● By Aminah Madihah
Gaming addiction can and will hurt your bank account if you’re not careful.
If you’re a gamer, you might notice that a lot of games this era cost money, even if they’re free to download and play. These small, in-game purchases have reshaped the way we interact with and experience video games.
Microtransactions began as a way for free-to-play games to monetise their content. Players purchase virtual items, cosmetics, or in-game currency to enhance their gaming experience.
This model quickly spread to paid games, creating a new revenue stream for developers.
Why do people spend money on free-to-play games?
There are games that give you the option to spend money to keep playing. For example, in order to progress in Monopoly GO, you need to have dice to roll. When you run out of dice, you need to wait for it to fill up again in an hour. For those who refuse to wait, they can choose to purchase the dice to continue playing and level up.
In games such as Mobile Legends, players can customise each character with skins that need to be purchased. In Valorant, players can buy bundles of skins for the weapons when they top up their credits in-game. These skins however, do not affect the gameplay in any way. Some gamers just like to have nice things in their favourite games.
Of course, where money is concerned, these microtransactions come with their fair share of backlash. Here’s how it has shifted the gaming landscape negatively:
Critics argue that microtransactions exploit psychological triggers, encouraging players to spend more money than they initially intended. This has raised concerns about addiction and the impact on vulnerable players, especially minors.
Gamers should not prioritise buying bundles in games over real-life commitments. Not to mention most of these digital items are excessively expensive for something that can only be used within the game.
Are you familiar with machines where you insert coins and get random toys? This is how gacha works. Games featuring loot boxes, which operate like virtual slot machines, have faced criticism for resembling gambling and potentially contributing to gambling-related issues. Players will keep spending money to get the exact item they want in the game.
This has become a problem for a Singaporean dad, who was in a $20,000 credit card debt after his daughter spent it on Genshin Impact - a game that makes money off the gacha mechanic.
Back then, when you pay for the price of one game disc for your gaming console, you get to play the whole game and finish it. Now, developers have come with DLC (downloadable content) where you have to purchase it to continue playing with new levels, characters, weapons, or skins.
Microtransactions have been used to monetise content that was originally intended to be part of the base game, leaving players feeling shortchanged.
Think you might have a problem with microtransactions as a gamer? Here are some tips to maintain a healthy gaming experience!
Photo by Pandhuya Niking on Unsplash.
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