Microtransactions and The Future Mobile of Gaming

Multiple new mobile games come out every day, even every hour, in 2018. All of them are trying to get a few minutes of your precious time, and trying to get you hooked so that you’ll part with your hard-earned money on in-game purchases, called microtransactions. These purchases are what keep mobile gaming developers in the business and help to keep the business model behind mobile gaming lucrative.

Two recent game releases show the current divide in styles for microtransactions and represent the old and new ways of getting money from your end users. The newest Harry Potter game represents the old style of charging, one where you gradually run out of resources or “power” in the game as you play and then must wait a period of time before being able to do any more to advance the game. This is the style we’ve known for years. Stopping the ability for a customer to play the game unless they wait or pay. This old model is slowly going away because consumers do not want interrupted gameplay in their games, no matter where they are located.

Fortnite, the internet’s newest gaming phenomenon, has gone another direction with microtransactions. Basically, there aren’t any of the old-style play-blocking schemes. In Fortnite there is an in-game store where you can purchase characters, pick axes (used in-game) and other item skins and dances. These are completely optional and do not stop or hinder your play without them. As you can see in the chart here, this style of purchase availability is much more appreciated by users, to the tune of $50 million. This model gives customers unlimited, uninterrupted playtime while also providing a solid revenue stream to the developer. Everyone is happy!

As we move forward with mobile gaming getting bigger and bigger we will start to see developers shy away from the Harry Potter-style of microtransactions that hinder or stop gameplay and move towards what Fortnite does, with mobile cosmetic stores and more. This should excite gamers in general, as it will mean more and more free games that don’t hinder you from playing simply because you cannot afford to spend money at the current time.