Tom Clancy's The Division Gets Microtransactions

Microtransactions are rampant in the video game industry these days, so when PC Gamer suggests that Ubisoft and Massive's implementation of them in the v1.6 patch for The Division is "the worst example of microtransactions yet", that really says something. Let's take a closer look at the treasures your hard-earned cash can unlock:

Seriously, look at these backpack skins. They’re only visible on the straps and a bit on the side. I wonder if what I see when I preview a backpack skin is the actual texture appearing or some trick of the brain filling in the blanks. I collapse to my knees, arms outspread and mouth agape in the horrifying realization there’s no difference.

Backpacks range from 250 to 500 Premium Credits, which works out to between $2.50 and $5. You can buy the stuff in bundles, a few of which are optimistically labeled “Most Popular” and “Best Value”, like Ubisoft is your friend giving you a sweet discount. I’m calling bullshit on that $50 best value deal.

Gun skins

Gun skins are texture swaps with an assortment of bright, garish skins, going for anywhere between $1 to $5. They’re the easiest to see of all the cosmetic items, since guns hang off your character’s back, and looks pretty cool, honestly. If you know your Division weapons, it’s OK to feel a tickle of pride at the sight of your decked out guns. Just don’t ruin them with one of the mobile disco skins.

You’ve got your typical assortment of wacky camouflage for every kind of terrain, and then—boom, The Division goes straight up Lisa Frank on LSD with its skin choices. We’ve got some pink skulls, abstract green and yellow shapes on a neon purple backdrop, indiscernible “Smiley” cartoon characters with noodly arms—all for your damn gun. Sorry Tom, pink skulls are canon now.


Outfits round out the selection cosmetics, available in $8 to $11 bundles or anywhere in the $1 to $5 range for individual pieces. Just how bad do you want to dress up as a Riker, the most generic, thuggish enemy type in the game? Or maybe you’d like to roleplay as one of the JTF, a generic soldier type with notoriously incompetent AI?

As an experiment, I purchased the AlphaBridge outfit and came out of the dressing room looking like I was doing Cabela superfan cosplay, layered from tip to toe in that good, good camouflage. I suppose that’s an ideal vibe for a Tom Clancy game, but it should be a reward for playing, not paying.


The emotes aren’t terrible offenders, ranging from $5 to $10. They include light gestures like a shrug or curtsy, or more playful animations like an Irish Step Dance or Rock Paper Scissors. Most of them are fun and definitely took more effort to create than slapping garish texture onto a gun does, but whenever player communication is closed off behind more money, I get sad. Rock Paper Scissors could make for some really interesting Dark Zone encounters, like resolving a tense LZ pickup with hands instead of bullets. Now the premium emotes signify status more than anything. I don’t want to pay $10 to make a fist with my hand in some po-faced Clancyverse, even if it saves my life.