PS4, Xbox One and 'League of Legends': Does Riot Games Hold The Key To Gaming's Future Business Model?

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According to a report by IGN, Microsoft has stated that Xbox One games that are published by Microsoft will cost $59.99. However, Microsoft failed to comment on the prices of games from other publishers. Sony CEO Jack Tretton also stated that PS4 games would have a price ceiling of $60.

That leaves the door open for third-party publishers to sell their games at rates above the $60 threshold. Market analyst Michael Pachter has predicted that PS4 and Xbox One games would cost as much as $70. But so far, we're happy to say, he's incorrect.

While gamers are no doubt relieved to learn that first-party Xbox One and PS4 games won't go above $60 for awhile, we also have to consider the spectre of the in-game purchase model that is single-handedly propping up companies like Riot Games, developer of "League of Legends," the ultra-popular MOBA strategy game. "League of Legends" is absolutely free to play, but Riot Games makes money by selling champions, XP gain boosts, champion skins and other items that can be paid for in one of two ways: Players can buy in-game items by paying with Influence Points, a form of in-game currency that "League of Legends" players acquire by playing matches; or players can pay with Riot Points, acquired with real-world cash. Unlike Influence Points, Riot Points cannot be accumulated simply by playing "League of Legends."

Accumulating a sizeable amount of Influence Points requires a considerable time investment from the player. That may not be a problem for a 15-year-old who has the summer off from school and doesn't mind trading in his summer-job paychecks for Riot Points. But what about people who work full-time? You know, the crowd that actually spends most of the money earned by video game companies? They have other expenses and responsibilites. Many of them wouldn't be bothered with in-game purchases like what you'll find in "League of Legends." However, considering the undeniable success of both "League of Legends" and Riot Games, we're concerned that gaming's business model is on a trajectory to mirror the "League of Legends" approach...while also charging $40-$60 rates for the games themselves.

Now, our issue isn't with "League of Legends" per se. After all, the game is free. You're not required to spend money at all if you don't want to. But what if Xbox One games and PS4 games come with a $60 sticker and feature in-game purchases with increased frequency to the point where it's the norm? That's a scary proposition, though it would explain why and how video game companies expect to increase profits while keeping the base price of their games at current levels.

What do you think of in-game purchases? Do you think they will be common in future console games? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments below.

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