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Why micropayments are so important to gaming

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You can’t have failed to have noticed that gaming has undergone a revolution. Firstly, we have seen the dramatic rise in eSports with fans betting on the outcome of video games. Teams go head to head playing games such as Counterstrike in fighting game tournaments and fans place bets in the same way as they would on regular sports.

The next part of the revolution that we have seen is all centred on micropayments. Like them or loathe them, these are here to stay and hold great importance to the gaming industry. Not sure how? Let’s take a look. 

Learning from mobile games

Those making games for consoles were treading the same path that they had for decades: selling the physical copy of a game that people could place into their machines and start to play. Clearly, there was money to be made and game companies were making millions. However, free mobile games were making a whole lot more.

With so many people owning smartphones, developers saw a huge potential marketplace. What better way to tap into it than give away games for free? That is what mobile game companies did and it saw their profits explode. How? By including charges within the games themselves. These charges were optional and could lead to unlocking new elements in a game. The micropayment model soon proved to be successful.

 The appeal of free

Free games led to a reluctance from people to go out and buy a physical copy of a game. Often this one-off payment model saw gamers having to pay a substantial amount to get their hands on a new game. They would often resent this when a newer addition was released and there was a need to upgrade.

Whereas it may appear that the free model would backfire, the truth is that it has led to games increasing in popularity.  By offering the basic game for free, game developers have reached a whole new audience. The games have become accessible to the masses and this gets everyone talking about them. People have shown that they are much more inclined to agree to micropayments within a game than to pay an initial upfront price.

The saviour of gaming

It is often said that for a business to be successful, there is a need to adapt. This is exactly what the gaming industry has done. It was quite plausible that free mobile games could’ve seen the end of console games. Luckily, those within the industry weren’t prepared to allow this to happen.

The likes of World of Warcraft first experimented with a subscription model. This saw players paying a monthly fee to keep access to the game. When people began to tire of the subscription model, the industry adapted again by moving towards micropayments.

Where we see micropayments

Games such as Fortnite, FIFA, GTA, and Angry Birds are known by almost everyone. Each of these popular games has tapped into the benefits of micropayments. Fortnite even comes with its own currency, V-Bucks, that you need to buy to access extras in the game. Predominantly, you will see micropayments being used for:  

In-game personalisation 

This is probably the most common use of micropayments. It sees players accessing games for free, but then paying for modifications such as extra lives, skins, or special weapons.

In-game level up

Players would use to have to play for some time to earn the right to access the next level. At times, some would be fed up with waiting and leave the game. Now, however, micropayments allow players to unlock levels early. This keeps them interested in the game and loyal to the franchise. 

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