Microtransactions have become commonplace in many Video Games as a way for companies to generate revenue from their free-to-play games to already sold AAA titles. However, the reception of these systems has been varied in the gaming world. Most gamers consider the first microtransaction to be implemented in video games to be the famous Horse Armor DLC in the video game "The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion," where there was strong opposition against this new system of paid DLC and microcontent. However, the economic success of this new system was such that it prompted Oblivion’s Developer Bethesda and its direct competitors to develop their own microtransaction models.

As can be seen from numerous examples in the video game world, the use of such economic systems differs depending on the game in front of you. For free-to-play games, they are more readily accepted than they are for paid video games because players willingly accept this microtransaction system in lieu of purchase cost if the game is good and the microtransaction system is not too invasive. Let us consider one such video game. In "Genshin Impact," despite some criticism of their "gacha" system and the "Battle Pass", the game is well received for its gameplay, graphics, soundtrack and storyline. In addition to this game, other examples of free-to-play games have received heavy criticism for their microtransaction system, which has been deemed too "predatory."

The most prominent and recent example we can consider is "Diablo Immortal."

Microtransaction on 'Diablo Immortal'

Although initially developed for smartphones and later adapted for PC after numerous complaints from its community, the game was and still is appreciated for its gameplay.

However, the microtransaction system is regarded by most of its community as "predatory," and it creates impossible barriers for players who do not spend money to continue with the "endgame" as those that spend money have a greater chance of obtaining rare in-game items. In addition to this, the video game offers the player two types of crests: rare crests, which increase the chances of obtaining rune drops, and legendary crests, which guarantee a chance of obtaining "Legendary Gems".

The latter are very useful because Diablo Immortal gems are essential to aid in end-game "grinding" process.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that there is a second type of Legendary Crest that, at first glance, is almost indistinguishable from the others. The "Eternal Legendary Crests," which must be purchased in the money shop with the eternal orbs, have a visual design almost identical to that of the regular legendary crests.

However, while the gems obtained with the free legendary crests are bound to the character and cannot be traded or sold on the market, the "Eternal Legendary Crests" guarantee a legendary gem that can be sold on the market. But recently, as PCGamer reported on August 29, Blizzard is currently redesigning those crests to differentiate them to avoid further confusion.

In addition, it is extremely difficult for a player to max out a single character, and members of the "Diablo" community have calculated that to reach the maximum level using microtransactions, one would have to pay approximately $500,000.

Microtransactions on live service games

Besides these examples of microtransactions in free-to-play games, there are even microtransactions in the world of AAA games which are viewed as live service such as "Fallout 76" and the now defunct "Anthem." These types of games, as CBR reported, continue to offer digital content to players throughout the video game’s existence until the developers (or software houses) decide to stop supporting the video game due to a shortage of gamers or to focus their resources on developing a new video game.

Generally, these games start with the promise that they will be supported in the long run, only to break these promises after a couple of years as soon as they see that interest in the game has waned despite the release of other content in the form of microtransactions or paid expansions. A concentric example can be taken by looking at the first "Destiny," a live service type video game developed by Bungie (the creators of the first "Halo" trilogy) and published by Activision-Blizzard and released on 9 September 2014, where they promised 10-year support upon its release, only to release "Destiny 2" on 6 September 2017, exactly three years later.

To support a video game in the long run and balance the economic system within video games without changing the gameplay is an extremely difficult task, in addition to maintaining player support and retention in the long run.

The so-called live service model only works on multiplayer and free-to-play games where players are more welcome to this microtransaction system as long as it is well thought out and is not seen as hindrance by the players. Whereas, for AAA games, microtransactions should be few and limited to paid expansions to be released after the purchase of the video game.