By Josh Spano ’18
One common thread in the world of gaming is the increase of microtransactions.
Microtransactions are in game purchases with real life currency in order to get a cosmetic item or other virtual good in the game.
According to the publication PC Gamer microtransactions will generate about $22 billion, while base games without microtransactions will only generate about $8 billion.
When someone buys a new game it will usually cost 60 dollars.
However, sometimes games release extra maps months after the release of the original game and that can add even more expenses.
For example, the game Call of Duty: World War 2 costs $60, but if the player wants all the content possible they can buy the season pass for an extra $50 totaling to $110 for the complete game.
Student Max Mayfair ’18 recognizes that big gaming companies will continue to put microtransactions in games.
“They are excessive, but many people buy them for the companies to stop [selling microtransactions],” Mayfair said.
Users who purchase these season passes just get extra content and do not get an extra leg up on those who just bought the base game.
Another type of microtransaction in games is loot boxes.
Loot boxes are a type of unlockable content containing a mix of items that can be earned through either game play or real life currency.
Once these loot boxes are bought there is no way of the buyer knowing what he will receive.
Cosmetically, some people do not have a problem with loot boxes as long as they do not give them an advantage in the game against other players.
“As long as it’s cosmetic items only, I don’t care,” said Sebastian Hile ’18 about loot boxes. “If it affects gameplay then they don’t belong.”
These are found in many popular games like Madden as Madden Ultimate Team Packs and in Call Of Duty World War II as supply drops.
While most games have a different name for loot boxes, like Ultimate Team Packs in Madden for example, they share the same idea as loot boxes because the buyer will get an unknown mix of items which they will either be happy or discouraged with.
Typically, the easiest way to earn these loot boxes is by buying them with real life currency, but they can be earned without spending extra money with time playing the game.
Some people believe buying these loot boxes is the easy way out.
“They really ruin the fun of the games.” said Christian Cardenas ’18. “Part of the fun of video games is the grind and microtransactions simply eradicate the grind.”
However, as long as gamers continue to buy microtransactions businesses will continue to put them in games for the profit they make from them.
However, backlash from the gaming community has helped reduce microtransactions in some games
Star Wars Battlefront 2 received backlash from the gaming community after the controversy of being able to play as more powerful characters.
In order to unlock these characters, players would have to play 40 hours to earn enough in-game currency or they could buy it with real world currency.
After backlash from the community, the publisher EA was forced to reduce the in-game currency price of these characters by 75% and lost many sales do to these microtransactions.
Because of the backlash from the gaming community, they were able to reduce microtransactions in Star Wars Battlefront 2 and showed that the gaming community is able to create change.