In-app purchasing is usually defined as the buying of services from inside a mobile application. Mobile users are well familiar with the annoying situations when they have to buy some features in order to move forward with a game. While in-app purchases enable game developers to make their applications available for free, paid features within a game and ads ruin the user experience, even worse, when a user gets nothing after making a purchase. From the developer perspective, in-app purchasing is a great way to make money.
It is not advisable to discuss an issue when there is no visible solution. However, it is important to highlight the problem The state of in-app purchases has reached a point where it is hard to find the right direction. Despite the fact that in-app purchases have been destroying the gaming industry, developers are still implementing strategies that will only worsen the situation.
The gaming industry has reached a stage where it is hard to define what constitutes a game. Playing a game should be nothing but an activity full of fun. It doesn’t mean that you sit around thinking whether or not you should spend money to unlock different features or speed up the game. The current mobile gaming experience is not bearable for people who remember the old gaming traditions back in the 1990s.
In-app purchases: Retro games vs modern games
Let’s compare a game from the 1990s to a modern iPad game to evaluate the impact of in-app purchases.
Classic Dungeon Keeper
Bullfrog Productions was one of the best game developers in the 1990s. They created some of the finest classic collection of games such as Theme Hospital, Syndicate, and Dungeon Keeper. These games can’t beat the modern games in terms of graphics and speed. However, considering the high-resolution screen back then was only 640×480, classic games were the best at that time. Let’s study the evolution of Dungeon Keeper to make things clear.
There is a classic version of Dungeon Keeper developed back in the 1990s, and there is the latest version of Dungeon Keeper. You can buy and play the classic version in just $5.99, full game with every feature unlocked. It is fun to build up your dungeon by digging out rooms. People who have already played the game understand how fast and easy it is to build a room. It takes around 2 minutes to complete the game and there is a rhythm and energy in the game. Just remember this is a classic version. Now, let’s have a look at the modern version with in-app purchases.
Dungeon Keeper 2014
The gaming industry reimagined and rebuilt the Dungeon Keeper for Android and iPad in 2014. This game clearly illustrates how modern gaming traditions have ruined the fun element that was present in the retro games. It would be unjust to call the present-day Dungeon Keeper a game. Considering its in-app features and story, it’s nothing but a well-engineered scam. The problem is that modern-day gamers don’t understand what real gaming was like in the past.
It is good to see that you can download the game for free. As you play the game, you will have to face situations where you have to make many mini transactions which will slow down the gameplay. It is not at all fun to pay money to speed up the game or you will spend the entire day digging. You have to spend about $2 to dig one piece of land. The best value pack will cost around 70 pounds that you can use to dig around 55 pieces of lands.
Simply put, this game is just a scam robbing people of their money. The only difference is that people are willingly spending money just to continue playing which is ridiculous. By any stretch of the imagination, it is not acceptable to spend that much money to play the game you like. Remember the old days? It just takes $5.99 to play the classic version that only takes 2 minutes to dig out 45 squares.
Most of the free-to-play games with in-app purchases do pretty much the same. Gamers have to spend money to keep the fun level up. Modern games have turned the gaming industry into a mobile scamming industry. Even worse, people give high ratings to such games and app store often feature these games as one of the top five picks or as an Editor’s choice.
Long-Term Impact of In-App Purchasing
Future generations are likely to experience the negativity in modern games. Most young gamers have already accepted that this is what gaming is like and they are unaware of the fact that gaming was more fun in the past. The gaming industry should take steps to bring the mobile gaming world back to life by removing the unfair elements (in-app purchases) from games. The lust to earn more and more money and greed shouldn’t be the driving force behind the success of the gaming industry. Deceptive business tactics will completely destroy the charm of gaming.
Mikko Hypponen, a computer security expert, expresses, “If you want to play more than a little bit and want to play every day you have to pay, and it sucks,”. We should step forward and speak up about the frustrating situation we have to experience every time we have to pay in order to play.
It’s time developers start creating games that have personality, apps that offer non-stop fun without forcing users to pay. Developers who are still creating games without in-app purchases should be given credit for they are striving to restore the credibility of mobile gaming industry. Games like Minecraft, Oceanhorne, and XCOM are the right representation of true gaming culture.