Activision’s competitive first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops III has rolled out a selection of in-game microtransactions, allowing players to purchase item drops outright using real money.
The shift to a microtransaction-based revenue model follows up on the recent implementation of a similar paid upgrade system in Bungie’s Destiny. Starting this week, players can purchase a moderately-leveled Destiny character at the game’s outset, skipping much of the experience grinding that defines the game’s early hours.
Black Ops III‘s microtransactions arrive alongside a recent influx of new equipment available via the in-game Black Market, including exclusive melee weapons, character outfits, taunts, and various cosmetic items. Black Market items are awarded randomly via Supply Drops, which players can purchase using Cryptokeys earned during gameplay.
Starting with this week’s update, however, players can purchase Rare Supply Drops outright using Call of Duty Points, a virtual currency available in the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Currently, Call of Duty Points are not available in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 ports of Black Ops III.
All current players will receive a one-time gift of 200 Call of Duty Points after connecting to the game’s online multiplayer component, but additional currency must be purchased with real money. Call of Duty Points are available in digital bundles that range in price from $2 to $40.
Call of Duty Points can additionally be redeemed for additional Vials of Liquid Divinium in Black Ops III‘s Zombies mode. Vials of Liquid Divinium, which are also earned during gameplay, can be traded in for one-time-use perks called Gobblegums within the game’s Zombies mode.
A similar microtransaction scheme in Payday 2 drew criticism from veteran players upon its launch in October. Like Black Ops III, Payday 2 awards players with random loot drops during gameplay, and optional microtransactions give paying players more items than usual, potentially upsetting the game’s mechanical balance.
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