In-game add-ons in video games have become commonplace, especially in sports games thanks to modes such as Ultimate Team. San Diego Studios (SDS), much like EA, has embraced this explosion, and a relatively new addition has given gamers an even greater opportunity to spend on in-game purchases: an MLB The Show Debit Card.
MLB The Show Debit Card
MLB The Show 20, like Madden, FIFA and NHL, has a Collectible Card Game (CCG) mode entitled Diamond Dynasty. Much like with Ultimate Team (UT), gamers can spend real currency in order to acquire players to use in Diamond Dynasty.
This year, MLB The Show has partnered with Mastercard to develop the MLB The Show 20 Debit Card. Individuals who sign up for it can transfer funds from other sources, including Venmo and Paypal, to the debit card.
Advertisements for the card promise gamers several perks. For one, the debit card is fully re-loadable. Second, gamers now can have better control over their video game budget. Individuals can now have a separate card that can be used strictly for gaming, which should help gamers avoid going overboard and spending too much cash on in-game transactions and video games. Third, the card is accepted at the Playstation Store and other real-life locations.
MLB The Show has also been promoting the card on their Twitter account. SDS has been running promotions where gamers can receive Diamond Dynasty packs on the condition that players sign up for the card and load money onto it. Here’s an example of a promotion MLB The Show ran over the weekend:
👉Get 10 Standard Packs for MLB The Show 20
The first 1,000 people to make a qualifying initial load of $25 or more to their MLB The Show Card by June 30, 2020 will get 10 free packs.
Available while supplies last.
GET YOURS TODAY 💳 https://t.co/YK5V93Fyt9 pic.twitter.com/rNRyWjlohc
— MLB The Show (@MLBTheShow) June 20, 2020
Is this a good idea?
It’s fair to question whether this is a good or bad move by the MLB The Show. The card, at face value, does make sense for hardcore gamers.
Spending copious amounts of cash on in-game transactions has become commonplace in recent years. A recent example of this is in France, where two lawsuits have been filed against EA over the nature of their Ultimate Team Mode. A debit card such as this one can be a good way to curb the spending for those who may have children and don’t want them to spend too much money on games, as well as for those who just might have trouble controlling themselves at the virtual marketplace.
On the other hand, it is fair to wonder whether this partnership has more to do with making it easier for individuals to spend on in-game transactions. Game developers have become more reliant on microtransactions in recent years, and a promotion like this could conceivably drive up the amount of money spent on Diamond Dynasty Stubs.
Will this product work?
It’s unknown at this time whether the MLB The Show 20 Debit Card will be a hit with consumers, but if Twitter is any indication (and considering the nature of Twitter, it probably isn’t), let’s just say people are not enthusiastic about it:
Imagine loading $25 to a card to get silvers and below.
— Dylan Dinger (@Dylan_Dinger) June 20, 2020
Are we really to the point a video game is partnering with a credit card company…..you really don't see anything wrong with this..
— KyleChadwick88 (@KyleChadwick48) June 20, 2020
Now, this may have to do less with the card and more with fatigue from gamers over the presence of microtransactions. That’s a major problem in the sports game industry, especially since some feel that other modes in sports games get passed by in favor of CCG modes.
However, it’s an issue that will probably linger for quite some time, given the financial success of such modes.