Pay for your bullets with Kwari

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If Bioshock taught me anything, it’s that Objectivist Free Capitalism is all about hitting as many people in the face with a wrench as possible, then stealing the money that spills out of their corpse.

So, ostensibly, you’d think I’d be interested in Kwari, the recently announced FPS from Australian developers Micro Forté. It’s Objectivist Free Capitalism at its most pure: every time you frag someone, big clouds of cash explode into the air, bouncing across the floors and the walls along with their polygonal gibs. Likewise, every time you get shot or die? Your credit card gets dinged.

But here’s where I reveal myself as a foppish pinko at heart: I like Objectivist Free Capitalism just fine as long as it’s not my face someone is smashing open with a wrench. As long as it’s not my money discharged with each meaty thwack. As long as its not my Liberty Dollars and teeth filling the air like confetti.

Kwari’s

website is short on details as to exactly how much cash we’re talking about here, and they are quick to insist that players will be evenly matched against other players of a similar skill. According to them, an average player should be able to make some cash without even killing anyone.

But this bizarre quote from one of the developers is bugging me: “Working on Kwari has reinvigorated the act of making games for me, without sounding crass it really does represent a paradigm shift that is going to happen sooner or later in gaming whether we like it or not.”

That sounds like the sort of off-the-cuff endorsement of customer ass reaming typical of the clueless game executive: everything’s going to go microtransaction because that’s the best way to bleed you dry, so bend over because it’s coming whether you like it or not, Peaches.

The website spells it all out. It’s not quite so bad as the microtransaction hell I cynically envisioned, but I dislike the precedent.

 

At no point, however does Kwari take any of this money. 100% of the cash generated through playing the game goes back to the players in the form of prizes… The game is free to download, you’ll need ammunition and this is the only place Kwari charges for anything. Think of us as your virtual arms dealer – we supply you with ammo (which works in all weapons) for a fixed cost. Depending on your style of play the amount of ammo you need will vary.

 

To be fair, that’s not so bad, but what it amounts to is that, despite their assertions, all but the best gamers will essentially always be losing more than they are making. That’s the only way this financial model works. And I’m not sure I understand why I’d bother paying a penny for every machine gun shell when I can play Unreal Tournament 3 for a one-time charge. Although that does bring up an interesting point from a design standpoint: is anyone going to bother using automatic weaponry in a game when the gun costs a buck a burst?

Either way, you can count me out. It’s an interesting (if, I think, cynical) experiment, but Kwari might as well be a game called Gaming for Blowjobs: it’s all well and good until a guy with an aimbot throws you a tube of Chapstick, forces you to your knees, drops a wig on your head and in a voice of cold command orders you to pucker.

Kwari [Official Site]


Florian Eckhardt’s loathing for microtransactions is a defense mechanism for the fact that his skill in most FPSes makes him competitive, at best, with paraplegic octogenarian amputees. He is the co-editor of Ectoplasmosis, a fringe art and culture blog, and also contributes to AMC’s SciFi Scanner.


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