Modern Gamers Are Too Accepting Of Overpriced Microtransactions

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Who Thought $20-30 For Skins Was OK?

Story Highlights
  • Microtransactions are becoming more of a nuisance in the gaming industry.
  • These types of purchases are becoming more and more expensive, yet players remain silent.
  • Certain microtransactions are as expensive as a full-priced game.

Microtransactions didn’t gain widespread attention in the gaming sphere until the boom of online gaming and digital storefronts. The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion is considered one of the first instances of microtransactions, with Bethesda introducing cosmetic horse armor for $2.50.

Fast forward to 2024, and this practice is now the industry standard. Developers view microtransactions as a lucrative opportunity to increase their earnings, leading to more repulsive prices over time.

Major titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Diablo 4, and the recently released Foamstars serve as perfect examples of this trend.

Why it matters: The gaming hobby is becoming more expensive over time. With the advent of $70 games, more expensive hardware, and online subscriptions, I long to see publishers refusing to exploit players for their gains.

Modern Microtransactions Break The Bank

In previous Call of Duty games, weapon camos were available for as little as $2, which, by today’s standards, sounds unbelievable.

Back in 2012, I used to rock the Weaponized 115 and Afterlife camos on my guns in Black Ops 2 multiplayer. For a measly $4, I was able to use two incredible-looking camos for all of my weapons.

In 2024, however, gaming is no longer as simple. While Call of Duty has not made major improvements to its camos, Weapon Bundles are priced at ten times the value.

Similarly, Foamstars represents the latest example of excessively priced purchases, highlighting the extreme scenario. Certain bundles in Foamstars are priced at $45, surpassing the $30 cost of the base game itself.

Diablo 4 follows a similar trend, with developers imposing substantial charges. A single skin can cost up to $28, nearly half the price of the entire game. The likes of Tekken 8 and Dying Light 2 have also been criticized for their microtransactions.

The modern gaming landscape means that features that would have been included in the base game previously are often locked behind a paywall today. For example, prior Tekken games would include legacy costumes at no additional charge.

Producer Katsuhiro Harada states that games now cost much more to develop in an attempt to justify such practices. To be fair, Tekken 8’s microtransactions are not the worst offenders, but I don’t appreciate the fact that Bandai Namco added the shop after reviews were released.

Valorant Microtransactions
Valorant Skins, While High-Quality, Cost An Arm and A Leg

Overpriced Microtransactions in Free Games

Others, like Overwatch 2 and Valorant, have also incorporated overpriced cosmetics into their gameplay. However, the broader context differs significantly from that of paid games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Diablo 4 since these titles follow a free-to-play business model.

Both Overwatch 2 and Valorant primarily depend on microtransactions for their revenue stream. Therefore, while these games showcase expensive microtransactions, their reliance on this model can be somewhat understood.

However, even within the free-to-play model, certain microtransactions in Valorant and Overwatch exploit the system by being excessively priced. This is a factor that we, as consumers, need to speak out against.

Even if a game is free, I fail to understand how skins worth $60 are justifiable. If anything, these types of purchases only dissuade me, pushing me away from spending money on a game I otherwise would have.

At the end of the day, we can only blame ourselves. The gaming community has spoken with its wallets, enabling publishers to overcharge obscene amounts for the most basic of skins.

At least we have left the era of loot boxes behind, but with such prices becoming the norm, I am left to wonder if we picked the lesser of two evils.

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