If microtransactions are removed from games, one of these three systems will likely replace them
Here are three systems likely to replace microtransactions, should they end up being rare sights in the gaming industry.
To say that the recent Star Wars Battlefront II sparked a massive push against microtransactions in gaming would be an understatement. Almost the entire gaming community rallied behind fighting the addition of loot boxes in lieu of the incredibly aggressive system Battlefront II utilizes.
Because of this, there's a higher chance companies will refrain from implementing microtransactions in fear of their games having a bad public opinion and reduced sales. If this happens, though, they will likely look to find another way to replace the income made by loot boxes. There are three realistic choices that come to mind. Each one has both merits and disadvantages, but all of them are more consumer-friendly than microtransactions that prevent satisfying progression systems.
Read: Video games benefit from fewer microtransactions — here's why
One feasible way that developers could make the same amount of money they make from microtransactions would be to adopt a subscription-based system in which players have to pay a certain amount at set intervals (typically once a month) in order to continue playing the game.
The main advantage of this type of business model is that longtime players will end up paying a large sum of money. For example, let's say that it costs $10 a month in order to play a game. People who love the game and plan to actively enjoy it for an extended period of time will end up paying hundreds for continued access — $120 a year, to be precise.
While this seems like a bad deal for consumers, it can also be seen as a good one depending on your perspective. Small, incremental fees instead of one large flat purchase allow for people with regular incomes to afford access to a game much more easily.
That isn't to say this system is perfect, though. If the game doesn't keep people playing in the long term, the structure of the subscriptions could backfire and end up earning companies a lot less overall.
Another more traditional system that could take the place of microtransactions would be paid downloadable content or DLC. Games like Battlefront II and Halo 5: Guardians offer free DLC with the tradeoff being that loot boxes are implemented into the game; by making DLC cost money, the companies behind games could make a profit that way instead.
While paid DLC likely won't bring back players as much as free DLC will, it's worth it if the game itself doesn't have to have a microtransaction system in it. Paid DLC pleases both sides: developers earn extra revenue, and consumers get a better base game without microtransactions in it.
It's important to remember that DLC takes quite a lot of time and money to create, and due to this, prices of map packs or new game modes could go up from more current DLC thanks to the rising costs of game development overall. Consumers may not like the sound of new content being even pricier after already paying $60 for the vanilla game.
Another issue, albeit small, with paid DLC is that it will divide the population of the game in question. Some players will purchase the new content, while others will not. This may not have too much of an impact, but it can cause matchmaking times to be a little slower.
Raising initial pricing
The last, and simplest, way that developers could make more money is by raising the price of their games. Considering that development costs have only increased, yet the $60 price tag has remained the same for years, this option feels justifiable.
Figuring out just how much prices are raised is key. Should developers choose this route, I think that increasing the cost by $10 is a fair and reasonable amount. That seems like a small number, but considering most $60 titles often sell millions of copies, that extra bit of money from each purchase will add up.
The biggest hurdle for a direct pricing increase would be getting the gaming community to accept it. People very rarely like change from a system that works for them, and the $60 standard has been working for them for over a decade.
On top of this, $60 is already considered a fairly large purchase for a game to many. Increasing that amount by another $10 risks causing some consumers to shy away from a purchase, fearing they might be spending too much on an entertainment product they might not like after all.
Which of these three systems do you think would best replace microtransactions? Would you be willing to play a subscription-based shooter, or a AAA title that costs ten extra dollars? Let me know what you think.
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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.
By Jez Corden
Whoever first thought up microtransactions should be shot. Short term gain, but it erodes the gaming industry and hurts it overall. I can't believe how cheap they sell some games. How is anyone supposed to make money.
There is also something called trying to keep the industry alive and a sustainable business model. Not all these companies implement these practices. A positive image is also important in any business.
EA's share dropped by quite a lot recently.
Gamers not being happy makes a load enough noice. Media talks about it. Partners like Disney or even Sony are pissed and very soon investors will not be happy. And they will just leave. It's not a necessity because other companies who are ALSO in this capitalistic economic world don't do it.
A game from 38 Studios (capital was $50m dollar) sold more than 1.2m copies in 90 days went bankrupt.
Balance point was 3m copies.
Studio was created in 2006, game released in FEB 2012, June 2012 went bankrupt.
What Ubi and other AAA devs are doing / researching.
OR, you can do what Japanese devs are doing, stay with traditional static keyframe animation. > I hope the AI will help
ps: Your investment might give you 0 result, still has risk.
Instead, the likes of CoD, etc require you to purchase what is essentially the same game, again, move to different servers and abandon any of your friends who doesn't follow nor can you go back and play the old content you once did.
When you think about the cost of a WoW sub for the year, and you get to continue playing your characters from many years ago with friends from many years ago, in a world (s) build up on many year ago, it makes you wonder why EA and other publishers continue to dilute their multiplayer gaming population by releasing a brand new game and multiplayer setup every year and abandoning their old content. For the price of a new CoD game + seaon pack, you're already paying the same as a WoW sub for the year.
Warzone (PVP) is prob the one people hate.
Warzone Firefight (coop)... everyone brings out their biggest gun fighting common enemy... I c no harm... we are all on the same side and is quite fun running your enemies over this way. Middle Earth has loot box but it progressed fine, no? Do they take away legendary gears from normal progression? Did they make the boss extra hard because of the real-cash-loot-box? How about in-game-currency-loot-box-only? How will it impact the progression?
I'm playing AC-O... so far so good...
2) gaming is one of the few industry where we see some "consumer" come and defend anti-consumer policies.
3) Paid DLC was suppose to be the thing that these companies survive and keep making games against this so-called "rise in price of making games".
4) If games are that expensive to produce, how about cutting cost making them? Most of these games are sequels that uses assets from previous games. I believe what's gone up is marketing cost. Why the HELL should gamers pay for that rise in marketing investment? Subscription-based system is the worst possible answer.
I hope Xbox game pass, PS Now, EA access and these renting system ALL fail and die. The focus would be amount of content and number of games rather than quality of games. Look at Xbox game pass. It's about the "more than 100 games" not the fact that most are really old games... Not only that. This is renting service. It's killing the notion of owning a game. Paid DLC?
The thing about DLC is that I really don't want part of the story of the main game to be locked behind a DLC. Also if the are going to have a so-called season pass or VIP pass then that should include ALL THE content. Increase the price?
How about have just one price instead of the million of different versions? Let them put the price they think their game deserve and let's see how it sells. If they want to raise the price to $100 then they can do that it's a free world. An open market...
But I find it funny how they talk about price when they have never actually decreased the price of digital games... The problem is that these companies are driven by greed. They'll have ALL of these + MT + loot boxes + various versions of the game + "pay money or you'll get the game late" + "remastered/ultimate" version + sponsored DLC or product placement + "commercial exclusives deals with Sony or MS" + "timed deals for DLC with Sony or MS" + "exclusive content deals with Sony or MS"... It's mostly these major rich companies who are doing this to please their inverstors. The answer is so simple. Cut production cost if it's too expensive. And by that I mean marketing cost...