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Could This Be the Beginning of the End for Microtransactions?

Whether you consider yourself a seasoned gamer or just a casual one, there is no doubt that you will have encountered microtransactions at some point in your gaming history. No matter if you play on console, PC or mobile, they are everywhere. So many games are saturated with content that must be bought to be enjoyed, whether it be a more powerful weapon, more in-game money or even just a character outfit. It has long been an accepted, if sometimes annoying, aspect of online gaming. However, the company behind Shadow of War, Monolith, have recently announced that as of 17th July, they will be removing microtransactions from the game. This begs the question, why have they decided to do this and is it the beginning of the end for microtransactions?

What are Microtransactions?

Firstly, let’s begin by explaining what exactly microtransactions are. Put simply, they are in-game purchases for game content. So, say you want to buy a more powerful weapon or a sweet new outfit for your character, you may be able to use in-game coins to buy similar items, but others may cost you real-life money to use them. These can range from a few cents up to hundreds of dollars, depending on the game and the item.

Often, microtransactions are implemented into free-to-play games where the player doesn’t need to pay for the game itself, but for bonus features which must be purchased to help them progress through the game quicker. It is present in many mobile and console games alike, from Sims Mobile to Call of Duty, and while there may be some great bonus items, some people aren’t huge fans of microtransactions.

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Monolith Removing Microtransactions

The announcement made by Monolith about their decision to remove microtransactions from Shadow of War may lead to other online games following suit. Within the coming weeks, players will see the removal of buying Gold, XP boosts, Item Chests and Orcs with real money until the Nemesis system will be gone forever. This move comes just six months after gaming communities expressed their anger at these annoying and intrusive microtransactions, and now it seems as though their voices have been heard.

The problem with microtransactions in games is that there is not enough transparency. Players are feeling as though they have to buy their way through the game rather than actually earn it. It’s not just individual items, many games have a ‘loot-box’ feature where players can purchase a box in-game which contains random items which may or may not be useful. Many players and even some governments are of the opinion that these loot-boxes are just like a lottery, however lotteries such as must disclose the odds to players, and this is not provided for those who purchase loot-boxes with their hard-earned cash, meaning they are blindly buying boxes with no clue how good their chances are of getting high-value items.


The Future of Microtransactions in Games

With such a big step being made by Monolith, it begs the question, will other gaming companies follow their lead? A lot of people aren’t happy with microtransactions in online games as they feel that they lack transparency and breaks trust between player and manufacturer. It makes sense that in the coming months and years, other online games will also start removing microtransactions from their systems, but only time will tell who will put their consumers’ needs before profit.