Microtransactions are the small in-game transactions commonly used to purchase cosmetics items such as skins, clothes, armours etc. Microtransactions are commonly used in free to play games to cover the cost of development and provide the game with constant updates, although it commonly used to purchase shining items and characters. It can also become unfair to some players who don’t have a six digit salary or born with a silver spoon.
History of Microtransactions: Microtransactions were first used in early Arcade machines. These machines required a few coins to play, but when the player ran out of lives, they had to pay more coins to continue playing. In the late 1990s, MMOs with subscription came which charged a certain amount of fee per month, whereas other free to play MMOs also had a pay to win component which gave them an edge over the player who is playing for free.
Types of Microtransactions:
In-Game Currencies: One of the most popular microtransactions, it involves purchasing in-game currencies such as gems, V-bucks, credits etc. Which can be used to purchase several items such as armour. Characters, skins, wepons,armour etc.
In-Game Items: Despite free to play games having no cost to play it will offer players with upgrades. Sometimes these items are better than the items that the players get for free. Games such Dota 2 provided option to locate teammates on map to Dota plus subscribers giving the plus subscribers an advantage.
Disappointment due to Microtransactions: Most recent example would to EA’s Star wars battlefront 2 , which provided fan favourite characters Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader at hefty price, although the characters could be also unlocked for free, but according to a reddit’s post it will take about 40 hours of grinding to unlock a single fan favourite character. On the other hand train simulator 2015 had most of the trains locked behind paywall having total amount of microtransactions upto $4000 with some trains being sold for $40 which was equal to the base price of the game. WWE 2K15 sunk to a new low asking players to pay $3 to unlock nipples for in-game strippers. Although most of these things are not required to enjoy the game but it still leaves a bad taste the Player’s mouth.
Pay to Win: Pay to win is the worst thing about Microtransactions, many games provide players with deep pockets an extra edge over the players who spend their months of pocket money to buy the game For example: Battlefield 4 provided some brilliant and high stat armour, weapons, etc. at a price tag giving players an extra edge. Mobile games such as clash of clans let players buy extra gems for with real money allowing them to max out their base in an instant. In the case of Warframe which requires high amount of grinding players can just spend some cash and get rid of some of the grinding. Rainbow six siege provided operators early to the players who have some cash to burn although they can access the operator a week later with some grinding.
Conclusion: Although Microtransactions are very important for developers of free to play games it should be applied in such a way that it does not give advantage to another player having tons of cash, Games such as Apex Legends, Valorant, CS:GO are few examples of free to play games in which developers used the right formula and didn’t give advantage to other players.