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Author Topic: Microtransactions in games  (Read 1226 times)
Necrosia
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« on: July 27, 2023 @639.19 »

What is microtransactions?
Microtransactions are in-game purchases made with real money that unlock specific features or gives the user special abilities, characters or content.

Have you ever made any microtransaction in a game? Cosmetics are included in this category! Or have you ever been tempted? If you are a game developer, do you allow it on your games? Have you ever gambled real money on gacha games? Let's discuss real life money on digital games!


Personally I am very guilty of this crime  :tnt: I spent some money on a gacha game only once and I felt terrible and never did it again but when it comes to cosmetics or anything that is not luck-based its difficult for me to resist because I really like my online character to look pretty ;_;
« Last Edit: July 27, 2023 @641.42 by Necrosia » Logged



 
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2023 @657.63 »

I very rarely stick with mobile games for whatever reason (I tend to play one for a  couple of days or weeks then forget I even have it and eventually delete it from my phone). I know that it's not just mobile games but they seem to be the main culprit and I don't play any other gamess with microtransactions either.

I've actually only paid for something in a mobile game once ever. In the game Layton Brothers: Mystery Room, you get the first one or two cases for free and have to pay to unlock the rest of them (they're divided into two groups). Each group of paid cases was less than £2 so I basically paid £4 for an entire game. Considering the other games in the series are anywhere from £10 all the way up to, like, £50 (To be fair the only game that's that expensive is a crossover that's super hard to get ahold of these days) I'd say that's a pretty good deal.

EDIT: Apparently this font doesn't have pound symbols :drat: the numbers are all in pounds, they just don't show for some reason
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2023 @683.91 »

Yes, haha. I used to buy League of Legends skins, specifically a lot of Caitlyn and Ahri skins.
I also used to buy a lot of lootboxes on Overwatch (1) when I still played it, to get a better chance for the season/event items I wanted.
Also, some game-related/adjacent microtransaction: I have bought those cards you get on Steam to create badges. You usually get 3-4 cards by playing the game, and the others that are missing for the complete stack to make a badge can be bought or traded. Trading was always too annoying for me, so usually I sold surplus cards and bought the missing cards with the sale value but also through putting money on my Steam Wallet. Throughout my 13 years on there I probably put like 20 Euro into that. The missing cards usually only cost cents, but some are more rare, and there are some badges that take 15 cards. It's a complete waste of money, but I like badges and the levelup; and before the Points Shop, this was the only way to get more options for your profile.
I don't really do that anymore either; I think last time was last year, and only because I had my first ever foil badge.
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2023 @686.10 »

i used to be very easily susceptible to in game micro transactions and now i hate them  :ohdear:

my worst one was a dress up game called zepeto, which i kinda don't actually regret because i was working an incredibly boring job during quarantine where all i did was sit in a government building at take temperatures every 2 hours when someone would happen to walk in  :tongue: i probably spent like, $100 on that game easily. but i needed something to distract me and that game happened to be it. it cost like, $10 per character or something and then you had to play games to earn coins to get outfits which i did like but i still spent money on certain outfits...so yeah i fell for it hard XD

another bad one was the ru paul's drag race superstar game, what a racket! i only bought a couple things before i got fed up with the way the game was set up to squeeze money out of you, and it going boring fast. now i'm pretty against in game purchases, though i haven't played a phone game in a while. basically for me it's a slippery slope so i don't allow myself to make any purchases.
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2023 @692.08 »

I'm a bit stingy, if someone tries to get money out of me I'll refuse to pay as long as I can out of pure spite, especially with regards to microtransactions or freemium stuff  :ok: 
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2023 @732.15 »

Have you ever made any microtransaction in a game? Cosmetics are included in this category! Or have you ever been tempted?

I've been tempted by some of the outfits on the Final Fantasy XIV online store, because they have cute shoes that would work well with my character's glam, but I haven't yielded to temptation yet. Square-Enix gets enough of my money in subscription fees, though I guess the online store helps subsidize their generous (up to level 60 and through Heavensward) free trial.

