The official Apex Legends subreddit hosted an AMA last week with the game’s development team. Fans had questions about everything from weapon balance to character tweaking, and most controversial of all, how the Apex Legends team monetizes its offerings.
One Redditor user, x5hadau, asked why some cosmetic skins seem so expensive.
“I get that you gotta make the game profitable, but there’s gotta be a way to prevent the player from feeling cheated when they buy something,” they wrote. “$18 (realistically $20) is a lot to ask for one cosmetic item. As the game grows, is there any potential movement towards more affordable content across the board? People want to buy these things, but it’s hard to justify it or feel good about it.”
A standalone Legendary-tier skin featured on the Apex Legends in-game store costs 1,800 Apex coins. A box of 1,000 Apex coins costs $9.99. You can get more Apex coins for cheaper if you buy in bulk, but basically this means a Legendary skin comes out to $18 or $20 depending on where you live (sales tax laws and such).
For comparison, unlocking a character for your roster costs 750 coins. Many Apex Legends players didn’t understand why skins are priced so high when brand new legends with unique models, voice acting, backstories and abilities are released for cheaper.
Ryan K. Rigney, director of community and communications at Respawn Entertainment, wrote on behalf of the studio’s monetization staffer. According to that staffer by way of Rigney, the legends are cheaper to unlock so the game doesn’t feel pay-to-win and because “math is harder than people think and when your assumptions are wrong, it’s hard to adjust.”
The rest of Rigney’s response stated that the development team is small and that cosmetic skins are tougher to make than the public realizes, with lots of behind-the-scenes work involved, including ideation and a QA process.
Some Redditors were frustrated by the vagueness of Rigney’s answer. After all, it didn’t really address x5hadau’s original question: does the Apex Legends team plan to release cheaper content in the future?
But other fans in the thread agreed with Rigney’s response. Math is, indeed, hard. Every player will appraise the value of a skin differently, and it’s hard to determine what the ideal price point would be.
Rigney also explained that the real meat behind the game—the newly released Arena mode, maps, and growing list of features—requires a lot of funding.
“As mentioned, we think about this constantly and it’s tough because we want Apex to be around for a loooooong time,” Rigney wrote. “Us being able to continue to make the game depends on operating a healthy business. We’re hoping players understand this is something we’re working hard to balance, but when you consider the full picture, it’s a tough challenge.”
That could account for why the skins seem so pricey compared to the rest of the content. Maybe Apex Legends skins are the soft drinks that keep the studio’s lights on.
If you’re curious about the rest of the AMA, a helpful bot rounded up all the relevant Respawn developer responses here.
(h/t PC Gamer)