Over the past few years, peoples attitude toward microtransactions has hit an all-time low, well at least within the hardcore community. In a recent earnings report, Activision has revealed they made a substantial profit from what they call “in-game net bookings.”. $3.37 billion in profit is what they have made, $3.37 BILLION. This is absolutely astonishing and infuriating!
We all lost our minds when it took 40 hours to unlock Darth Vader in Battlefront 2. It has felt like most developers have moved toward cosmetic items only since then. For games like Fortnite, this is ok. The game is free, they need to make money somehow. It is still an annoyance for any game where you need to shell out $60-$70.
The huge push for people to “vote with your wallet” seemed to have been working, but this latest press release would suggest otherwise. It seems for every hardcore gamer who has decided to vote with their wallet, there are a dozen casual gamers happy to shell out cash. It seems people absolutely love to spend $94.99 on in-game currency.
From the publisher and developer perspective, the damage in reputation that comes with adding microtransactions does little to damage their bottom line. The casual community will keep shelling out cash to pay for something that should be included with the cash you dropped to buy the game in the first place.
It feels like the battle has been lost at this point. Voting with your wallet does nothing. There are far too many people out there happy to pay for these in-game items. People who just think this is the norm or is acceptable.
It was starting to feel like microtransactions were becoming less common in games with publishers often mentioning the lack of them in promotional material. They are aware we hate them. Seeing how much money Activision has made from them this year alone is just infuriating.
Will that profit be invested into making more high-quality AAA titles or will it go into creating more games that will increase that microtransaction profit margin for years to come?
Will that profit be invested into making more high-quality AAA titles or will it go into creating more games that will increase that microtransaction profit margin for years to come? Public companies like this are driven by profits and because of this will most definitely need to follow the path that brings in the most money.
Are Microtransactions Really That Bad
There is a discussion to be had around whether microtransactions are that detrimental to the gaming experience. I for one would most definitely argue that they are. Anything that gives players a shortcut to get something faster is terrible. Not because it is cheating, but because most developers will make the route you take to get it without paying, incredibly slow and boring. Grinding 40 hours to unlock Darth Vader in Battlefront 2 or simply pay some money. There is an attitude of “give us more money or we will waste your time”.
So the inevitable option here is if you don’t like the way the games work, don’t play them. Sure, this makes perfect sense. But as someone who has been passionate about video games for a very long time, being pushed away from playing games because there is too much greed and money-grabbing is upsetting. If video games cost a lot to produce, then charge more for the game. Don’t alter the product to make the user experience worse but the profits higher.
Activision, of course, are not the only company guilty of it. EA, are in fact the worst. I am only referencing Activision here due to them revealing how much money they made. The likes if Fifa, every single year, resetting the players online team and making them pay for more tokens is insane.
Maybe I am just the one going crazy here. It felt like there was unanimous outrage over peoples hate toward microtransactions, but it is clear now it isn’t the case. Video game developers and publishers are making an absolute fortune of it. Voting with your wallet does nothing when people are hooked!