The gaming industry, micropayments, and GamerHash


The gaming industry has been gaining in popularity, nowadays it is not merely a pastime for kids or teenagers. Whether on portable devices, PCs or consoles, both men and women of different ages play puzzles, strategies, adventures or shooters to name a few.

According to Entertainment Software Association (ESA), 45% of all American gamers are females (the average age is 36, compared to the male gamer who is on average 32 years old) who mostly play mobile games because of the easy access — they usually own smartphones and have them at hand no matter where they are as opposed to sturdier PCs. If you have a gamer-friend, you must have had the chance to play a multiplayer mode at least once. Video games are entertaining, relaxing, informative, and contrary to popular belief everybody plays them — the young, the old, the educated, the high-schoolers, the employed, the unemployed, the well-off, the not-so-well-off, the list just goes on.

Over 1 billion gamers, this is how many people share the love for the virtual worlds and by the end of 2018, this number is estimated to grow to almost one and a half billion players worldwide. Only in America, there are 2711 video game company locations which produce titles in such genres as shooter, action, sports, role-playing, and adventure, with the shooter genre generating a little over a quarter of all units sold. Business-wise, the gaming industry seems to be a goose laying golden eggs.

SuperData published a review of the year 2017 in digital games among others, and the numbers are staggering in a few ways. Firstly, video games are no longer the domain of PC or even console players, the gaming industry belongs to mobile gamers who spent a staggering 51 billion dollars with Asian players being responsible for 70% of the global revenue for digital game sales. Secondly, the highest generating revenue titles in PC gaming are interestingly the free-to-play ones, League of Legends, Dungeon Fighter Online and CrossFire occupying the podium seats respectively. A question immediately comes to mind: how do games you do not have to pay for provide 69% of a 33 billion dollar market?

The answer is <drums>: microtransactions.

In 2017, F2P (free-to-play) games made a staggering 22 billion dollars in revenue, whereas PC and console games together with extensions earned 13 billion dollars. The difference is significant and purports to the fact why game producers are more eager than ever to implement micropayment systems. Take GTA V (and GTA Online) or Overwatch which earned 1.092 billion dollars and 4 billion dollars, respectively. Another fat cat of the gaming industry which does not say no to microtransactions — Electronic Arts Studio totaled 1.4 billion dollars in revenue on all produced titles.

Micropayments, or microtransactions in the gaming industry have had bad press and not for no reason. On one hand, players who invested money in their gaming efforts were given access to more powerful equipment, additional skills or better characters making the competition uneven, or any game unplayable for an average just-want-to-have-fun player. On the other hand, game designers utilizing pay-to-win ploys in-game scenarios were widely accused of nothing else, but greed.

Mobile games are the staunchest adopter of micropayments because they give users two options, either spend long hours playing a game or pay a small fee for an in-game currency tokens and buy upgrades, boxes, loot boxes or extension packs, however, do not count that the heroes, schematics or upgrades you buy will make you indestructible or give you an upper hand over the non-paying community.

Currently, game producers have been dropping the infamous pay-to-win model mostly due to users’ complaints regarding the balance between organic versus paid rewards. In the case of Star Wars Battlefront 2, the decision to revise the micropayments model came shortly before the game’s official launch day and was motivated by the unfavorable opinions of the community. Oskar Gabrielson, DICE’s General Manager explained:

“(…) But as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.

We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases.”

PC and console games producers incorporate microtransactions to give users the possibility to change their in-game appearance, excluding any changes to the underlying mechanics of a game and thus, sparing users the disappointment and saving themselves from bad PR. Fortnite: Battle Royal is a great example of how to successfully incorporate micropayments in F2P games. The game was officially released in July 2017 and since then 125 mln people have played it with 3.4 million Fortniters playing simultaneously. Just over the first three days after the release, the profit from micropayments reached 1.5 million dollars. One of the reasons for such a great success might come from the fact that whether you own an Xbox, PS4 or Nintendo Switch, PC, MAC or iOS you can still join the fight with the Android-friendly version to be launched soon.

A market research company LendEDU polled a thousand gamers who spend approximately six to ten hours playing a game. The results showed that 68.8% of the players use micropayments, spending on average 84.67 dollars. In addition, almost 40% of the respondents have used microtransactions for the first time while playing Fortnite. As a side note, when Fortnite Mobile launched a closed beta for iOS, it was downloaded 11 million times, earning 100 million dollars over the first 90 days. There is always room at the top, and the coming Fortnite for Android version will most certainly take its place right next to its platform counterparts.

Since gamers are so eager to spend money on virtual in-game goods, it might be assumed the devil is not as black as he is painted, the devil being microtransactions. In the case of Fortnite, low-value in-game payments allow for the game to be of an F2P type and at the same time, the game covers the costs, but also generates revenue. All in all, it seems that Epic Games made the right decision to introduce micropayments in Fortnite, leaving the decision whether to spend money to the players.

Game producers will be well-off even if they offer their titles free-of-charge upfront for everyone to try out. You know a great title when you play to enjoy yourself without paying special attention to whether you advance or not (Hearthstone being my choice). Balanced micropayment models giving more avid players the option to draw an even better experience from the gameplay have proven to be the more than acceptable alternative to pay-to-win schemes. Moreover, taking into consideration 2.5 billion people on the planet, or one person in three who play F2P games such system caters to players of all budget ranges, one more reason why micropayments are a benefit rather than a burden.

How does GamerHash fit in all this?

Have you ever wanted to have a go at a new game, buy a funny gadget, do something that requires transferring money online but didn’t decide to because:

  1. why should you pay if you haven’t actually seen the merchandise;
  2. it just requires too much time or effort to transfer $0.2 up to around $12;
  3. most importantly, you have doubts about sharing your credit card number online?

The GamerHash app might be a solution worth trying out. In the same way, as Uber or Airbnb allow people to monetize their vehicles or unused living space, GamerHash enables monetizing computing power through cryptocurrency mining. After installing and the benchmark, the app starts outsourcing computing power (feel free to stop it anytime you deem fit). In return, users are provided with a selection of virtual products available in the integrated store or opt for funds withdrawals in Bitcoins. The store carries such products as virtual prepaid cards (solution to a problem no. 3 above), retail gift cards (solution to 2.), video game titles and in-game currencies (solution to 1.), telecom top ups among others.

We are the GamerHash

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