Rod Fergusson on Gears 5 Microtransactions: "We Will Continue to Evolve Until We Get It Right"

Rod Fergusson on Gears 5 Microtransactions: "We Will Continue to Evolve Until We Get It Right"

Gears 5 doesn't have loot boxes, but there are still improvements to be made to the new system.

Though Gears 5 runs smoothly at its core, some fans think that the gears of its monetization systems grind a little harshly. Gears 5 abandons loot boxes for cosmetics earnable through gameplay and exclusive items available for a premium currency. Rod Fergussson, studio head at The Coalition, has taken to Twitter to respond to fans' monetization complaints over the cost of premium items, and insists that Gears 5's approach "will continue to evolve until [it's] right."

"This is a completely different economy from Gears [of War] 4," says Fergusson. Last month, Gears 5 multiplayer design director Ryan Cleven said he thought The Coalition was "ahead of the industry" by opting to remove loot boxes, which was broadly the model Gears of War 4 relied on. The Coalition has instead implemented a free battle pass-like Tour of Duty system in Gears 5 and divided cosmetic items into two pools: those in Supply Drops that can be earned just through play, and items that can only be directly purchased with Iron, Gears 5's premium currency. Players can earn up to 500 Iron (purchasable directly for $4.99 USD) through each season of Tour of Duty.

Though The Coalition has done away with purchasable randomized unlocks, fans are upset by the prices of the exclusive purchasable cosmetics. Executions, skins, and customizable blood sprays cost more than the amount of Iron that can be earned through dumping hours of play into the Tour of Duty.

While Fergusson only said The Coalition is "learning and improving" regarding the costs in Gears 5's store, he emphasizes that the Supply Drops are free and that The Coalition won't charge for new maps and modes coming to Gears 5.

It's worth remembering that Gears 5 is moving away from loot boxes while also becoming the series' first Game Pass launch title. Even though Microsoft says the game "easily doubled" the first week performance of Gears of War 4, that's in terms of player count including Game Pass subscribers, not copies sold. Since Gears 5 has a large base of subscription players, there's all the more reason to provide free playable content to the community while also charging for cosmetics.

Our Gears 5 review found it to be "mostly business as usual" for the franchise, but it has reached the mid-80s on Metacritic for both the Xbox One and PC. Whether you're playing on Game Pass or bought a copy, our guides page on Gears 5 has you covered on the game's modes, collectibles, and trickiest boss fight.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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