How Far Cry 5's Microtransactions Work

Like many modern video games, Far Cry 5 has microtransactions. Hate the concept? You can easily ignore them.

Note: This is part of what we expect to be an ongoing series of posts explaining how the microtransactions in major games work.

How much does this game cost up front?

Far Cry 5 sells for $US66.95 ($78) via Steam. For that you get a lengthy open-world first-person shooter campaign and access to a multiplayer mode focusing on player-created maps.

As with most games, there's more game coming, for a price. It has a $US29.99 ($39) season pass which will give players access to three single-player expansions and advance access to a re-release of 2012's Far Cry 3, which will get ported to PS4 and Xbox One June 26 for non-pass-holders and May 29 if you dished out the money.

What are the microtransactions?

Microtransactions in the game are tied to some weapons, vehicles and clothing. Well, technically, microtransactions are tied to a premium currency called Silver Bars that can be spent on so-called "prestige" weapons, vehicles and clothing. In all cases, using silver bars is optional All items in the game also can be purchased with in-game money earned just from playing.

Prestige items include a car with a superhero painted on it and a shovel called "Optimism" that sports a happy face.

The Comet can be purchased for 200 silver, which you can find in the game's safes or buy as part of a $US5 ($7) 500-silver microtransaction. Like all prestige items in the game, you can also just buy it with in-game money earned by playing.

The most expensive items available now for silver bars are a pair of outfits, a machine gun called the AR-C "Stars 'N Stripes" and a similarly patriotic star-spangled pick-up truck, all of which cost 500 each. Prestige items of clothing include things like novelty T-shirts tied to other Ubisoft games. Those shirts run 100 silver each. (Since the game is in first-person, you pretty much only see this stuff in the campaign when you die.)

How much do they cost?

Silver bars are sold in five different-sized packs, with Ubisoft's in-game shop steering people toward a 2,400-bar bundle that costs $US20 ($26). Going for a meager 500 bars would cost you $US5 ($7).

Can you get everything without spending money?

Yes. There are no microtransaction-exclusive items right now. All of the prestige items that you can buy with silver bars can also be bought with fake in-game dollars, which you earn exclusively from playing Far Cry 5. That Optimism shovel, for example, can also be had for 3600 in-game dollars. That's not at all expensive.

Having played a third of the game's map thoroughly over the course of 12 or so hours and having bought a couple of weapons with in-game money, I've got 21,445 in-game dollars. Note that I've been playing a lot of the game's excellent Prepper missions, which are little environmental puzzles that lead you to big stacks of in-game cash. You can also earn in-game dollars by hunting animals and selling their hides, or by picking and selling plants. You can even earn a perk that doubles your haul.

Can you earn the premium currency through normal gameplay?

Yes. According to Ubisoft, there are 1000 silver bars hidden in batches of 40 in 25 of the safes hidden throughout the game world. That's about 10 bucks of loot. You need to poke around a bit to find the safes, so earning any of this free silver requires some effort. Perhaps they want you to feel like you get a deal by playing the game thoroughly, which is a little Rusty's Real Deal Baseball of them.

Do the microtransactions impact gameplay?

Technically they could, but not in any major way. Prestige outfits have no stats, so getting them doesn't make you more powerful. Some prestige vehicles have guns, but so do many vehicles in the game that you can get by finishing missions or just finding them in the game's open world. Prestige weapons, like all weapons in the game, do have stats, but the ones currently available in Far Cry 5 don't have markedly better stats.

And remember, any prestige items, including weapons, can pretty easily be purchased with the heaps of in-game currency you can acquire through regular play.

Far Cry 5 does have a multiplayer mode in the form of a map editor that supports co-op and competitive play. The game's guns are used in those modes, and there is a shop in that mode where you can buy prestige weapons, but all of those weapons have the same stats as easily-unlockable non-prestige weapons. The prestige ones just have better paint jobs.

Is there anything sketchy going on?

