What Is Microtransaction On The Game ?


The development of the era at this time progressed very rapidly, especially the technology that is significantly very influential in human life. With the development of technology, the development of the game industry began to grow. The development of the gaming industry in Indonesia began about 15 years ago. At that time began with the arrival of game consoles such as Playstation and Nintendo, at that time most gaming industry players just as a distributor. After the game console period, came the period of online games, around the year 2000an. In this period began to appear "Publisher" game, the company or individual who has the exclusive right to publish or market any game title, such as; Electronic Arts (EA), Bandai Namco, Tencent, and others.

Online games are games that can be played more than one player (multiplayer) simultaneously, anytime, anywhere by using a computer, laptop, or even a smartphone connected to an internet connection. The players of online games usually choose the satisfaction in playing. Even for the sake of satisfaction in playing games online they can spend money to buy things that are supportive of the game, such as; items, skins, weapons, clothing, ruby, and others. This in-game purchase is usually called microtransaction.

Kontributor :

Ilham Nuril Asrafi

What is Microtransaction

Microtransaction is a business model where players can purchase virtual goods through micropayment. Microtransaction is usually used in free games as well as paid games to provide a source of revenue for game developers. Free games that include microtransaction commonly referred to as "freemium".

Microtransactions were made popular with the Xbox 360 on its Marketplace distribution platform. While designing the Xbox Live Marketplace, Microsoft envisioned players paying a quarter to download a new shirt for their character, to match them to their lifestyle. Microtransactions were later scrutinized for making people pay for what should have shipped on the game disc in the first place. Perhaps the most famous example of microtransactions gone wrong is the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion add-on "Horse Armor". The game's designer Bethesda put up an optional add-on which would shield the player's horse from weapons, but charged 200 Microsoft Points for it.


What is the Purpose of Microtransaction

The goal of microtransaction in free or paid games is to get more players into the game and provide the desired stuff or features that players can buy, in hopes of getting long-term benefits from the microtransaction system will outweigh the advantages of a one-time game purchase (one-time purchase game). From this microtransaction system game publisher will get bigger profit. Many players are willing to spend money just to buy items in a game. Due to the huge advantages many other publishers are starting to follow this microtransaction system. However, so many publishers are blinded by the advantages of this microtransaction.

How many types of Microtransaction in the game

There are different types of microtransaction in the game. The best known is divided into 3 categories, namely:

  1. Freemium
    Freemium is a business model by offering basic services for free but players have to pay a certain amount of money to get additional services, features, or virtual items (items).


  2. Pay-to-Win
    Pay-to-Win is a form of microtransaction whereby players have to pay for certain items or features to get benefits not obtained by other players.
  3. Pay-to-Unlock
    Pay-to-Unlock is a form of microtransaction where the goods, features or characters are locked in the game and to unlock the player must pay first.

What are the items or services in Microtransaction

  1. Gems and coins
    Gems and coins are a medium of exchange in an online game (every game has its own instrument name). To get the exchange, players must buy it by microtransaction using credit card or by charging game voucher. After having gems and coins players can make purchases of services, items, premium weapons inside the game.
  2. Remove ads
    Ads are things that usually appear when playing games offline or online. To remove advertisements players must purchase the service using a credit card or by charging a gift voucher.
  3. Buying energy
    Energy is usually required in game play, if the character does not have the required amount of energy then the player will not be able to start the game. Players can buy this energy using a credit card or charging game vouchers but if players do not want to spend money, players can wait for the energy to recharge within the specified time duration.
  4. Buying games in full version
    In mobile games or android based games released through Google Play, there is a demo service that players can play to try the game first. But if players want to continue the game to the next level, players are required to buy the game in full version by using credit card or charging gift voucher.
  5. Premium service (VIP Pass)
    Players using this service (usually VIP Pass) will get benefit more than who don’t. The advantages such as getting a larger amount of EXP, drop rate items from better monsters, higher damage, and so forth. To get this service must buy it by filling the voucher on the official website.
  6. Avatar and fashion
    This is usually found in games with rhythm and dance genres. Characters will have a better, fashionable, and stylish look by using the avatars and fashion available. Players who want to buy avatars and fashion usually have to fill their gems and coins by using a credit card or denngan charging game voucher.

