Free-to-play games are driving the market of video games in this modern age. With more new people joining the Internet than ever, the importance of free-to-play games has increased to heights people would never have expected. The “gaming” revolution, as they say, is mostly kickstarted by mobile folk who are extremely budget conscious and do not know whether they will like something or not. The hassle required to secure a refund, or the lack of a budget (or even the mentality) for buying video games means there is a huge interest in free-to-play games, particularly from mobile gamers.
The mobile has been the choice of device for many gamers around the globe, and that is exactly what most game developers around the world hope to capture as their audience within the 21st century. Just swipe through the Play Store – you are more likely to see free-to-play apps than apps that have a small cost associated with them.
The problem that comes associated with the free-to-play model is the monetization. Most games employ a payment model that allows players to play for small benefits in terms of cosmetics, level-ups, in-game boosts, loot boxes, or more. You would be surprised to know how “over-monetized” or “generous” games can be – they are the terms used by players to refer to the content provided by the developers for players who have not shifted a dime out of their pocket.
Eventually, as mobile gaming becomes more widespread, in-game monetization becomes more widespread, becoming more economical for short-term buyers. The real funds for running such an in-game economy comes from the long-term buyers, however. Often called “whales”, these are the folks who have dropped thousands of dollars or euros in the game and plan to drop even more in the future.
Add the influence of modern-day media in the form of YouTube and Twitch to that, and you would see how they transform people who did not want to spend a single dime on the game to folks who have dropped thousands of dollars (and have no wish to stop).
The future of mobile gaming
While most “level-ups” or cosmetics seem simple microtransactions, some games have opted for a more complicated form of monetization. They give away loot crates, which can be “consumed” for unlocking access to some bonuses. The problem associated with this is – you never know what you will be getting. You can get that shiny item with a drop rate of 0.001% chance – who knows? That is exactly the mentality that drives players to drop more money, gambling with their chances to get that in-game item to show off before their peers. The peer pressure of playing with the best in-game characters, cards, or cosmetics pushes more people to contribute to the game’s aggressive monetization. Gaming corporations have turned mobile gaming into a Mecca for gambling whose influence has spread across the entire globe. You would see slot machines spinning, mini-games being played just like in one of the casinos in Nepal, Texas, or somewhere in Switzerland or Nordic countries.
Have a look at this casino guide at Norskespileautomater.com out if you want to check-in details. In fact, real-world casinos might be ashamed of how widespread the audience for video game monetization is – there is no age limitation for it!
There’s some question of regulation of aggressive in-game monetization by large government organizations (EA has been fined by the Dutch government for lootboxes in FIFA). Large scale spending by kids and adults alike does lead to early-age gambling addictions, which need to be controlled.
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