Electronic gaming has really taken off since the rise of the accessible internet and video gaming, handheld consoles and mobile gaming are all incredibly profitable.
But the world of gaming is changing, and now developers don’t just make money from units sold but from extras and in-game purchases. This benefits both the games developer and the customer, as the optional content can be bought if they choose but isn’t essential for the progression of the game.
Revenue generated from in-game purchases gives an incentive for them to frequently update the game, expanding play options and available products. This keeps the game fresh and interesting, and unlike years gone by isn’t a case of just completing it and it’s over. New levels, worlds and bonus games within the game are released. Here are some of the ways that electronic games can extend their commerce from the original purchase.
In-game purchases/ microtransactions
In-game purchases are usually things that are ‘consumable’ by the game. This could be coins or tokens that can be spent, ammunition that can be used up or in the case of mobile apps it can allow you to forfeit any waiting time or ads. They can be bought whenever they’re needed or wanted.
For example, if you play Final Fantasy 15 mobile game you’ll see that you can buy things like gold, VIP Points, various resources and speed- up tokens which can all add to the game playing experience. These microtransactions are usually just that, ‘micro.’ You can play the game without spending a penny, but now and again customers might choose to spend a couple of dollars speeding up their progress or unlocking new interesting items.
DLC (Downloadable content)
Downloadable content, in contrast to microtransactions, is usually a one-off purchase for a bundle of items. It includes things like map or question packs, new characters, classes or abilities, new levels, new zones with some games even adding completely new mechanics to the game.
It all depends on the game you’re playing, but DLC can revive a game that’s starting to become tiresome or can make a great game even better and more fun for the player. As this is usually a single payment, not overly expensive and has the ability to transform a game, it’s something that’s highly appealing to players.
Loot Box/ Prize Crate
The idea of a loot box or prize crate is to receive a randomised selection of virtual items which can help you in the game. These can range from customisation options to game-changing equipment such as armour and weapons. These kinds of options appeal to the player because of the random and unknown nature, it’s exciting and can improve the play of the game especially if the items they are coveting come up.
These kinds of transactions and the way games are changing has been criticised by some, as they have been compared with gambling. However, many people across the globe enjoy them in a sensible way every single day. Parents should monitor their children’s usage and block in-game purchases if necessary.