Nothing major, but it is confusing that the game has two versions of its store, one of which makes it seems like prestige items can only be purchased with silver bars. The version of Far Cry 5's store that players can access from the game's main menu (a menu that is also visible whenever you pause) only shows so-called prestige items that have the option of being bought with silver bars and only list the silver bar prices for those items.

If you instead access the game's shops via the in-game store-owners you encounter throughout Far Cry 5, they will list a prestige item's cost in both silver bars and fake in-game dollars.

The Far Cry store accessible through the game's main menu only shows prestige items and only lists prices in silver bars, the game's premium currency.

The Far Cry store accessible by speaking to vendors inside the game lists prestige and non-prestige items and includes prices in silver bars as well as in in-game dollars earned through just playing the game.

Are the game's microtransactions egregious?

Right now, they're not. A lot of the prestige items are reskins or normal in-game gear. Nothing seems overly potent, and the game is easy enough at its default difficulty to enable you to play without getting more than what you'd find through shopping-free play. Things might change, but Ubisoft has not yet filled the shops with fancy, highly-desirable items.

At launch, Far Cry 5's microtransaction system doesn't seem that bad. Ubisoft has not offered anything that can only be obtained with extra payments. They have not dangled amazing gear that you just can't amass enough in-game money in a reasonable fashion to obtain. Of course, the foundation is here for Ubisoft to go wilder.

But, so far, so good.


    Loving the game and I have to say it's strange because this is probably one of the better balanced microtransaction systems I've seen... and it's by Ubisoft????? Wtf? Maybe they actually listened for once. Either way, it's not imposing itself, it's not cutting anything off, it just takes a little grinding of animals and badguys and I'm getting all the weapons and vehicles I want so far.

    Oh wow they have given us $10 worth of bars to find scattered around the whole map, how very generous. Roll eyes. While in itself it isn’t a bad very of microtransactions, there is still no real way, without massive grinding to be able to purchase enough of the stuff available in a play through. That’s a bit rubbish. Is there a daily login reward of bars or cash?! Something tells me no.

    It’s not much of a game when funds are so rare, as you are playing you have to feel like an adult and decide to have to ‘settle’ on a purchase. It’s a primarily single player game but you are playing in on a budget, with no extra way to earn bars.

      I'm only about 5 hours or so in but it seems fine to me so far.

      Everything you can buy with silver you can also buy with the non-premium currency (which doesn't seem hard to come by at all). On top of that all the fancy weapons have identical stats to their non-fancy equivalent, so you can buy the same gun sans gaudy skin for around ~10-20% of the in-game currency cost of the fancy ones. The only down side there being that some of those require progress through the game to unlock prior to purchase, whereas the fancy ones are all available from the start.

      before i had completed the story i had 46K in cash from doing side missions and hunting without the havester perk ( just like in 4, bow kills and melee kills give double skins). it also helps that the starting weapons are all you need and the costumes arent that great.

        And that's just it. Once you get the harvester perk all that cash just starts rolling in.

      Is there a daily log in award???? Seriously. So it can go the way of sports games? That's where all this micro transaction bullshit started.
      I applaud Ubisoft for this one. It's great. Not imposing in any way. And surprise.....I awarded them by buying something in game. Well done Ubisoft.

      Money is really easy to come by, I've never been short when it comes to buying a vehicle or gun that I'm interested in. The silver bars are largely meaningless in this game.

      Oops you seemed to have dropped this (/s). I'll just leave it here for you to collect.

    Excellent article, very informative. Looking forward to seeing these articles for future games!

    The microtransactions may not be affecting the gameplay... yet... but what I'm wary of, is it is 'normalising' this kind of behaviour. In a few years time, pay-to-win becomes the only way to go. This behaviour will kill gaming, if left to go this way, imho.

    If you are finding money to be a problem, there is a farm east of falls reach and just south of an outpost.

    The field around the farm has a few cows so can kill em for bait you can use to attract animals.
    Just fast travel back and forth between the farm and outpost selling the skins, using the perk that doubles gathering and a bow will yield 4 skins per kill so you can rack up cash pretty quickly.
    Also plenty of birds flying around that spot so you can grab some feathers while your chasing cows

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