Microtransactions – How Greed Has Corrupted Gamings Last Stand


Episode Transcription

Made for robots, by robots. Only read if you're weird.

What's up? Have you ever heard of micro transactions? Microtra are we doing another bitcoin type thing? No, microtransactions. Yeah, is this a money laundering thing? No, I'm kind of surprised you don't know what this is. Do you know what it is? Hold on it, let me, let me get here. Hold on, microtransaction. Go ahead. So microchransactions. They're a HMM. Is this like whenever the bank does like one sent out of your account to verify the account? Is this like whenever someone's not racist but they're saying slightly racist things and it's like that's like a microtransaction, micro transgression? You're right, I have not that I've done. I've never yet. I don't use your patron money for that. He gaming community erupted. They thought of the dumbest thing in the world. They made fun of it so much, but sold great. We got them so hooked we let him run our social media about a cord million bust of the flotimillion things I learned last night. Actually just say those called Tims make stuffs up. Well, micro transaction is a business model where users in the digital world purchase of virtual goods using micro payments and so like credit. What my credit. I don't know what you mean by cred micro payments Kinda I'm not sure what you mean by that. I'm just gonna say kind of just gotta go with you your kind of I'm not sure what you mean by the start over. So so what the what what the system is is? It's a way to squeeze more money out of people in Apps and digital oh are you talking about like hm, when you get somebody to spend ninety nine cents instead of trying to get them to buy a one hundred thing? Uh Huh. You're getting in to buy something for ninetnine cents a hundred times, a hundred times. Yeah, yeah, and it's all within APPS and yeah, mostly gaming right now, but it's starting to spread into some other things. So, and they get microphones in return. Yeah, yeah, he if you buy enough micro transactions. I thought were turn about how a firm. It's very weird to me whenever I go to buy something for the twelve dollars and it's like or for payments of three dollars. You're like, I mean, I guess that would be helpful. You know, zero percent three dollars a month for some cat food. Yeah, that's I don't like that stuff, manny. So you you are talking about how, like starbucks, for example, it gets me to reload my card. So it's a very similar concept. There's some overlap there, technically different, but it's very similar concept, which I we will touch on. Let's look at the history, because here's the thing. I think this is a problematic trend that that we're on. I honestly I do think that, depending on how things play out with legislation over the next few years, I do think this is an issue that honestly could ruin the viability of the Metaphorse, depending on how the Coin Lands Inter sing. So let's turn the clocks back to the s, the hey day of home gaming systems, and by hey day I mean the very beginning, and home gaming system home gaming systems, you got your Atari. You're a nees and your saga's people are hyped right. I had a sega. Did you ever say a grown up? I did have one growing up. I got one when I was twenty three. It was an impulse prot growing then it was yeah, about to hit by twenty four year girls spurt. Everybody knows that. Left they say about like we're your brains. Of heloping until twenty five. My Dad said it to me all the time and time. Yeah, if, but like it's only for guys, right, isn't it? Girls brains. Yeah, they divine earlier. Yeah, yea, mine still going. Yeah, they develop in middle school there. Yeah, I turned twenty eight. When do I turn twenty eight? Tim I don't know. Let me check my calendar. Last week, February twenty three. Thank you. Yeah, it's yeah, I know now. I learned to see micro trans that learn Michael Repression. I learned two seasons ago that this matters to you a lot more than I thought I did or should. All right, so, Sega Atari. Yes, so it's the hey day of home gaming systems. Right. Pretty quickly this industry started to realize they have the same problem that the film industry has, and that's that they invest tons of money into this product for thousands of hours, right, and then they release the product and they have this faucet open up of funding that comes in, just tons of income, and then it's the facet slowly closes and they trickle in a little bit of cash for a little while, until eventually it stops and they have to put something is micro transactions. How Adobe charges me fifty three hours a month. Actually, kind of it's because it's like how they realized that that subscripe subscriptions are a micro transaction. No, I mean it's in that direction. Okay, I'll let you quite there yet. It's not quite there. I'm curious what you're defining as a micro transaction. It's not what I'm defining is it's what it is like. This isn't. This show isn't just tim makes stuff up. The show, I would be a bad title. Things Tim made up last night. T MSU says thanks for listening to Tsu. Somebody in the Tartaria comment this morning. I don't know if you saw this, somebody entartaria. They were like it looks like you just learned this stuff last night. And are like well, no, that was that was called days ago somebody else. It's kind of the show, kind of the joke. Mad Now this guy was like. Another guy commented something very similar, basically saying like yeah, it shows that you learned this last night. You should spend some more time and do your research so that way we can tell that you know what you're talking about. And, as I said, things are less like I said, do you know what you're watching? Actually, this stay shows called tims. Make stuffs up, so that matters. A joke. So anyway. So pretty quickly companies were like this, this revenue system. Yeah, it. It's really risky because if you spend those thousands of hours investing into developing a game it doesn't sell, doesn't sell, then now you have to spend thousands of hours to try to make a new game to release and hope that that cells. Hope you recoup the money for both, for both. Yeah, so it got really risky really quick. So pretty quickly expansion packs became a thing. Now we call them DLC because you download them, that downloado content, but in that era you couldn't download because the Internet wasn't popular yet. Right. So they were actually expensive packs. We actually go get a game cartridge or a disc and bring it and it would be your game plus some extra stuff that wasn't in the game originally. So new maps, new missions, whatever, some new armor or weapons, just a handful of new stuff to make it a little