Gamers — do you feel respected?

Lately I have been thinking about the UX experience of games. There is a lot to talk about so I’d like to focus on one thing — in-game purchases.

We all know that in-game purchases are one of the main channels of revenue for games companies, so it’s a vital part of the product. What is the general experience like currently? Having to talk to a few keen gamers, some are dissatisfied and one even said “they feel disrespected”.

Some of the problems that came up in conversation were:

  • The large gap between price points for virtual currency. Say you only need 600 currency point to get a specific item but you really dont need 950. The user is mostly forced to pay GBP 48.99 rather than 19.99. leaving some feeling duped into paying more than they want to
  • Some in-game purchases are akin to gambling and bring about similar behaviours. Buying loot boxes or similar items doesn’t always guarantee you what you want — encouraging users to spend more money than they might want or expect to. One could argue that it is an affective business model. However, that doesn’t mean that the user is having a great experience and it is also ethically questionable.
  • Some even feel that in-game purchases are now necessary to enjoy the game itself. An example is having to use credits to speed up a game so that users can make the next action (though tends to be mostly on mobile games)

These a just a few areas within in-game purchasing that seem to affect the UX in a negative way. How can these areas be addressed without causing excessive damage to revenues? Or does in-game purchasing have to be thought over from scratch?

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