Why it matters: We’ve all seen how prominent microtransactions have become in modern games, especially multiplayer titles like Star Wars: Battlefront 2. However, just when you think in-game monetization has hit its limit, developers seem to find a way to surprise the world with a new solution to maximize profits.
That’s what’s happening tomorrow when ill-fated battle royale title The Culling: Origins relaunches on Xbox One. This franchise has already seen two failed launches in the past, but developer Xaviant is hoping to strike gold this time, courtesy of an unusual new payment model.
The Culling: Origins will re-release as a pay-to-play title with a $5.99 upfront cost. Those who have purchased The Culling before will receive the game for free, but everyone — whether you’ve supported Xaviant’s work in the past or not — will be faced with additional, in-game paywalls.
When you boot up The Culling: Origins for the first time, you’ll be able to play a single online match for free every day. To play more matches, you’ll need to shell out additional cash for Online Match Tokens — three tokens will run you $1, 10 tokens will cost $3, and 20 tokens will cost $5.
Every victory will earn you one free Match Token, but if you aren’t confident in your skills, Xaviant is offering Online Passes, as well. These Passes grant you unlimited online play for a limited period of time – the 7-day Pass is $2 and the 30-day Pass is $6.
None of these prices are particularly egregious, but this arcade-like monetization system is something you don’t really see in modern console games. And, to be frank, we’re not sure how well it’s going to work for Xaviant. While The Culling does have a few unique features going for it, such as its focus on melee combat and its unique perk system, there are still a plethora of other completely free battle royale titles on the market.
It’s going to be a challenge for Xaviant to convince potential users to play its game at all, much less shell out the cash for the game itself and its per-match fees. We look forward to seeing how well (or poorly) The Culling: Origins is received when it arrives tomorrow.