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The Sickening Truth Behind Cosmetic Gaming Microtransactions

Cosmetics totally matter.

Mediatonic

There's perhaps no aspect of modern video gaming more contentious than microtransactions - that is to say, the means through which game publishers generate added revenue by charging small fees for additional virtual goods.

This typically comes in the form of "pay-to-win" microtransactions which grant paying players a leg-up on the competition, or as supposedly "harmless" cosmestic micotransactions for aesthetic items.

Though it's little secret that the pay-to-win model is widely loathed by many gamers, cosmetics are somewhat more divisive.

For some, the assumption is that if they don't alter the ones and zeroes of the core gameplay, or give anyone a clear tactical advantage, then they're not really causing any damage at all.

But is this really the case? Paid microtransactions as a whole speak to an industry with an extremely unhealthy relationship between publisher and customer, especially given that many of the latter happen to be children.

If cosmestic MTX are so often seen as a compromise which minimises harm, this isn't really true at all.

Paid cosmetics may not be as immediately, obviously damaging as pay-to-win, but they're still indicative of a wider, insidious sickness rife in an insatiable, greed-driven business...

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Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.