Despite the passage of 15 long years, Oblivion’s Horse Armor Pack DLC continues to bear the brunt of criticism for its pivotal role in shaping the prevailing landscape of the microtransaction-laden gaming industry.
Unleashing a wave of nostalgia, a viral meme has resurfaced ancient wounds among die-hard enthusiasts of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This meme, with a playful twist, brings up the notorious horse armor DLC that still lingers in the minds of fans. Transporting us back to the year 2006, Oblivion’s Horse Armor Pack emerged as a purely aesthetic expansion, which present-day gamers point fingers at for introducing the pervasive trend of microtransactions and, in turn, leaving games incomplete.
The year 2021 witnesses the prevalence of microtransactions in a vast array of games, serving as a lucrative source of revenue for countless development companies. Such a practice has gained immense popularity and influence in specific gaming realms, prompting certain nations to introduce laws mandating the disclosure of in-game purchases to potential players. Yet, in the year 2006, microtransactions were a fresh and exciting concept, offering developers endless possibilities for exploration. Although not pioneering, Bethesda created what would eventually be known as a microtransaction, although it was initially perceived as nothing more than subpar DLC.
In a recent Reddit post, user just_hest took a fresh look at Oblivion’s Horse Armor Pack, but with a twist of creativity. Through an engaging meme, the user cleverly pointed out that the notorious add-on content can be held responsible for the rise of incomplete games. As the discussion unfolded, the controversy surrounding Oblivion’s Horse Armor Pack gained even more momentum, especially as the prevalence of microtransactions grew. The comments section was filled with users expressing their shared frustrations, echoing the sentiments of just_hest’s original post.
The comment section also highlighted various instances of early microtransactions, with a special mention of the Day-One DLC for Mass Effect 3. Numerous similar scenarios in the last decade and a half have nurtured sentiments of frustration and skepticism whenever additional in-game content is revealed prior to a game’s release. It has now become quite remarkable when a high-budget game opts to forgo any form of microtransactions.
Despite the argument that Oblivion’s Horse Armor Pack played a role in the rise of microtransactions, it would be unjust to solely attribute all the blame to it. This DLC solely focused on cosmetic enhancements and did not cross into the pay-to-win territory that has afflicted numerous other games, like the microtransactions in Marvel’s Avengers, which have now been removed due to backlash from fans. However, it is worth mentioning that the Oblivion DLC was released just two weeks after the game’s launch. Unfortunately, the issue that plagues the gaming industry shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon, allowing players to continue pointing fingers at a convenient “scape-horse.”
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