Up For Debate - Could Microtransactions be Good for Gaming?

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Apr 21, 2018 3:00 PM

Look, lower your pitchforks and turn off those chainsaws, hear me out first. The inexorable rise of microtransactions in games has been nigh-on unstoppable ever since I stupidly forked out £5 for my Oblivion horse armour, kick-starting a trend which would ultimately prove incredibly divisive.

You wouldn’t know microtransactions are divisive though, at least on the surface. All we actually see are complaints, usually totally valid, but when the likes of EA are now making more money from microtransactions than they are from game sales, it raises one interesting fact - people are buying them. And they’re buying a lot. You don’t even see these people defending spending $200 on Overwatch skins though, they’re just quietly going about their business, spending fortunes.

But while we’re busy fighting back against microtransactions, and to some degree of success with EA and Star Wars Battlefront 2, have we ever really stopped to think whether they could actually be beneficial to us if implemented correctly?

You’ll have to bear with me on this slightly tenuous analogy, but this is one of those shower thoughts that just sort of stuck with me. Imagine your weekly grocery shop, if you do one. I usually spend about £60 and pick up all the specific things I need. Now, how about if the supermarket said you could just hand them £60, and they’d deliver you £60 of what they think you’d like. Which of these scenarios would you prefer? Being able to pick exactly what you want, or being spoon fed what the supermarket wants you to have?

Now let’s pluck that scenario out and apply it to games. Would it be such a terrible thing if a £50 game was divided up into all its subsequent parts, and then you could pick and choose exactly what you want? You may pick up the first few levels for £5 and then perhaps decide it isn’t for you. Or you might think you only want to pay £25 for the multiplayer portion of the game. Or perhaps, when you look at Forza Horizon 4’s 300-strong range of cars, you’d rather just spend 30p and get a Maserati GranTurismo? With a game split up in this way, you’d only have to buy the specific parts you want, and if you wanted the whole lot then you could buy it for £50 anyway.

In its current incarnation, we’ve probably got practically the worst incarnation of microtransactions you could conceive of. But, there are, surely, methods like this that could provide gamers with more granular choices than ever before, and also help not get stung by games that ultimately disappoint. The pressure would then be on the developers to deliver a game that delivers from start to finish, not one that’s front-loaded with quality before fading away.

The downside to a system like this is when publishers inevitably take it too far. Fortunately, with small purchases, you're hopefully going to be more attuned to the value proposition, and a game that tries to repeatedly rip you off with small chunks of content wouldn't be rewarded.

What do you think, is there a theoretical way in which microtransactions could become a force for good in gaming? Or would you prefer they all just stay the hell away?

Could Microtransactions be Good for Gaming?

Our favourite comments:

Microtransactions ruin the aspect of the game called tenacity. And most developers who made games this way have no future. Just like what's happening in most games.

foxtrot2novmbr

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
72
Offline
admin approved badge
05:16 Apr-24-2018

If it is for purely cosmetic items i can understand but if it is for pay to win i wouldn't bother with that kind of game since the only objective is who has the most money wins.

2
Rep
56
Offline
17:00 Apr-23-2018

If it's a free-to-play game I can understand the microtransactions being in the game. Otherwise it's not for me. No way am I paying $60 for a game just to have to pay more to keep pace.

0
Rep
72
Offline
admin approved badge
22:31 Apr-24-2018

A bought game or free to play if the microtransaction ends up being pay to win then what is the point of playing since it is like saying 0$ - 60$ vs 80$ - 200$ cause look at a lot of free to play games especially the FPS types that is like "hey you unlocked this weapon that does so and so extra stats" which the average person that doesn't have money to buy those loot boxes/crates still has a decent weapon but not powerful enough and takes a whole clip instead of the pay to win player that uses 5 bullets.

1
Rep
56
Offline
22:20 Apr-25-2018

I agree with you here, if it's overboard to the point of "You can literally give me $50 and dominate the game" then yeah, I don't think it's acceptable. A F2P game must strike a balance between player progression and microtransactions. All I'm saying is, I won't immediately shut myself off to a F2P (hell, even a game at a low price-point) if it contains microtransactions to a "fair" extent.

0
Rep
58
Offline
15:11 Apr-23-2018

The moment I learn that a game I want has mtx I immediately take it off my list to buy and never look back! Microtransactions and EA are cancer to video games.

1
Rep
9
Offline
14:35 Apr-23-2018

i don't think your analogy is on par with what a game really is. if i spend 60 on something i don't want half of it, and the rest option for pay extra. i want it all, and i will discard that which i don't want, don't like. sliders in the options, don't play in online mode, get the silly armor with the ubisoft logo and drop it on the ground.

