The Future of Gaming: Micro-Transactions
Star 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