Some players are "accustomed" to micro-transactions, and the ability to pay real money for the resources fulfils their 'need for instant gratification'. It's all "completely optional" to the player.
They're doing it simply to attract the type of gamer who does spend money outside the purchase of the game. All packs are also available to buy with in-game resources.
"The way the micro-transactions work, is that there's only three things that you can buy, and they're basically tiers of different resources. Resources are extremely valuable in Dead Space - we got rid of credits entirely," John Calhoun of Visceral explains to . "Everything that you can find in the game can be constructed from resources, which includes Tungsten, Semi-Conductors, Somatic Gel."
These resources can be used to construct weapons, ammo packs and even suit upgrades.
"There's a lot of players out there, especially players coming from mobile games, who are accustomed to micro-transactions. They're like "I need this now, I want this now". They need instant gratification. So we included that option in order to attract those players, so that if they're 5000 Tungsten short of this upgrade, they can have it."
Calhoun and the team recognise that 'hardcore' fans won't want to touch the micro-transactions system with real money, so they offer an alternative to those who would consider using if they could spend another in-game resource.
"There's also the hardcore Dead Space players, who are reluctant to spend money outside the purchase of the game. Honestly, most of the dev team are that way, we're kind of old school, a little bit older. So not only are the micro-transactions completely optional, but all packs are available to purchase using in-game resources that you find."
"So, your scavenger bot will go out, and sometimes when he comes back he'll deliver ration seals. You'll start to accumulate ration seals at a pretty steady clip throughout the game, and everything that can be purchased with real world dollars can also be purchased with ration seals," he continued.
Visceral Games don't believe micro-transactions are the beginning of the end, provided they're done right.
"We would never make a game you have to pay to win," said Calhoun. "There are genres of games where that is the answer, and you know what? The world has spoken, they suck. We don't want to make games that suck, we want to make games that people want to hold on to, to keep on their shelves. That is our mark of success."
"But we need to make sure we're expanding our audience as well. There are action game fans, and survival horror game fans, who are 19 and 20, and they've only played games on their smartphones, and micro-transactions are to them a standard part of gaming. It's a different generation. So if we're going to bring those people into our world, let's speak their language, but let's not alienate our fans at the same time."
Dead Space 3 releases on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC February 5th in the US, 8th in EU.
Dead Space 3 micro-transactions for players wanting "instant gratification"
25 January 2013 | By Simon Priest