UbiSoft defends microtransaction pricing by basically saying "you are not supposed to unlock everything anyway".
Publishers recently realised that it's absolutely ok to charge the full price for a AAA game and then add microtransactions to the mix - final insult style. MMO-s, and especially free-to-play ones, have been pulling this scam for more than a decade now, with full unlocks usually not being available at all - because it's more lucrative to milk your customer for a couple of years drop by drop.
This might come as a surprise to everyone who hasn't been paying attention in the past decade or so. UbiSoft, of course, found a way to 1up the competition when it comes to detail oriented customer exploitation. The video above touches on the subject somewhere around the 24 minute mark. Here are some highlights:
"We never had an intention for you to unlock everything in the game." - But you would love it if everyone did, right? How about unlocking tiers of cosmetics instead of every single piece separately? That would have the player invest with grind, or money, and he would be fairly rewarded with a choice of available items instead having to grind or pay some more just to have that leisure of choice in the first place?
"One of the things we could have done, was to have way less content (...) so the design would be that you can unlock everything for all heroes." - But you didn't, because money. Also, straw man much?
"When you go into a store you don't buy all the T-shirts they have, you buy the one that you like." - Does that mean UbiSoft will be opening sweatshops for microtransaction items in India? This is a weird comparison since I don't have a shop's worth of T-shirts sitting in my closet just waiting for me to unlock them before I put them on. I am also not required to pay up front in order to be eligible to wear clothes or open my closet doors.
"We never anticipated a player to want to unlock everything in the game." - Once again, BS. Or are you implying that you made it possible without any desire for the player to actually do so?
"We focused on unlocking gameplay content first. When you max out a hero, then you start unlocking visual items." - You are not being fair by structuring your unlockable content this way; you are just being smart and avoiding backlash. If you could get away with it, you probably would have players grinding for individual menu buttons.
"We made the decision that we don't want to have any content behind a paywall. Everything is unlockable with Steel." - As with the previous argument you are very well aware that a paywall in a full price AAA game would amount to shooting yourself in the foot. Please stop pretending you are doing anyone a favour, but yourself.
"This doesn't mean we aren't going to change anything. We are listening to feedback and looking at data." - That should be, and is, your job. Are you expecting standing ovations for what should be the bare minimum?
"Players that are completionists, should rearrange their priorities when going towards full completion. First get a high reputation score, and then maybe try and unlock everything else." - So you are flat out admitting that there is no sensible way to get to 100% completion and playing towards that goal is essentially a Sisyphean task?
A lot of the quotes are paraphrased. UbiSoft hasn't made enough money on microtransactions yet to be able to afford paying someone with a firmer grasp of the English language to defend their business practises - on their own weekly podcasts. That really makes me feel for the struggling company.
Games are drifting further and further into a dark place where they can mutate into a service without outside interference. After the metamorphosis is complete, you will be able to pre-order a game 2 years in advance, get a season pass one year before that, then pay again for online services on launch, pay a monthly subscription fee in order to access multiplayer (not included with online services) and have the privilege of contentiously paying/grinding for microtransaction items coming your way by the truckload, daily. This cycle will, of course, repeat itself every year, sometimes for the same game, other times for the same game with a higher number at the end of the title. Best of all, you will be able to have several such services running simultaneously, for each device and account you own.
In case someone decides to call UbiSoft and their kin out on this, there is always the option of "listening to feedback and looking at data" in order to find creative new ways to take advantage of your customers. Once that is done, publishers can find the person least likely to convince their audience of the contrary, make sure he speaks broken English, cry Day-one-patch and let slip the dogs of service!