(Pic: gaming has become a popular household activity, but does it cost more than it should? Credit: Pexels)
Video games have become increasingly pricey, if not overpriced, of late. And yet, video games still remain a valuable commodity as they’re brought and resold with widespread distribution, Laura Finkler reports
Despite the increasing costs of owning a new game, the market is still booming and continuing to increase year on year. Case in point, recent estimates from gaming industry reveal that it will cross the $100 billion mark over the next year, eight percent more than the previous year. This comes as no surprise following the further increases in the mobile market share to 37%.
It is a clear indication that the gaming market is expanding, with more gamers today than ever before. Recently, its popularity has increased even further with the rise of eSports, and the prize pools for tournaments and events.
Significant concerns about the prices of free-to-play games in the online gaming world have recently started circulating as the prices started to go up. In some titles, purchases of downloadable content or loot boxes, filled with random game enhancements have become linked with winning – or at least excelling in-game. Gameplay is deliberately kept slow without them, and earning them by grinding is not always possible. In-game purchases are known as micro-transactions because of the outlay at any given point is less than what would be spent on a fully-fledged video game title. Over time, however, the amount that is being spent can easily become so substantial that it vastly outweighs what is spent on a buying a full-price title.
Costs are running into thousands, and keeping up with other players is double what it was last year. For anyone who is serious about playing, choosing not to acquire the expansion packs is impossible as players that hold the items will have an obvious advantage over those that do not. Following this, many gamers are understandably concerned as the arena is becoming very uneven. In a nutshell, if players have enough money at their disposal, it seems that they can pay to virtually ensure a win or at least better compete with players around their skill level.
While it does seem that players who don’t buy expansion packs may be unable to truly compete, looking at comments within the community suggests casual gamers are more upset by this than professional eSports players. Those at the top of the game appear to feel that, while the expansion packs are important, it is still the case that nothing can replace skills.
Individuals playing at this level can, of course, also afford to buy expansion packs with real money or spend much of their time playing, in order to acquire in-game gold. The most pertinent question here might be whether or not a balance can be stuck. In the end, success will cost an investment of time or money.