Marvel's Avengers pay-to-win boosters break game's launch promise

Marvel's Avengers has been no stranger to controversy since launch and beyond, but today, that controversy escalated to an entirely new level. Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have added paid boosters to Avengers' in-game shop, granting players who buy them boosts to XP and resource gathering for a set number of days. This move has the Marvel's Avengers community up in arms as players recall promises from before launch that proclaimed the only microtransactions in the game would be for cosmetics.

The new boosters were announced rather unceremoniously in the most recent War Table blog post to the Marvel's Avengers website. "We added a Consumable category in the Marketplace where you can purchase Hero's Catalysts and Fragment Extractors. You can purchase a consumable with a one-day duration for 100 Credits, a three-day duration for 250 Credits, or seven-day duration for 500 Credits."

Credits can be purchased with real money, so those willing to spend cash can get XP and resource boosts for their slate of characters. On the surface, it may not seem like such a big deal to add paid boosts to a game that doesn't have a competitive PvP component, but fans in communities like the Marvel's Avengers subreddit are rightfully calling Square Enix out for breaking a promise it made several times before the game launched.

Those promises go back to E3 2019, when Marvel's Avengers community director Meagan Marie said on stage, "So our promise to the community is that we won't have random loot boxes or pay-to-win scenarios." You can view that statement at the 11:25 mark in the video embedded above. Then, in an interview with shortly after Marvel's Avengers big E3 reveal, Crystal Dynamics studio lead Scott Amos had this to say about microtransactions and paid content:

The idea, from the beginning, is that we want you to be able to customise your hero; how they look, how they play, the gear they have and how they use it. Your Black Widow could be different to my Black Widow — just a little, maybe a lot depending on what you favour and how you unlock things. In terms of how we monetise, we'll have cosmetics. No gameplay paywalls.

With these statements out in the open following the about-face we've seen from Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix, it's no wonder fans are upset with them. At the very least, there's no doubt that these boosts are not cosmetic, and that's something that has players justifiably angry given the direct promises Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics made before launch. For now, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have remained quiet on the controversy, but we'll see if the outcry from fans is enough to get them to reverse this tone-deaf decision in the coming days.