more interesting. Significantly cheaper than they were the base game, base game with sixty dollars. This is twenty fifteen, twenty dogs right, and so this is much quicker to develop for the game developer. So they can kind of squeeze a little bit more out of each title because they can have a smaller team after game releases continue to release these expansion packs for years while they're releasing the next title. Okay, so they can kind of have that stream continue to run for a little bit. But even still, there was a lot of hours that had to go in to that game and it was a gambled because you don't know if people are going to buy that expansion pack. Of there be interested. Am I making a game of my head right now? What did Burger King? Yeah, yeah, and it was freaking awesome. Okay, it was. It was honestly nothing more. I would go as far as to say I loved that game. I would, I would. I'm going to be honest. You race on a little on those little tiny motorcycle on a hundred percent eyes the xbox, hundred and sixty, I can think of maybe five or six games that were better than those burking games on the whole, the whole generation. They came out the second explosis. Can Multiple Games? Burging Games? Yeah, they had three. So they had sneak king. Wait, they had we wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, can we? Can We? Are we about to become twitch streamers? Are we about to are we about to twitch? Yeah, so they had, they had a let me see, they actually had. I think there's more than Oh, yeah, there's three. I had all of them. They had pocketbike racer and they had sneaks. What I had? I did not have sneak king. Yeah, sneaking. You just snuck around and scared people as the king. All I had was the pocket racer one. That was very good. And then there's big bumping, which was like kind of like a Mario Kart type game. So they had two racing games. The only things I can think of that I would say are better our probably all three. Sky Ram, GTA five, not for high there better than everything else I threw. The pocker racer was so so here's what we're going to do. We are going to start having some live events for our patron supporters where we just get together and zoom and maybe like do some you know, yeah, interactive stuff. I think that we have to figure out that. We'll get our hands on and will play him on there, but not even for like I want I want. If you are listening, we're going to post us on a discord too. But like we got to figure how to play those on. Could you play those online? I think so. I think they had online. That will racediness will race you. I missed. Okay, anyway, now I'm just sitting in the nest all of it. So those were those were different. They weren't expansive packs, they were just small games. HMM. Over time this new thing came out, okay, called micro transactions, and these were popping in PC games. The first one to really do it was an arcade game in the s called Double Dragon, the three, the Rosetta Stone. So there's no one or two. They done straight to three and double, and so the in the game. What they did is you would put your quarter in, okay, play the game and throughout the game there would be bonus things that would happen that you could put another quarter in to get that bonus item or to do this extra thing. Right, people hated it. People are supermap. Yeah, I can't the thing without an extra quarter. Yeah, I'M gonna have to spend more to get this thing. So it's like when you play for tonight, I don't play for tonight. It's like the skins. Yeah, they called Skins. Yeah, that's a micro transaction. That's a micro transaction. Yeah, this is what I was trying to explain the beginning of this episode, and you act like I was an idiot. You never mentioned anything about fortnighters skins. You said credit. This is like credit, like I was trying it. I was trying to think of that. I was trying to be bis the comedy bucks. Whatever. anyways, let's continue with the history. Okay. So so they did up a double dragon. Three Double Dragon did this. Everybody hate it, just finding a way to squeeze a little bit more cash out of people while they played a few online games. Started doing these as well, where you could spend a little extra on the online game. In the early maple story was a big probably the biggest one, to do this. Okay, spend a couple bucks on things to get extra stuff within the game. I feel bad for throwing our patreon stuff in a second ago. Then why you can enjoy this episode. Or if you just give us a quarter. You give us a quarter, you can see harm. You can watch US pocket race Burger key. Would you like to watch US scare some kids dressed as the burger king. We're not talking about the video game, we're talking about a manhole cover where tim grew up, right, and we're going to uncover it and it's just the Burger King. Todd, it's me, Burger key. They're the king is scary. I'm glad that they made a game of that, because the king is terrifying. He's scary looking. That is so funny. All right, go ahead. Sorry. Yeah. So, so these online games thing existed, but really the first big kind of public thing where this happened, yeah, was the Prequel to Skyram oblivion. So other scolls for I shouldn't Ay Prequel. It was the fourth in the series oblivion. Okay, they had they had done a few DALC packs. So expansion packs have been a thing all through this period. DLC came out because you could now download it, but they gave it a shot. And so what they did is they release this golden armor you could get for your horse. Wasn't even for you. As for your horse, it was like five bucks and it was weird because it didn't do anything, like it didn't protect the whole it just look it's like that APP on your Iphone, when iphones first came out, that I'm rich APP yeah, yeah, yeah, same concept. Thousand Dollars, while nine hundred ninety nine dollars. Hmmm, pretty much the same concept. So five dollars to get you a little gold armor for your horse. The gaming community erupted. They thought it was the dumbest thing in the world. They made fun of it so much, but sold great. Yeah, care ifeople hate us. Yeah, they were just sitting there count they're like, oh, yeah, people hate the gold horse stuff. Yeah, they're super against it. I think. I think what happened was everybody thought it was super dumb, but it was five bucks. I was like, well, I got to see it for myself. I want to see out. I get out on my could see how it looks on everyone else, but I want to see and so it's sold really well, and so I hate that's so stupid. I want it so but that's the game. Developers were like, yeah, Fil that away, like store that for a little bit. We're gonna need that. So this two thousand and six, right before I phone comes