PC & Console microtransactions revenue has doubled since 2012 according to Superdata, a provider of market intelligence relating to video games.

While the furor from the Star Wars Battlefront II microtransactions controversy is still cooling down, Superdata has released a report showing the overall shift of games towards a service model. The industry is surely aware of this trend, with companies such as Square Enix looking to move towards a “games as a service” policy.

The numbers speak for themselves. According to Superdata, in 2012 PC & Console games made $5 billion from the sales of full games, $2 billion from additional content, and $11 billion from free-to-play games. Their data for 2017 shows that full games grew to $8 billion, but the “additional content” category has grown to $5 billion and free-to-play microtransactions revenue has doubled to $22 billion.  Superdata’s projections see this number climbing to $25 billion by 2022. This means that while product-based monetization (that is, buying a game once and paying nothing extra) will have grown by 120%, service-based monetization (DLC & additional content) will have grown by 146%.

microtransactions revenue has doubled

The game industry has been doing quite well, but some areas are doing better than others. Microtransactions revenue has doubled in the last five years and is projected to continue rising.

While developers & publishers earn a healthy amount of money from the one-time sale of games, the larger chunk of profits has been in the additional content sold afterward as well as free-to-play games. As time goes on, the proportions are set to shift ever more in favor of microtransactions and DLC past the retail purchase of a game. (Indeed, free-to-play games have made more profit than retail sales & DLC combined since 2012.)

Although many gamers are upset at how some games have monetized their games past the initial purchase, it doesn’t change the fact that microtransactions revenue has doubled in the last five years. Individual games may rise or fall depending on how they execute their monetization strategy, but the overall trend shows that gamers are speaking with their wallet by purchasing DLC & free-to-play content in droves.

What do you think of the notion that PC & console microtransactions revenue has doubled in the last five years? Do you think we’ll see more AAA publishers monetize games in a way similar to Star Wars Battlefront II? What’s the best way you’ve seen a game handle microtransactions? Let us know in the comments below!

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Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!