The conversation surrounding microtransactions has really heated up over the last few months. With recent heavy hitters such as Destiny 2 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War receiving a fair bit of criticism for the inclusion of in-game purchases, the topic's been covered by just about everyone in the media, ourselves included.
But for all the criticism that they get, are microtransactions impacting the sales of something like Destiny 2? Are they enough to put people off buying the games that they're in? According to sales analysis firm NPD, no, not really.
The company tells Games Industry that the controversy surrounding microtransactions is yet to have any real effect on how well a game sells. The firm just released the latest North American sales charts for September, and Destiny 2, which features loot boxes that you can buy with real money, did so well that it's actually the best selling title of 2017, despite having only been on the market for such a short amount of time.
NPD analyst Mat Piscatella goes into more detail: "What [this week's] release does suggest is that the loot box or microtransactions controversy has not yet resulted in clear noticeable limitations of the sales potential of the games with [those mechanics] [...] As every stats professor has ever declared correlation does not necessarily mean causation. It could just be that the biggest games with the highest marketing budgets tend to have these mechanics, and that the games are selling well despite the presence of loot boxes in the games."
As Games Industry points out, it'll be interesting to see NPD's take on Shadow of War next month. You'd think that the bad press surrounding the game will have taken some sort of toll, but then we have to remind ourselves that, at the end of the day, we're a vocal minority. Still, a single drop of water can make a wave, right?