The cost of the faux-currency called Iron in Gears 5 has just gone up in the United Kingdom, surprising fans that weren't briefed ahead of time on the changes. The release of Gears 5 has been met with some largely positive buzz from critics and fans. The game has been praised for making some much-needed updates to the franchise and could very well be considered a high note in the ongoing swan song that is the Xbox One's lifecycle. Xbox's Project Scarlett is just around the corner, after all, but Gears 5 has been a reprieve of sorts from those nagging next-gen thoughts.
That's not to say that everything has been entirely smooth for the game and its developer The Coalition. Initial connections issues at launch left the game unplayable for some, while the microtransactions left something to be desired. The latter is now at the center of controversy once again, after a recent update to in-game pricing in the U.K.
As reported by Eurogamer, the cost of Iron within Gears 5 has suddenly gone up in the United Kingdom. Overnight, the prices went up without so much as a peep from the teams working on the game. A few examples of the inflation include: 500 Iron raised from £3.99 to £4.25; 1000 Iron raised from £6.99 to £8.50; and 2250 Iron raised from £14.99 to £16.50. The in-game currency can be exchanged for exclusive cosmetic items like character skins, emotes and even unique executions and the price increase makes it more difficult to justify the cost.
Since this revelation, The Coalition's community manager, OctusTC, took to reddit in order to address the price increase and provide insight into why this happened.
"So we've been seeking out answers on this this morning - we don't actually control the MS Store conversion rates of Iron and it appears this was done due to some conversion rates being off. Iron costs $5, and the price changes have aligned to the actual conversion rates apparently (ie. Iron being $5 USD + Tax)."
This explanation seems logical enough. Still, if price changes were inbound then why didn't Microsoft or The Coalition brief fans ahead of time? Apparently, they were just as surprised as everyone else by it. OctusTC made that very clear in the same reddit post:
"To be frank, we were not aware this change was coming or we would have at least communicated on it with some context rather than the out-of-left-field surprise it's turned out to be. That's on us and we'll establish better processes with our partners for the future."
It's clear that this was an unforeseen change and fans are right to be surprised and, frankly, unimpressed with the lack of communication within Microsoft. But the economy of Gears 5 is a new beast and will take some time to come to terms with appropriate pricing structures and gear. It also remains a significant step up from the loot box mechanics featured in Gears 4. That system was no good.