why are video games moving from standalone titles to to Microtransaction heavy models or Free-To-Play models?

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Some background; I don’t follow video games. I used to a lot. But the last video game I played and really, really enjoyed was Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. During recent searches, I’ve understood that although titles like Overwatch, Fortnite, The Division etc are very popular, there’s still a bunch of quality single player games being made.

My question is primarily, why are video game companies moving towards this model?

Is there any inherent benefit to it? How do the corporations pushing these games such as EA or Activision (with Black Ops 4 going that route recently, if I’m not mistaken) benefit? Do the gamers benefit in any way?

And also, are there any changes in demographics of gamers? Do people prefer these “Games As A Service” as they’re calling it, over more traditional models?

Any information will be SUPER helpful. Thank you!

In: Economics

5 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Simple. You make much more money over a longer period of time all while doing much less work. It’s a positive in every way for the game companies. If you manage to make a game with micotransactions and loot boxes that becomes popular you have then hit the jackpot. As long as that game stays popular it will basically print money and depending on the popularity it could stay that way for years while only requiring minor updates to keep people coming back.

Compare that with the traditional model for games. Its very expensive very time consuming and very risky with an extremely small payoff window. They spend millions and years making the game. Even more money to market the game sometimes more than they spent on the actual game these days. Then once the game releases they literally only get 2 to 3 weeks to make the bulk of the money they will see from the project. Sales for most games fall off steeply after that and they pretty much have to start planning the next game. Maybe they get a bump from an expansion or a sale for example but then it falls flat again.

It’s easy to see why the game industry is going the way it is. Now is there a benefit for gamers. Technically yes if theres a game you like that’s using the service model than that it would be continuously updated and iterated on which means a steady flow of content for the game you like which is nice. The fact is though that most of that stuff is gonna be locked behind micrc transactions and they stuff they add to these games is usually bread crumb items like a new skin not a genuine new addition to the game. Imo it benefits the gamer very little and the game industry tremendously.

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