Games with Predatory Microtransactions...

in Hive Gaming9 months ago

Microtransactions. Gacha games. Pay2Win DLCs... Gaming in recent years noticeably suffers from predatory practices. Mobile games, and those inspired by them in general, suffer the most.

These games use every weak point in human psychology to squeeze every single dollar out of your wallet!

I talked about Skinner Box tricks in one of my older posts. It's a topic I should revisit in the future. What I'll talk about below mostly fall under these tricks.


Lately, I watched a video by LowBudgetGaming talking about this topic. I already posted the video on DBuzz a while back It's below if you haven't watched it.

In the video, the speaker talks about microtransactions and how they're structured, giving two games as examples Diablo and Apex Legends, and why they're both examples of the industry's strategies that make players spend more money than they should or initially want.


The Video


Step One ! Confusing Currency Systems

The similarities between these games and gambling are endless!

First, these games use Multiple Currencies and the conversion rate between these currencies isn't straightforward. Let's say in an imaginary game of this type, there are three currencies: Orbs, Jewels, and Shiney Crystals. The Orbs can be obtained easily during the gameplay, the jewels are rare commodities in the game, and Crystals are only given as special prizes or bonuses at rare times.

Playing the game normally, there are ways to earn each of these currencies, but they're intentionally designed to take too long.

The game constantly shows you Bundle Packs you can purchase with real money, along with limited-time discounts, it's no wonder the Bundle prices feel cheap after spending so much time on the game. That's the sad part.

If the game had a reasonable progression in terms of obtaining its currencies, the player would find the prices unreasonable. It's because the time/effort required to earn Crystals is juxtapositioned with discounted prices for them, you feel it won't hurt to make one purchase.

These games are designed to make you feel like you're getting a bargain when you buy the next skin or weapon. For gamers who aren't interested in these types of games, this is absurd. "You're paying for something you should expect to come with the game for free," in our opinion.


Step Two !! Arbitary Time Limits

Have you noticed? Many of these games apply the strategy of limited-time offers. They show you a special item as soon as you open the game, (usually cosmetics,) that can only be obtained during a certain time period.

Most of these games don't allow trading with other players either, which urges the player who wants the item to spend more than they should, trying to obtain it. (Usually, the player who succumbs to this trap will try to rationalize spending that much money on virtual items he never needed in the first place.)

It's even worse in Gacha games because getting the character/item you want isn't guaranteed even if you paid, which can lead to a dangerous case of sunk-cost fallacy.

These time-limited items usually stay trapped at the time they were released. If you've missed 2021's Winter Holiday in Fortnite, you'll never be able to get the items you missed in any way.(Examples Here) This creates a FOMO effect that makes people (again) spend more than they should on the game.


Step Three !!! Re-skins and Loss Aversion

One of the problems with this mentality by publishers to maximize earnings is releasing the same items and characters but with different colors, at full price! Sometimes, even at a higher price than the original, even though it costs virtually nothing to introduce different colors of the same assets.

One strategy mentioned in the video is selling Skins as bundles. Developers deliberately prevent you from buying 'the good stuff' by themselves. They bundle the most wanted items with undesirable ones. Advertise the package as a deal or bargain, but the price is ultimately higher than the expected price of the item everyone wants if it was sold alone.

Another strategy the video explains is how Skins are always priced in a way that you'll always have left-over money in your balance. There are many reasons people would spend more if there's already money in their balance. From mental accounting to Sunken Asset Fallacy. When I realized this, I felt disgust over the times, I've seen that kind of pricing and didn't notice it.


Another Step !!!! Content Creators will Buy Anyway

"They realize they can sell the recolors for money and they started doing this sort of thing. People keep buying them, so why should they stop so anyway?"

Finally, the video mentions the role content creators, especially on Twitch and Youtube, play in sustaining this problem. These guys earn money because of their viewers. Some people enjoy watching them spend money on these packs even if they got

That's the problem... Even if the only people who'll pay for a new Item in the game's store are the content creators who do that, it'll still be worth it to the company to release reskins!

Considering how easy is to develop and change most of them. Developers are exploiting the very nature of game streaming to squeeze more money with minimal effort. Or maybe that's just how I see it. I only spoke about the negatives of this type of gaming so far, but I can't deny a lot of these games are actually fun, and the ones that aren't, tend to die quickly.


What do you think?

In conclusion, there are many tricks these games use to make you pay, or waste time grinding if you don't want to pay or can't. The tricks they use are often subtle enough that the only way to not fall into them is to not play the game.

A lot of these games are still enjoyable even with these flaws, but no matter how much you complain about something. When it comes to companies, your wallet speaks louder than your voice!

That's all I have for today. I hope to see you in another article. If you're new, I mainly write fictional stories and post art online. Check my "Where to Start?" Post for more information. For now, I wish to meet you in another article.

Salam~ (Peace.)

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Man I always know these prompts are just a money making effort. Rightly so the creators also spend a ton of money on making the game and need to profit somehow. But it's a little sickening when you look at the psychology behind it all! I guess it's all just another capitalist outlet!

Yeah, I too understand why they do it, but it's disfusting when I think of all the unaware victims of such psychology tricks... It's one thing to choose to play games knowing that could happen to you, and it's another thing being stuck in a spending cycle without knowing what's going on.

I just want to increase awareness about this topic.

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 9 months ago  

This is why I play good games that are 5 years old or older. I get the final complete edition of the game. Or that it has been cracked/patched by fans and emulated.😁

I usually play Older games too, but this problem I'm talking about is mainly in the mobile side of gaming and rarely in the AAA games that has (always-)online features. DLCs aren't so bad compared to what I described in this article.

Years ago, I made a rule to myself to not download Cracked games unless I'm sure I won't post about them online. I broke the rule once in a while, but I'm glad I'm mostly following it since I started earning on Steem/Hive.

Have a !PIZZA for your comment!

Nowadays, games have a lot of micro-transactions. But whether we pay a lot for it depends on what type of player we are. If anyone is interested in this topic, I highly recommend this post on it:

Glad this post is still getting comments, and thanks for the link! It's pretty fun.

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Hey, yeah I know the spray and pray comments are a little impersonal but I do read and follow up with every comment that someone leaves me. I wrote a post about it but the bottom line is many more people comment and thank me for bringing to their attention than have a negative feeling toward the comment.

Gaming has left me cold for some time but my kids are hugely into it. I tried to get them into Splinterlands a few years back (and boy would we have made some big bucks if they'd taken it up then) instead I get dinged regularly for my credit card no.

Oh, glad that you're replying to those who reply to you. I understand your point.

Haha, you story with your kids and splinterlands is fun. I used to play Splinterlands but not anymore, because I realized I waste a lot of time researching cards, looking at prices and building a team than actually earning, and that's not the type of thing I want to give my gaming time to.

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At the time my eldest was starting to play Magic TG but I just couldn't get him interested. I know which one cost me money and which would have earned it!

Well, Magic the Gathering had one of the best marketing for Card Games, it's hard to beat that. Especially, if his friends played it too. !LOLZ

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That's why when I find a mobile game that isn't pay to win I get attached to it, because there are few haha. In general it is something I will never accept, regardless of whether it is a free game and they do it to make money, I prefer a thousand times that they offer you visually amazing cosmetics but have no influence on gameplay, if so, I don't care, let them charge whatever they want. But if it gives you any advantage, no matter how small, I find it repulsive and I end up abandoning the game.

Actually, most of the games that these psychological tricks do it only with costemitcs, being a Pay2Win is another problem entirely that comes with what I mentioned, but isn't it.

Thanks for the comment. Have a !PIZZA

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