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Do microtransactions have a place in AAA video games?

A man holding a playstation 5 controller while playing a game on a tv screen

An article by Gabriel Zamora (PCMag) raises concerns about the increasing prices of AAA video games, now reaching around USD$70, while still incorporating microtransactions. This price hike, observed in titles from publishers like Sony and Ubisoft, is questioned in light of the additional revenue these companies gain from in-game purchases. Zamora argues that if the base price of games is increasing, it's unfair to burden players with microtransactions, especially when these games already generate substantial revenue through these extra charges. This perspective challenges the industry's trend of pushing both higher initial game costs and ongoing monetization strategies.

On the other hand, a study from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Malaysia, postulates that while microtransactions can be a necessary evil in some contexts, their use in $70 AAA games is highly controversial. These games, already expensive to purchase, burden players with additional costs, impacting the overall gaming experience and raising questions about the industry's monetization strategies. The situation presents a complex scenario where the necessity of funding game development intersects with consumer fairness and gaming enjoyment.

The recent release and performance of critically acclaimed "Baldur's Gate III", an AAA title without microtransactions, seems to set an example otherwise. The developer, Larian, has also openly commented the following:

“No, there are no in-game purchases in our game. We believe in providing a complete and immersive gaming experience without the need for additional purchases. Enjoy the game to its fullest without any additional costs or microtransactions.”

One of the biggest reasons why they can take such a stance is perhaps, they are not backed by any major corporation, without a Board to demand economic returns.

At the end of the day, industry practices can only go as far as what the profits tell them. If players all take a stance to vote with their wallet, perhaps it could change for the better.


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