Micro-transactions in sports gaming.

Micro-transactions are extremely popular in video games but even more popular in sports video games. Games such as NBA 2K and FIFA are driven by the players purchases of virtual currency and loot boxes. With micro-transactions being included in sports titles for an extended period of time, these big name companies have drastically increased their revenue and built an even bigger community around them than ever before.

All these big sports game have adopted a fantasy team building mode, where you collect virtual player cards and open packs/loot boxes, which heavily encourages the use of micro-transactions. NBA 2K, in particular, are much invested in making money through micro-transactions that they actually have advertisements for virtual currency and special themed-packs in the loading screen for certain game modes as well as the pre-game presentation. In these modes like Ultimate Team and MyTeam, some of the loot boxes that you can buy can only be bought with virtual currency or points that cannot be earned through playing the game, players must use their real money to purchase certain loot boxes.

In 2018, video game micro-transactions revenue in the US rose by 33% from the previous year which are absolutely astounding numbers. A new bill in the US that was introduced in May aimed to solve the problem of these awful loot boxes and pay-to-win strategies in not only sports video games but video games in general. The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act would prohibit such features in games aimed at or played by children under the age of 18. This bill includes the removal of transactions for subscriptions, skins, virtual currency, and DLC.


Erik Kain. 2019. This Is Why Video Game Microtransactions Aren’t Going Anywhere. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2019/01/23/video-game-accessories-in-game-purchases-and-subscriptions-drove-industry-growth-in-2018/#2031434a3d24. [Accessed 16 August 2019].

Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act. 2019. Josh Hawley. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.hawley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/2019-05/Loot-Box-Bill-Text.pdf. [Accessed 14 August 2019].

4 thoughts on “Micro-transactions in sports gaming.

Add yours

  1. Hi Jack!

    I like the topic you have chosen, its quite similar to my own! Microtransactions are definitely becoming quite a prevalent issue in gaming today and I’m curious to see where it goes like yourself.

    I think your experience in playing these types of sports games will come in handy when analysing games such as NBA 2K, which will lead to some awesome conclusions and insights! My only pointer and directional advice for your DA would be to instead of doing 4 podcast episodes on different games maybe do 4 podcast episodes on just NBA 2K given your interest and genuine passion for the game. This might help in creating a incredibly specific and interesting perspective on the aspects of micro transactions within the game 🙂

    Here is some links you might find helpful for your DA

    This journal article is perfect for your topic, you should get some good use out of it

    Click to access 1820-31591703239T.pdf

    I’ve also found this YouTube Video which gives a bit of a timeline and in-depth explanation as to where microtransactions in games stemmed from and why they are so heavily integrated into games today



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