Microtransactions: Are they really as bad as we think?
Fairly recently, I've noticed a large flux after EA's announcement of including microtransactions in all their games, people have been going berserk about anything that involves microtransactions and throwing a blanket of "bad" over all of it. I'm here to talk about microtransactions objectively and explain that they can actually be a very good thing for gaming.
So let's get this out of the way. What are microtransactions? Microtransactions are using small amounts of actual money to buy in game items. I know that this sounds like a money whoring idea, and to a large part it is, but it can also be great for us as gamers.
Now for question 2, why can it be good when it's just a way to make money? Choice. That is the simplest way to explain it. When microtransactions are done right (I will provide examples later) they give the gamer hundreds if not thousands of items choose from and earn. Gamers have the ability to choose between thousands of items and get one that suits specifically their needs. When microtransactions are done correctly you can buy an item if you want or play the game long enough and earn it yourself. You don't HAVE to buy the item. This is main difference between a game with good microtransactions and one with bad microtransactions. Games with good microtransactions give you option to earn 90+% of the items without having to spend real money on them. So let me list some examples of good and bad microtransactions.
Lord of the Rings online- This game provides players with thousands of items they can buy. Almost every item in that game's store can be earned by just playing the game long enough, but if you want it right now you can spend one or two dollars to get it instantly. Microtransactions in this case are good, and actually wound up saving a dying game that was scheduled to be terminated. Through microtransactions Tribune was able to make their game free to play and increase their profit margin by 700%.
Dust 514 - The PS3's first person shooter MMO relies on a microtransaction model to keep the game free to play. In it, and this is what differs a little from LOTRO, by playing the game you earn game money which can be used to purchase the items, or you can buy the items using your own money.
Call of Duty Black Ops 2: This is a perfect example of a bad microtransactions. In BO2 you can buy player cards and weapon cammos for real money. The reason this is money whoring (bad microtransactions) and not good microtransactions is because there is no way to earn any other this. They must be bought.
Dead Space 3: I know this is the most prevalent example and is the example that has sparked the fire of hatred towards microtransactions. I would love to discuss this game but honestly I haven't played it and therefore can't honestly say whether or not it is good or bad microtransactions. However I did want to bring up Dead Space because it sparked all this.
My point to all of this is that microtransactions can be good for us as the gamer. They can give us abundance of choices of items to fit our play style. So with this I would like to leave you with some questions. Do you think microtransactions are completely bad? Can a microtransaction model help improve gaming? Is EA getting to much flack for microtransactions? Did this blog change your opinion of microtransactions or are all microtransactions bad? What is your opinion on microtransactions?