Forza Motorsport 5 has become the subject of a lot of debate around monetisation and micro-transactions due to the pricing of some prestige cars. Calculations on the average race return and cost of credits bought with real money show that you could need to play for 100 hours to buy one car, or pay between £39.99-£79.
That’s on top of the purchase price of the new Xbox One, potentially a new racing wheel such as the Thrustmaster TX 458, and the game itself with a price of £54.99.
The Lotus E21 was heavily promoted as a selling point of Forza Motorsport 5, the first game in the series to feature open wheel racers. It costs 6 million credits, which will probably take around 60 hours of racing plus time spent in menus and tuning. Alternatively, you can pay 10,000 tokens, bought with real world money which equates to up to £79.
The Neogaf community have been discussing the rates in more detail. Token packs ranges from £0.79 for 100 tokens to £64.99 for 20,000. But even buying in bulk, a car such as the McLaren P1 would cost £7.58 (2,334 tokens).
Turn 10 ‘keep elite cars exclusive’
The reason claimed by Turn 10 is that they wanted to keep the elite cars exclusive, whether you were grinding through the game to earn them, or buying them straight away with cash.
When we went back and looked at the player data for Forza 4, we learned that most players were using a small percentage of the gift cars available in their garages, leaving the majority of their cars relatively untouched. For Forza 5, we wanted to focus on the cars that mattered most to the player.
But in addition to the focus on a smaller number of cars, the methods of earning credits have also changed. There’s no storefront or auction house, and there are no car gifts or bonuses when you level up in experience. The only way to earn more is to bump up the difficulty, or earn by your Drivatar playing when you’re offline. Tuners and painters receive a daily credit bonus based on the community use of your work.
The token cost to buy all cars in Forza Motorsport is 168993, which would end up costing around $1690 if you bought all of them with cash.
Racing games and micro transactions:
The ability to buy content rather than earn it is a staple of free to play games, and has existed in previous games in the Forza Motorsport series.
And certainly there’s a legitimate argument that prestigious rewards should have an equivalent game and cash value regardless of how you access them. No-one wants to spend 100 hours unlocking the best car, only to have a rival buy it for £2 instead.
But the timing and implementation in Forza Motorsport 5 appears to have been handled as badly as Microsoft’s general marketing approach for the Xbox One.
No-one was going to be happy to pay for a new console, new game, new wheel and then find out to jump in with one of the most publicised cars would cost them as much as the game itself.
Combine that with less cars, less tracks and a loss of other features appreciated by the community (Auction houses, storefront, simplified tuning etc), and it’s no surprise that the community is disappointed.
We’ll keep watching the situation and in-game economy, but it seems a difficult challenge for Forza Motorsport 5 to recover from, as changes to the market values of cars now will obviously impact anyone that actually has gone out and bought them…