out, right, iphone comes out and mobile games become a thing. Game developing companies are like, Hey, we should make some mumbile games, but they know right off the bat that nobody's going to pay sixty dollars to play a game on their phone. Right they might for a constant they want their phone, and so they're like, well, we got to make them super cheap, couple bucks, and we'd have to sell and, in saying him, ount to make it worth it, or we could make it free and throwing some micro transactions. It's that was the what I was trying to this playing earlier. This is I'm serious. I what I had in my head all oppolutely. My massive was the credit. That's not what I mean this, you know. Well, when ever, I was trying to explain and you said no, I was like, Oh, I guess it's not that. Well, you said a lot of things that weren't even close to this. So this is what I meant. I meant like yeah, like whenever you're see my brains not doing it. You know what I just happened. I was trying to speak and then my brain was like nine sent up charge. I was like that sucks, I'm not sent. It's like when you go to subway, yeah, can I have bacon, and they're like that's part of the expansion back. All right, I guess I'll pay for it. Yeah, you gotta buy the so free APP, but you could do it without ads for ninety nine cents. Yeah, yeah, so there's that concept, but that's still a subscription thing. You could do it. Oh, you know what sucks with a micro transaction? He's where you have to upgrade to beat the next level. Like I used to play a golf game on the phone. Yeah, not a golf game. I don't want people to think I'm like, you know, playing Paga Golf, you know, like a mini golf game on my phone. You know, I always be clear. This is I don't want people to think. I don't want people to think that like I'm, you know, like the golf game, like a fifty year old dude plays. Yeah, but the EAS are there with the ball like right, ruer. Right, he's at home while his two teenage daughters are on dates with guys who drive lowered Honda Civics and they hate him, you know, and he's just sitting on the couch and night hasn't talked his wife and thirteen years right, all laying his golf game while PGA is on the TV. I am not playing that kind of Golf Games, like I'm punning. But yeah, in this game you have to upgrade your putter and it is certain point the game is impossible to beat without enough grade. Yeah, so these Games have earned the moniker fremium or free to play, pay to win. Yes, yes, so that's the concept, like credit. It really if you think of a it's really my life, life, right. Free to play. Yeah, pay to win, pay to win. Yeah, so the same concept as big alive. Pretty, I mean pretty similar concept, you know, just life itself. So what's interesting, though, is when you look at these developers, their business model, the strategy. Yeah, they how much did the beer guy make? You know the APP on your phone? Remember that? Look it up, you turn it and it looks like you're porn a beer or drinking a beer. Yeah, yeah, that was a big one. Yeah, I saw an article about the other day, but I remember the number from it, but it was a lot. Let's see, it made him twentyzero dollars a day, and it's hey day. That's what it was. Yeah, because I was like there's no way it made twentyzero total. He was making K A day. Yeah, so I don't know. I don't know how much he ended up making off of it, but yeah, a lot of people bought that. A lot of people bought that. You're near as much as I make. anyways. Did you know? I looked up my net worth on one of those net worth of checkers? Yeah, yeah, the Internet thinks I'm worth seven hundred fifty thousand dollars. Pretty close. Yeah, it sucks because I put a million right, he's somebody fact check that made it less. Like it's got to be at least a quarter million less than that. Jokes on them. It's about a quarter million, less than a quarter million. It's actually about two hundred sixtyzero less than a quartermillion. So in the negatives, baby. So these games, clash of clans is one of the biggest. Every transaction in my account is in my corps. In Golf, you're buying butters, but not like BGA golf. But now they know I don't want you. That's my mil that's so. So these APP developers are make it. They're like, okay, we can make this free. Their strategy is walking me through this one. It's kind of smart. So clash clans is one of the biggest. I don't know if I should say offenders. Angry birds is like this. To them, words is like this. And so their model, the way they do this, they have your clans started when iphone came out. I don't think they start when iphone came out. A couple years after, though, they're around it. Anger birds around for all. Yeah, same, same, they've both been here for a long time. Bro Those birds need caunseling. Dude, they're still mad. You know it's crazy by now. I know there's a lot of Tangency. If you're listening, I apologize, but I'm saying what's crazy to me is that there was a new commercial came out last year that had birds hitting a house. Yeah, and it was like that is that reference is still relevant. And here's why. Here's why. So their model, the way they do it, is they have there's not a word for this. Let's called pedestrian players, okay, and then they've got words for this next three levels. So there's a small fish, big fish in the whales. And so the concept the pedestrian players, of the people who come in, they will not spend any money in the game, they will just be there play for free. Yes, the small fish of the people who over the lifetime they'll buy a couple things, spend a couple bucks here, a couple bucks there, but all the lifetime they're values were going ten, fifteen, twenty bucks. That's who I am on that, on that golf game. Yeah, you bought a couple putters. The big fish are people who will spend a consistent amount of money on a monthly basis. Yeah, two and thirty, forty fifty a month. Are there big fish? No, I dropping some cash on clash or Claians. Someone's dropping fifty dollars a month. The whales are the people who are dropping tens of thousands of dollars a month. Shot Club months, a month, U month. There are people out here dropping tens of thousands of dollars on clash of clans. There was a report in two thousand and eighteen a SADDI oil baron's son. I'm imagining that. you start an APP called class or clans and then suddenly you've got the Sawdi prints by the throat. Dude, you gotta like you're de Siphoning tens of thousand of dollar. How much she's been a month. In the two thousand and eighteen report it came out and of just this guy's account. Yeah, he said he spent an estimated over the past five years, one million dollars in clash of clans micro transactions of the past five