft seems intent on squeezing every last dollar from its player base through ridiculous microtransactions.

Typical Ubisoft Microtransactions

Topping things off, I fully expect Ubisoft’s typical microtransaction ordeal for this game.

All games in the RPG trilogy received flak for selling experience boosters to let players level up their characters faster, which can be tempting in RPGs, where you often have to spend a lot of time grinding.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows is likely to do the same, selling boosters that help players progress faster—for a fee. This means some players can move ahead quicker if they’re willing to pay, which naturally takes away from the satisfaction of earning progress.

Such practices have become increasingly common in Ubisoft games but remain controversial, as they can disrupt the balance of gameplay and create a ‘pay-to-win’ environment.

Looking at the studio’s money-making schemes is worrying, but it’s just one piece of the bigger picture. The company is moving towards a live-service approach, and Assassin’s Creed Infinity is a big sign.

Infinity wants to be the central spot for all future Assassin’s Creed stuff, which could mean each game becomes a way for Ubisoft to keep making money over time instead of just a one-off purchase.

Assassin's Creed Shadows
Assassin’s Creed Shadows seems to be full of microtransactions.

What Can Be Done?

As consumers, we have more power than we think.

By not spending money on these unfair practices, we can send a strong message to publishers and developers. Speaking out on social media and forums can also make our dissatisfaction heard, potentially leading to changes in monetization schemes.

Anyhow, Assassin’s Creed Shadows had the potential to revitalize the once-beloved franchise. It could still prove to be the best entry of this series in a very long time, but Ubisoft’s monetization schemes make me wary of this release.

Even though the setting and gameplay look promising, they are being overshadowed by microtransactions, paywalls, and controversies surrounding the protagonist.

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