In recent years, adding microtransactions into games has become increasingly popular. Allowing in-game purchases to be made, usually for extra features, has allowed video game companies to widely expand their profit margins. These extra purchases are usually advertised towards players as a “bonus item” that will help them win the game, or achieve their goals.
Controversy behind Microtransactions
Microtransactions are usually incorporated into low-cost games, as a broader range of players are able to purchase them. Having a larger player base makes the game more fun to play, hence heightening the motivation for using the low cost aspect of the game.
Instead of aiming to make profits by offering the game at a high price, these video companies intend to make the majority of their money by the purchases offered in game. They often make it hard to proceed or get far into the game unless players whip out their wallets. This has lead to controversy as it can be misleading when video games market themselves as “free to play”, but it’s nearly impossible to play the game in-depth without spending a decent amount of cash.
What Players Think
Not long ago, a data-led discussion company called Qutee, released a report on modern gaming which included gamers’ opinions on microtransactions in games. Many reported that they would have preferred to play a larger fee upfront to make the game more “equal”, than having in-game purchases that allow players who spend more money to be more successful. A small percentage of the players reported liking the microtransaction system, but the majority believe it’s okay as long as the transactions are only for cosmetic reasons in-game, rather than actually benefiting their game play.
Big Companies and Unethical Business Practices
Today’s economy is dominated by those who aim to be the best, all-consuming, and selfish ruler of the market. Unfortunately, making it to the top of the market seems to be the most important value to a large number of big companies, rather than going about the business ethically.
Misleading Information Regarding Products
A very common trick many popular companies use is putting out misleading, false product information. For example, the maker of Nutella, Ferrero USA, Inc. was forced to pay $3.05 million dollars after they claimed the hazelnut spread was a healthy breakfast for children.
Unethical Treatment Towards Employees
Another unfortunate pattern that exists in big companies is their failure to treat their employees ethically. These employees are often forced to work long hours, and are extremely underpaid. It’s also not uncommon for them to undergo sexual harassment while in the workplace. In order to get cheap labor, many companies from developed nations have hired sweatshops in third-world countries in order to get their manufactured goods at a fraction of the cost they would have paid to get it ethically.
In the business world, it’s not unheard of to use bribery as ways to influence large business decisions. Between vendors and marketers, it’s very common to offer something valuable or money in return of a favorable dealing.
In conclusion, the increasing pressure to outsell the competition unfortunately gets to many large companies’ heads, and they focus on making the most money, rather than acting morally correct.