The last financial reports of the great video game publishers have shown a disturbing picture in its uniformity: the microtransazioni have become the number one source of income for video games and have been all the more successful the more they have begun to become an integral part of videogame culture, be it packs of cards to open or skins to buy to show off online. Naturally, it took a few years to normalize them, subject to minimization by most of the specialized press, which struggled a lot to frame their growth and effects on the market; of influencers paid to bring them closer to the general public (do you remember the youtubers and streamers who unpack or show the skins they have purchased? Here, they essentially have this function, aware or unaware that they are) and a continuous improvement of in-game stores, become more and more refined in being able to stimulate the compulsive purchases of users.
Ubisoft, Activision, Electronic Arts, just to mention three very large and well-known publishers, have all shown budgets in which microtransactions play the lion’s share, marginalizing the sale of premium products, so much so that: Ubisoft has declared that it will increase its efforts on free-to-play, leaving the production of premium titles unchanged; Electronic Arts, with 4 billion dollars collected from in-game purchases alone, has titles like Battlefield 6 in the pipeline designed to have more live service elements than in past chapters; Activision has given up all its IPs by concentrating all its studies on that Call of Duty, which produces record collections with Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Mobile, both free-to-play. After all, why not given the money made? Investments go where the market goes, that is, supply meets demand, whatever it is.
If a pastry chef sells a thousand pies of excrement a month against a hundred full of excellent ingredients, he may be sorry, but it is clear that the production of pies of excrement will increase, certainly not that of good cakes. After all, we can also start discussing the tastes of his customers, but the truth is that if they are happy eating poop, it is difficult for them to change their mind just because someone tells them that maybe chocolate is better. Cultural processes, which lead to changes in consumption habits, are slow, not very controllable and often do not produce the desired results. The truth is that microtransactions won and to tell us about it is also a small detail of the process between Epic Games and Apple: Peely, the Fortnite banana. Beyond the ridiculous way she was sued in court, it makes one sobering that it’s a simple skin, yet it has become known to the point of becoming evidence. In fact, then the whole process revolves around microtransactions: Epic Games wants to earn more, Apple does not want to give up its earnings and Peely is there to remind us what gamers are buying these days. It is almost to be regretted when Mortal Kombat was brought to court for its violence or Night Trap because it was considered pornographic.