Remember the ‘good old days’ before online games? As children, we would only get hold of a newly developed game after waiting patiently for months on end, hoping for its imminent release “tomorrow.”
We’d then head to the nearest GameStop to buy the beautifully packaged game CD. The less fortunate recipients would buy the game with their savings while the richer ones pointed so that Mother could buy it as a gift.
We’d rush back home, play the game, and talk about it with friends for many months before another anticipated game lined the shelves.
Then came the internet, and with it, e-sports. It cracked the market open and changed the landscape of online gaming forever.
Suddenly, you didn’t even need to buy a game to play; you only needed to buy in-game purchases called “microtransactions” (also known as downloadable content or DLC) to enjoy a “free” game to the full.
The Problem with Microtransactions
Aside from the betrayal factor, the problem with microtransactions is complicated to explain. The predatory trend is quickly rising thanks to indiscriminate game producers and unfair practices in the industry.
Here’s a run-through on the downsides of microtransactions:
Microtransactions Compromise Game Quality
When game companies could charge hundreds of dollars for a hard copy alone, it would make a lot of revenue. If the companies were any good, this revenue translated into more opportunities to make even better games.
It is a case in point for story-driven, open-world RPGs, like Skyrim. Without massive revenue, gaming companies cave under the pressure of creating games that are cheaper to produce at the cost of depth and substance.
Microtransactions Devalue Skilled Gameplay & Playtime
After Activision merged with Vivendi (the owner of Blizzard), a new currency called the “WoW (World of Warcraft) Token” became available to players. For a meagre price, a player could start a game with pockets full of gold, which immediately provides them with an unequal advantage over non-paying opponents.
Instant gratification isn’t limited to World of Warcraft, however. As more games adopt this payment scheme, skills, and in-depth knowledge acquired over hours of dedicated playtime are falling out of favor.
The Benefits of Microtransactions
There’s a reason why microtransactions have become popular, though. It has mostly devalued traditional games, but microtransactions are not completely devoid of benefits.
Microtransactions Made More Accessible Games
Since more people are getting used to free stuff from the internet, it’s only natural that users gravitate to free games instead of paid ones.
Gamers who may not be able to afford games priced in the hundreds of dollars can now play along without buying any digital copy of the game.
Microtransactions Opened a Niche Market for Certain Players
For gamers who devoted their time to virtual casinos online, “pay for token” methods have become a beneficial model. It affords players with more ways to extend their game time and increases the enjoyment within the pastime.
Microtransactions are significantly affecting how game creators make their products. While the innovation is excellent for games like virtual slot machines and other casino online platforms, locking content behind paywalls in story-driven games is ruining the gaming scene for many people worldwide.