Tripled its value, no less
There are all manner of articles online talking about the positive and negative aspects of “games as a service,” but a lot of that could be considered baseless pondering. Without any concrete financial data, we’re all mostly guessing about the impact microtransactions and loot boxes are having on our favorite hobby. Time to put that rumination to bed; according to a new report from Digital River, a monetization service company, this new manner of microtransaction laden experiences has tripled the value of the games industry.
The report reads, “In 2016, a quarter of all digital revenue from PC games with an upfront cost came from additional content.” At least this isn’t without some backlash, as the report also mentions, “Consumers are less willing to pay $60 for a boxed game and instead choose titles with a steady stream of new content.”
It then continues, “Publishers seek to meet these expectations and have adopted a ‘games as a service’ model, releasing fewer titles over time while keeping players engaged longer with regular updates and add-ons.” What this all means is apparently DLC, microtransactions and loot boxes are actually bringing in ridiculous amounts of money despite publishers claiming they are operating at a loss.
The rest of the report than focuses on how resellers like G2A are causing a lot of harm to the industry and how publishers are then pushed into finding an alternative to recoup lost revenue from illegitimate CD keys. I could definitely see that being a thing, but I don’t see how it causes microtransactions to then become a norm.
At least there is now some hard evidence as to how much publishers have been earning with these money making schemes. We can definitively say that, moving forward, more games will be embracing these models and probably turning out for the worse. I know titles like Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Forza Motorsport 7 and even the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront 2 are decidedly worse off for their inclusion of shady business practices, even if the base game mechanics are solid enough.
I guess we’ll just have to accept these lousy schemes until the less frugal among us finally have enough. I can’t wait for Shadow of War‘s sequel where the intro, middle and end are all hidden behind a random loot drop.
Games as a service has “tripled the industry’s value” [GamesIndustry.biz]