What Is The Big Deal Behind In-App Purchases?

I can’t say I like titles as question sentences, but then again I do many other things that I don’t like, such as spending money on “In-App Purchases”. This is just a dollar, so what is the big deal anyway, right? Well, I am getting directly into the topic.

Let’s start with a rough definition of in-app purchases for those who are not familiar with this term (not sure if there is somebody living in a cave). An in-app purchase refers to items, services, points, coins, anything valuable in the game that a player can buy. I myself see this”anything valuable” in 2 categories.

The first one is anything that affects your gameplay, or anything that gives you different kinds of advantages over all other players or monsters. Let’s say there are 2 kinds of currencies in the game and one of these currencies is extremely hard to get, or you just get it once a day or limited somehow. The game offers you this “extremely hard to get currency” in its “in app shop”. As a dedicated and impatient player you don’t want to collect enough of these currencies for a year to get your dream weapon and you instead, buy this currency using the notorious “in app shop”.

The second category is cosmetics which means only visual changes or visual add-ons. For example, a pet that goes everywhere with you doing nothing at all. For example, a beautiful hat that offers you nothing but a nice image.

While I hate the first category, I always support the latter. Buying something, knowing it will do nothing any good to your character or gameplay means you are supporting people spending their time to present you that game you are playing. Or it just means that you like using visuals that not so many people use! Either way this, in my opinion, means that you are doing it right!

We have a perfect example that includes both categories; World of Warcraft. You already pay for the game, pay for subscription to be able to play, and Blizzard is still trying to sell you something like pets and mounts or some services like character visual change or sex change right? Well, I support this.

However, WoW is also trying to sell you some important services like server change, which I don’t support. I don’t want to be misunderstood here, so let me tell that I don’t want to see all players change servers whenever they want. But Blizzard definitely should work on this, maybe a free server change per year is a good idea. Or maybe they at least should lower the price. This is tricky, I know, but if you have been playing WoW for years, you probably have characters scattered all around and you are unwilling to pay huge amounts to gather all your characters in the same server. After all you can’t know what will change in future. Maybe you will have to move your main character to another server leaving some other characters…

That was our well-known Blizzard example. As many of you may know that we have much worse examples, especially mobile games and Facebook games. As far as I remember I can say this started with Farm Ville. Tell me if I am wrong, but Knight Online or Silkroad or any other game before Farm Ville could not do what Farm Ville accomplished! It is like these guys just poisoned the game industry and left like nothing happened. Now all developers and all companies think this is pretty normal to sell people important stuff in the game, stuff that affect gameplay. No, this is not normal I tell you. Knowing this I still spent some money on games until I understood that even spending money it is very hard to get what you want, you just have to spend more!

Yes, this is what these developers want. They want you to buy more and more diamonds, for example let’s call this extremely hard to get currency “diamond”. You buy some diamonds and use these diamonds to open some chests and you get crap, and then you buy some more diamonds to open some more chests and you get lucky once! Then you decide to buy more diamonds!

A weird example is that you can buy a level 60 skill when you are level 1. Oh my god… Another example is that you either have to wait for a month to upgrade your weapon / skill or you have to pay for it. Pretty fair right?

Yes, these guys changed the gaming world very much, up to a point that people buy even skills for their characters. I used to spend money on games, but I can say that I am trying hard to not do it again, and you know what my solution is? Ignoring games that offer in-app purchases when I see them, or (%99 of mobile games offer in-app purchases) I just download them hoping maybe they sell just cosmetics, then uninstall when I see that ugly picture.

Let’s forget about mobile games for a second and take a look at Diablo example. When it was published, people could buy and sell stuff on auction house and Blizzard got paid commission for each transaction. What was the game like back then? ****! Drop rates were terrible, literally terrible for such a game that was almost only drop oriented, even when you got epic item there were no reason to get excited because it would probably turn out an intelligence item when you were playing a barbarian… I can’t even find words to describe how terrible Diablo 3 was at those times. Then Blizzard changed it completely. They removed AH and fixed drop rates and now D3 is a perfect game fit to the Blizzard brand. By the way, I spent (wasted) over 100 euros on items hoping I could kill faster and get more items to sell in return. How stupid…

And for those who do not know already I will talk about Path of Exile example. A perfect example for our second category. They sell only cosmetics, and they also sell storage slots, but let’s ignore that for a while. They generally sell cosmetics stuff. I could pay to play such a nice game personally but the game is free itself. If you like Diablo like games, try Path of Exile and you will understand what I am saying better.

Well, this topic never ends with short articles like this, as the list just goes on. I did not even say anything about children who make purchases using their parent’s credit cards. That would make this article much longer. There are many other related topics that could make this article much longer, but I am putting an end to this for now.

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