Nothing gets the Monday morning juices flowing like a new chart — or maybe that’s just me. Also, the chart in question was published last Tuesday, but hey, close enough, right?

SuperData is chiming in on the Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box saga, but from the standpoint of what we’ve always known: that as much as people complain about loot boxes — and other microtransactions in both fully priced and free-to-play games — they still sure are buying a lot of them. But that might be changing, ever so slightly, in the near future.

Let’s take a look at that chart, specifically the intervals at the five-year chunks of 2012, 2017, and 2022. I’ll assume 2012 is based on factual data, 2017 is mostly factual, with a little projection, and 2022 is totally projection. I’ll also reword the verbiage to read:

  • PC and console full game = “Box sales”
  • PC and console additional revenue = “DLC/microtransactions in full-priced games”
  • PC free-to-play = “DLC/microtransactions in F2P games

So, how do things look? About like this (all values in billions USD):

Year Box sales MT/DLC in $ games MT/DLC in F2P games Total MT/DLC total
2012 5 2 11 18 13
2017 8 5 22 35 27
2022 11 7 25 43 32

Note the explosive growth in DLC/microtransactions from 2012 to 2017, from $13b to $27b. Then notice that they all but stop from 2017 to 2022, going up just an additional $5b. Full-priced games, however? Steady as they go, from $5b to $8b to $11b.

Obviously, projections are just that — projections — and something might come along in the next five years, especially if publishers and developers think of something clever enough to replace loot boxes. That said, it’s not too hard to imagine these numbers being roughly accurate. Gamers are starting to reach the limits of what they’ll accept as microtransactions, but I also think there’s just only so many people, and so much money, to go around. Sure, a lot of low-quality games are being shoveled onto Steam, but even decent-quality F2P games (like Master X Master, Cloud Pirates, and Amazing Eternals) are also struggling to find an audience.

As we’ve said before, free-to-play isn’t the easy cash cow it used to be. We haven’t quite hit the ceiling yet, but we’re bumping up against it.

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the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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  1. GameCypher on November 27, 2017

    The chart is wrong at some point the game community will banned together and refuse to buy anymore games with microtransactions that contain game advantages cosmetics are fine.

    Thing is all greed turns on itself at one point you will see what i mean sooner or later the snake will bite its own head off.

    • adsf on November 28, 2017

      Some “players” will not refuse to spend. P2w items exists in games because people pay for it.Online gaming companies know it works better.If it closes they won’t care unless they didn’t reach the money they planned to make and they will make another game to milk it.
      The only thing that will bite the snake is that when the p2p games start making p2w items.Cause there we will find more people that still have a brain cell and they refuse to support it.

    • Kevin Flemming on November 29, 2017

      This has been a trend for many years now.
      .
      So why hasn’t it gone away? Because it works. Companies know full-well that they can get away with monetizing the crap out of games (both single and multiplayer) because the average person doesn’t care enough. They will happily spend money on any old shite and not bat an eyelid.
      .
      Sadly, those of us who do care are in the minority.
      .
      I wouldn’t expect anything to happen regarding this, except that there is a large possibility of it becoming worse over the years.

    • Guy on December 3, 2017

      There is no such poetic justice. Impulsive whales will continue to exist and will continue to be the main source of income for microtransaction based monetization models.

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