Micro Payments – The future of gaming?

Getting additional content for their favorite games is something I think every gamer would like.   There seems to be a definite trend towards more and more of this additional down loadable content (DLC).  I feel part of what is helping to push this is the now standard storage mediums in the PS3 and Xbox 360.  PC gamers have always had the ability to download and store more content, now we should see more of it.

The video game industry has seen a boom in micro payments, which are becoming increasingly relevant as advertising revenue continues to drop due to the economy.

During the GamesBeat conference in San Francisco, a survey that found 66 percent of gamers polled “were excited about this growing trend” that features games available for free, but additional levels and other features cost money.

“Micro payments have been proven to work very well in the Far East, Korea and China,” according to VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi, who helped organize the GamesBeat conference.  “Initially they took off there because there is such a big problem with piracy and with a micro-transaction, you can always verify the credit card transaction or the payment system so you are assured people will pay up.”

It may be popular in Asia, but it should be interesting to see if gamers in North America and Europe are willing to use micro payments while playing video games.  If it sees success in North America, it could become a multi-billion business, Takahashi believes.

It’s not uncommon for gamers to play a certain role playing games and purchase virtual goods from other players on eBay.  Diablo II gamers could purchase high-value items through the site, and it’s now possible to purchase World of Warcraft gold and similar items through the auction site.

Game studios are more interested in offering maps, items and similar goodies directly to the gamers, which will reduce the amount of auctions.  Furthermore, as in-game advertising revenue becomes even scarcer because of the economy, developers could use micro payments to help generate revenue.


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