It looks like Konami is desperate to compete with Electronic Arts for the most evil game publisher in the world. The release of Metal Gear Solid Online has seen the inclusion of in-game insurance, which will compensate players for having their bases attacked by others. The only catch is that the insurance will cost real money.
Metal Gear Online centres on a player’s Foward Operating Base or FOB. This FOB can be attacked by other players to steal items. Each player can have multiple FOBs built, although building a new one after the first requires in-game currency known as MB coins. The problem is that there is no way to earn MB coins without simply paying money for them. Konami has said that there will be a way to get the currency in the regular game, but the feature has not been seen yet.
These MB coins can also be used to buy the new FOB insurance, which will replace items lost as the result of an enemy raid. Like real world insurance, this does not cover everything; and more importantly requires a monthly subscription.
Naturally, this has sparked a debate what is acceptable behaviour when dealing with micro-transactions. Most fans of the game are annoyed at the obvious cash grab, especially since Grand Theft Auto 5 also provides a form of in-game insurance that doesn’t require real money to be spent.
The main issue at hand is the fact that micro-transactions are being bundled into a game being sold at full price. This goes beyond just stored DLC on the disk, or charging players for additional maps. It is asking for money to protect imaginary property, and that is a special kind of greed.