The Zombie Content Pack has been released in Project Spark, which is good news to the zombie enthusiasts- of which, there are many; zombies are certainly in vogue. And while the content pack expands the available character models in Spark, it also brings change to the free to play (f2p) model as we had known it.
Certainly, I am very pleased that the number of available content packs are increasing, and zombies especially, as for the last few years I have gone to many zombie themed events and had my makeup applied by professional artists to turn me into a member of the living dead. The zombies certainly look cool, and do not disappoint my desire for undead content. But one small change came with this content pack- it cannot be purchased with in game currency, "Credits", but rather only with "Tokens", which are purchased with real life money. In a past article, I reviewed the f2p system in Spark, and noted that one the most positive aspects of the system was that all content packs could be purchased with Credits, so just by playing Spark, you could earn all of the content available in Spark.
Now, the pack has just come out, and it is still Beta. It is possible that there is a bug, and it is intended to be purchasable by Credits as well. Or, they could just be testing the waters to see what the reaction is to some content packs being Tokens only. If it is the former, this article will soon be obsolete and quickly deleted. If it is the latter, it probably won't take long for Team Dakota to see a response from the players, which I presume will be largely negative on principle. There is an established dislike/distrust in microtransactions in the gaming industry. Though microtransactions in Project Spark have been compared to Lego sets- you do not need every Lego set to enjoy Legos, and you do not need every content pack to make games in Project Spark. But that is certainly not the first thought that appears to be popping into users' heads.
From a personal standpoint, I am mildly conflicted. On one hand it is only $5, and it is optional. However, it does make a slight change to the f2p model, where before I could say "all content can be obtained within Spark without spending one cent", now it is adjusted to "virtually all content in Project Spark can be obtained without spending any money, with one content pack being the exception, and only being $5". The only downside to me will be that if I opt to not purchase this pack with Tokens, I will not be able to remix levels which include zombies.
However, one thing that I try to keep in mind is that this is a business. Microsoft will not let Team Dakota continue producing content for Project Spark if no money is being brought in. And this still cannot be called a "pay to win" system, how would you even define "winning" in Project Spark? If anything, it would be in relation to being able to produce a great game, and with so many factors going into producing a great game, the inclusion or exclusion of a zombie character model seems fairly small.
So while I would not say this is a Project Spark Zombie Apocalypse, I do think it is interesting, and we shall see how things go from here.
I, Paradoxmoose, am a mostly harmless life long gaming enthusiast, raised on console, PC and tapletop gaming, having spent years playing Final Fantasies, Warhammer, Everquest, Diablos, Heroes of Might and Magics, Metroids, Mario Karts, Castlevanias, WoW, and Ogre Battles, as well as designing cards for the online card game elementsthegame.com .