It used to be like this: you paid 60 euros for a game and that was it for the maker. That has changed: the purchase of a game such as FIFA19 (which appeared yesterday) is now just the beginning. With very small payments, micro-transactions in the game, maker EA earns more after selling the game. Third-party sellers are making huge income as well like those who are into the hard drive business selling powerful gaming SSD online.
The game industry takes billions: 100 billion euros was earned in 2017. Cinema films around 34 billion and the music industry 15.
Mobile Games Becoming Multi-Billion-Dollar Industry
Rockstar, the creator of the GTA V game, has turned this revenue model into art. Since the game was released five years ago, it has achieved a turnover of 5 billion euros. The game can now be taken from the bargain for 25 euros: the microtransactions are so lucrative that it is actually no longer necessary to ask for money for the game itself.
This is especially true for Fortnite, the free blockbuster of the moment and others such as Berlin Heute Works. The makers earn money by selling skins (an outfit for your game character) and dance steps for 10 to 15 euros each. “If you do not buy those skins, then you do not belong. It is like the old days on the schoolyard. Everyone had marbles, then you also want marbles. I know 14-year-olds who therefore spend hundreds of euros,” says gamer and Twitch streamer. EsileJoy.
The revenue model for large games is directly copied from mobile games such as Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds. David Nieborg, professor of Media Studies: “The media focuses on Triple-A games. But in the meantime, games like Candy Crush earn a lot of money. GTA V is very big, but many more people play Candy Crush.”
Among other things, those games have become so profitable with loot boxes. Treasure chests with an unknown content: you don’t know what you pay for. Gambling, says the Dutch and Belgian gambling committees. Whereupon games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm removed loot boxes from their games.