Thursday, April 19, 2018


Virtual Stuff Makes Big Bucks
David Young

Ever since the creation of free mobile games, microtransactions have had an increase in popularity. Game developers have gradually started inserting microtransactions into mainstream games. Now they carry a bad stigma with them because games have progressively become more centered around them. Even though microtransactions have been single-handedly ruining games, game developers and publishers have continued to make them a main component of the game. This is only done though because of all the money microtransactions bring in. Simply put, microtransactions are in-game purchases that are another avenue for companies to make money. You use real money to purchase in-game currency; that in-game currency can then be used to buy in-game items.
In 2015, the large video game publisher Activision made $1.6 billion from only microtransactions. In that same year Activision’s total profits were $4.66 billion (You Won’t Believe). 34.3% of the company’s total profits came from microtransactions. When first putting that into perspective, realizing that a typical purchase is no more that $10 is important. There millions of players bought into these microtransactions. Plenty of people are willing to throw money at their screen if they find that the amount of in-game content is valuable and fairly cheap. Although people may question why anyone would purchase a virtual item, it can still be justified. People either want to look good, be better than others or have access to more content. Developers will plan to create extra content for any and every game they put out as long as they known money can be made. This way they can earn even more money than just of the release of the base game. Them knowing that there’s an incentive to increasing the longevity of the game is what drives microtransactions.
A game now synonymous with microtransactions that are actually not harmful to gameplay is Fortnite: Battle Royale. This game has taken the world by storm and it’s actually free to play. The only way Epic Games, the Fortnite developers, can make money is from all the cosmetic gear players buy. Nowadays the cool thing to do is to purchase in-game items. Looking good is way more important than being good. In Fortnite you can buy v-bucks using real money and use those v-bucks to purchase cosmetic items. In the month of February, Fortnite generated $126 million in revenue: all from microtransactions (Thier). Epic Games’ Fortnite: Battle Royale has a booming virtual economy and both sides are benefiting.

With the ever increasing presence of microtransactions, the value of them may be monetary, but the real value is left up to the buyer. Though, the wealth they provide for each company is undeniable. Extra profit for the company creates some incentive and keeps the wheels turning. Hopeful developers will constantly be able to provide worthwhile in-game that will keep demand high.

Works Cited

Martinez, Madisen. “Should College Student-Athletes Be Paid? Both Sides of the Debate.” CollegeXpress, CollegeXpress. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

Thier, Dave. “Report: Here's How Much Money 'Fortnite Battle Royale' Is Making.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine. Web. 22 Mar. 2018.


  1. I have never liked the idea of micropayments in AAA games because odds are I’m already paying $60 for it and now they are demanding more money to make the game playable, but in free to play games like Fortnite it seems ok because the game is free, and it is still completely playable and you are hindered if you don’t purchase items with real money.

  2. On average how much money do frequent gamers pend on microtransactions? Is the amount of money that they are putting into the game actually worth it to continue playing and paying? As someone that doesn't really play games, paying money to buy virtual items seems completely unnecessary to me and a waste of time and money. I know that some people are very ritualistic about their video games and addicted but spending money in order to make a character look better just seems unnecessary to me.

  3. Although microtransactions are a success in Fortnite, overall I believe that they are a failure and completely unfair to the user. With free to play games like Fortnite, sure have microtransactions, especially if it is cosmetic only and doesn’t make the game “pay to win”. But when companies are charging 60 dollars for a game and at the very heart of the gameplay is microtransactions, that’s crap (cough cough star wars). If you are paying 60 dollars for a game, you should be able to get the full game, not have to buy more. Overall I think microtransactions are a cancer and should only be in free to play games.

  4. I agree that people spend money on games because my cousin spent like $50 on an game in in game items

  5. As a gamer I’ve seen first hand the impact that microtransactions have had on games. Like you use to only see microtransactions in mobile games now you see them in triple A titles. Even though companies make a surplus of money off this I feel like it’s slowly ruining the gaming experience. However, I agree that Fortnite has done a good job with their microtransactions seeing that the game itself is actually free to play.

  6. Micros transactions are taking over the world of video games. Every game has them, and it feels like the only option is to buy them. Micro transactions were originally introduced to give players the option to buy extra content if u want it or if the game is free, you can buy the extra things you want(Like with fortnite). If you look at games like Madden FIFA or NBA 2k, the only way to compete in some game modes is through the purchase of micro transactions. This wasn't how micro transactions were intended to be used which is what makes it kind of messed up on the video game companies end.

  7. Microtransactions are everywhere in almost every game these days. I personally have spent well over $100 on microtransactions. It's a smart move by game developing companies to make much more profit. If you think about it, it's amazing that some of the things people spend their money on (I am guilty of this) have no effect on the actual gameplay. I currently have 16 different skins, 10 gliders, and roughly 10 pickaxes on Fortnite for a total microtransaction cost of about $100 and none of it has any effect on the actual gameplay. However, personally I find that Fortnite is the greatest game ever and every V-Buck is worth it.

  8. Micro transactions can easily become a problem, like when Clash of Clans first became popular. People spent way too much on the micro transactions in the game. Many of the payments are used to get further in the game, meaning a person will want to spend money to increase progress. People want to make progress or get better at their game. If there is an option to pay your way to the top, many people will take it over the thousands of hours needed without them.


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