The Dangers of Microtransactions

By Joshua Rigsby, Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

As video games become more mainstream and development prices increase many publishers have been looking for ways to increase profits from their games. The most popular way of going about it nowadays is through microtransactions. For those unaware, a microtransaction is a purchase made with real money for an in-game item. These in themselves are not evil but unfortunately the way companies have been instituting these have led to the nickel-and-diming of the game’s fan base. The proper way of instituting microtransactions is to make them in a way that doesn’t give one player an advantage over another or that not buying them won’t hurt the user’s experience with the game. A form of microtransactions I am fine with and would even to go so far as to say support would be cosmetics, as long as those cosmetics could also be acquired through playing the game. If someone wants to pay a couple of bucks to look different, by all means go ahead and buy it. Unfortunately the way most companies, such as EA and WB Games, institute microtransactions is greedy, disgusting, toxic, and bad for everyone. EA’s upcoming game Star Wars Battlefront: II will feature loot crates that contain items which can have a great impact on the game balance. Essentially players can get items known as star cards which give a buff to your character, such as dealing more damage and taking less damage. This means that someone who bought these crates can pay for themselves to be more powerful than those around them. One of the most popular examples of an unfair balance of microtransactions is in GTA online. GTA sells “shark cards”, which provide in game money. Money is what the player uses to buy weapons, vehicles, buildings, and upgrades. This causes a clear division between the haves and the have nots with the have nots never being able to catch up to the haves.

Microtransactions right now only act as a supplement to games, but this may change soon. A news story was released a week or two ago that Activation (Publishers of Call of Duty and Destiny) was discovered to have a patent for a matchmaking system that encourages microtransactions. The gist of the system was the game matches a new, inexperienced player against a high skilled player in order to have the new player lose over and over again until they are pressured into buying microtransactions in order to emulate the more experienced player. This system is just straight up unethical. It drives away consumers after they’ve bought the product so Activision’s money is secure. It also forces a player to buy into the system or suffer punishment over and over again.

Microtransactions are plaguing video games and it won’t stop until people stop feeding it. Its time to vote with our wallets. Games have gone from, well games, to games as a service. A game as a service, while sounding innocent enough, ends up nickel and diming the consumer to the point of abuse, separating the player base until the player base is a skeleton of what it once was. Eventually, the game will die and be forgotten. A victim of the current trends of the industry.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.


Navigate Right
Navigate Left
The student news site of Xavier High School
The Dangers of Microtransactions