Whenever you buy AAA, yearly release game or a free to play mobile game, you can bet they’ll have microtransactions. For those who don’t know what a microtransaction exactly is, its after you purchase a game, you have the option ( I use the term loosely since it pretty much attempts to ransom off the rest of the game if you happened to pay for it) to pay for additional content that usually only costs $1 or $2 most of the time. s they only ever spend a few dollars on games you pay for. I’m more focused on free to play titles, which happen to be mobile games; “freemium” games. That doesn’t mean I’m not blaming non-freemium games either, because I am. There at just as much fault as the freemium games. Any game that has pointless microtransactions, free to play to play or not, is violating the trust between players and developers.
So, first off, what are you obtaining when you make a micro-transaction in a game? That depends on the game; if its clash of clans, it gems (the in-game currency), if its FIFA its new skins, the same for mass effect 2 and 3. In Mobile Strike, it’s power-ups and speed boosts to get things like missiles ready faster ( I’ve never played mobile strike myself so I’m not quite sure what those micro-transactions are used for.) Freemium games generally have you pay to speed up progression; the player with who has paid the most will be most likely to succeed in whatever the games final objective is, which is most likely an ongoing objective (build, expand, conquer, repeat.) There exceptions to this rule of micro-transactions, however. Sid Meyer’s civilization revolution is has no microtransactions, just a small fee to purchase the games (it’s probably because this was PC/ console.)
So, you may be asking why do developers put micro-transactions in their games? The publishers, who usually pay for the games development and market it to consumers like me. I’m not saying all publishers are like this. Smaller publishers, for the most part, aren’t guilty of this. I’m talking more about the big, AAA publishers like Sony, EA and Ubisoft. They’ll suck game devs veins dry and crack open their bones to get at the marrow inside, metaphorically speaking (I think). The worst part is that people still buy their (publishers) games. A lot of the time they even pre-order it because of some tacky item they get, like in my case, a new Nomad skin that you can only get if you pre-order Mass Effect Andromeda. You’re paying so that you can have the honor to pay again… and again. Of course you’ll eventually get something out of it, some recompense for what you payed for with your (parents) hard earned currency.
What’s the result? It’s, well, nothing. No one’s taking action because 1.) no one important seems to care about it enough to take actual, meaningful action and 2.) if we don’t want this shit then why are we still buying it? No one’s forcing the average consumer to get these games at gunpoint, freemium or otherwise, and making us purchase microtransactions against our wishes. We, as consumers in a free (mostly) market, are making these decisions of our own free will. No “hostage at gunpoint” type situation needed. we can needlessly max out our parents credit cards on our own, thank you very much.
So why do we put ourselves though all this? Well I don’t really know. I don’t think I’ve ever made a microtransaction in my life, so I don’t quite know what the appeal is to other consumers. Maybe they (consumers) think if they if they pay enough, the game will somehow get better. It doesn’t, by the way, if you thought that it did. It’s comparable to a big pit where dump your all your money into to never see again. Freemium games don’t look that good. I can guarantee it will be a boring top-down, turn-based or RTS (real time stategy.) And they’ll be constantly bating you, enticing you with you with to spend a few cents, dollars and before you know it, you’ve spent a 100 or so dollars, perhaps even more on some shitty game your playing for no reason at all.
You can make the argument that, especially paid-for AAA games that the major publishers, well, publish, that you’re missing out content, not playing the “whole game” if you didn’t purchase the additional content. That’s been the case for at least one franchise I know. Mass Effect 3 had the DLC From The Ashes that released the same time as the base game did, so arguably it is part of the base game that the publishers decided they were going to ransom off this part of the game as DLC. It cost about $10 when they released it, so it’s not really a microtransaction, but much of the same principle applies. I’ve never heard of a microtransaction that gives a “part of the game” as a reward. Its superficial things like skins, power ups, or “in game” (fake) currency, Ultimately meaningless items. DLC’s are different from microtransactions in that they offer real, tangible content that usually last for a few hour. I feel we need more of those (DLC’s) in games and less microtransactions. And some games are already doing this, like The Witcher 3 are already doing just that. They’ve proven its not impossible, it just needs some discipline. The game industry is constantly changing, so how about we change it for the better this time around.