Microtransactions The Good and The Bad

This week I’d intended to take the focus off gaming for a change but I felt like this is something I’d like to get my two pence in (for what that’s worth!) and I’d wanted to take some extra time to write this post.

If you’re unsure of what’s sparked this then this BBC article should help. Also the YouTubers Extra Credit  explain micro transactions better than I could hope to if you want more detail.

Now I’m not an expert (just a gamer with a blog!) and this is just my view and I’d love to hear yours!

So micro transactions, a word that sends shivers down the spines of gamers across the world. From a business perspective they make sense, that I can’t argue! Why only get one payment from gamers upfront for the game when you can get that and numerous purchases through out the gamers time with the game.

Now that I’ve got that out the way for all the pros micro transactions offer developers and game distributors there is the impact on gamers.

1) Micro transactions negatively affect less well off gamers. I have to acknowledge that I have the privilege of being able to purchase games, DLC and the odd micro transaction when I want (within reason obviously) but for many gamers they either can’t afford it or their parents won’t pay for it (if they’re younger). These transactions take money, more than many people want to or are able to pay.

2) Gamers don’t get the full game. Micro transactions mean that gamers don’t always get the full game upfront, you pay for the game only to find there’s more to buy to get the full gaming experience.

3) The quality of micro transactions can vary. Some micro transactions are well put together but for every one of them there are those transactions that add very little like a new aesthetic or item with no real purpose.

In general I avoid micro transactions where I can. I tend to restrict myself to the standalone game and DLC only purchasing micro transactions I really want and know will add to my gaming experience. I see little we can do as gamers to change the habit of micro transactions (with the exception of small victories like with EA and Star Wars Battlefront). But that doesn’t mean we should accept them, by showing our dissatisfaction and refusing to purchase poor products we can make small changes to the industry.

I believe that Micro transactions aren’t always bad, if the goal isn’t just money and if the gamers best interest is at heart then they can offer great additions to our gaming experience. But I’d be interested to hear your thoughts! Can micro transactions be good for gamers?

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8 thoughts

  1. Hello! I just wanted to take a moment to say that I enjoy what I have read of the content on your blog.

    As a student, studying Computer Game Design, one thing I see is the constant down talk of Microtransactions. I do enjoy that you don’t outright trash them for being awful, you at least give reasons for why they would be negative and such. Personally, I think that they can be a good thing, if done tastefully.

    Sometimes these companies are so large and in order to sustain that, they have to use these microtransactions to have people keep their jobs. However, as you mentioned with EA and Star Wars, some companies take advantage of their consumers, which I think is what mainly gives the term a bad name. Locking off content to the player, instead of vanity items, really ruins microtransactions for companies that might need them to keep their artists doing work and such.

    In short, I agree with the points that you make and I believe that there is some importance to them in games. However, just as you mention, it’s important for them to have some sort of quality to it. Thank you for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, thanks for the kind words! I try to offer some sort of balance because as I read the news on EA/Star wars I did my own searching into micro transactions and when you look beyond the angry comments it’s clear there are some benefits to micro transactions when done right!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What screenshot did you use for the image for this post? From looking I think it’s the Elder Scrolls Online, but I’m not a hundred percent certain. If so, do you have any opinion about how they do their in game transactions?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah it’s the ESO store well spotted 🙂 I have mixed feeling about the store really I don’t mind it on the hole and have bought a few things off it. The only thing I dislike is when it pops up like an advert when you exit a loading screen from time to time!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ahh okay. I definitely understand what you mean. I’ve played some games in the past that do that sort of thing. I own the game and I keep meaning to play it, but I’ve got so many other games to play that playing an MMO doesn’t seem like the best choice for me haha.

        Thanks for the quick reply though! It definitely is nice to have a little bit of conversation regarding things like this within games. Keep up the great content!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thanks! I try and reply on the day or the next one (depending how late on a reply is!) ESO is pretty good to be honest and I’m someone who doesn’t really enjoy MMOs but usually I go to it when I don’t have other games on my list!

        Liked by 1 person

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