MultiVersus just reignited the debate about free-to-play microtransactions with its open beta. The Warner Bros. Smash clone was going to start conversation either way with how social media is plugging it. However, after those who previewed the game were pleasantly surprised, platform-fighting fans started to pay attention. They had hope after hearing about Player First Games’ dedication to making it a free-to-play fighter with crossplay and rollback netcode that was actually good. Unfortunately, some of the goodwill faded after hearing about the paywalled content.
Warner Bros. revealed a catch: Cosmetics could make MultiVersus feel like it’s a paid experience, even if it isn’t. MultiVersus features two kinds of currency: coins that you can earn in the game and Gleamium, which you have to buy. Unfortunately, many cosmetics can only be unlocked with Gleamium. As per VGC, which received early access to the game, the total reaches $255 for all paywalled content. This number doesn’t include characters, since you can technically unlock them for free if you play the game enough instead of using Gleamium.
Warner Bros. won’t make you pay for the DLC. However, players argue that it elbows players into purchasing content with most of the cosmetics locked behind a paywall. It might not explicitly ask players to pay up, but it leaves a bad taste in beta testers’ mouths.
Gamers always complain about Nintendo charging up the butt for its DLC. It has some right to, though. It’s Nintendo, a too-big-to-fail video game publisher and developer that’s ingrained itself into our lives since childhood. However, MultiVersus is the first of its kind. It’s a free-to-play platform fighter developed by a relatively unknown studio with Warner Bros. backing. It’s also more expensive than the average fighting game, in terms of the base price plus DLC.
Here’s a list of just a few fighting games (platform fighter or not) and the price for the full game along with its DLC and cosmetics:
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: $154 — Smash Ultimate starts with $60 as its base. However, it’s justifiable if you think about the 69 characters you can unlock without buying a single DLC. You start with 8 characters, but you can quickly unlock the others with the right tricks. If you factor in the two fighter passes, which cost $25 and $30, the total rises to $115. Then, if you add in all the Mii Costumes, it rises all the way to $154 (52 multiplied by 0.75 equals 39). You can check for yourself in the Nintendo eShop on your Switch.
- Street Fighter 5: $173 — Street Fighter 5 itself costs barely anything at $5. However, the Champion Edition Upgrade Kit that includes all the characters from Season 1 to Season 4 brings that up to $30 (5+25). The Season 5 Premium Pass, which is the priciest package that includes Season 5 characters, costs $40 without a discount. That’s $70 all together with the CE. Then, it’s $95 for every Capcom Tour Pass from 2016 to 2022. Add that with any lingering cosmetics ($8) and you get $173. It’s even more if you count the wallpapers and soundtracks you can buy from Steam.
- Guilty Gear Strive: $90 — The Guilty Gear Strive base game costs $60. If you add the Season 1 Fighter Pass, which includes the first five DLC characters, then that’s $30 more. Arc System Works will likely expand the roster with more characters, but the price will likely fall between $30 to $40.
- BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle: $50 — BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle charges $5 each for its 7 DLC packs, but cuts the price if you buy BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle Special Edition. The Special Edition costs $50, which includes the base game, 7 DLC packs, and Version 2.0 update in the price. Alternatively, you can buy the $20 base game plus $30 Vol. 1 to 7 DLC pack for $50.
- Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl: $67 — Ah, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. How we had high hopes for you. Anyways, the $50 base game plus the $12 and $5 DLC packs equals $67.
None of these are cheap. They don’t top $255, though.
MultiVersus is free to play, so it makes sense that WB would need some way to generate revenue. As VGC mentioned, the characters and even some of the skins can be unlocked for free as you play. However, the fact that the starting line to unlock all its content so far is at $255 can seem daunting, especially since its going to add even more content in the future.
The MultiVersus open beta is currently in early access. It will support PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.