Gamers 101: What Are In-Game Purchases?

With many developments in the video game industry, it can be difficult to keep up with all the updates, terminologies, and new releases. Gaming has come a long way throughout the decades, and it’s going to take a lot of studying up if you haven’t kept up with it. One excellent addition to video games is in-game purchases.  

In-game purchases or “microtransactions” are quite prevalent in many popular games today. In fact, more people nowadays are more accepting of it and are definitely willing to spend on them. However, this wasn’t always the case, when microtransactions first came out, there was a significant backlash, but that’s a story for later.  

What is A Microtransaction? 

First, it’s essential to get the definition of microtransactions or in-game purchases out of the way. These are essentially virtual goods that you can buy inside a game. For instance, if you enjoy mobile games on your phone, you might be familiar with how you can purchase coins or diamonds to improve gameplay. You just have to ensure that the phone you use is up to the task.   

Some mobile games might limit the rounds you can play in each stage by making you paying coins or diamonds. Once you run out of them, you’ll have to wait for some time until the game currency can be replenished, then you can play again. If you don’t want to wait, players can buy coins or diamonds through the game’s store, and this is exactly what in-game purchases are.  

In-game purchases are also used in computer and console games, but there’s a wider variety of virtual goods that you can buy. Warframe is a great example of this as it’s a game you can play on the PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4. Warframe uses “platinum” for its in-game currency, and you can purchase different bundles of platinum through their website. With platinum, you can buy weapons, cosmetics, mod-packs, equipment, and sentinel, which can improve your gameplay compared with simply playing for free.  

There are tons of games, especially on Steam, that make use of this system. The great thing about these Steam games is that you can use gift cards or Steam wallet codes for these microtransactions. Luckily, there’s an opportunity to earn points on all kinds of websites so you can get Steam wallet codes and gift cards akin to Prize Rebel’s great offer

History of Microtransactions 

This first use of microtransactions can be seen as a test drive to see how people would receive this new sales strategy. Thus, game producers found ways and strategies to make microtransactions more palatable to gamers. As a result, loot boxes, gacha games, and resellable skins are now used today.  

Microtransactions were first used in 2006 on The Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion for a horse armor sold by Bethesda for $2.50. As you can imagine, people didn’t like this because it was sudden, and it was the first time they encountered having to pay real money for a virtual item. Nowadays, this isn’t a lot of money for buying goods in online games, especially freemium games.

Microtransactions Outside of Gaming 

Microtransactions aren’t only used in gaming, but also in other applications. Some apps can be downloaded and used for free, but to unlock different parts and functions of the apps, you’ll need to pay or go premium through in-app purchases.  

Pros and Cons of In-Game Purchases 

In-game purchases have been heavily criticized, especially in their earlier days. Nowadays, more people accept it, but there are still many who think it’s unreasonable. Some believe that the deals aren’t worth the price, but others understand how app creators need to make money out of their products.  

But, it’s easy to see how game creators can exploit microtransactions. It was witnessed in the Star War: Battlefront II microtransaction incident. Essentially, the Belgium government ruled that it was a game of chance, and so, Star Wars: Battlefront II removed microtransactions, except for cosmetic transactions. All around the world, in-app and in-game purchases are studied and regulated to ensure that these are applied fairly. 

However, the effect of microtransactions can be deeper than just finances and exploitation. It’s also said to affect players psychologically, causing addiction, impulse buying, and peer pressure, especially for younger users.  


Overall, in-game purchases allow you to buy different virtual products to make any game more fun and exciting to play. There are various ways to make microtransactions, depending on what you’re playing and where you’re playing it on. As technology and the gaming industry advances, more changes for PC circuit boards and PCB assembly from MIS electronics are made, and improvements for microtransactions are expected. However, it’s important to remember to use in-game purchases responsibly to avoid drawbacks. 

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