Just an FYI to the other players: Monetization in gaming about hunting "whales"

This is not a post defending the current progression system or shops; I’ve made my criticism known elsewhere. This is just a post to help the players understand the reason why most major gaming publishers are doing these types of progression systems and shops.

Back in olden days you could buy Halo 3 for $60. Then, you could buy the map packs for $10 each. There were four of them so the individual player was capped at spending $100 on Halo 3, not including the special editions. Capping individual spending limits the amount of money you can get from a player and why would you want to do that? If you can get one dude to spend $10,000 on Halo then why wouldn’t you. One dude spending $10,000 on Halo is worth 100 dudes spending $100. The term for these people that spend thousands of dollars on a single game is “whales”.

These shops and passes are designed to uncap the spending of the individual player so that they can spend as much as they want, almost without end. True, very few people spend thousands of dollars on a game but how much exactly will they spend? What if the math works? Well, sadly, the math does work. Lets take a look at EA for a moment. This is from goal dot com: “EA confirmed that it made $1.6 billion (£1.1bn) from game sales from April 2020 to March 2021. That amount was dwarfed by their “Live Services and Other” income which amounted to $4bn over the same 12 months.” Yeah. that’s right. They make 2.5x the money by selling online services (read micro-transactions) than they do on selling the games themselves. This is a far more profitable system than the one used for Halo 3 that caps the user at only 2/3 of their spending on DLC.

So, unfortunately, because a relatively small percentage of gamers spend a rather large amount of money, the whole system has adjusted to make it possible, and even to encourage that small percentage of gamers to drop lots and lots of money into even a single game. The sad part of it all is that many of those people who drop thousands of dollars into games aren’t super wealthy. Often it’s average people who don’t have good spending habits or even may feel a compulsion or addiction.

To me it raises some ethical questions: even if you can get someone to pay you thousands of dollars for a videogame, should you? Would it not be responsible to have a cap on things? I’m not trying to say that 343 is doing anything unethical. Indeed, most gaming companies are doing this now. I’m just trying to explain to people what is going on in gaming and why. I don’t like it personally and I wish I could put a stop to it. Indeed, many in the gaming industry, perhaps even many at 343 may feel the same way. Who knows? In the end though, it’s difficult to ask a company like Microsoft to not maximize their profits on a product like Halo but maybe that would still be the right thing to do?

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