Flickr, BagoGames

Are micro-transactions good for gaming?

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Decades of bloated video games have left us entitled and detached from reality. If you want more, you pay more. Just like upgrading to a first-class ticket, micro-transactions are an entirely optional indulgence and, fundamentally, every player reaches the same destination. It’s just a case of how comfortably you get there. Nowadays micro-transactions are demonised, yet the games press harp on about the halcyon days of change-devouring arcade machines.

Most of us have played Candy Crush Saga. We remember the agonising 30 minute wait for a new life, instant gratification just a micro-transaction away. Shrewd players might exploit their device’s clock, although I’m sure none of you honest people would dream of that. No, good things come to those who wait, but sometimes you just don’t have time to waste.

Flickr, Nguyen Hung Vu

Furthermore, micro-transactions may save us money in the long run and, in fact, return power to the players in what is a supremely oversaturated market. Free-to-play games are potentially more lucrative than traditional pricing models, but they allow us to make more informed choices with our money. Don’t like the game? Uninstall it without any fuss because you’ve parted with absolutely none of your cash.

Like a good referee, when they’re done well micro-transactions fly under the radar. We should celebrate when devs get it right, rather than giving the spotlight exclusively to the industry’s big bads

Revenue from micro-transactions can be reinvested into games by contributing to the expenses of development and running servers. The runaway success of Grand Theft Auto V Online incentivised Rockstar to continue supporting and improving a four year old game. This means that you can get more bang for your buck when devs use micro-transactions, whether you partake or not.

I admit that micro-transactions are easily exploited by the greedier companies, but I don’t believe this is the norm. Like a good referee, when they’re done well micro-transactions fly under the radar. We should celebrate when devs get it right, rather than giving the spotlight exclusively to the industry’s big bads. rather than giving the spotlight exclusively to the industry’s big bads.

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