Rare announces post-launch microtransactions for Sea of Thieves, says game won't be coming to Steam

Rare announces post-launch microtransactions for Sea of Thieves, says game won't be coming to Steam

Microtransactions will be coming to open-world pirate game Sea of Thieves after release.

That's according to developer Rare, who said in an interview with PCGamesN that it will be rolling out these optional purchases a month or so after launch, once the base game is fine for users.

“Our plans for launch is to deliver a good game experience, and so all our efforts are going to be on making sure everyone’s happy, we’re reacting to feedback if there are any issues, etc,” executive producer Joe Neate said.

“But then, as we move into our service-based game - think about a month or two after launch - we’re thinking about our first major update that has new goals for people to achieve, new rewards and stuff.”

These are not going to be loot boxes or anything like, Rare says, but rather pets. The studio says this is to not divide the playerbase.

“But we have to have an optional way for people to spend money in our game, because we are running it as a service with a large team," Neate said.

"So we looked at the right way to do this for Sea of Thieves. The people who love our game, have been playing it for ages, and are happy to spend money on things that they love and the hobby that they enjoy - what feels right for our game? So anything we add in this area won’t affect power, won’t affect progression. You’ll know what you’re getting, so you will be buying something specific.”

In another interview with PCGamesN, PC design lead Ted Timmins said that it's very unlikely that Sea of Thieves would be coming to Steam as well as the Windows 10 Store, arguing that this would require the management of effectively two communities.

"We’re motivated to have one community, we’re motivated that we have one build and it goes to all platforms at the same time," he said.

"Releasing to a different platform - whether that’s Steam, Origin, or anything else - that means we have to have two builds or three builds. We wouldn’t be able to have cross-play, we wouldn’t be able to have Xbox Play Anywhere, or Game Pass. So all these things that we want to use to bring in more players from a single build, we’d lose all that.

"It would make [the Steam version] its own distinct version. So that’s a different customer support team, a different community team - you really have to employ and recruit. Where we are at the moment, we just want to release the game."

Sea of Thieves launches on March 20th on both Windows 10 and Xbox One.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.