What Are Microtransactions?
To quickly summarize microtransactions are purchases made within a game in order to excel more rapidly compared to other players.
We all have cell phones and video game consoles, today let’s focus on cell phone games in order to best describe microtransactions. Have you ever downloaded a game on your cell phone, and find yourself having a blast playing this “free game” only to find that later on, you have a variety of “booster” packs or offers which could help you progress further or faster within the game?
If you answered yes, then congratulations, you’ve just found your first microtransaction! These small supposedly “one-time purchases” are designed by the developers in order to entice you, the player, into small charges on your debit/credit card. However there are some individuals who play the game, that will have no problem with paying these small fees for an advantage over regular users.
These types of players are known as P2P (pay to play) or P2W (pay to win) players, as opposed to their counterparts known as F2P (free to play) players. While both types of players can fully enjoy the game, F2P players over time tend to become frustrated with their slow progress within the game. This is what the gaming developers count on with their “free game” model which actually has been designed with many roadblocks in order to frustrate players into becoming buyers.
Let me explain these roadblocks, have you ever played a game that requires “energy, gems, stamina, pieces, tokens, etc?”
For now, let’s focus on energy or stamina cooldowns, these timed cooldowns are purposely implemented within mobile app games in order to keep you the player returning regularly. Because these cooldowns tend to have a slow rate of return, a player can easily find themselves wanting to pay to refill their energy/stamina and continue on with their gaming progress.