A Gamer’s Greatest Weakness: Micro Purchases
No longer are video games just a one time purchase
While indulging in my geeky ways I realized the gaming industry has been evolving online – and not just in regards to the phenomenal graphics and immersion to online play. Gaming marketers have evolved their strategies to connect and influence consumer behavior in today’s digital age – no longer are video games just a one-time purchase.
Many consumers need guidebooks or end up liking the game so much they buy merchandise. Today there are even more ways to stay connected with consumers a.k.a. entice more money out of their wallets.
In Game Purchases
Games like League of Legends and DC’s new Injustice: Gods Among Us have caught onto the new wave of ‘micro purchases’. A micro purchase is exactly that – a small or ‘micro’ purchase you make that is related to the game. When you purchase a game you can then purchase add-ons through your console network and receive different downloadable content related to your game. Here’s how DC and the creators of Injustice: Gods Among Us received over $100 from me since I purchased the game for less than $60 last month.
The first time I heard about the Injustice game was on a geek-centric podcast I listen to on the way to work, leading me to the Google search. I found that not only was this a game but also a comic book series. There’s also a web series online, where voice actors, Jay and Silent Bob and Stan Lee (to name a few) help promote the game by discussing which characters are the best and who should be punching Superman in the face.
Before I get to my favourite part of DC’s Injustice marketing I would like to say they did an awesome job with their social marketing - from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, targeting the right podcasts, and having character votes on Facebook that linked to YouTube channels about the game and the upcoming tournament. Beyond that they created a FREE iPhone/iPad app, which is a simplified version of the game. The app is also a fighting style game that worked offline and had the same graphics (which were amazing) and characters as the console game. If characters were missing you could unlock them with credits you receive from playing the game or through micro-purchases. If you are not sure that you want to buy the console game you can delay the investment and get the free app instead. Once you’re hooked on the app and you’ve made a few micro purchases you will probably want to buy the game since you can unlock characters by completing levels on the console game. DC has faith in their app to not only increase console game purchases, but also to increase their comic books sales.
There is an Injustice comic book series that uses their characters to introduce non-mainstream characters (so, NOT Batman and Superman) to new comic book readers. These characters all have a line up in New 52, which was first released in 2011.
DC has done a great job reaching all corners of their fan base from print, digital, integrated online and gaming. The fact that all these components can live on their own and still be able to enrich the other experiences was a smart move and their fans are reacting well. The micro purchases are not completely unique to DC’s Injustice game though having micro purchases has allowed the Injustice franchise to continuously improve and be funded by fans that are enticed with ongoing updates.
What are your thoughts? Are there areas outside of gaming where micro purchases could also be used?