Microtransactions are always a subject of controversy among gamers. They are very lucrative for the industry and give rise to low-cost games of high quality. The idea being, players don’t have to pay anything if they don’t want to. This seems to work well in mobile gaming. Titles like Clash of Clans and Pokemon are able to attract a lot of players because of the low cost/free aspect of the game. This leads to a large player base that makes the game more fun to play. Within that format, there are always chances to spend money in order to expand your experience. At times it can be hard to get ahead without buying anything but in clever games, you don’t need to get ahead to enjoy yourself. Pokemon is enjoyable on any level as is Clash of Clans. On the other side of that coin are games that require spending to stand a chance of winning or competing. They tempt players with a free to play and easy beginning but as the game progresses spending becomes necessary. Recently Starwars Battlefront 2 added its own chapter to the story by removing microtransactions right before its release date. This move may be responsible for the game falling short of expected sales. The game certainly fell short of its predecessor, Battlefront 1, which was able to sell 13 million copies in its holiday season. EA CFO Blake Jorgensen has said that microtransactions will be coming back to the game eventually.
Microtransactions allow players of all budget ranges to play. Companies are able to earn money from players with low budgets and increase their player base with free to play players. Recently, Qutee, a data-led discussion company, released a report on gaming today and it included some opinions from gamers about how they feel about microtransactions. When asked, the gamers gave some very strong opinions. These games can be more challenging to play with a low budget and they have a fair amount of players wishing they could just pay one fee up front. Very few players like the microtransaction system but a large majority think its ok as long as the upgrades are just cosmetic. Overall players still believe that gaming gives them good value for their money.
The future of gaming seems to be in microtransactions. EA was cautious with their release of Battlefront 2 and I think that shows that developers are thinking twice about how they incorporate it. We have not seen the last of “play-to-win” but hopefully, it will evolve in a direction that is more acceptable.
You can read more about the Qutee gaming report here.