Reaction: You Really Shouldn't Be Surprised Kids Want PS5, PS4 Game Currencies for Xmas 1
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Gaming is changing, and there’s probably no going back to the “good old days” at this point. For many of you reading this article, Christmas was very likely defined by the carefully wrapped boxes nestled preciously under your tree. You’ll all have your own memories, of course, but for this author it’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in 1998 that specifically sticks out. Your humble host spent about a year exploring every polygon of the Nintendo 64 epic’s meticulously rendered Hyrule.

But for a new generation, in an era where free-to-play titans like Fortnite and Roblox rule the roost, it’s not those boxed blockbusters that youngsters want anymore. A survey conducted by the ESA polling 501 kids between the ages 10 and 17 found that of the 72 per cent asking for video game-related gifts, about 29 per cent desire in-game currency. That’s significantly more than the 22 per cent who want a new boxed game.

In fact, apparently 39 per cent are after game subscriptions, and while there’s not enough data available to corroborate our assumption, we’re guessing this is referring to services like GTA+ and Minecraft Realms – not necessarily PS Plus (although that’s probably included under this umbrella as well). To be fair, 38 per cent do want new hardware to play their favourite games on, which bodes well for PS5 sales – but it’s still those microtransactions and in-game memberships that are ruling supreme.

Reaction: You Really Shouldn't Be Surprised Kids Want PS5, PS4 Game Currencies for Xmas 2

We don’t know exactly how many people are asking for digital games this Xmas, so the survey does seem flawed, but with a whopping 23 per cent of PlayStation’s entire revenue coming from add-on content recently, none of this should come as a surprise. To put things into perspective, Sony is making roughly as much money from the fee it scrapes off the top of microtransactions than full digital and physical game sales combined.

And as we alluded to above, it may not be the industry you grew up with, but the way people play is changing. Games are no longer disposable forms of entertainment that you enjoy through to completion and then trade in; they’re platforms in their own right, designed to consume all of your attention and keep you engaged all-year round. We’ve seen how titles like Genshin Impact introduce entire sequels worth of content in epic update cycles; even No Man’s Sky, despite not charging a penny since launch, continues to evolve and transform at an unprecedented scale.

Many youngsters are fully satisfied playing two or three titles a year, and it stands to reason that they’re willing to ask for new content for their favourites, as opposed to fresh titles entirely. While the logic may seem bemusing to you, many kids actively want to splash out on new costumes or content for the games they’re already invested in, as opposed to starting over in something different. It’s a seismic shift in the industry, brought about by developers’ ability to iterate on titles that already exist.

Reaction: You Really Shouldn't Be Surprised Kids Want PS5, PS4 Game Currencies for Xmas 3

And to be honest, we somewhat wish we’d grown up in the era of ever-evolving, free-to-play games, too. Take the excellent Fortnite, for example: there’s always something new to experience every single month – and a lot of it can be enjoyed without spending a penny. This author used to bridge the long new game droughts between birthdays and Christmas with demo discs. Back then, the idea of an ever-changing experience loaded with new content every single week would have seemed like a total pipedream – it must be incredible to grow up with a title that can potentially entertain you for years rather than hours.

None of this is to take away the traditional model, of course, which is still alive and well: there have been many excellent one-and-done campaigns this year, from Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 to Alan Wake 2 – these titles still very much exist. But we have to accept and even appreciate that the industry is changing. There are obviously negatives to this service-led era: predatory microtransactions and gacha-style gambling among them. But games that can evolve, change, and improve for as long as there remains interest – it isn’t entirely a bad thing, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that kids want to further their investment into these titles this Christmas.

What are your thoughts on kids asking for game subscriptions and currencies for Christmas? Are you planning to receive any in-game content this Christmas – and if so, for which games? Cough up on virtual cash in the comments section below.

Will you be getting any game currency this Christmas? (504 votes)

  1. Yes, I'm actually asking for some4%
  2. I may receive some, but won't ask for it6%
  3. No, I'm not interested in that at all90%