Sony Talks Microtransactions in $60 Games, 1080p Debate

PlayStation boss Scott Rohde says decisions about microtransactions are made on a case-by-case basis; 1080p is "what [gamers] want."

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Examples of microtransactions in full-priced games are not hard to find. DICE's Battlefield 4 lets you pay $50 to unlock every gun and upgrade, while Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto Online--the multiplayer mode for Grand Theft Auto V--lets you use real-world money to buy in-game cash. This practice is becoming more and more commonplace (probably because it is potentially lucrative for publishers), but it's still a contentious issue for some gamers.

"In some games, [microtransaction systems] makes more sense. In other games, you could argue that it makes absolutely no sense" -- Scott Rohde

We caught up with PlayStation software product development head Scott Rohde to ask him how he feels about microtransactions in $60 games. After all, Gran Turismo 6 for the PlayStation 3 has microtransactions, and so will Driveclub when it's released later this year. Are micropayments for full-priced games just something gamers need to accept in 2014?

"This is a case-by-case decision on every single game," Rohde told us. "In some games, it makes more sense. In other games, you could argue that it makes absolutely no sense. I like to say that at PlayStation, we don't have a distinct policy. If it makes sense in the universe of a game, then certainly, we'll look at it. But it's not something we try to force into any game, nor do we try to force it out."

We also quizzed Rohde about another hot-button industry topic: resolution. Right now, Sony's PlayStation 4 is leading the way, with many multiplatform titles running in a higher resolution (often 1080p) on PS4 compared to Microsoft's Xbox One. Just this week, we learned that Diablo III would output in native 900p on Xbox One, compared to 1080p on PS4.

"I think that the better fidelity you can get, the better the gaming experience will be. We're proud of the power that the PlayStation 4 offers and whenever we can we want to make sure to emphasize that and work as hard as we can to deliver that to gamers," Rohde said. "It's what they want."

Sony may not hold the resolution advantage forever, however. Microsoft this month released a software development kit update for Xbox One developers that promises to boost the console's GPU power. Some developers, like Bungie, are going to use this to increase the resolution of their games to 1080p.

How do you feel about microtransactions in $60 games and the resolution debate? Let us know in the comments below!

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