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The Rise of Microtransactions

How Much we Spend inside our games in the UK

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0%
of UK gamers purchase a microtransaction or lootbox at least once a week.
0%
of 25–34-year-olds purchase a microtransaction or lootbox at least once a week, the highest percentage age group.
0%
of Xbox users make a microtransaction purchase everyday, compared to 19% of PlayStation users.

Percentage of gamers within a UK city who purchase microtransactions

Highest percentage of cities purchasing microtransactions in UK 2

Spending UK video games market in 2020

Video games market in 2020 was a bumper year according to a recent survey by The Guardian, below are some key highlights from that survey.

£ 0 Billion

Value of UK Video Games Market in 2020

Increase of 0 %
Year-on-Year

Gamers spent £1.6bn more on games in 2020

Increase of 0 %
Year-on-Year

The games hardware market grew to £2.26bn total spend in 2020

Animal Crossing Logo min

The top seller during the first lockdown, Animal Crossing helped fuel a 24% increase in digital game sales for consoles to £1.7bn last year.

No. 0
UK Market

In Europe, and the fifth biggest in the world, behind the gaming juggernauts Japan, South Korea, China and the US.

With cinemas shut for large parts of last year, revenue generated from game-related films and soundtracks fell by 22% to £23m.

0%
of UK gamers say that their gaming expenditure has increased during the pandemic.
0%
of UK gamers say that their gaming expenditure has DOUBLED during the pandemic.
0%
of UK gamers say that their gaming expenditure has TRIPLED during the pandemic.
0%
of 16–24-year-old gamers say that their gaming expenditure has increased during the pandemic.

Gameplay before foreplay

When it comes to surveying people’s extra-curricular activities late in the evening, you might think that there is no comparison but, it seems there is a trend towards taking our late-night stimulation into our own hands and entertaining ourselves with our favourite game rather than enjoying a more physical pastime. A growing percentage of adult gamers – both male and female – believe that settling down with their controllers is going to lead to a more fulfilling, relaxing time than sharing an intimate moment with a partner, even if it’s costing money on the occasional microtransaction here and there.

0%
of UK gamers believe it is likely that they will enjoy playing video games more than having sexual intercourse.
0%
of 35–44-year-old gamers believe it is likely that they will enjoy playing video games more than having sexual intercourse.
0%
of Xbox users were the most likely to enjoy playing video games than having sex compared to PlayStation users (25%).
0%
of female gamers were more likely to enjoy playing video games than having sex than male gamers (25%).

How much are we actually spending on Microtransactions?

The big games might tend to be free to download and not require any real spend in order to progress but we have rapidly become a nation addicted to online spending in our games. be it skins or other cosmetic items or loot boxes leaving you at the mercy of the random number generator we slip into a habit of small but consistent payments to the companies who keep feeding us the digital crack we are craving.

0 %

of gamers say they spend the highest amount of their gaming expenditure on microtransactions.

0 %
of Xbox, Mobile and Nintendo gamers say they spend most of their gaming expenditure on microtransactions.

Average spend per year

Brand Logo Nintendo

Nintendo

£ 0

PC

£ 0
Brand Logo XBOX

Xbox

£ 0
Brand Logo PlayStation

Nintendo

£ 0

Mobile

£ 0

Of those gamers who purchase microtransactions,

0%
are spending more than £100 per video game.
0%
are spending more than £50 per video game.
0%
In London, gamers are spending more that £100 per video game.

The average gamer who purchases microtransactions

spends £36 per video game.

The average 16–24-year-old gamer

spends £53 per video game.

Nintendo gamers

on average spend more on microtransactions then any other type of gamer.

One average they spend £56 per video game.

Do microtransactions need to be regulated?

From parents to whole governments, concern continues to grow around the seemingly unstoppable move towards microtransactions and loot boxes becoming the norm. Many countries are looking closely as to whether the RNG of a loot box in exchange for real-world cash constitutes gambling. Belgium has already taken steps to ban the money-making technique. If other countries follow suit, does it mean it will involve laws already in place to protect the vulnerable. it might just be an opportunity for hard-up leaders to look at taxation of the practice too. But what do gamers themselves actually think?

18+ age limit
49%
Limit on spending amount
43%
Restriction on importance of buyable items to core gameplay
26%
No use of mystery boxes for transparency of purchase
21%
No microtransactions or loot boxes allowed in video games at all
19%
Don't know
13%
N/A- I don't agree that any restrictions should be in place for microtransactions
4%
None of the above
3%
begambleawareorg black png min

Gamble Aware Study on Loot boxes

  • The report states that 93% of children in the UK play video games, and that up to 40% of these have opened loot boxes.
  • At the end of 2020, the UK loot box market was estimated to be worth £700m.
  • The researchers’ brief screen of around 14,000 gamers found that young men are more likely to open loot boxes, with those of a younger age and lower educational attainment also more likely to engage with these features.
  • Analysis of self-report spend data from 7,771 loot box purchasers found that around 5% of them generate around half of industry loot box revenues.
  • When reviewing the academic evidence, our systematic review has established that engagement with loot boxes has been robustly associated with problem gambling behaviours in around a dozen studies.

% of UK votes for worst offender in the video games

Game Call of Duty

Call of Duty

0 %
Game Fifa

Fifa

0 %
Game Candy Crush

Candy Crush

0 %

Don't know

0 %
Game Minecraft

Minecraft

0 %
Game Angry Birds

Angry Birds

0 %
Game World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

0 %
Game Assassins Creed

Assassin's Creed

0 %
Game League of Legends

League of Legends

0 %
Game Battlefront

Battlefront

0 %
Game CSGO

CS:GO

0 %

More findings

0%
of UK gamers believe that loot boxes promote gambling to younger gamers.
0%
of UK gamers believe that loot boxes MIGHT promote gambling to younger gamers.
0%
of PC gamers believe that loot boxes promote gambling to younger gamers.
0%
of gamers in Nottingham believe that loot boxes promote gambling to younger gamers.

Conclusion

Micro transactions are becoming a core, yet controversial part of modern video games.  This practice is even starting to creep into other areas of life.

It seems companies are prepared to jump on board the tactic as a way of shorig up longer-term income from a products and we, as users, are prepared to support that with our wallets if we like what we see. The argument over whether we should be gaining advantages from microtransactions will continue to rage, but as far as a game’s cosmetic improvements go, the trend towards spending more and more seems to be going nowhere fast.

0%
of UK gamers say that microtransactions and loot boxes have made their gaming experience BETTER.
0%
of UK gamers say that microtransactions and loot boxes have made their gaming experience WORSE.

How we gathered our data

in order to get the very best data available WePC worked with Censuswide to bring you the results of this survey into the habits around the purchase of microtransactions in the UK.

Censuswide have access to a global network of panels in over 65 countries so can capture thoughts and opinions from a vast number of audience groups. Not only do they deliver insights, but rigorously test the data captured so clients receive the highest quality responses from a panel.

Sample Size

0 gamers
(those who play at least once a week)

Date of Data Collection

30 March 2021 – 6th April 2021

Survey Provider

Censuswide Logo

References

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