0
Rep
9
Offline
14:38 Apr-23-2018

if i pay 60 and the store gives me food i don't like, i go to another store and don't shop there any more. if i have to pay an extra 10 at for the finished product because of inflation or whatever, ok i can do that. but buying a skylander for 6 and another element for 6 and then a giant for 10 and then ect ect. it adds up, and you pay more for the things you need to play the game then the game.

0
Rep
9
Offline
14:42 Apr-23-2018

o yea, renumber demo's? they were free. it marketed the game. no need to change that up. especial today, where DLing 5G of demo is cake to most people.

0
Rep
55
Offline
20:21 Apr-22-2018

Oh Hell NO!
And how is this even a debate?
And who voted Yes in the polls?


What is happening?

2
Rep
3
Offline
22:42 Apr-22-2018

Probably Ubisoft Playerunknown EA Etc...

1
Rep
72
Offline
admin approved badge
22:34 Apr-24-2018

You forgot to add in kids that has access to their parents credit card.

0
Rep
0
Offline
12:08 Apr-22-2018

Simple analogy. Imagine you are ordering a burger, but to get the patty, vege and sauce you need to pay additional fee. Basically you are just paying for the base foundation of the burger which is the 2 piece of breads.

1
Rep
55
Offline
13:17 Apr-22-2018

...and if they tell you the whole price for everything included, you will likely never consider buying it. But since you already bought the 2 pieces of bread and cant eat it bare like that, now ya have to buy the meat & gravy as well... Seriously, I get it if you get screwed one-two times like that, but now when you already now whats gonna happen, just dont buy it!! Damn! You are just feeding them! And not to mention that everything is sequels now, so you're not even missing

1
Rep
55
Offline
11:16 Apr-22-2018

If we are really even considering this.... then the shait has already hit the fan...

0
Rep
9
Offline
07:25 Apr-22-2018

As long it is only cosmetic microtransactions i dont see any harm on that, when impacts gameplay, thats when is getting dodgy to say the least.

1
Rep
63
Offline
02:47 Apr-22-2018

The problem with that analogy is that with the way things are atm,we are paying £60 just to get into the store and then for whatever we want.


For microtransactions to be implemented correctly , the game would have to be F2P in the first place, as in just a demo which samples all sorts of experiences in a game , and then let us buy modularly as you said.


Ideally all the modules that give us more gameplay content should totally add up to £60 or whatever is the full price of a AAA game. But this will reduce profits for devs as most won't buy the whole game. (1/2)

3
Rep
63
Offline
02:54 Apr-22-2018

Since this will be even less profitable than the way it used to be with no micro , it's hard to see this getting implemented.


Cosmetic stuff can cost whatever and anything they want,as long as they won't have any gaming advantage over those who don't spend on it.


I personally wouldn't mind games adopting an R6 style approach,where you can buy or you can play for a longer time and get them for free.(2/2)

2
Rep
136
Offline
01:38 Apr-22-2018

I would not hate microtransactions if the games they're implemented on are a little cheaper, say $40-$45 instead of full price $60. And if they offer like +5% exp gain, or just cosmetic items, and not god-like weapons and not make the game imbalance, it would be fine (imo)

0
Rep
1
Offline
00:09 Apr-22-2018

i don't understand the hate. Half the games ppl play wouldn't exist if they weren't funded by microtransactions. fortnite is a good example

1
Rep
38
Offline
23:03 Apr-21-2018

Many games that focus on constantly delivering new content and ongoing service won't work without them, like it or not.
If they're purely cosmetic, offer absolutely no advantage and help the developer to keep working on it, I'm fine with it. Games like Counter Strike, Overwatch or Monster Hunter being good examples.

2
Rep
97
Offline
admin approved badge
22:40 Apr-21-2018

Microtransactions are an infectious disease. No. They are never good for gaming.


In free to play? I don't care. In paid games? I will rage.


I mean, DLCs and Season Passes are over the line already.

6
Rep
8
Offline
22:02 Apr-21-2018

Depends on the people. I think people dislike only MTr where they effect game play, but they don't mind cosmetic stuff. Also devs needs to earn money some how, especially if the game is f2p. I could say more things about the microtransactions, but the words here won't be enough xD

-2
Rep
36
Offline
21:56 Apr-21-2018

The biggest problem with Single-player MTX imo, is the simple act of balancing the game for microtransactions. Instead of a proper difficulty curve, let's just put a difficulty spike wall here, a lot of players will fork up cash to get the items that get them through it. Why do careful level design and item placement tailored to what challenges the player will face ahead when you can just shove a premium item in their faces to get them through it and make money on the side.

