Why In-Game Purchases are Here to Stay

Why In-Game Purchases are Here to Stay

Video gaming has evolved to an almost unrecognizable state today. Gone are the days when large-scale projects told a story from beginning to end, and that’s it. Of course, narrative, story-driven adventures are still made, yet you are offered pre-order bonuses for an in-game advantage or DLC a little later after release. But for many games, in-game purchases are added continuously as developers and publishers seek to maximize profits and capitalize on gamers’ needs.

It Makes Sense for Online

Single-player offline games offer a narrative-driven experience of the more traditional games of yesteryear. But the interconnected nature of modern games makes them an expensive proposition for any developer or publisher to run. Therefore, a way to keep the servers running is required. And that’s where in-game currency comes in. FIFA 22 Coins, Elder Scrolls Online Crowns, and Marvel’s Avengers Credits are perfect examples. You complete transactions via purchases with in-game currency purchased with real cash. It’s a method that works well for all online games.

The Elder Scrolls Online

Cheaper or More Expensive?

The issue you might have with in-game currencies is that they are an added expense. And you would be correct if it was not for one thing – the added value. However, for a gamer, value comes in various forms:

  • Bragging rights: owning something rare is unique for many gamers.
  • Cosmetics: everyone wants their character to look the coolest.
  • Services: some services aren’t included in free or basic game versions.

Many games which use their own currency are provided free of charge. But not all. Some, like Elder Scrolls Online, require a full game purchase in addition to a credited account. Further, a monthly fee is required if you want the best from the popular fantasy MMO.

The Unfair Advantage

Charging extra for in-game content puts developers in a favorable position. You rely on them for additional content entirely. This means you need to wait for DLC to become available or wait for the obligatory seasonal update. However, free DLC expansions for online games if you work towards them with alternate in-game currency, which you earn by grinding. Unfortunately, many developers, such as Rockstar Games, make these in-game items difficult or time-consuming to acquire. Therefore, you ultimately end up paying for the content anyway.

The Inclusion Aspect

Constantly paying for additional content can become expensive, yet smaller transactions, like those in Fortnite, take the sting out of it a little. Smaller but regular DLCs for your favorite games can help you feel closer to the game. It isn’t uncommon for some of these games to expand their inclusion by widening the scope of DLC drops. For example, The Sims 4 constantly drops free updates for its popular life simulation with culture-sensitive items. Also, it isn’t uncommon for developers to listen to fans and include much-requested things at some point.

The Sims 4

An Expensive Slippery Slope

Although paying for smaller items at lower prices helps those with limited funds acquire new content, the model is somewhat flawed in many games. Specifically, games that include loot boxes as part of their business model. Loot boxes are controversial because they are typically expensive in the first instance. However, they are also no different than gambling. You pay for a specific box or crate with no idea what it contains. And you aren’t guaranteed high-quality items. Instead, in almost all cases, you are rewarded with low-quality gear. Because of this, buying loot boxes becomes addictive as you seek greater rewards.

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