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Mircrotransactions and DLC have tripled the value of the game industry

While games as a service doesn’t have the best of reputations, contributing to countless debates over DLC, season passes and, most recently, loot boxes, a recent study reveals that a lot of us have eagerly bought into the model, and as a result, the value of the industry has tripled. 

Monetisation services company Digital River recently published a report titled ‘Defend Your Kingdom: What Game Publishers Need to Know About Monetization & Fraud’ which found that even premium games—as in not free-to-play—benefited significantly from DLC and microtransactions. 

“In 2016, a quarter of all digital revenue from PC games with an upfront cost came from additional content,” the report reads. Though it also notes that consumers now expect more for less, and the model has been a reaction to that. 

"Consumers are less willing to pay $60 for a boxed game and instead choose titles with a steady stream of new content," the report said. "Publishers seek to meet these expectations and have adopted a 'games as a service' model, releasing fewer titles over time while keeping players engaged longer with regular updates and add-ons."

As players are turned into long-term customers, buying loot crates and expansions instead of splashing out on the occasional expensive game, revenue per user is expected to grow twice as fast as the rest of the market, explains the report.

You can read the full report, which also explores the impact of fraud and key resellers, here.


Fraser Brown
Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.