years. These are fifteen hundred days. These are, these are this is what. Now, if you had fifteen hundred days to spend a million? Now, how many nights would you do in jail over a million dollars? Okay, let's was just just do the math on that real quick though. Yeah, let's say it's one point five million dollars. Yeah, okay, over five years it's fifteen hundred days. That's averaging a thousand dollars a day. Am I wrong? Let's let's check this. My crazy on this. This checks out right. This, yeah, these, you're averaging a thousand dollars a day and you're probably not doing that every day, right. No, no, there's no way. So that's what these developers, that class of clans, they are playing and there's there. It's pretty smart when you think about it. They're gonna know that guy's name. They're right. Look in the clash of clans office in the in the in the clash of clan clan right, they're sitting there in HQ, Baron, son of the oil baron. But they've got to be like, Oh yeah, how much did the so he spend today? So companies like clash of plans. They have these they call whales. Do they have more? They have a handful of these people that are playing the game. Do they have more than one game or is it just like these companies doing this? Well, yeah, they've got tons of shirts. Let's go on one. So. So for each of the game, a hand they know that we got a handful of whales, dozen at most, and they're developing the APP for the whales. At that point, yeah, it's off the whales. And so for them it's almost for the whales. The small fish. It's always been for the whales. The small fish don't matter at all. They don't care that they're spending money, and even the big fish, most of the big fish, they don't really care much about. That's just kind of floating them a little bit. They're just doing it for the pedestrians they care a lot about. The game is for the whales and the pedestrians. And here's why that's interesting. Here's why, because the whales, they are pouring a ton of money into this game, so that way they can be better than everybody else in the game. If there's no one else they are. Well, they want a lot of bad players in the game. So they want all these free pedestrians to be people that the whales can just stop. And so they're matching the whales with these pedestrians. They're not putting them with the other decently good players. And then they get my little competitiveness. Yeah, here and I'm hitting second place every time. I'm like, I hate a better potter, and you start. I'm mad, I'm at the store. I'm just breaking poor, you know. And so they're giving the pedestrians a disadvantage. So it's most most likely scenario as the whale is going to beat them, feed their ego and spend more money so that way they can continue to stay better. So basically you got your whale and then you've got just pedestrians, who are your little feeder fish. Yeah, and you were just throwing them like crickets to a lizard. Yep, you've got a lizard. Yeah, as an analogy that works for you right now. We don't feed it crickets. What do you feed it? Worms? That's worse. So pedestrians are as worms. Yeah, sure, you heard it here, folks. Tim Thinks your worms, so I got you to say it. So they're just feeding into it and then they they whales win. The whales win more money. And here's what they do. If the white will don't win, they just been money to win at the whale stop spending their money. They start matching them with better players. So they start losing. So they start spending some more money and when they spend money, they start matching with pedestrians again, so they can start winning more. Okay, but imagine there's a recovery group of people who were addicted to spending money and clash of claims. Right. Imagine you've spent, you've sunk so much money into clash of claims that you're then a gardener outside the Bank of America, right, plotting to rob a bank because you are to fund your clan. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's pretty close. And See Pretty Spears live, dying to see her. So these people, people who are the whales, and this is happens every game that has this model. They have a handful of these whales and these people sometimes are from very well the same people. That's doubtful, but it could be. It sucks that there's rich enough people out there. Well, here's the thing. Most of those peop are spending my rent every day on clash or clans. Most of those people, if there's two scenarios, the whales, are either very wealthy individuals who can just throw money around, or two people who would you like to Upro for ninety nine cents, you can get a putter or twelve payments. Kind of, though, they're people who are deeply manipulated and they go into very, very, very deep debt to fund this game habit. And that's what I'm saying. What if you're destroying your life to beat a Saudi prince and angry parts? Yeah, and what's interesting about it, as they order, if there's somebody out there who's got four jobs, right, yeah, and like they're just tie, like their eyes are sunken in their exhausted and yes, you should take a break. Well, you know, my downtime, like temple run, the temper bro People can played temple running twelve years, man, because it been twelve years. Saying like there's people who are yeah, yeah, and so these companies, their whole thing is they want to either keep you a pedestrian or move you to a whale as quickly as possible, as the second you get on that track, they are trying to grow you up to that whale point. Does the edge they building him does that? Or is there's somebody evil in and all nice? It was like, we're gonna make you a will no, yeah, it's not. Well, fatten you up, boy and either pushes you to be a whale or pushes you back down to pedestrian level. That's what they want, which is I mean it's clever. Well, I mean rough. You know that golf game I play right, I'm just too good to be a peness Reid. Let's be honest, right, I'm saying I'm crushing right. Yeah, yeah, I'm just too good at this. Yep, Yep. And so now you're there. Always is somebody in there, and I've been thinking at this guy's on steroids. There's there's this group of people that top who are always it all. Here's the deal. Here's the deal with that. There has been some scandals, and this hasn't been proven, but there's been some scandals that rumor the dead Internet theory. Yeah, that's some of these opponents that they're matching the whales bots their bots that are, yes, going to win. Yeah, so they're matching you with people that you're definitely gonna win, are definitely going to lose against. They're like hey, these are these are people, and they're scamming you into thinking you're playing. So you're playing CPU and then passing