One of the most hated aspects of modern gaming is micro-transactions. Games that ask for real money in the middle of a tense historic drama, or offer you the chance to upgrade your weapons beyond what the game otherwise offers, or simply extras that are hard to get any other way. But they continue to be big business, with companies like EA making far too much money to ever stop selling them.
How much money? $1.3 billion (£923 million) in 2015 according to EA (via GamesIndustry). What’s so impressive about this though isn’t necessarily the total, as we know companies like Riot Games make huge amounts of money from purely cosmetic items with League of Legends. EA however is making this much from games that are, for the most part, full price titles.
That means it takes in the £35+ for the original game and then tens of pounds from individuals after that. While this total does include everything from season passes to individual gun skins, the biggest seller for EA is the extras in its sports titles. Buying card packs to expand your Ultimate Team in FIFA titles generates more than half of its yearly DLC sales.
That’s more than £460 million a year just on faux cards, that don’t even factor into the main game. Although you could compare it to Hearthstone, the cards themselves are at least a major component of the game in all its guises; not so with Ultimate Team.
With that in mind, there is no chance of EA ever halting these sorts of DLC tactics. All we can do to encourage better practices is not to buy, but that shows no sign of stopping either.
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KitGuru Says: Do you spend much on post-game-purchase DLC? I’ll pick up the odd content pack, but I rarely buy AAA titles so don’t cross paths with EA that often.