Man playing PC game with microtransactions

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They are here to stay and keep you spending — whether you like it or not.

Remember back in the day when you would buy a new video game — and not have to spend another dime after that initial purchase?

It was a simpler time. But now it’s 2017, and now video games offer add-on purchases that generate billions in annual revenue.

Many consumers have denounced these add-on purchases, saying that all features of a game should be available if you’ve already paid for it. But I disagree.

I think microtransactions are the future of video games. We may not like them because we are paying more money for our games, but in the end it’s a fair trade-off. Here’s why.

Game prices haven’t changed much

Inflation has affected most businesses over the past 30 years, but not the video game market.

Back in the late 80s when the original Nintendo console was thriving, a new video game was generally $50. I bought games in the 90s for the same price.

Fast forward to 2017, and the base retail price for a video game is $60.

Maybe charging $50 back in the day for a game was a little excessive, but to have only a $10 increase in game price in the last 30 years isn’t too shabby, especially given how much more complex they are these days. Where else have you gotten that value?

If people want to get rid of microtransactions, I think it’s fair that the current retail price of games be raised a little bit more, and making added content optional makes it more than fair to us.

Games require frequent updates

Before the internet was an integral part of gaming, development teams would work to a deadline to complete a game.

Once the game was completed, that was it. There was no way to go back and fix bugs or update it for consumers. I remember buying old games with major glitches that could not be fixed.

Today though, studios continue to update games after they have already been released. Developers constantly work on fixing bugs and creating new content to keep the community coming back to the game.

They are able to pay for this by offering in-game purchases that keep funding game development for months and even years after the initial release.

Encourages more free-to-play games

It seems that almost everyone I know plays a game on their phone today. Last year mobile games generated over $35 billion in worldwide sales.

Although the revenue is so high, most of these games are actually free to play and download. They use addicting gameplay to hook players into spending a few dollars here and there while they play the game.

I think free-to-play games are good for the industry because it forces developers to make games that people actually want to play.

If someone tries a free game and doesn’t like it, they can simply delete it and never play again without feeling like they got ripped off. However, if they do like it, they can choose to support the game through microtransactions. It’s win-win.

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Thomas Chiles

Thomas Chiles


Chiles is a writer for


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