Why Disney Speed Storm in Early Access is different from Disney Dreamlight Valley…
Disney Dreamlight Valley. Disney Speed Storm. Two games, both developed by Gameloft, a company largely known for making mobile titles with predatory currencies and pay-to-win mechanics.
I was extremely skeptical of Disney Dreamlight Valley when it was first announced. Gameloft isn’t a small studio, and Disney is one of the biggest companies in the world. Early access is for all intents and purposes, a beta that you pay for. You pay to test the game out early before its proper release. For a game that will be free to play whenever it launches the 1.0 release, that honestly seems insane. Early access should be something that smaller developers and publishers use to get that extra money they need to cross the finish line and put out a proper product, especially compared to a game that is going to try and make its money mostly through virtual currency when it has a full release.
I still stand by this, and it's a valid reason to not buy Disney Dreamlight Valley and games like it. But to Gameloft’s credit, Disney Dreamlight Valley has proven itself a pretty good value at least at the $30 tier. You couldn’t even buy currency until very recently and even now it’s really only used for fun but totally unnecessary cosmetic items. You can fully enjoy Disney Dreamlight Valley without spending a dime. You don’t need currency to unlock characters or even complete quests quicker. Early access or not it makes a really compelling case as a $30 Animal Crossing-type game.
Disney Speed Storm is launching in early access a month from now, April 18th, with a similar plan. There’s a relatively low buy-in at $30 and it goes up to $70 for the most instant rewards. But Disney Speed Storm and Disney Dreamlight Valley are two vastly different games in both genre and their approaches to digital currency, what it can get you, and how it is implemented into the game.
It’s easy enough to see one of the biggest differences immediately, each “Founder's Pack” nets you instant unlocks for certain racers like Mickey, Donald, Mulan, etc. You can earn these through playing the game and earning currency, but how long does that take? How many racers are there even to start with?
Then there’s the virtual currency and how it works. Now, this is based on my experience in the beta, it’s totally possible that it has changed since then and become way more balanced, but at the end of the day, Disney Speed Storm is a competitive racing game. You need that virtual currency not only to unlock better gear that gets you into more races, you need it to get that better gear that will also improve your racers. It literally is pay-to-win. That’s in addition to, again, unlike Disney Dreamlight Valley, in Disney Speed Storm you need to unlock characters with virtual currency. This makes Disney Speed Storm a very different proposition and a much bigger question mark: Should you even pay for this because it’s inherently supporting these systems and sending the message that they are ok?
Ultimately the answer will lie in how Disney Speed Storm balances this all out, I’m certainly planning on buying the $30 version and then seeing how for myself. I will actually be out of town on vacation the week this launches so I may not have a blog up about it for a while (plus it will take a minute to see how fast things unlock just playing the game vs. spending real money). I really hope Disney Speed Storm does figure it out because in a genre completely dominated by Mario Kart it’d be nice to have a decent alternative.
That’s all for today, my schedule next week is a little up in the air depending on how things play out but I should have something out mid-week or the weekend. Either way see ya real soon!