What is the Example of Microtransaction

For example in the game Forza 5, this game is a paid game with genre race car where players must buy this game before playing it. Because publishers use the design of famous cars and have to pay licenses from the design of the car, the players who want to use a good car must buy a license from the car. Due to being blinded with enormous profits, publishers eventually do not care about their players and fans. This game developer is also like a rush in the release of the game Forza 5. Finally at the time of the release of this game is still full of bugs that interfere with the game. Bugs complained of by players they do not care about. But they still release new items / cars that can only be earned by buying with money (microtransaction). Games become unbalanced and unpleasant because players who buy items with money earn greater profits and opportunities than players who do not spend money to buy items.


Whether Microtransaction is Good or Bad

I think it all depends on the game developers in putting a fair microtransaction or not. Developers must also determine which target market is targeted and what content will be free and premium (paid). If the target market matches and in the use of microtransactionnya fair, I think microtransaction is not a bad thing. But on the contrary, if microtransaction usage is not a balance between players who use microtransaction in games with the unlikely (as players will get a better chance of doing microtransaction than not), then microtransaction will be a bad thing.

How Good and Bad Microtransaction

  1. Microtransaction is good
    A good microtransaction is a microtransaction that is made visible optionally, or in other words the player only has to buy if interested and the presence of this microtransaction does not affect the gameplay and the player can always play the game without having to spend a dime.
    The best example of this microtransaction is in games released by Valve like Team Fortress 2, CS: GO and DOTA 2. Microtransaction in all three games is just cosmetics or extras that do not give players any advantages other than making the appearance of weapons or characters look different. And if one day there is a skin or the latest weapon that players want but do not want to spend money to buy it, players can try to exchange skins or weapons owned with other players or even sell them to a community store for a certain price.
  2. Microtransaction is bad
    A bad microtransaction is a microtransaction that does the opposite of the above, and makes the presence of this microtransaction affect the gameplay. Starting from premium weapons, items with greater power than the free ones, stamina recharge, XP boost, and so on. This usually happens in popular mobile games or local online games that seem to force players to buy premium items to make player characters stronger than others.
    For example in Plants VS Zombies 2 game, the possibility to complete this game without spending a dime is still there, but the opportunity is very small because the enemy level in this game impossible to defeat without help of power-up items or other items.
    Another bad thing that usually happens with microtransaction is the Expirable Item. Where premium items sold are not always usable and players have to buy them or extend their time if they still want to use the item.
    For example in the game Point Blank, if the player wants a weapon with great damage then the player must spend money to buy the weapon, but players can not buy the weapon permanently (has a limit). So if the time limit of the weapon is up then the player has to buy the weapon again or extend the limit of the weapon.

Viewed from the gaming company side

When viewed from the side of the game maker company from start gaming (we assume with clash of clans game setipe). To produce games of the same quality as Clash of Clans, in terms of visual, gameplay, animation, and various other aspects, it takes 8-14 months development time (Clash of Clans makers take 2 years).

Costs used for the development of these products, to be able to produce games with quality equivalent to CoC requires 1-2 million dollars, but there is also a price of 300-350 thousand dollars with quality below it.

Then the biggest is the cost for support and maintenance server. We use the assumption of cost to provide server support for 1 player is $ 1 per day, suppose we target the game has 200,000 players, assumed the first 3 months will require maintenance costs approximately 16.8 million dollars. But if we want to use realistic figures around 5,000-10,000 players, maybe only need 500 thousand to 1 million dollars. The figures that if we use international rates, maybe if rates in Indonesia could fall 40-60% of the above figures.

Supercell (as the developer of the clash of clans game) for 2 years to give birth to these two amazing products. Even according to the latest report, the advantage of a game called Clash of Clans that alone, per day is 27 billion rupiah / day.

With this microtransaction system when viewed from the standpoint of game developer / developer company will increase their income. Therefore many game developers like Supercell apply microtransaction system in the clash of clans game they make.


I think the good or bad microtransaction in a game depends on the developer and how the player responds to the microtransaction itself. As previously mentioned a good microtransaction is where the microtransaction is only made optional which means players only have to buy if interested and the existence of this microtransaction does not affect the gameplay and players can always play the game without having to spend a dime. And conversely, a bad microtransaction is where the microtransaction greatly affects the gameplay

Players also have to address this microtransaction wisely. If the player likes the existence of this microtransaction then the player must control his emotions or desires in doing this microtransaction. Because we know that this microtransaction can cause addiction if not controlled.

From the point of view of game developers / developers they can apply the microtransaction system in their game but with a fair and balance system. and game companies / developers should not only be concerned about the advantages of this microtransaction system but also have to make the story / path of the game as attractive as possible so that players are more satisfied with the games they play.

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