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Tekken 8 community up in arms over plans to add premium currency to game, post-launch

Folks seem mad about the sudden addition of microtransactions to Tekken 8, but should they be?

Kuma, the bear from Tekken 8, salutes a shop called 'Iron Fist Outfitters'.
Image credit: VG247

A portion of the Tekken 8 community is up in arms around the recent announcement of the Tekken Shop, an avenue for paid cosmetics that'll offer a steady supply of classic character costumes and other fancy items for players to buy with in-game currency. The big problem? These weren't in game at-launch.

The reason why people are aggravated is multi-faceted, and raises some genuine questions about how exactly the fighting game of the modern day should be monetized. These cosmetics don't come from thin air, and with players having a lot of fun dressing their favourite character up, are folks being unrealistic with their demands? Or has publisher Bandai Namco pulled a fast one? Let's break it down.

Before we touch on the timing of the in-game store's release, let's look at what the store will actually offer players, and how this addition was presented by the development team. Players can buy in-game currency for real money – and for the legacy skins for fighters (Jin's Tekken 4 drip, for instance), we're talking roughly $4 per skin. Now, that's not too bad when compared to Tekken 8's competitors - just look at Street Fighter 6's absurd pricing for its recent TMNT cosmetics - but it's still a step up from what Tekken games have offered in the past.

The developers did acknowledge this, with producer Michael Murray stating the following on a Tekken Talk livestream: "We would like to ask a favour of everyone, that they update their thinking to the current environment of game development and how games are sold, etc.

"Games are so much more expensive to create than even Tekken 7 was, several times of that for the current platforms of games. So when we take some of these legacy costumes that people are asking for [...] you can't just take those assets from Tekken 4 and paste them into the current generation of hardware and make it look fine.

"It's not like we're charging an outrageous price. The point we're trying to make is it's not like it's going into the coffers of Bandai Namco. We want to improve the game with these updates we're providing for free. In order to do that, we have a large development team that we have to pay for. This is how we're using those funds to try and make the game better, rather than trying to make money for the sake of making money."

Eddy Gordo, the first DLC character in Tekken 8, poses ahead of a fight.
Eddy is the first premium DLC character – something many fans are already slightly egged off with. | Image credit: Bandai Namco

Okay, so that's a very forthright and direct explanation of the situation, and one that attempts to attack the (seemingly foreseen) community outrage from the get-go. It's true that the Tekken series has until now avoided much of the monetization trends of modern gaming. Tekken 7 was first released in arcades back in 2015 after all – and thus was sustained through consistent DLC character releases. Like it or not, games made today are encouraged to keep players spending cash.

But does that mean Bandai Namco's hands are totally clear here? Not really! For one, Tekken 8 isn't exactly a free-to-play live service title - a subset of games in which the inclusion of consistent monetization is widely accepted as a cost of business. Tekken 8 costs $70, which is a lot of money.

In addition, if reports of the game selling around 2 million copies already are accurate, Bandai Namco has absolutely struck gold so far with Tekken 8's launch. Are the gold coins you earn through play just worthless from here on out, usable only for base-game cosmetics? If so, that sucks. There's no way of sugarcoating it.

The Tekken 8 DLC roadmap.
Are there more surprises to come? | Image credit: Bandai Namco

Then there's the reality of when this was announced. The Tekken 8 shop was not present at launch, as noted at the start of the article. The game launched without it, and there was no hint of its addition anywhere before the release of the game. An in-game shop and post-launch cosmetic DLC plan is not something you just decide to do on a whim. This would have been a known feature for a while, and one that was intentionally kept on the down low.

We, like many press outlets and influencers, reviewed Tekken 8. We, like many, gave it a glowing review. As the writer of that review, I think I would probably still have given it a five-star rating even with the shop - I'm personally not fazed by the addition of the shop and don't reckon it would have lowered the score I gave - but I would have absolutely mentioned it. The presence of a in-game shop is something players should know about before buying, regardless of how fair or unfair the pricing is.

Maybe this is just the Tekken 8 team taking account of the realities of modern triple-A game development, and trying its best to not screw players over too badly. Fighting games are expensive, and it's clear an attempt has been made to soften the blow. But there is this sneaky stink around it - announced during a stream that only a small section of the Tekken community will even see.

As for just how egregious the Tekken 8 MTX will be when they finally land at some point soon, we'll just have to wait and see. But this development has left a sour note in the mouths of people otherwise jubilant about the game's excellent launch.

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Connor Makar avatar

Connor Makar

Staff Writer

Connor is VG247's roaming reporter, with 3 years' experience in the field. A passionate fighting game fan, he is glued onto the genre and its community. He is tragically a grappler player. And likes gacha.