How not to destroy your Playerbase with Microtransactions

Since the early 2000s, the gaming industry has gone through a great transformation, especially when it comes to the business model. Lots of game publishers have shifted from one-off game sales to the microtransaction model. Instead of parting with huge chunks of money to acquire a video game, gamers can now download their favorites for free or at significantly reduced prices. Eventually, nothing is truly free, so game publishers try to get them to make in-game purchases for particular virtual products to offer a better experience or in some cases give a competitive edge while helping their businesses remain profitable. Such purchases are referred to as microtransactions.

Gamers’ Point of View

Besides, many gamers see the “Pay to Win” model as an unfair approach that gives an advantage to rich kids. To progress to a certain level of a game, gamers have to grind for very long hours. Alternatively, they can opt to throw in some amount of money into the game by purchasing some in-game items to progress faster (hello Battlefront II). This gives players a disproportionate advantage over their opponents who can’t make the purchases or access the items freely.

On the Other Hand…

All those maintenance activities require game publishers to dig deeper into their pockets. Can all this be sustained without continuous revenue from a game? Definitely not. As such, the developers have two options to choose from to stay afloat: make substantial one-off game sales or generate sales revenue little by little through microtransactions.

When it comes to one-time-purchase = full-priced games, high acquisition costs are a turn-off to many gamers. A couple of bad reviews from the media and their sales numbers are doomed. Eventually, the publishers find themselves in a situation where they can’t even help their businesses break-even. So, what next? Close up shop? Perhaps there is a game you loved playing, but since it is no longer supported, the servers are shut down, you can’t play it anymore…officially! Now you can guess what might have been the cause.

Therefore, for the publishers to profit off of their games, they have to find a way to bring more players on board and maximize gameplay time. Now, this is why free-to-play games use microtransaction models. With such a model, gamers can try out games for free, even play through them without actually paying a dime. Of course, if they want the cool stuff and a less grindy experience, eventually they are going to have to reach into their pockets.

Since such purchases cost small amounts of money, they are a friendlier option to gamers as compared to full-priced game purchases. The aim of a microtransaction model is to attract as many players as possible in a game and provide them with the resources they need to actively participate in the game for the longest time possible. The longer they stay in the game, the more opportunities they have to basically bond with it, ultimately leading to better chances for made in-game purchases.

Microtransactions have had a very significant impact on the video game industry, with more game developers joining the microtransaction model bandwagon. Publishers are enjoying more profits from microtransactions as compared to what they (used to) get from one-off game sales. For instance, Riot recently revealed that in-game purchases account for nearly the entire revenue it generates from League of Legends. More money flowing into the video game industry creates more stability and allows developers and publishers to plan games for the foreseeable future.

The Balance Point

1. Avoiding pay-to-win models

2. Proper proposition

With the gaming assistant incorporated into your game, gamers don’t have to pause or exit as the voice assistant provides the necessary guides and information. The assistant also helps you to tailor the right commercial ad or sponsored content to keep every gamer engaged, depending on their motivation level. As such, they can simply enjoy the undisrupted gaming experience.

3. Providing every necessary information on time

4. Tailoring your proposition to the gamer

In a Nuthshell

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I’m a huge blockchain and AI fan, writing about games, new tech and NFTs.