Over the years we have seen a variety of free to play models in video games. The range of free to play games and how they earn their money has changed over the years with many different types of models. Some of these models are worse than others for the consumer, but ultimately the choice is yours.
One of the most used free to play models is the cosmetic version. This model uses customization for your character and/or environment for a fee. These often rely on a small group of individuals who spend lots, while many do not spend much. Since they rely on a small group, companies have tried to use other models such as pay per play, loot boxes and in some cases advantages in the game. We have also seen a mix of paying for a game with microtransactions.
Over the past 8 years we have seen a rise in these models as companies try to earn more out of their products. This is not a new model, but an adaptation from other areas. Loot boxes are like gambling. You buy a box and open it; inside the box you receive various things which are based on percentages with the rarer items being low in the chance to obtain. We also see models like this in card games. You open a pack and get cards, but you have no idea what cards you will get until you open it. Maybe its something hard to get or maybe its stuff you already have. These are nothing new it is a way for companies to try and earn more out of their games.
The rise of free to play has led to microtransactions in gaming. Microtransactions for those who are unaware are transactions within a product that you usually have already paid for but has small fees for various things such as extra experience for your character or a weapon that is powerful.
What does the future hold for this style of products? Loot boxes have become an issue with government going to court over them against various corporations. We believe loot boxes will become heavily regulated which will likely reduce companies choosing this model. We expect that the microtransactions will continue to grow as companies find new ways to add value to their games. With the success of the free to play models for juggernauts such as league of legends, DOTA, and Valortant, most recently, it is going to remain a staple in gaming.
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