them off as real human players that you're either better as, better than or worse than, depending on where they're trying to move they need. Yeah, so it's clever, very messed up. So what you're saying is there could be one user, clash of clients. I have you ever mess up this place? Classic Clay. It's just the pro I'm literally never. I've never seen the game interfait. The only game. The only time I've seen the game interface is like when ads when you're in high school. You didn't see it. No, it was super popular when we were, was it? I played it, like everybody in my class plate it. Okay, at least a minute, like we. That was pedestrian. That was in two thousand and ten. Yeah, yeah, right, so that guy was spending a million dollars. A few years later, interest an eighteen, I had a couple friends near the end of college. I knew that. Still played it, but just a case. The only thing I've I really played for a while was was it was it called outbreak. You don't tire about that is now you know. You know where you would you would choose the symptoms of the virus that goes to infect the world. What was that called? I'm pretty sure it's called pandemic. Oh, yeah, that's rough. So anyways. So that's one side of micro transactions. Hey and the console gaming world, we got it. Your Xbox, please at Man Your Xox, your playstation and your PC. Be Quiet for a triple a gaming. To continue this episode, please deposit twenty five cents. We know what you're thinks shows. We know what you're thinking. You can drop it right into your micro USB port on your phone. Just slided and it'll shrink. It's a micro quorder. Trust us. Give us your break recorders. There's only one person to listen to our podcast. Everyone else is CPU where. We've got a whale on the whales. So we've got them so hooked we let him run our social media. The others. The other side of micro transactions, console gaming wants to do this. The triple a game developers. They want to do this because it makes you way more money, but they can't because console gamers won't. Yeah, they're more into it. Like there mobile gamers and console gamers are a different breed. They're two different types of people. Well, because you don't really have a pedestrian console gamers. You're making a multi hundred dollar investment on a console, it's true. Yeah, and all console games, well, I mean up until recently all console games were sixty purchases. Yeah, is interesting because the prices never gone on. Oh, are you saying that with like the xbox subscription or whatever? There's games that are doing it more now. Well, what they're doing now is what I called Game Pass. Game Pass. Yeah, so they guy game pass, which is like a subscription service. They have season passes that they do, which is more like a subscription service. It's start into kind of teeter that line. But console gaming, constant gamers aren't going to do the playto win stuff. They hate that. Then any game who's tried that on console has gotten just obliterated by the gaming community and they're like, we're not playing this, this is dumb. But there has been a new development console gaming for cosmetics, and so those are the skins like you see in fortnight. Fortnight's probably the most successful I saw them do this in among us we're buying basically every AAA game now has some form of cosmetic metric, micro transactions, whether that's new outfits or paint jobs for your vehicle or your weapons or new armor. None of it does anything or affects anything in the game. Yeah, but you get to kind of show off this thing that you have. It's like a status symbol in the game. What's the second in FT? It is it's literally an n FT, kind of, because there can be multiple. But what's interesting about it is it does nothing. It holds no value whatsoever, but surprisingly there's a lot of money. Younger generation of Gamers is all about it. The older generation gamers hates it, right, but the younger generation gamers will spend. They will get a hundred fifty for Christmas. They will spend the entire hundred fifty on yeah, but cans. You didn't do any of that in middle school. No, not for I bought gold coins on root skool pants for Christmas. Yeah, but that's different. You can use it to do something in the game, like this is about armor, but your armor served a purpose. It had it gave you best works in the game. Well, these don't sort about a cool Cape, didn't do anything. Still have it, I think. Well, like dinner, but it's still there. But cool, keep between two thousand and thirteen. In two thousand and eighteen, I spent what point for million dollars is runescape GP. So here's the thing. So the kids will spend a ton of money in this getting skins and it's created a status. That's a status thing and it's actually create same thing where there's a bunch of kids will buy followers on instagram. Yeah, yeah, it's become this thing where this new I don't know what what to call it, like a bullying term that kids will use against each other is default. They'll call kids default because they don't have a purchase skin, default skin on their character, like we used to say Nube. Yeah, yeah, they say, Hey, your default, shut up. Default it because you weren't able to go out there and buy the coolest new skin. And they're constantly updating these adding new ski yeah, characters. So the kids keep coming back to try to get getting skins. I shouldn't say kids, probably not all kids, but it's grow olds up, mostly kids. People are buying the skins. Well, it made fortnight very successful and I don't know if fortnight was the first to do this, but pretty much every game does this. Now they do what's called loot boxes. Have you seen these? HMM, so loot boxes. It's a slot machine, is what it is it? They they comes caused a loop box because there it's a slow machine that it looks it's a box. Well, no, it's lute lout, that's a box. You can box. Like you said loop, loop, and I thought you were literally like it's a slot like where they just drink it's inside, and they were like, we can't call this a slot machine. It's basically the same thing. Called a loop machine. It's basically the same thing, because here's what they do. You just buy a box where they have different tiers of boxes and these box has a set number of items or skins, right, things that you could get. And then you buysywhere you buy the Pookemon card and it yeah, same concept and it'll play this music, it'll play this ringy music and then when it opens there's all these lights in the sound effects and the explosions and it's like here's the item you one. Well, that's the the the golf game does that too, is that you it's spins and then you win a thing and then you can pay for more spins hitting with that. That