The VR game industry has been safe from microtransactions for the time being. To many people, that comes as a big surprise. After all, there are a lot of games out there for mobile VR headsets. All of those projects can benefit from microtransactions in one way or another. SteamVR may become the first platform to integrate this functionality in the future. It makes a lot of sense, even though the gaming community is divided over this point for obvious reasons.
Microtransactions and Virtual Reality
It is too early to tell whether or not VR gaming will be around in a few years from now. Some companies certainly seem to think so, which is good to see. SteamVR is one of the bigger virtual reality platforms thousands of people use on a regular basis. It is also the go-to library for most games available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. However, if it is up to Valve, that marketplace may soon feature microtransactions. Introducing such a feature would be quite interesting, all things considered.
One can argue virtual reality doesn’t warrant microtransactions. In the gaming world, such transactions have gotten a very bad reputation in recent years. They are often regarded as a pay-to-win shortcut, which ruins the game for others. Then again, very few games effectively “force” players into using microtransactions to progress. That doesn’t mean every game needs an option to purchase cosmetic items or XP bonuses with real money, though.
For Valve, it would make a lot of sense to take this route. They have integrated microtransactions in the Steam store some time ago. More specifically, gamers collect in-game items which can be traded or sold in the marketplace for real money. Doing the same for VR content would make a lot of sense. However, it will be interesting to see how this affects the games and apps available on SteamVR. Most games are too short to warrant such small transactions in the first place. Being able to purchase additional story content, for example, could be justified over time.
For now, all of this is mere speculation, though. The announcement of their proprietary card game based on Dota 2 seems to hint at such a future direction. Then again, no one would be surprised if Valve wanted to embrace microtransactions for VR content at this point. It will create new opportunities for content creators as well. However, it should never be seen as a get-rich-quick scheme by any means. An intriguing possibility, but nothing is set in stone yet.
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