3
Rep
36
Offline
22:06 Apr-21-2018

Why spend money and manpower on 2 unique and fun levels when you can just paste the same thing 20 times before the ending to force the player to grind and hopefully annoy them to the point of giving up cash to get through it quickly, Hello! Shadow of War. The argument in favor of MTX offering a bypass for people with limited time is completely invalid because the moment MTX becomes acceptable, most games will be tailored as annoyingly grindy as possible to make MTX necessary.

3
Rep
210
Offline
admin approved badge
21:54 Apr-21-2018

This is what 3-4 post about microtransactions scam on GD not to mention other gaming sites?! Posting this **** here over and over again is the definition of insanity... just stop it! Also this post sounds more like its talking about whole game getting butchered then sold in parts as dlc and such which is even worse. lol


This indoctrination tactics is sick, i feel sorry for any gamer under 25 years of age that has to endure this phase the gaming industry is in the last 3-4 years.

3
Rep
133
Offline
junior admin badge
21:15 Apr-21-2018

F2P games okay as long its not only way to play or win or insane grind
in full 60$ games Cosmetic is the limit and nothing too crazy
.
like in overwatch simple skins
but not loot box sys buy what u want as my loot box luck is blew the charts


but i rather have cosmetic be skill based and no unfair Things
So far BF4 year or so later made it so that u can buy all upgrades its meh but not that unfair as it was old
and alot of people had upgrades already


and F LootBoxes and RNG!

0
Rep
50
Offline
20:19 Apr-21-2018

How about game devs only set a budget for their games for what they can afford to make say, a 25% profit on from the expected sales of the game at $60. Then they wouldn't need micro transactions to bolster the cost of making it.

0
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
19:44 Apr-21-2018

It depends on implementation and what you get in exchange. There are plenty of bad practices and very few good ones. I am not completely against it, I mean there are games which would benefit from game as service model and it would be between subscription and microtransactions to keep that alive.

0
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
19:46 Apr-21-2018

Of course I am mainly talking abut games like Overwatch, Fortnite, PUBG, Elders Scrolls Online, Guild Wars 2,... Since those games would really fracture community, if they went DLC path and yearly releases of new game aren't cool either. So there microtransactions, if done right, can be good thing.

0
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
19:47 Apr-21-2018

But when it comes to fully priced 60EUR/USD games, then hell now, there is no place for microtransactions there. Cosmetic and not, they take a lot away from game. And with 60EUR or more, we are paying our premium to not have that. It is different for cheap or free to play, but full priced hell no.

0
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
19:49 Apr-21-2018

Also for above mentioned multiplayer titles, microtransactions definitely have to be optional, not related to progression and only cosmetic. Nothing that effects gameplay. Overwatch is generally good example.And that way you pay your upfront cost,get full game, all updates for free, and keep community playing together.

0
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
19:50 Apr-21-2018

And I am pretty sure this will get downvoted as hell, but I can kind of understand that not everything is same and money has to come from somewhere. I don't like microtransactions, but I also understand there sometimes is benefit from compromises.

0
Rep
23
Offline
19:32 Apr-21-2018

Is what you just described really an mtx? Cause I don't think it is. Chopping a game into parts and letting you pay for whichever ones you want, is actually dlc..and mtx comes on top of dlc...and on top of both comes your regular 60$ lmao

0
Rep
383
Offline
senior admin badge
09:59 Apr-23-2018

Provided they're small-value transactions then yes, they're microtransactions. The term has been warped now we have £80 Gem packs or whatever, but there's actually nothing micro about them despite the contents of the packs.

0

Can They Run... |

| Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 3 3300X 4-Core 3.8GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93GHz Radeon R7 250X Sapphire 1GB Edition 4GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10870H 8-Core 2.20GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
APU A10-9700E 4-Core 3.0GHz Radeon R5 M320 2GB 12GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Asus TUF Gaming 6GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-6500 3.2GHz GeForce GTX 1060 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Asus Phoenix OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Gigabyte Windforce 2X OC 3GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-12700K 16-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 8GB 32GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 7 2700X Radeon RX 550X 4GB 24GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-10600KF 6-Core 4.10GHz Radeon RX 580 Asus Dual 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-11400F 6-Core 2.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming X 6G Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600 Radeon RX 580 4GB 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Radeon HD 7970 OC Sapphire Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-8086K 6-Core 4.0GHz GeForce GTX 980 4GB 32GB
| Low, 1080p
Core i5-7400 3.0GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Palit StormX 2GB 12GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gigabyte Aorus Master 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [4 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gigabyte Aorus Master 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ultra 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
Core i9-10900KF 10-Core 3.70GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super MSI Ventus XS OC 8GB 64GB