I have not that I've ever done. I've never got that. I don't use your patreon money for that. So if you're watching, you're like that. I've invested a lot of money. I paid this set should be better. Tim should look tim should have a different skin now, because I've spent it all on putters, Mini Golf. So these these games, so the loop boxes, and they have different colors that they use for different scenarios and scenario and and they make you when you buy it. They make you buy before you spend your money on the loop box, you have to buy V bus or credits or whatever, and that the value. The change rate doesn't make any sense right. It's like you're buying ten dollars and V box and it's Twentyzero v Box, but you spend ten dollars on it. So that way, when you spend Twentyzero v Bucks, there's a disconnect between how much money you're spending. You're not see how many v Bucks does ten dollars get you? Yeah, I don't know, but that's why I'm saying. starbucks does that where their drink is four dollars or whatever. H but you you can only add ten. Yeah, it's the same concept. So you're you're getting enough to where you either can buy one item and then are going to have an awkward amount left, so you're going to have to reload it and get more, or yes, which don't have enough. You know much businesses make them from so much gift cards every year, from that leftover like dollar or whatever. I mean it's millions of dollars and just leftover gift cards. It's the exact same concept. So they're making you in to where it's like you have to spend, you have to buy an extra set, and then starbucks actually treat that as an asset. So it's say you have a dollar twenty seven left in your account. You can't buy a drink with that, but all that stuff adds up. They've got like, you know, tons of money in those cards. We see, like I need, so many people in. So many people forget about their money in the cards too, and then they say, what do they say? And we have as much an asset so we can borrow more money. Yep, that walks ketchy. So so what they do then is there's this disconnect and what people have noticed as hey, these are the same sort of schemes that casinos employ. They make you trade your money for chips and they change the exchange right. So they're it's hard to tell, to keep track of where you're at. Yeah, and it's hard to it's difficult for your brain to say, Oh, this is a dollar, I'm dropping and said it's a red chip. Yep. It's the same concept with your credits. It's the same thing going on with the the loop boxes or the crates or whatever game you're looking at, where they're doing all these graphics and different things to make you feel like it's like a crackerblay where I don't know how many pieces of corn bread I've eaten. They only drop off like two of the time. They just keep the pop. Those like im it m's, you know, you know, they keep bringing it by the end of day. I mean twelve piece of cord breath, they like, here's Twentyzero corn bread, but if they like, if they don't like twelve down at once, yeah, you wouldn't eat them. I wouldy too. Yeah, that's why where I go, I asked for twelve pieces of corn bread, because they got this guy is super place be able to bill, like, you asked for twelve and you ate too. Yeah, they confront me about it. Yeah, and they make me eat them all. The other day I was a cracker barrel, that's server. She made me eat be just it. You eat those corn bread and just while she stood next to your table with all the waitresses singing the birthday song. Yeah, so everybody had to like wash you chant. You know what it is? It was those little triangle, little peg thing. They altered a peg and these are pokab like, like no, I'm sorry, I just I wanted to control my carbon take and they were like you eat them, eat them, you whale, you get it. Yeah, it's like that other night when we're hanging out. Oh, I'm a whale to cracker meel. I'll tell you what, if they look at my finances, I've spent a lot of money at cracker Meirle. It's like the other night when we get we ordered that take out and like we all put it on one ticket. Oh yeah, now and she was like, you get a free sprite for ordering so much food. I was the only one who went in. She just thought I ordered the time. Yeah, you know, but here's the thing. When I was a fat boy, I would order, you know, from Chinese restaurants. You know, you know when you realize that you've made a mistake is when you get to a takeout place and they've included two sets of silverware with your order. That is a rough realization. They assumed. Yeah, you're like, oh, wow, thanks for thinking I'm not lonely, but I'm going to eat all I'm gonna. Yeah, this is this is because I'm a whale. Never forgive it. So and they're employing all these tactics, with these that are pretty sketchies crates that it's the lights, it's the it's the flashing, it's the music, and then when they reveal it's like this moment right before you see it where it just gives you this hope that you're gonna get the item you wanted, but the cars are stacked against you. Just like a casino. You're not going to get the house awads on its yeah, every once in a while going to throw you the bone. But most of the time they're going to give you all the crap that you that's a way to keep you playing. Yeah, they only they don't get you give you the crap you want and they give you. They string you along to get you to keep buying these crates. That's what happens. Kids will, any people will buy all these v Bucks and blow a hundred, two, hundred, three hundred dollars on these crates trying to get this one specific item over and over and over again right. It's like a slot machine. You're not going to you're not going to get it most likely, and then they end up all upset because, like, I spent three hundreds and give what I wanted. It's a sleazy tactic and it's starting to become an issue because a couple things. One, people are realizing that a lot of games, especially games like fortnight, that employ these tactics, are largely children. Like are the people who are playing targeting kids? Yeah, and they know they're targeting kids because you can tell by the Cud type of contact they're putting out. But you also know just demographically kids are playing fortnight and they're they're employing these same tactics and they're hooking these kids and giving them really essentially a gambling addiction to make a lot of money off of them. Yeah, and so there's groups of parents and other just like legislators, who seem to be in the route to crack down on this sort of micro transaction in gaming, and it looks like there is kind of the subset of all of the above of the free to play, a pay to win, the cosmetic stuff, the casino type