If I was going to buy additional FFXIV stuff, I'd probably buy the soundtracks. Though I'd like one with just the boss themes; many of them are pure symphonic power metal and I'm there for it.
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2023 @785.12 »

i tend to withhold a lot of microtransactions, specifically on games i rarely play. however, i have been more than guilty for buying some hats and cosmetics in team fortress two and dead by daylight. i'm generally stingy with my money anyways so if i can get it for free i'll always try (in game currency and what not).
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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2023 @21.88 »

I come from a country that has a really weak currency (currently minimum wage is like 1 dollar/hour) and on top of that my parents didn't get into using debit cards until I was in high school, so I never really got into microtransactions. It has always been wayyy too expensive for me, and also out of pettiness I tend to try to get stuff for free, as hard as it is. It's been a while since I've been sucked by a gacha, though! Which is good! Last one I think was Pokémon masters EX and I used to play quite a bit so having the new characters wasn't that hard. Cookie run kingdom I also played for quite a bit, and I think it's one of the friendliest gachas in that you'll get almost anything if you just play for like. An hour each day, if not less.
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2023 @80.68 »

I used to play Warframe and Destiny 2 religiously... worse yet, I was VERY completionist when it came to my fashion in those games :drat: Damn you fashionable space wizards!

Needless to say I have quite a bit more disposable income nowadays now that I stick to single-player or couch co-op games with my girlfriend.

I really like how Deep Rock Galactic handles them though. The battle pass is 100% free, and all cosmetics in the previous battle passes can be gotten by just playing the game. The only microtransactions they have are cosmetics but I think compared to other games I think it's priced somewhat fair for what you get (though I imagine it sucks if you only main a particular class).
« Last Edit: July 28, 2023 @86.15 by fatgrrlz » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2023 @401.99 »

As much as i tell myself i wont fall for it i always do  :evil: Sometimes those cosmetics are just too cute for me to pass. If its a game i know is predatory like crazy with it I manage to hold back to not support them but if its a game that i genuinly enjoy and want to support that was some nice cosmetics that dont make it P2W then im more than happy to throw a little extra to it! Even if i need to start saving lol  :transport:
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Lyonid
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« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2023 @997.92 »

I despise them because I am very prone to buying them in games I love. For that reason I usually try to stay away from games that will tie meaningful progression behind such microtransactions. While I still condemn microtransactions that are purely cosmetical because of their very nature, I feel much more safe in those games because I am VERY particular about their aesthetics. It's why I have been sailing safely with Guild Wars 2 and Genshin Impact, while the latter is making my blood boil with their multitude of predatory monetization. I genuinely wish for these features to be discussed even more critically. Especially gacha mechanics are such a vile concept at this point, and have transformed any love I had for surprises into feelings of caution and annoyance.

It is upsetting to think about the target group of this style of monetization. This is all such a complex matter because the very nature of microtransactions ties into all kinds of terrible schemes to make people pay for a whole lot of nothing. It's such a complex infrastructure at this point, and big corporations are thriving on it. Just thinking about the fact that Animal Crossing New Horizons is basically through while the app is getting frequent updates is breaking my heart to this day.
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Necrosia
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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2023 @125.05 »

Just thinking about the fact that Animal Crossing New Horizons is basically through while the app is getting frequent updates is breaking my heart to this day.
This still breaks my heart, I will never forgive Nintendo.

On a more serious discussion I can understand why microtransactions exist, I have plenty of indie dev friends and friends that work for smaller mostly mobile-based companies and they helped shed a new light on the subject. Companies that aren't that big, can't afford the luxury of subscriptions or that aren't putting out AAA games every couple years need to stay afloat and microtransactions are a way to keep a monthly income. It doesn't mean I agree with this nor I think its okay, but from a business point of view this is why things are the way they are today, one would be surprised by the amount of startups and unicorn startups that are making mobile games with some sort of microtransaction.

