The Future of Gaming: Micro-Transactions

Author: James Walker
Published: February 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm

tollgateStar Trek Online, Lord of Ultima, Dungeons and Dragons online and The Simpsons   What's the common thread? You can play them but if you want to see the closing credits you're going to need to peel off some green.

It's become a very lucrative space with $25 million made by EA in the last quarter of 2012 just on their  Simpsons mobile  game alone.   EA and other large publishers like Activision have been actively exploring  new revenue models  to  offset declines in traditional boxed sales.

It's a trend that's gradually finding its way into the traditional gaming space of PC's and consoles.  Subscriptions, upgrades and DLC  have become more commonplace but game publishers see an opportunity to push the model even further. 

The typical triple-A game title now averages $60.  DLC is usually around $15 with upgrades usually a fraction of that.  If you were to take advantage of all the extra content you could  essentially pay for the game twice when you were done.

Of course you don't have to purchase the extra content but your experience will be diminished compared to those that do.  EA's Blake J. Jorgensen thinks that's where the money is.

"The next and much bigger piece is micro transactions within games...  we’re building into all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun, whatever... and consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business"

I'm not so sure consumers are "enjoying "micro-transactions as much as they're just tolerating them at this point. The model can work if your upfront investment is minimal but the future may not be so certain if we're still paying triple-A prices.

Continued on the next page

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Article Author: James Walker

An IT professional for the past two decades I've been both cubicle dweller and independent consultant for a number of companies. I enjoy writing about a range of topics but know that I only post articles when I think I have something important to say. …

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