You don’t need to buy $80 Collector’s Editions to tear up the dance floor in Destiny, but you are going to need to cough up some silver.
Bungie announced yesterday that beginning on Tues. Oct. 13, Destiny players will be able to purchase new dance emotes for their characters, via a new microtransaction model. Players will purchase in-game “Silver” for real-world dollars, and then spend the Silver on new dance moves. Bungie promises that these are strictly vanity items that will have no practical effect on gameplay.
The new items will be sold by a character named Tess Everis, who is voiced by Claudia Black. Gamers will recognize Black from her role as Morrigan, one of the central characters in the Dragon Age series. Sci-fi fans know Black as Peacekeeper Aeryn Sun from the cult-favorite television series Farscape.
Black was a confusingly high-profile casting choice for a character in Destiny who previously had only stood behind a counter in the Tower, handing out bonus items that players unlocked via preorders and redeeming promotional codes on Bungie.net.
Now Black’s character Everis will become the proprietor of the Eververse Trading Company, and sell Destiny players the new dance emotes. Black’s casting makes a little more sense, now, if this kind of promotion is always what Bungie had in store for her character. After all, Tess Everis is about to get a lot more face time with Destiny players, because Destiny players take their dancing very seriously.
Hot on the heels of this announcement is a report by Kotaku that suggests the new microtransaction model is indicative of larger changes taking place at Bungie, and how the studio handles new content for Destiny in the future.
Bungie has famously declared that it has a 10-year plan for new Destiny content, and fans have spent considerable time dissecting images leaked in January from Bungie HQ in Bellevue, Washington, of an in-house timeline charting part of this content release plan.
Rumor: Upcoming Destiny DLC leaked? pic.twitter.com/tvlYjjQRB4
— Striker (@rgstriker) January 2, 2015
The Kotaku report suggests that structuring future Destiny content into formal expansions like The Dark Below and House of Wolves is no longer the plan, and that instead Bungie will release free missions and other content over the course of the next year, followed by the release of Destiny 2 in next fall.
In Bungie’s announcement about the new microtransactions, Destiny community manager DeeJ shared the following:
“Our plan is to use these new items to bolster the service provided by our live team for another full year, as they grow and create more robust and engaging events that we’ll announce later this year. It has been, and continues to be, our goal to deliver updates to the game. Going forward, our live team is also looking to grow beyond vital updates and improvements to focus on world events, experiences, and feature requests.”
Microtransactions can generate hefty sums for game developers and publishers. The success of the mobile game market, and runaway hits like Clash of Clans, are largely dependent on microtransaction profit models.
League of Legends had almost cleared $1 billion in microtransaction profits, according to reports published in October 2014. Meanwhile developer Riot Games only sells vanity items, similar in spirit to Destiny’s new dance moves.
Destiny fandom is so intense that the potential for Bungie to make considerable money off this policy is certainly present, perhaps even enough to enable Bungie to abandon traditional models for distributing game expansions.
Activision told the Daily Dot that it is not commenting further on DLC plans for Destiny, beyond yesterday’s announcement from Bungie.
Screengrab via davidsondavidson99/YouTube