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Game Over! What are microtransactions in video games and why can they harm your economy?

In recent years, video games or online applications have become popular in which you can play or browse online. freeuntil, suddenly, to advance or level up it is necessary purchase accessories or upgrades through payments with real money. This business scheme is known as: microtransactions.

Generally, microtransactions seem to be ‘cheap‘, as they allow the user to enjoy add-ons, new levels and boosters; However, over time, they can accumulate in large quantities and pose threats to your financial health.

Unlike purchasing something physical, microtransactions do not offer real, tangible objects, which can lead users to make impulsive spendingwithout thinking or considering the real cost of said virtual purchases.

How do microtransactions work and what video games use them?

According to the National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services (CONDUSEF), some of the video games with this business scheme are: Roblox, Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, Overwatch, Pokémon GO and League of Legends.

Microtransactions can include a wide variety of items, such as:

  1. Cosmetics: Items that do not affect gameplay, such as costumes, appearances, emotes, visual effects, decorations for characters or vehicles.
  2. Boosters: Temporary or permanent improvements that can grant in-game advantages, such as increased experience, skill improvements, or access to additional content.
  3. Resources: Virtual currency, materials or elements necessary to progress in the game or accelerate processes, such as building construction, manufacturing objects, among others.
  4. Additional content: Expansions, DLC (downloadable content) or packs that add new missions, stories, maps, characters, etc.
  5. Loot boxes: Virtual random item packs, where players pay an amount of money and receive a random set of items.

How to protect yourself from microtransactions?

Microtransactions themselves They are not bad; however, it is important have control about the ant expenses that can be generated when playing video games.

  • Trust only video games and applications created by recognized developers.
  • Prevent app stores, browsers and websites of all types from retaining personal data.
  • Set a spending limit on your credit and debit cards to avoid exceeding what you are willing to pay for these services.
  • Educate children financially to give them tools that teach them to value money, learn to save and know how to manage it.
  • Frequently review bank transactions and ensure that all operations carried out are well located.

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