In recent years, microtransactions have made headlines within the gaming industry. Some critics feel that microtransactions are killing the gaming industry and promoting gambling, while others don’t understand all the fuss.
Proponents of these transactions in gaming see it as incredibly lucrative for the industry. In 2013, a study found that over 90 percent of all revenue generated by Android and iPhone stores came from free-to-play games with these types of microtransactions.
What Are Microtransactions?
Microtransactions allow users to make virtual in-game purchases using micropayments. It is often used in free-to-play games to provide revenue for game developers. It is usually sold on custom online store interfaces inside the gaming app or platform, such as the Sbobet sports betting platform.
A player in the middle of a game, for example, may opt to make a purchase for a new weapon, outfit, or avatar for their character. A microtransaction enables the user to pay a small price—maybe £0.50—for access to the in-game product. In most cases, they will not have paid to play the game but will have the option to make in-game purchases while earning increasing revenue for the game’s developers.
Players are often allowed to download the game for free, but without microtransactions, may not access more complicated levels of the interaction.
Do Microtransactions Promote Gambling?
Some critics claim that this statement does not hold water. Microtransactions undoubtedly increase the player’s overall experience of the game, enhancing certain aspects of their enjoyment and flexibility.
Other gaming industry experts feel that this aspect of gaming encourages gambling, however, promoting a negative “pay-to-play” sentiment. If one player pays for the best version of the game, for instance, they may have a better chance of winning against another player who hasn’t paid a penny.
Games with multiple players operate on a “may-the-best-player-win” premise. For players who cannot afford it, or do not want to pay for extra enhancements, microtransactions seem to be presenting an unfair advantage to paid-up rivals.
Players may also fork out more money to increase their chances of winning the game, which is where the gambling aspect becomes obvious. The gaming concept of “loot boxes,” for example, requires that players pay a small price for a random array of items they don’t understand before purchasing it. In some instances, these items are rare and worth something, but it could also be repeat purchases, which are rendered worthless from a gaming perspective.
The Bottom Line
Developers target players with buying loot boxes during the game because it is incredibly lucrative for the company. Gaming giants like EA Sports, however, have had to rework and relaunch some of their most popular games, removing loot boxes and microtransactions following public outcry. Online platforms, like GClub, also offer free-to-play games on the mobile casino with microtransactions that are carefully regulated.
The jury is still out there as to whether microtransactions are acceptable. As with all consumer products, we advise that players use common sense and restraint when making in-game purchases to prevent the experience from deteriorating.
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