There are many different ways to implement it, some more vile than others. Loot boxes? Absolutely vile, we have plenty of researches showing that the gratification of loot boxes is the same as gambling even if bigwigs from the industry try to say that "its not gambling because its virtual currency/itens without real monetary value." Lies, all lies, loot boxes teach children and adults alike how to gamble and have that sweet sweet high of not knowing what you will get.

It's also valid to consider that enabling 'premium' itens to be freely purchased with in-game currency or traded tends to cause severe inflation, gaia online comes to mind but I am sure there must be more examples out there. It also generates the famous side market of trading in-game goods for real life money between players which is against the rules in pretty much everywhere.

How can we help smaller companies stay afloat? When does it stops being a small purchase to help keep the servers up and when does it starts being pure corporate greed? I think this is a very complex matter and there is no simple or easy answer. Please don't take this as my personal opinion, I'm just throwing some facts here to stir a more serious discussion.
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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2023 @279.34 »

Hm, my main thing is that if I pay for a game I'm not paying more to play. I'll usually still play something that HAS microtransactions but I'll never use it x)
I don't play apps for this reason tho and play computer games bcos apps are loaded with microtransactions and most games are super sucky and boring without them bcos they want u to spend the money  :dive: just my two cents on the matter, sorry if i put it too bluntly
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« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2023 @285.38 »

The video game market is flooded unfortuneatly. Companies and 1-dev-teams really have to try all they can to keep going.

Wheather microtransactions are ethical in any ways, the market doesn't ask this question.

An old topic by the way. Remember the arcade machines of the 80s? Well, having the high difficulty level of those arcade games, where you had to throw a coin in to play and to improve was in a way similar, but certainly not as overkill as today. The developers went too far now, using psychological warfare against the players (even more: children) and I think that's really a crime.

"Proper" games shine with other qualities, story, interesting rule set, interesting physics, art, music... whatever. If the market is overflooded, do something else as a developer. I've heard they're looking for IT people everywhere, so get a proper job instead of ripping children off. That's what I'd like to say to people who build microtransactions in their games.
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Lyonid
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« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2023 @498.81 »

If the market is overflooded, do something else as a developer. I've heard they're looking for IT people everywhere, so get a proper job instead of ripping children off.

Looking at indie devs, I believe that most of them start to get into the mobile gaming market BECAUSE they are not interested in the more prominent software companies. If I want to be a game dev, I want to be a game dev, after all! Unfortunately, game development is a hell hole to get into, and building a portfolio that will net you a job in this industry is tough. I feel like many resort to this monetization scheme to fund their future projects to stay afloat, which is why the market itself is to blame. If we wouldn't have allowed such tactics to work, we wouldn't have these conversations in the first place. What's necessary is a monetization model that supports smaller developers, so they don't have to resort to microtransactions and gambling.

How can we help smaller companies stay afloat? When does it stops being a small purchase to help keep the servers up and when does it starts being pure corporate greed?

This question is so hard to answer, especially looking at the amount of money needed to finance servers. I remember looking at a pet site and how much they spend on servers alone, and I have no damn clue how they are still able to exist. The developer of Poppyseedpets only recently opened a Patreon, and as a broke student I was in shock by the fact that he paid over 200 bucks monthly to keep his game alive.

While I think that a platform like Patreon can be a nice, more transparent alternative to microtransactions, they won't keep all mouths fed if you are not an established figure in the market. It's hard work to remain ethical in that sense. "Create many good games, and build your following" is more easily said than done, but I think that's what will keep one afloat as an indie dev. Of course, this requires a LOT of time and effort, and there is a lot of temptation that one would have to resist

There's a game called Flappy Dragons which I always recommend to everyone despite them having microtransactions. All the things you can buy with real money is easily obtainable in the game, and not in a wishy-washy kind of way. It's very refreshing, and I think you can reliably measure this corporate greed by how many of the predatory models were applied during the game design process.
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