Just over a week ago, I discovered (through other Minecraft YouTubers) a new game on Steam called Creativerse by Playful Corp. This game is aimed squarely at being a Minecraft-style sandbox game with improved graphics, better game performance and all around more ‘zazz’. It is being sold on Steam under the “Early Access” category of games for $20.. a price that is admittedly a tad steep for something declaring itself to be in “Beta”. I figured the game was interesting enough that I would throw some coverage of it up on my channel:

    My initial impress was that Creativerse was being sold as “Early Access” but would otherwise hold the same style of business model that Minecraft does. After the above video went out.. I was startling to receive comments on the video from people stating that it had in-game microtransaction menus in game during the earlier versions, and those menu screens hinted at real money transactions being included in the game. This drove me to Twitter, where I quickly messaged the official Twitter account for the game (@Creativerse).

<@Vaygrim> So you’ve got reviews in Steam stating there is an in-game shop and microtransactions?

<@Creativerse> Those are based on an early version of the store, which never actually accepted real money payments. The store is coming back and once we’re free to play, real money store purchases will fund continued development.

    I will be completely honest here.. this really took me by surprise. Playful Corp. is choosing to sell the game under a totally different business model than what will be used once it is officially released. Apparently the current plan is to make the game Free To Play at launch and have an in-game microtransactions menu that will use real money, allowing the player to purchase large bundles of blocks of whatever type they need. Haven’t found any Iron Ore Nodes yet? Buy some iron in the in-game store, in bulk! Don’t want to have to mess around with finding Obsidian Nodes at all? You can buy that in the store as well. There are also apparently plans to offer ‘short duration buffs’ that will let you go without the need of an energy bar for a time (thus granting you infinite sprint / underwater breathing).

    Let me be 100% clear on my stand regarding this whole situation. I do not feel that Creativerse being ‘Free to Play’ is somehow wrong, they can offer their game that way if they so choose. I don’t feel that in-game microtransactions are ‘wrong’, though I do feel like Playful Corp is missing a golden opportunity here. They could easily drop the game’s price down to say $15 and put in Steam Workshop mod support .. and I feel that Creativerse would then sell amazingly well. But those are not where I have a major issue.

My problem falls upon the fact that it looks like Playful Corp. is trying to hide this plan for a Free To Play business model from their Early Game status investors. The developers have stated that anyone buying Creativerse during Early Access for $20 will be given that equivalent amount of in-game credit for microtransaction purchases once the game launches. That still does not excuse the ‘bait and switch’ of business models upon their early investors, and their being protected from retribution due to their Early Access Game category tag. (“Early Access” games are immune from requests for refunds by customers, basically granting the developers of these games full access to a wide range of nefarious business tactics on Steam.)

So here falls the important question: Knowing all of this, do you as a viewer of my YouTube channel still want to see more of this game? The Quick Look of Creativerse has netted far more attention than I ever anticipated, putting its total views so far on par with one of my Minecraft videos (which is a very big deal). But .. I don’t think a lot of people know about this ‘business tactic’ of the developers.

Is it still worthy of attention and air time? Let me know, please!