Microtransactions and Arcades

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One of the many things that gamers, including myself, dislike is microtransactions. Microtransactions are purchases within games, usually only a few dollars, which give the player consumables, like in game wealth and extra lives, or extra content, like bonus levels and quests. The not consumable microtransactions are commonly known as DLC, or downloadable content. DLC and consumables are the two main forms of microtransactions within video games. There a few other forms of microtransactions, but they are not nearly as prominent as DLC and consumables.

Most of the time, I really like DLC. DLC can make large changes to games, making them a lot better. A great example of this is the new Diablo 3 expansion called Reaper of Souls. This expansion adds much needed updates, a new game mode, a new character, and quite a few new quests to the game. In my opinion it was worth purchasing. DLC can breathe new life into games that have been dead for many months. Another great example of good DLC was the Burial at Sea packages for Bioshock Infinite. Both of these parts together added around 6-8 hours of gameplay to the game, and an amazing new story. Since I’m a big fan of the Bioshock games I thought it was an amazing deal.

The types of micro transactions that receive the most of amount of criticism are consumables. Like I said above, purchasing consumables is using real wealth to purchase in game wealth, or lives, or other items that are not permanent. Before the Reaper of Souls update in Diablo 3, you could using real money to purchase in game wealth. The problem with this is that to beat the higher difficulties in the game, you almost had to do this. This is a big problem is the gaming community. People do not like it when they purchase a game, and then they have to pay more money to complete it. These are known as pay-to-win games. Many free games are infected with consumable microtransactions. The mobile market gets the vast majority of these games. Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, Farm Ville, and Farm Heroes, all of these games are filled with microtransactions. Try playing Candy Crush without connecting to social networks or purchasing extra lives. You’ll get stuck for a days on a single level. The game tries to get you to pay a few dollars for some extra moves, so you can get past that level. Then you get stuck on another level, and then the cycle of microtransaction purchasing goes on. This is how these free, or freemium, games make money and a lot of it.

A large portion of the gaming community despises games that do this to players. Is it really that bad though? Games have been doing it for decades, ever since arcades were popular. No one had a problem with it back then! They would just keep shoveling quarters into the machine to keep playing. If you ran out of lives in an arcade game, you could put some more money into the machine to keep playing. So, how is modern microtransactions any different from the days of arcades and why do people complain so much about modern micro transactions but not about arcades?

Thanks for reading!