An analysis of the impact of microtransactions on an online gaming community
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Gamer's have been protecting their own virtual worlds from change both in-game and from the publishers. As game publishers embrace the microtransaction business model, how does it impact the gamers, their community and behaviour within the online worlds. When one game introduced a subscription feature with microtransactions to a well-loved game series, there were reports of an online civil war between players for and against the new feature. Microtransactions are a $16 billion industry and growing and there is much research into the links between them and problem gambling. However, this research was set to investigate the impact of introducing microtransactions into the gaming community and the gamers attitude to other players. The research is a mixed-methods approach, with a survey for quantitative analysis and social media scraping and open participant questions for qualitative analysis. The data from both batches is collated and prepared using a computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) program, NVivo version 12 (Edward-Jones, 2014; QSR International Pty Ltd, 2020). The batches will be coded analysed following the same data analysis process set out by Seidel (Seidel, 1998). A clear negative trend was discovered in the gamer's attitudes, with those that spend less on microtransactions are less likely to help or engage with players that have spent money on the game's features. Any evidence of the reported "civil war" is anecdotal, but consideration of the viral outrage created by the addition of the features should be carefully balanced against the online community wellbeing.
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