tactics, where they're saying, hey, we we need to do something to regulate this because there's very many kids and just other people who are unknowingly getting sucked into this and getting addicted to just dropping cash and yeah, games, and they're using algorithms against people free the Saudi prints. That's the concept, and so it does look like legislation is on the horizon that would really limit these studios. Got To get the senators to look up from their phones, to stop buying their sitting in this in it hearing about how addicted these Games are and it was like they're playing White House Sim like I was almost president. Look at my gold horse, you look at my White House. Check it out. I'm the president and you're not. Well, I am in there, I am in second life. Sorry, okay. And so here's my thing is, if this pulls off, honestly, that's I think that micro transactions were the foundation that allowed crypto and and FT's to happen, because they were a useless thing on the Internet that people spend a lot of money on. And then FT's and crypto are useless thing on the Internet that people are spending a lot of money on. Sorry if that offends you, but it's the truth. No one who trades those stuff are listening this far. In terms episode and and and the metaverse is going to be built on micro yeah, because you have to. The whole economy of it is going to be buying useless goods. I should even say goods useless. Well, I I mean, look at reality, right. I we were joking earlier about how reality is this way, but I mean think about it. kind of know it kind of is, but even even more so, much the stuff that we spend money on is just to show that we're better than everybody else. Yeah, exactly, exactly. But and what they're selling you in commercials there just like if you buy our product, you will be better than our what everyone will envy you. It's much I adrere have for peloton bikes, for can't ride them all once. Rathi. Here's one for one day. I put one arms day I put an arm in one and arm in the other. In legs. Yeah, put it in. There's a little, a little pedal thing. Well, you're here, Hey, your poor is coming out, because you clearly never been close enough to a Peloton bike to know what it looks like for my arm in a Pelotar bike. No, the pedals. You know, you can hear how say is I agree. I agree. The the difference cut it. That's that right there. We can hear how where you are. I agree. Clip it. The the difference here is in real life there is some physical, measured things that you can say, okay, maybe that's not worth twelvezero dollars. Sure, but that's worth money because it's there's a physical thing. Yeah, work put went in with these. Yeah, somebody made some work to make that item in the digital world, but the end of the day it's easily duplicated. Yeah, it's ones and Zeros, it's it's not a physical thing. Backing that, there's no real value to it other than the value that we as drive to it. So here's my my point is if legislation catches up before the metaverse takes off on the micro transaction world, who knows how restrictive they are on it, but there are some people who seem to be very upset about what about the free rain? These companies have got to just manipulate children and up dropping a ton of money in this game and getting addicted to just buying useless stuff. Who knows how far they could get, and legislating it. Nobody's allowed to get addicted to anything until they're eighteen. Then they can get addicted to whatever they want to, get super addicted to anything except cigarettes. But you can do vapes. If you're a kid, you can do vapes. So I if that legislation gets restrictive, it could really, really hurt the viability of the metaverse right taking off, which is interesting to me. But what're we going to sell them metaverse? You and I, well, probably opportunities to live. Well, actually, here's what we do. Will do opportunities to wander around out front. Wait, he doesn't he want to hear you to show up to the Bank of America, Bank of Bank of Meta, Bank of a Meta versake of a Metta and you guys will just wander around in your gardener gear and then someone is gonna Pepper spray than the guard and then one of you is gonna get scared by the Burger King fast fifty to do it the Burger but the Burger keep you gotta get see the up to Bank of America. It's a tiny motorcycles. Why was he on pocket pikes? Whatever, because it is funny. What were the other mascots? I can't think of a single Burger King Mascot other than that creepy king. Yeah, I mean they it's not like like McDonald's did the time to create their characters. I remember the S, all their VHS tapes with the shows. Do you remember that? They're very good. Burger King did not take the time to do that with anybody other than the king. And I'm going to be honest with you, I don't know if you see the commercial where the king serves food out of the drive through. I would drive off so bad if I both the drive through and my here, come, here comes the king like Bro. First of all, I heard that your son spent too much on clash of clay. The Burger. Kings son is just dropping cash. I took this out. So there was just a motorcycle lady. I want to see it. Oh, okay, hold on, let me. Can you drop it up on the screen? Yeah, give me one second. We could do this later. Actually, this is the Oh, Oh okay, well, here we are. It's later. It's happening. So there was yeah, there was that lady. She was a cover. For some reason she was on the cover. We also had look how dumb they look on the bike hamburglar. That's right, that I do remember. They I used to. I wanted to be the hamburger guy. Yeah, he's not the hamburger. Yeah, he's dresses a Hamburg hamburger. Chicken. There was a chicken. Yep, there's the chicken. You over that. Let's see what else we got in here. Man, this is straight up my childhood right now. I loved this game. It's bumper cars. I might have just been bumper cars on it. That's fun. Gosh. Can we find these somewhere? I'm sure we could. There's someone selling entire staffer sneaking. No, I don't remember that one. I only had pocket racer, Classic Classic Games. Yeah, so these games were awesome, this is a gift. Oh No, not, that's terrified. Look at this hands. Look at his little hands. See, I don't like that. See. And they were like and they were like this is a big branding problem, all right, because they were just like here we go, he's just they're like, let's make him as creepy as we can. That's exactly look and then Athony is in that one look gardener in the background. That's why I so a game. Anyway, I'm thinking we got to come up with some micro transactions. Yeah, we do for the metavers when it comes out. We can. We can sell fiddles in the millers metal verse.

