Virtual Stuff Makes Big Bucks
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.
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.