There are many ways to fund video game development. Some ambitious indie developers pay for games out of their own pocket, sometimes taking second mortgages out on their homes to see their vision through. Many studios still use the tried-and-true method of seeking out a publisher to help fund and distribute their game to retailers. Kickstarter has given consumers the chance to vote with their wallet before development even starts, with millions of dollars donated to video game crowdfunding campaigns. Mobile game developer Reality Gaming Group has found another way to fund development for its upcoming augmented reality multiplayer shooter Reality Clash, which boils down to letting people pre-order microtransactions.
Reality Clash, which has been described by the developer as “Pokemon GO with guns,” features in-game currency called RCC Gold. Like many other mobile games, RCC Gold will be available for purchase as microtransactions once Reality Clash launches. Reality Clash‘s currency is a bit different, however, in that it also functions as a cryptocurrency, similar to something like Bitcoin.
Anyone interested in playing Reality Clash can purchase its microtransactions now at a lower rate than what they will be sold at in-game. Players that purchase RCC Gold now also have the chance to buy exclusive weapons that won’t be available once the game launches. As explained by company co-founder Tony Pearce, these weapons can be sold to others for money, and the player becomes a “virtual arms dealer” in the process.
While the idea of selling microtransactions for a game before it’s even out may sound ludicrous to some, it has proven to be a smart move by Reality Gaming Group. To date, Reality Gaming Group has raised $3.5 million from RCC Gold purchases, which will go towards finishing development on Reality Clash and releasing it with the aim of selling even more microtransactions to a general audience.
Reality Clash‘s RCC Gold may be a smart business move for Reality Gaming Group right now, but it may sour public opinion on the game long before it hits mobile devices. After all, microtransactions are currently surrounded by controversy thanks to the rise of loot boxes, and so many gamers may be outright offended at the idea of a game selling its microtransactions before the game itself is even available to play.
Ultimately, microtransactions make money, and they’re unlikely to go away anytime soon. However, it remains to be seen if the practice of selling microtransactions ahead of launch catches on, or if consumers reject the idea. Reality Clash will have to convince mobile gamers to play it instead of Pokemon GO and the upcoming Harry Potter augmented reality game, and if it fails to do so, then its impressive pre-release microtransaction sales may not amount to much in the long-term.
Reality Clash is in development for mobile devices.