Major players in the online microtransaction market are SmileGate (CrossFire), Riot Games, Inc., Nexon Co., Ltd., Wargaming.net, NCSoft, Activision Blizzard Inc., Electronic Arts Inc., Valve Corporation, Tencent Holdings Ltd., and NetEase Inc.
The Global Online Microtransaction Market is expected to grow from USD 33.05 billion in 2019 to USD 37.61 billion. The global Covid-19 pandemic turning more people towards gaming to spend their leisure time at home-quarantine and several free-to-play games involve purchasing of virtual goods through microtransactions, thereby increasing the market size. The market is expected to stabilize at a compound annual growth rate of 6.1% and reach USD 41.92 billion by 2023.
The online microtransaction market consists of sales of in-game virtual goods and its related services. Microtransactions are in-game purchases of virtual items for small amounts of money. These often appear in free-to-play games that do not have any cost for downloading the game and only includes the online cost for virtual goods. Microtransactions are done to unlock specific features or enhance the special abilities, content or character in a game.
The Global Online Microtransaction Market has been geographically segmented into North America, Western Europe, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, South America and Middle East & Africa. North America was the largest region in the online microtransaction market in 2019.
In May 2018, Electronic Arts Inc., a company engaged in digital interactive entertainment, announced the acquisition of Israel-based cloud gaming technology personnel and assets of a wholly-owned subsidiary of GameFly, Inc. for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition is expected to deepen EA’s expertise and capabilities in cloud gaming and also enable the company to continue new ways for players to experience and access games from any device. GameFly, Inc. is an online video game rental subscription service company based in California, USA.
The online microtransaction market covered in this report is segmented by type into in-game currencies, random chance purchases, in-game items, expiration and by device into mobile, console, PC.
Stringent regulations imposed on the microtransactions are projected to limit the market growth during the period. According to NPR’s news published in November 2019, China introduced restrictions on video games and online microtransactions for minors. Chinese officials limited the online microtransactions value at USD 28 or USD 57 depending on the age of the minor. These restrictions imposed is likely to reduce the number of transactions done by a minor, thus, reducing the revenues for microtransactions market from the minor group. Therefore, stringent regulations imposed by the government on setting the limit of transactions are to have an adverse effect on the growth of online microtransactions market over the forecast period.
The companies adopting new loot box policies in order to adhere to the guidelines of the U.S. game industry trade group, the Entertainment Software Association is a major trend in the online microtransaction market. In August 2019, the organization announced that multiple game developers and publishers will adopt disclosure of information policies for the loot boxes. Companies such as Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are planning to have new policies by the end of 2020. Consequently, the players aiming to adopt new disclosure policies of a loot box is the latest trend shaping the growth of the online microtransactions market?
The expansion of the gaming industry is to act as a major driver for the development of the online microtransaction market. Online microtransaction uses real money to gain access to currency in-game or virtual items, which improves the gaming experience of the player. According to Ernst & Young Global Limited’s report published in 2019, the global games market was valued at USD 139.0 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 196.0 billion by the end of 2022, growing at a CAGR of 10.0% during the period. Moreover, according to Research Gate’s conference paper published in December 2019 on the analysis of the microtransaction in the game market, the value of the video gaming industry has increased substantially over the last two decades. The video gaming industry generated revenues of USD 152.1 billion in 2019 and is anticipated to grow over the forthcoming years. Therefore, the growth of the gaming and video gaming industry is expected to propel the revenues for online microtransaction market in the near future.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications