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Report: 69% of consumers find cosmetic microtransactions acceptable

Only 6% of consumers never spend money on microtransactions

Over two-thirds of consumers feel that cosmetic microtransaction are an acceptable form of monetisation in games, according to a report from data-led discussion platform Qutee.

The report, Gaming Today, is based on an online discussion led by a panel of gaming and tech influencers.

With nearly 2,000 comments covering over 450 topics, and more than 10,000 poll responses, the debate explored consumers' likes, dislikes, frustrations, and thoughts on the future of the industry.

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Based on the responses, 69% of consumers felt that cosmetic microtransactions are an acceptable form of monetisation in games, with only 6% saying they do make make in-game purchases. However, 22% took umbrage with "pay-to-win" microtransactions, describing the model as "toxic" and "sickening".

Although microtransactions have attained a certain level of acceptance among consumers, only 1.3% were "fans" of the model. As it currently stands, 71% of respondents felt that gaming gives them value for money compared to just 9% who don't.

The report also found that 37% of consumers think games are becoming less innovative, and that long-established franchises like Call of Duty are struggling to evolve. That sentiment doesn't appear to have affected consumer habits however, with Call of Duty: World War II being the best selling game of 2017 in both the UK and North America.

Conversely, 31% of respondents suggested that games were continuing to successfully innovate, pointing to Creative Assembly's Total War: Warhammer as an example of innovation in a long running franchise.

Virtual reality developers and platform holders will be disappointed by the report's findings that just 5% of consumers intend to purchase a VR headset in 2018. The report concluded the vast majority are not only waiting for a killer-app, but also another headset price cut.

"The Gaming Today debate shows that the industry is in the midst of a cultural shift while simultaneously experiencing growing pains," said Flint Barrow, co-founder and CTO of Qutee.

"The pursuit of profit in some quarters has led to stagnation at best, and predatory tactics at worst. Gamers are watching and are at the centre of the interplay between passion and innovation meeting the bottom line. Fortunately, the market is so large it leaves room for fragmentation, where companies on both sides can successfully carve out a niche."

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Latest comments (3)

James Berg Games User Researcher, EA CanadaA year ago
The graph shown is very poor research, assuming it represents what was asked - it totals to 100%, but it's asking fundamentally different questions and pretending they're all applying to that same group. The language used is also a methodological concern, as it's mixing value judgements with and behavioural statements.

Directionaly this is interesting, but the specific % is something I'd consider to be nonsense data.
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Too Good to be Truth.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft GermanyA year ago
How does the graph work? Because I would be at the same time on the red and on both grey...
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