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The micro-transaction gaming model gets thoroughly investigated

Tom Morgan
19 Sep 2011
Micro-transaction graph
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Pay-to-play games get dissected to see whether they are actually value for money

Love them or hate them, games built around micro-transactions are growing in popularity, with both players and developers.

Gamers love the low cost of entry - rather than buying a game at full price, players can get the basics for free and only pay for additional content. A few pounds here and there doesn't seem like a lot, but you can end up spending much more than you initially planned. Publishers often count on this, as they can see startling profits from their often lucrative pricing models.

Our sister site Bit-Gamer has just completed a thorough investigation into the micro-transaction pricing model, and has uncovered some surprising facts.

Despite "expecting to be infuriated by every game we came across”, they actually found that the majority of games that use micro-transactions offer items that can be found for free through continuous play, or ones that offer purely cosmetic changes. Whether you feel like spending £60 on a piece of in-game clothing that’s completely cosmetic is of course up to personal taste, but you won’t be gaining a gameplay advantage over other players.

Micro-transaction graph

However, there are some exceptions. Battlefield Play4Free, a web-based version of the seminal Battlefield 2, encourages players to buy weapons that give a clear advantage over the competition, for real world money. This creates a two-tier system of play, where those that refuse to spend their cash get left behind those that do.

For a more detailed breakdown, beautifully presented in easily-digestible graph form, head on over to Bit-Gamer and take a look.

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