Top 10 Most Insulting MicroTransactions in Games

VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
Freemium shmeemium, just put the credit card down! Welcome to and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 WORST MicroTransactions in Games.
Top 10 Games with Awful Microtransactions

When are they going to give it a rest already? Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 WORST MicroTransactions in Games.

For this list, we're looking at the most insane and questionable microtransactions in gaming history. These can range from being a generally stupid idea to being far too expensive for what they offer to offering little incentive, and anything in between.

#10: Episodes on a Monthly Basis - “DC Universe Online” (2011)

When “DC Universe Online,” went free to play fans were pretty peeved. At first there were only two items to purchase - proto repair bots and vault ticket packs. However, the worst offender has to be the monthly episodes. Subscribing members get these for free, but if casual players want new or continuations of already existing storylines, then they're going to have to pony up, as each episode costs about $5, and there has been, as of writing, 27 episodes released, accounting for well over $100 worth of content. While this a perfectly viable business model, and some players will be more than happy to give up the green, we think we'll stick with the basics.

#9: Five Diamond Gear - “Assassin's Creed Unity” (2014)

At a time when interest in the “Assassin's Creed” series was beginning to wane, out came “Unity,” and due to the game's terrible performance issues and reliance on microtransactions, the bell finally tolled for the series. Ubisoft went full Ubisoft and pushed their in-game currency, called Helix credits, to already annoyed consumers. You COULD do some tedious farming in order to obtain decent items, which could take decades, or you could purchase Helix credits using real money and instantly purchase five diamond attire and weapons, allowing you to plow through the game like Duke Nukem on steroids. While it’s true that everything is available in-game, Ubisoft certainly didn't stop themselves from nudging your shoulder and pointing towards the store.

#8: Too Much, and Too Expensive, Extra Content - “Evolve” (2015)

Lesson one: don't have microtransactions in your $60 AAA game. Lesson two: if you absolutely have to, learn from “Evolve.” “Evolve” was supposed to be the next great multiplayer game, but the greedy business practices quickly turned potential players away, like selling terribly expensive skin packs. Yay. If that wasn't reason enough to stay clear of the microtransactions, better monsters could be purchased separately for up to $15, and there was reportedly over $130 worth of extra content upon release. There's nothing inherently wrong with selling extra skins or characters for your game, but when you set them at such outrageous prices, we guarantee you that no one will buy them. Poor “Evolve.” You had so much potential.

#7: Paying for Restarts - “Angry Birds 2” (2015)

“Angry Birds” took the world by storm when it was released in 2009, becoming one of the most successful mobile games ever. Rovio Entertainment immediately had dollar signs in their eyes, and six years later, to breathe new life into the franchise, they released a sequel. This time around you only get five lives, and once those run out, you are forced to wait for a restart or pay money to receive more lives in order to continue playing. You can also watch advertisements for other Rovio products in exchange for restarts, but this gets old really fast, and paying for more lives is the only way to bypass the ads. The gameplay of “Angry Birds” doesn't fit with waiting patiently, and the game suffered as a result.

#6: One Time Use Items - “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” (2016)

We’ll get this out of the way first: “Mankind Divided” is a really good game, and is easily beatable without the use of microtransactions. It's such a shame, then, that they had to resort to such cheap gimmicks. Various one-time use items can be purchased through an in-game store with real money, including set amounts of in-game currency (which can be used to buy various items) and praxis kits, which are used for leveling up Adam’s augmentations. This tactic seems like both an afterthought and a simple cash grab that further reiterates the fears of turning AAA gaming into a free to play model.

#5: Pay to Win Lawnmowers - “Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time” (2013)

“Plants vs. Zombies 2” is a free to play game, and you know what that means: microtransactions! Kaching! These included the basic offenders like extra plants, various upgrades, and coins, but perhaps the worst and most controversial offender has to be the infamous lawnmower tax. Previously, lawnmowers would be given at the start of each new level, even if one had already been used. In this game, used lawnmowers needed to be repurchased with in-game currency, which meant money. The developers quickly went into damage control after controversy stirred on the internet by erasing the pay model and resorting back to the original mechanic. Once you charge for a core component of your game, you're going to piss off a lot of people.

#4: Resources - “Dead Space 3” (2013)

“Dead Space” was enormously successful when it was released, touted as one of the saviors of the survival horror genre. “Dead Space 3” is literally the opposite of that. Not only did this game gear more towards action rather than horror, but they also took away the “survival” aspect, as valuable and integral resources were now literally a button push away. Weapon crafting and upgrading required resources found throughout the game, but if players missed a part, or were simply too impatient to scavenge for supplies, they could simply purchase the necessary requirements needed for crafting. Not only is this offensive in AAA gaming, but it completely negates the entire survival horror aspect that the series was once renowned for.

#3: FOB Insurance - “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” (2015)

We...but...wha? Insurance? In a video game? Seriously? Yes, you can actually purchase Forward Operating Base insurance in order to protect your in-game assets from rival infiltrations. According to the insurance description, staff and materials “stolen” from your base will not actually be taken; the thief will simply receive duplicates. This insurance can be purchased using MB coins (*cough* real money *cough*) with coverage lasting between one day for 50 coins and two weeks for 300, or roughly $3. Yes, two weeks is the max, meaning you have to renew your policy, just like in real life. While it's not a lot of money, it's the thought that counts, and we have to ask again: seriously?

#2: Paywalls. So many Paywalls - “Dungeon Keeper” (2014)

Where do we even start? This game relies heavily on terraforming caverns for resources. The only problem is that, unless you want to wait days (yes, DAYS) between mining rocks, you'll have to pay. In other words, the game was practically unplayable unless you forked over some cash. The controversy surrounding this grew so dire that the British Advertising Standards Authority actually stepped in and ordered EA to stop promoting the game as free, as basic and necessary gameplay was blocked behind paywalls. Couple this with EA essentially blocking one to four star reviews from being published on the Google Play store, and you have one of the worst offenders of corporate greed in mobile gaming history.

Before we condemn our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions.

Over $4,000 Worth of Extra Content
“Train Simulator 2015” (2015)

FUT Packs
“FIFA 14” (2013)

#1: Paying to Remove Ads - “Solitaire” (Windows 10) (2015)

No, Microsoft. This is getting far out of hand, and we want off this crazy train! Solitaire has been a beloved FREE staple of Windows for years, probably before some of you were even born. And if Microsoft shoving Windows 10 down our throats wasn't bad enough, now they're making us pay for Solitaire. Sure, you can play the game for free, but you'll be subject to numerous and constant full screen advertisements. In order to disable these ads, users have to subscribe to Solitaire for $1.49 a month, or $10 for the year, we’re talking about a subscription service for Solitaire. A PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE … FOR SOLITARE! That’s it, I’m out.