The Coalition is making fan happiness a priority, and it’s going to pay off for Gears 5.

Gears 5 is one of the biggest launches this year, regardless of the way it goes about its microtransactions. As a Microsoft exclusive, it’s crucial to the company’s holiday lineup. Making money will always be a priority, and Gears 5 has every chance to treat its consumers like cash cows.

That’s why it’s refreshing to hear that The Coalition is approaching Gears 5 differently. According to an interview with GamesIndustry.bizGears 5 wants to be player-centric. That philosophy extends to microtransactions, too, as multiplayer design directory Ryan Cleven revealed:

We really think we’re ahead of the industry here in getting rid of loot boxes and making sure that we can both service people that are looking to accelerate their progression or earn cosmetics using money but also keeping the integrity of the game experience.

Instead of the traditional microtransaction models we’re all used to as gamers, Gears 5 will skip loot boxes altogether. Instead, The Coalition will simply offer players the ability to purchase an in-game currency called Iron. Iron can only be spent on cosmetics.

The Coalition is approaching Gears 5 differently.

Gears 5 also features two separate systems that lets players gain content. Tour of Duty is an unlockable customization system, while Supply gives players free content just for playing. Those two content pools are separate.

Heroes will be both earnable and purchasable, while there’s no Gears 5 season pass. All of this adds up to showcase a game that’s learned from the mistakes of other AAA releases. Instead of leaning hard on consumers for cash, The Coalition is betting on their support of good games. It’s a refreshing take, and hopefully one that pans out so that more developers feel the same about loot boxes.

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Cody's Take

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I don’t think it’s realistic to expect developers to completely abandon microtransactions. The model is too successful and profitable to eschew altogether. What I am interested in is ways to employ microtransactions that don’t feel exploitative towards us, the fans. I believe The Coalition is making the right steps in that direction with Gears 5.

Getting rid of randomized elements like loot boxes and season passes is bold, but it’s also endearing. I hate having to cross my fingers and hope for the cool character skin or weapon I want. With Gears 5, it appears everything will be earnable. For those of us with less time, in-game currency still exists, and I think that’s good. Not everyone can grind tens of hours for a cosmetic item. Games should cater to them, too.

What I am interested in is ways to employ microtransactions that don’t feel exploitative towards us, the fans.

Will the decision to prioritize consumer-friendly pay off? We can only hope so. In my eyes, though, it definitely will. I think consumers are more willing to spend money on games they think treat them well. If The Coalition has the best interests of its playerbase at heart, that’ll shine through in Gears 5.

Ultimately, though, the fact that Gears 5 is “ahead of the industry” with this move is a sobering fact. Putting players first should be a much bigger priority, and it’s sadly something that doesn’t happen enough. Hopefully, Gears 5 can lay the foundation for a major shift in microtransaction models.

And, you know, Gears 5 is also good. That would be nice too.