Video game add-ons see boom in sales

Global Business

The world of the video game is changing – and it’s making developers a fortune. The add-on is generating billions of dollars a year – with fans spending even more for everything from extra lives, to extra outfits.

CGTN’s Phil Lavelle reports.

Video game add-ons see boom in sales

Welcome to the world of the add-on, the new way the video games industry's way of keeping you hooked.

The add-on is the video games industry’s way of keeping you hooked.

Here’s how it works: You have your game – in this case, it’s $60. But the transaction doesn’t end there. Players can buy extra worlds, weapons and more. For the makers, it keeps the experience organic, fluid and the cash rolling into their pockets.

“They’re trying to build a community round an IP – an intellectual property – so that people become almost addicted,” Ray Carsillo, video game reviewer said.

“There’s three groups: the CEOs, the publishers, the big wigs. They’re happy because their profit margins have never been higher. Then there’s the developers, they’re having to split resources now between working on a new project, and continuing to support the old one. Then you have the consumers who are being strung along, being promised new content, new things about the old game, they’re being charged on top of the fee of what they already paid to purchase the main game,” Carsillo adds.

And they are paying in the billions. $4.8 billion – 2016’s worldwide spending for add-ons. That’s almost double 2012’s spending amount. It’s expected to reach $5.2 billion next year.

On the other side of this story are mobile games.

“Content and brands are starting to have a very different relationship to people to the way they used to have a few years ago,” Andrew Stalbow, CEO of Seriously Digital Entertainment said.

The model here, different from console games. You just pay for the add-ons or watch ads instead. So you get the game, and the developer still gets the cash.