A transaction you can’t refuse
Who remembers The Culling? While it’s now probably better known for dying, rising from the dead, and then dying again, The Culling – on it’s day – was one of the original battle royale games. Anyone who has played a battle royale game knows that you need a solid player base for matches. And with the developer’s (Xaviant) constant tinkering, The Culling found itself culled by low player numbers.
Suddenly – out of nowhere – Xaviant has pulled off a second act of necromancy, bringing The Culling back to Xbox:
The reaction to the news hasn’t been kind. Their Twitter, release video, and pretty much all articles reporting on the revival have been negative. Most of the negativity has focused on the controversial transaction model. The Culling costs £5 to buy, with one “free” online match per day. If you want to play more online matches, you have to buy tokens or pay a weekly/monthly subscription.
It’s almost as if people don’t want to pay to own a game, and then pay further to play matches in said game. Shock!
In 2017 – when The Culling was released – the strategy of a £5 game with £1+ game tokens may have held water. But in an era where free-to-play games like Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone – and the juggernaut Fortnite – rule, it’s a really, really hard sell for Xaviant – and just reeks of a basic misunderstanding of today’s game marketplace.
Since then, the developer has revised the daily token offering to 10 tokens per day. They’re also now rewarding online match tokens for offline wins:
Whether their damage control works remains to be seen. Unfortunately for them, the majority of articles I’ve seen haven’t updated to reflect the changes. Kudos for trying, Xaviant. But first (Second? Third?) impressions matter. And it already seems a question of when – not if – The Culling will close again.