Ex-Blizzard President Suggests Adding Tip Option To Games, $10 To $20 Suggested

Former Blizzard president proposes in-game tipping for exceptional video games, sparking debate about developer compensation and gaming monetization.
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Former Blizzard president Mike Ybarra recently caused a stir online with a tweet outlining a new idea for players to express gratitude for video games. Ybarra proposed the addition of an optional tipping feature in games, enabling players to give developers an extra $10 to $20 after finishing a game that greatly surpassed their expectations.

From his experience playing single-player games, Ybarra acknowledges that many new releases are currently priced at $70. However, he argues that this initial purchase might not fully reflect the value delivered for certain exceptional games. He mentions titles like Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Elden Ring as games that offer experiences worth more than the base price tag. For an exec that is very rich, $10 to $20 doesn’t sound like much, but asking players for $80 to $90 for standard games is an issue.

The main idea of Ybarra’s proposal is to encourage game developers to focus on creating high-quality, full games instead of depending on money-making strategies like in-game purchases or a lot of extra downloadable content (DLC). The tips might give developers another way to make money based on how happy the players are. This could help lessen the need for these less-liked methods. However, it can be easily taken advantage of and seen as worse because the other methods developers use give you something back.

Ybarra, however, admits there could be drawbacks to his idea. Introducing a tipping system might lead to unintended issues, such as players feeling they have to tip regardless of their financial situation. There’s also concern that it could set a precedent for tipping in all games, adding more pressure on developers. Moreover, there’s a risk of a “tipping point” where games start being created with the expectation of receiving tips, potentially creating a divide between those that encourage tipping and those that don’t.

First and foremost, there shouldn’t be a reward for not ‘nickle and diming’ players. It should be a standard that you don’t harass a player with attempts to get even more money than the initial asking price. You should also always try to give the player a good game without asking them for more money, and anything extra should be treated like extra (DLC, loot boxes, etc.)

Let’s say that they did an exceptional job; then that’d be something. It would be great if we could trust companies like Blizzard, Ubisoft, or EA. However, I do not doubt that they would lock ‘extra’ content for higher tippers of games. If the company already has a poor reputation among gamers, why would we want to tip them?

Ybarra’s suggestion has sparked discussion in the gaming community. Some players approve of the idea as a means to directly express gratitude for outstanding development work. In contrast, others have raised worries about possible manipulation and a move away from prioritizing comprehensive gaming experiences to simply maximizing tips. This debate brings up wider issues about the present condition of video game monetization and how to guarantee fair payment for developers while offering a worthwhile experience for players.

Even though I slam the idea above, I think it’s good. Don’t get me wrong; I think always trying to give players a good experience is the bare minimum, but some games deserve the higher tip. Baldur’s Gate 3 is a great example of one.

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar, also known as Aggy, is the current Assigning Editor.

He started his career as an esports, influencer, and streaming writer for Sportskeeda. He then moved to GFinity Esports to cover streaming, games, guides, and news before moving to the Social team where he ended his time as the Lead of Social Content.

He also worked a writer and editor for both Pro Game Guides and Dot Esports, and as a writer for PC Invasion, Attack of the Fanboy, and Android Police. Aggy is the former Managing Editor and Operations Overseer of N4G Unlocked and a former Gaming editor for WePC.

Throughout his time in the industry, he's trained over 100 writers, written thousands of articles on multiple sites, written more reviews than he cares to count, and edited tens of thousands of articles. He has also written some games published by Tales, some books, and a comic sold to Telus International.

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