Microtransactions in the game industry – why do they exist?

When video games first appeared, buying them was a relatively simple process. You probably remember walking into a store, buying a game for your console or computer, and then happily returning home in anticipation. With the advent of the Internet (especially high-speed broadband and WiFi connections), it has become possible to sell games online.

It’s no longer necessary to leave the house. You can buy games from digital stores like Steam, Playstation Network, Nintendo eShop, and even mobile platforms like the App Store and Google Play Store. However, the growth in the sale of digital copies of games has also led to the emergence of microtransactions.

This is anything you can buy in a game, such as items, armor, upgrades, premium features, and more. Microtransactions have been included in many games, from free mobile apps to blockbusters from well-known developers. Their use is controversial and is often a major topic of discussion in the gaming community.

In this article, we will find out precisely what microtransactions are and their main problem. If you like to purchase various bonuses and cosmetic items in games, you’re probably used to paying in fiat currency.

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Types of microtransactions

Here are the main types of microtransactions in games:

  1. Cosmetic items are things that change the appearance of the character, his weapons, and everything else. They do not affect the game. Usually, only people who have extra money or are really into the game buy them.
  2. Acquisition advantage – things that players buy to be cooler. These are, for example, unique weapons that do many times more damage or armor that has a record-breaking amount of durability and damage absorption. This is the kind of microtransaction that the vast majority of players hate because it gives one player an advantage over another.
  3. Bypassing restrictions – This type of microtransaction is mainly used in mobile games. Such bonuses help to bypass the artificial limitations that the developers have created in the game. For example, the impossibility of committing an action before the timer expires.
  4. Time savers are microtransactions when you have to pay to level up the processes in the game. They do not give such advantages (in contrast to the second point) but allow you to achieve the same progress while spending much less time.

These are the most popular types.

The problem of microtransactions

The main problem with microtransactions is their inadequate and improper implementation; the fact that some give an advantage is half the trouble. Microtransactions also often have an authorization problem, even if they are authenticated. Registering an account with some app stores requires entering data about the preferred payment method.

In practice, it’s common for an in-game store to encourage uninformed users or children to make random purchases, and the user may need to realize that they are spending real money. More clarity is often needed by using in-game currency, which is required to purchase various improvements.

Their prices are not expressed in convertible currency but in virtual money. These can be crystals, gold coins, hearts, or any other appropriate item for a particular game. And the user often needs a clearer idea of the actual value of the object he buys. A player can purchase something costly and go bankrupt overnight because his credit card was linked to his account.

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