Video games have long been a joyous escape for many throughout the world. Few other outlets provide people with the same expanse of experiences as that of gaming. However, the profit timelines for game developers have always been a dicey issue. Due to long development time and short sales windows, game developers are often left with many months straight without a profit. Microtransactions were born to combat this reality. If used well, the feature could provide added benefits to both gamers and developers. Unfortunately, they have not been used well, and the effects are beginning to be felt across the industry.

Microtransactions Explained

Simply put, microtransactions are a profit-generating mechanism for the video game industry. The system is not unique to video games. It is, however, far more prevalent in gaming than in any other form. Companies introduced the concept to help mitigate the long time horizons between releases of new video games.

Within games, developers added players to purchase additional content at low fees. Most of the time, this content is cosmetic, meaning it does not affect the game’s outcome (clothing, armor, etc.). On the other hand, some games have introduced purchasable goods that affect the game and one’s ability to win in the game. Players have given these games the tongue-in-cheek nickname “Free to play, pay to win” since most games employing this tactic are initially free.

The History

Players found the earliest rendition of microtransactions in the early ’90s. For example, double Dragon 3, an arcade game, would prompt players to insert additional coins at various points throughout the game to unlock special items. Players in North America hated this. However, players in Japan seemed to accept the idea. So, it took off in Japanese-based games through the early 2000s. Games like Maple Story and Dungeon Fighter Online were the forerunners of the microtransaction revolution.

Then came The Elder Scrolls Oblivion. In 2006, the developers released golden armor for the player’s horse for $5. The armor, however, did not affect whatsoever on the game. An item was being sold in a game for purely cosmetic purposes for the first time. This move was met with stark criticism. Even still, the armor sold well, and developers worldwide took note.

Shortly after the Oblivion horse armor fiasco, the iPhone was born. Naturally, game developers hurried to the new platform in hopes of releasing a successful title. However, the developers knew that few users would pay the typical $60 price tag for a mobile game. So instead, mobile game developers adopted the microtransaction model, and it was to the races for the microtransaction hellscape that we live in today.

The Effect of Microtransactions

One might think, “What’s the big deal? So what if a game developer wants to make a little more cash off their products.” The effects of microtransactions are wide-reaching, and they stretch far outside the games in which the models are used.

There is a noticeable effect of the change within the games. Companies are becoming more and more committed to addicting their users and training them to continue to come back and spend more time and money on their platforms. Take, for example, Fortnite. The game was released five years ago; a virtual millennium as far as digital content is concerned. Yet, it still attracts millions every single day. These companies use sleazy tactics to keep players coming back repeatedly.

Beyond the corruption of the game itself, these developers are causing actual world harm to people. Mobile game developers pursue players they refer to as “whales.” These are players that will spend thousands a month on the game. Companies attempt to hook these “whales” and keep them spending. The sad truth is many of these players are spending money they do not have and racking up debts.

The Effects on Kids

Many have argued that these games target children and employ the same strategies that casinos do to foster a gambling addiction. The currency is given a strange new name in the game and is offered at a confusing exchange rate. Virtual slot machines are used to purchase in-game goods, so players need to continue to try to get the item they want, rather than just buying the item they want directly. Sound effects, music, and lighting cues are all used to trigger dopamine hits at the perfect times.

Furthermore, cosmetics are now being used to draw a dividing line between the haves and the have nots in the virtual world. Children are now on record using a new derogatory term, “Default,” against kids who don’t have the money to purchase new in-game items and have to dress in the default attire.


Microtransactions are a scourge on the history of gaming. If the issue is not resolved soon, it will all but destroy the entire medium and reduce it to a cash-grabbing virtual mini-mall. But, the downfall of gaming is not all that is at stake here. Children are being targeted and are being groomed for gambling addictions. All the while, new forms of bullying are being created by corporations doing little to curb it. The profit structure is problematic and must be stopped.

Things I Learned Last Night is an educational comedy podcast where best friends Jaron Myers and Tim Stone talk about random topics and have fun all along the way. If you like learning, and laughing a whole lot while you do, then you’ll love TILLN. Watch or listen to this episode right now!




Microtransactions – Wikipedia

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