Microsoft

The Xbox One may mean free-to-play games cost $60

The Xbox One may mean free-to-play games cost $60

Let's be fair for a second: These tactics will be used by games on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but so far the releases on Microsoft's console have been much more aggressive about offering for-pay content and microtransactions. And it does impact how the games are designed, usually not for the better.

I've talked about this issue before, and gamers and the press are starting to see just how common the practice of inserting free-to-play mechanics may become in modern gaming. The progression in Forza 5 isn't terrible, but I do miss the gift of cars when you level up, and pay straight money for some of the more expensive vehicles can become surprisingly expensive.

The question is whether we trust publishers to use these mechanics in a responsible way, without adjusting each game's economy to push players towards the for-pay model. You can inflate a few prices, take away content earned for standard achievements, and suddenly you've given fans of the series a very good reason to pay real money for items on top of the $60 cost of the game itself.

Some games will handle this in a classy manner, others will not. My advice? Make sure you're reading reviews that discuss the monetization strategy, and follow up with players who have purchased each game on day one. Going into a game without knowing how, or if, the publisher is looking to squeeze extra money out of you is a bad move these days.