In-game purchases: Money for cosmetic improvement wasteful

Player skins.  Weapon skins.  Lootboxes.  Upgrades.  In-game currency.  There are many diverse in-game purchases that gamers buy every year. Why?

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Jordan Grab

A small pack of credits in popular first person shooter, Rainbow Six. Siege, which will set you back $5.

by Jordan Grab, Reporter

The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/64ly2

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In-game purchases have always been prominent in video games.  From cosmetics to gadgets and abilities, money can acquire many items in each video game.  Although to some, these purchases may seem pointless, but in the eyes of many gamers, these items are necessities for either helping them move forward in a game, or just simply to show off. 

I am guilty of spending money on a video game, and I’m sure that you or someone you know is, too.  Back in 2018, I spent about $50 in all on the highly popular game “Fortnite.”  I quickly got bored with the game and stopped playing shortly after I made those purchases, so in the end, I wasted that money.  It changed my mindset towards in-game purchases, and I have spent no more than $10 in the past two years on video games.

It’s all about what we see when we play the game–like being with friends and noticing that they all have Air Jordan shoes. “My friends had cool cosmetics, and I wanted them too,” said Ethan Hunter, a gamer.

“I wanted skins and some of these items were pay-to-win,” said gamer Samuel Lee.  

A pay-to-win game is a purchase that would make more sense to buy, rather than a useless skin.  Pay-to-win is exactly what it sounds like.  The more items gamers buy with real money, the faster gamers will advance through the game,and they will have a larger advantage that other players cannot acquire unless they purchase as well.  Pay-to-win is definitely an unfair problem in video games today that I, unfortunately, have to experience as well.

People never consider the fact that, eventually, they will stop playing the game, and the money spent on it is now gone and wasted.  But, for the time they do play it, these purchases can seem important and useful.

“Sometimes spending money on a game can make it more enjoyable, but if it’s just for useless cosmetics, then it’s just to show off to other people.” Said Andrej Gibson, a gamer.

“I think people spend money because at that moment, that game is their favorite game because everyone else is playing it, and popular streamers are buying things, which influences them to buy something,” said Lee.

Gamers agree that some of the purchases they made were, in the end, not worth the money they spent.  

“It was not worth it.  The game started to change and I just didn’t enjoy it anymore, so the money was wasted,” said Hunter.  

“There have been times when I regret making an in-game purchase because I eventually stopped liking the game and playing it.” Said Gibson.

Purchases in pay-to-win games can sometimes be worth it.  “It really depends what you’re paying to get.  Sometimes pay-to-win can be $100 for something extremely overpowered in the game, which isn’t really worth it, but if it’s cheap, like $25, then a lot of people will buy it, and if you don’t, you’re basically powerless and makes it very hard to progress in the game.” Said Gibson.  

But then there are some gamers, including myself, who simply believe that pay-to-win purchases aren’t worth it and are unfair.”

“I don’t think it’s worth it because you shouldn’t have to pay money to get ahead of others in the game,” said Hunter.

Some companies make their games completely based around in-game purchases, sometimes to the point where people are gambling and spending thousands of dollars.  EA (A popular video game company) was, believe it or not, taken to court over the loot box system in the popular soccer game “FIFA.”  The Netherlands District Court filed a $10 million dollar lawsuit against EA for violation of the country’s Betting and Gaming Act.  EA is infamous in the gaming community due to the preposterous amount of in-game purchases in every game they produce.

While in-game purchases can be unfair and often useless, fellow gamers and I believe that in-game purchases should remain in video games, but game developers should lower costs.  “I don’t think that they should be removed entirely, but they should be much cheaper.  In the game Fortnite, it can cost $25 to get one skin, and I feel like that’s way too much.” Said Gibson.  

In-game purchases haul in absurd amounts of money for video game developers.  In 2016, popular video game company Activision raked in a whopping $3.6 billion dollars alone from microtransactions.  In 2019, overall purchases (not just in-game purchases but buying the game itself) had obtained $120.1 billion dollars.

If in-game purchases were to be removed, companies would definitely struggle, especially if they are selling a free game like Fortnite.  “It’s their main revenue source nowadays.  Valve (Popular video game company) makes over $500 million from CSGO and DOTA (two popular video games),” said Lucas Mitchell, a sophomore gamer.