One piece of DLC, the Completely Overkill Pack, in particular would contribute a significant amount to the cause. The pack, which cost $20 and was in limited (50,000) supply, added 14 gallons of fuel, gave the purchasers four unique masks for the four original characters (Chains, Dallas, Hoxton, and Wolf), and promised a special prize to be revealed at a later date. The intent of the event was to generate funds for new content while at the same time not ask everyone to contribute money. The efforts of the few could provide for the entertainment of the many. None of it, however, was communicated well and the entire thing left many of the game’s fans questioning the developer’s motives.
The ambition there was that we got these great ideas of content we wanted to produce, but it costs money to produce content, right? So let's try an interesting twist… so what we figured was that rather than asking everyone to pay $5 or whatever, how about we say 'not everyone has to pay if they don't want to, or can't, but those of you who do, fuel the Hype Train and [in doing so] fuel [our ability to create] more free stuff for everyone.' So from our perspective at that point in time, it was a great idea; because the money of a few could create free content for the many. However, which we quickly learned afterward, we didn't sell it into the community well enough and they didn't understand what our motives were. Maybe we should have done a Kickstarter-esque video for the Hype Train where we basically said 'we have these great ideas for a ton of content we want to do, but we need your help to do it, so we've launched this campaign in order to this and that.' I bet if we had explained it more throughly, people would have been more willing to participate or had a better opinion of it. Sadly, I would definitely say that was one of the worst campaigns we've done.
- Almir Listo, producer, Overkill
Not too long after the Hype Train event came the Meltdown Heist, a new, free heist, that was released in May alongside some significant changes to PAYDAY 2 and its DLC. Specifically, a permanent price reduction. It was the hope of Almir and his team that driving the price down would drive sales up. “The point was to say thanks to the community for all their support, but also to incite more people to purchase DLCs because when you increase ambition you need more money to keep things going the way you want to do it. Sadly, we didn't see the turnaround that we were expecting with that campaign and we thought, somewhere, that people would be happy about [that reduction].” This, in some ways, seemed like it was destined to fail as no amount of fiddling with the price would convince people to buy something they’ve already bought. Almir even acknowledged that they received similar feedback afterwards and that this was the final big turning point for them.
If they wanted to turn their ambition into something tangible, they would need money to do so. The Hype Train event did generate funds that allowed them to produce a few pieces of content, but the price reduction that came with the Meltdown Heist didn’t result in enough sales to make up the rest. Thus, Overkill started looking at other ways to generate income. While several options were discussed and explored, only one seemed to fit with the ambitions they had: microtransactions.
Stay tuned to Co-Optimus for the second part of our feature on PAYDAY 2 and microtransactions where we dig into Overkill’s decision to implement microtransactions and the way in which they’ve been implemented.