Pay $20 DLC for the Rest of this Essay: DLC and Micro-transactions in Gaming

The gaming industry is huge. Triple A companies and indie studios making games for the populace to play (and make money from). Companies make lots of money from games like those based on films, a sequel to a popular game (Final Fantasy and Call of Duty) and such. Grand Theft Auto V sold 45 million copies making it the highest selling game in the series. So with results like that companies find more ways to line their pockets with cash. Enter DLC. A way to not make a new game but could make just as much money for it. This has mixed reactions from gamers (mostly negative) because there are lots of ways DLC could rip them off. Like this comic humorously shows the supposed mentality companies have towards their consumers http://www.dorkly.com/post/65536/how-every-awful-video-game-thing-was-born. Phone apps are a big culprit squeezing money out of gamers for in game items or having them pay for extra lives or wait a day to play again. The app Final Fantasy: All the Bravest was guilty of this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mYd12L4iE4. You pay to resurrect your characters but also there are 35 characters you can get from other Final Fantasy games such as Cloud Strife. However these DLC characters (which cost 99 cents) are given to you randomly so you may have to buy all 35 bonus characters for a sprite with yellow spiky hair. So this 4 dollar app has the ability to squeeze more than 5 times than the original cost from players. There are other games that go down that middle line like League of Legends which has many different characters to play. These can be free if you grind enough in-game cash, but if you are impatient you can buy them with real money. They also have custom sprites for their characters which can only be purchased with real money (although you can compare this to buying a toy and there is nothing wrong with that).

Buying with RP (real money)
Buying with RP (real money)
There also is World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm which has exclusive mounts for those who can pay for it like a unicorn for 20 dollars. So you don’t need to pay, but you see someone else flaunt a new fancy sprite with custom animations and it feels a little unfair. Smite like League of legends has champions and skins you can use cash to pay for, but what Smite does right is they allow you to grind for gems (in game cash that you can buy) through different methods. There are daily log in rewards so if you log in every day for a week you can earn 50 gems, they also have dedicated weekends that give you gems for winning all the game modes. DLC can be really good for games, it’s expanding the stories and the things you can do with a game without making a full on sequel. It continues player interest in a game that normally could to hold attention. Skyrim’s Dragonborn or Dawnguard expansions which were received positively because it gave more missions to play and new mechanics like being able to ride dragons. There are other games with good DLC like this list I found http://gamerant.com/best-video-game-dlc-expansions/ . The Extra Credits are game designers who make a show talking about game design, have videos talking about micro-transactions, DLC, and their effect on games, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mhz9OXy86a0. They talked about how the designer should make the game first and think of money next. Making it a way for players to not feel pressured into buying things. Hearthstone does this really well. Hearthstone is an online card game, and you can buy packs using real money or in game gold. There is tons of ways to get in game gold though. You can go on daily quests, win 3 times in a row, or win in arena mode.
You can have 3 missions total getting one a day
You can have 3 missions total getting one a day
You never have to pay money but if you are impatient you can spend 2 bucks for a pack or spend 10 to buy an entire single player campaign which also gives you cards. Another good part of Hearthstone is that they limit you to 2 of the same cards so if you ever get the multiple copies of the same card you can convert these extras into “dust”. This dust if you grind enough can be converted into any card you want including a fancy legendary card.
Turning dust into a new card
Turning dust into a new card
Which gives you reason to buy more packs because no matter what you do you are a winner. You can get new cards or convert them into dust. So DLC is staying but hopefully developers will use this for more than a cheap way to make money. As a bonus I want talk about a game that I found during my research. DLC Quest is a game that comments on the principle of DLC. It has you pay just for basic gameplay features like paying 10 (in games) coins for the ability… to move left. So you collect coins just to be able to play this game, http://goingloudstudios.com/games/dlc-quest/. Ironically this game also has DLC called Live Freemium or Die. I haven’t played the game myself, but the idea of buying basic mechanics is an interesting way to talk about it. It has mostly positive reviews.

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