Leading up to Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled’s release, I shared in a Quickpost that its new skins reminded me of a typical, microtransaction-based cosmetic system. I wanted to see these cosmetics as an addition to the original game’s content. But given Activision’s recent history of adding distasteful microtransactions into remakes of old games, I assumed the worst. Regardless of whether they'd be loot boxes or cosmetic-only or anything else, I’ve become exhausted of them, and I know I will always enjoy retail games more without them.
To my pleasant surprise, Nitro-Fueled launched without any such purchases. At the time, I had thought that Activision heeded the public outcry against microtransactions in paid games, backpedaled on whatever purchases it was planning to add, and neglected to remove the design surrounding them. I almost bought Nitro-Fueled to get in on its online events while they were still new, only deciding against it as I try to wait for more price drops on big game releases. It took only a month after release for Activision to announce that microtransactions are coming in a future patch. If I weren't so disheartened, my past self would maybe have gloated at my present self for being wrong on that front.
In retrospect, I should have expected this given the company’s similar treatment of recent Call of Duty launches. But my emotional rollercoaster of skepticism, relief, and disgust put into perspective why this emerging trend in marketing leaves such a horrible taste in my mouth. Nitro-Fueled’s in-game purchases themselves aren’t the most distasteful in the industry – you're just buying Wumpa Coins you can (slowly) earn in-game – but sneaking them in after launch is the most blatantly anti-consumer thing I’ve seen.