Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is the latest game to have microtransactions added in after launch. Hopes were high regarding Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled; a full-on HD remake of the fan-favorite 1999 kart racer. Nitro-Fueled promised to deliver the same timeless gameplay and tracks from the original, as well as a fresh coat of paint in the form of modern graphics, highly customizable karts and racers, and a slew of content from the PS2 sequel Crash Nitro Kart.
Upon its release on June 21, Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, by all accounts, exceeded expectations. It debuted at #2 on the NPD charts, which reported the game had the strongest launch of any Crash Bandicoot game, ever. It lived up to its promise of recreating the experience of the original PlayStation classic, and its subtle changes to the established gameplay foundation were generally met with praise (though some hardliners will never accept the new jump height and the removal of broken shortcuts from the original). Finally, the game earned additional kudos for launching without the obnoxious and obtrusive microtransactions that seem like a bitter fact of life in today’s landscape of “games as service” titles built on asking players for money beyond the initial price of a game.
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Alas, the honeymoon period has come to an end. In an Activision Blog post announcing the new Grand Prix season, the publisher confirmed that players will be able to spend real money to purchase Wumpa Coins, the in-game currency which players can already earn from playing the game. This continues the publisher’s trend of inserting microtransactions into a game months after release, after the initial wave of reviews have run their course.
Wumpa Coins are earned at a fairly decent rate in Nitro-Fueled, though many have criticized the Daily Bonus, or “Wumpa Time,” as the fandom calls it. For the first hour or so of play after a daily reset, coins are given out with a generous 5X multiplier before being throttled down to a mere trickle until the next daily reset. In theory, and combined with the daily challenges in the seasonal Grand Prix mode, this throttling appears intended to keep players coming back, day after day, to earn more coins and buy everything on offer in the store, called the Pit Shop.
The Pit Shop is modeled directly on the storefront from the popular Free-to-Play battle royale juggernaut Fortnite, though the in-game economy has been far more generous than Fortnite‘s F2P model. Hopefully, the addition of microtransactions to Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled won’t entice publisher Activision to raise the price of Pit Shop items or further throttle the daily flow of Wumpa Coins. It’s too early to tell how Crash Team Racing will adapt to this new wrinkle in the in-game economy. Whatever the future may hold, here’s hoping absolutely nothing changes for players who make an ethical point of steering clear of microtransactions in non-F2P games.
Source: Activision Games Blog
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