It’s one thing to have loot boxes in your free-to-play game. It’s another to have super-rare, highly desired characters in those loot boxes. It’s yet another thing to require that players get five of those characters to unlock their full power. And it’s yet another thing to make a gacha-addicted comic character to serve as your game’s primary mascot.

That’s exactly how things are in the mobile RPG Fate/Grand Order. A feature article by Polygon (sourced from the Wall Street Journal, behind a paywall) lays bare all the nefarious goings-on with the game, including one desperate player, Daigo, who spent $70,000 on its gacha scheme.

According to Polygon, Daigo is a “happy stock trader, with pockets deeper than the developer’s greediest dreams,” though other players profiled in the piece experience crushing despair at not getting the rare character(s) they desired, with some spending until their credit cards were declined.

As if all that isn’t bad enough, the game’s marketing spotlights Gudako, a gacha addict who is typically seen

berating, threatening and sexually harassing her Servants (the same heroes that players roll the gacha to recruit) while ignoring the game itself and fiending for her next hit from the gacha

Fate/Grand Order is the worst of free-to-play, all wrapped up in a cartoony package and shamelessly promoted to anyone with a credit card. Polygon says it “monetizes that [players’] love” and calls it “abusive behavior on the part of the developers,” and I couldn’t agree more.

I will at least grant it the tiniest shred of credit by saying that, with a character like Gudako front and center, it acknowledges that it’s after your wallet. That’s a tick better than games that say loot boxes are good for you, give players more choices, or offer a sense of pride and accomplishment.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

8 Readers Commented

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  1. Ravors on April 22, 2018

    Ummm.. How does anyone have 70,000 to spend carelessly ? Where is your source please.

    • Ravors on April 22, 2018

      Did you mean 70000 yen ? If so that converts to 650 USD

      • atzo on April 24, 2018

        Daigo’s interview video, he says nana hyakuman. This translates to seven million. 7 Million yen is roughly 70,000 dollars give or take how much he has spent because even in his interview, he states he believes he has spent even more.

        Side note would be that Daigo is likely playing on the Japanese version of the game that has been out since July 2015. He is Japanese after all. It is likely he spent the 70k over the course of the last almost three years of playing the game.

  2. nasa on April 21, 2018

    *didnt spend mone on f2p games* “this is a good game” *see someone spend 70K* *TRIGGERED* “THIS IS A BAD GAME”

  3. Aazog on April 20, 2018

    You honestly dont need to pay anything to play FGO, unless you really want a specific character, it is really just for fan service that you spend money in the game.

  4. Taikiji on April 20, 2018

    This article is all wrong. It’s going off of what was written on the wall street journal… does anyone think they are a credible source of information for videogames?

    I’ve been playing FGO for more than 2 months now, as a f2p player. I can tell you, and anyone who has played FGO can tell you that you don’t need to spend any money to have fun or even win at the game, no content is locked, and you’ll have just as much fun as someone who spends 70k on the game. You can participate in events and complete even the hardest quests with servants you get for free (not in the paid gacha) without any problem. You also get a LOT of currency to spend on gacha for free, so you can get even those rare servants (that again, aren’t game changing, they might be a little bit stronger but they aren’t necessary). Added to that, many events give a free maxed high rarity servant, and these aren’t jokes, they are usually some of the best servants in the game, also thanks to the fact that they give them to you maxed already.

    FGO isn’t just a gacha grinding game. Everyone knows it, even the producers, and their marketing team, and that’s why they are confortable making fun of the idea of gacha games and gacha players, knowing that people who’ve played the game will never feel like they are playing “just another gacha game”. FGO has great strategic gameplay, really origianl and well made characters that makes you enjoy learning about them ad using them, and an amazing story and lore that not only has no rivals in the mobile market, it’s one of the best outright in the gaming and f2p market.

  5. windowsill on April 20, 2018

    The manga strip is also supposed to be a series that teaches players about how the game works but the guy who draws it just does what ever it wants now. It also bashes the game about it’s mistakes out right without any sugar coating too but that won’t do for a sensational piece like this now would it? All mobile games pulls crap like this. Everyone of it including the thinly wrapped browser “games” that’s been advertised somewhere.

  6. Nisa on April 20, 2018

    Umm… No. I don’t think the guy who wrote this article is seeing this with all the background. Gudako, the character from the comics, is a parody of the japanese people who really like gacha games, as in Japan the therm “Limited” or “Rare” is very, very alluring.

    The game never, ever forces you to pay real money to play or complete it. People can buy currency if they want to get the servants they like, but there will allways be people like that. For example I have not spend a dime on it, not the japanese release or the north american one. It’s a F2P game and a great one at that, I haven’t gotten all the characters I want, and I don’t care, as I already got some, and some of my favorites are from the “Free” servant gacha (Such as Serenity, Cu Chulainn for example).

    The comic is a joke as it allways pokes fun at the rates of the gacha, the people and even warns players not to do it and people with deep pockets wasting money on a game to get their Gilgamesh and Saber is really, nothing new. Its true that the rates for 5 Star characters (the rarest characters) is very low compared to the 4 Stars, but then again they’re not required at all to play the FULL content of the game, as I can confirm as a full F2P player, who has quite a few 5 Stars and a lot of 4 Stars as you can get the in-game currency for free pretty easily.

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