RuneScape: One Third Of Revenue Comes From Microtransactions

There is a lot to unpack from this week’s DCMS report, but gamers might be interested in a tidbit of information that came out about RuneScape’s revenue model. The DCMS inquiry had a major focus on immersion, addiction, and particularly people spending a lot of money on microtransactions. With Jagex being a UK-based developer, it was only a matter of time before RuneScape entered into the picture. And RuneScape gets its own section of the DCMS inquiry to show “even companies with good policies to support some aspects of player wellbeing can fall short in other areas.”

The notice was in response to concerned reports from the public about how easily large amounts of money can not only be spent, but are encouraged to be spent through in-game events and how RuneScape allows players to spend vast amounts of real world cash to skip over parts of the game’s content. In its response, Jagex’s Kevin Plomer stated that the game does technically have a cap on spending, and where exactly microtransactions line up in terms of overall revenue:

“Jagex told us that it generates about one-third of its revenue from microtransactions, with two-thirds coming from an alternative subscription model. The company’s director of player experience Kelvin Plomer told us that players “can potentially spend up to £1,000 a week or £5,000 a month” in RuneScape, but that only one player had hit that limit in the previous 12 months. The company’s reasoning for setting this limit seemed to stem from fraud prevention, rather than out of a duty of care to prevent people spending more than they are able.”

By contrast the inquiry notes that Epic has no cap at all on Fortnite however purchases are limited to store stock meaning a player can effectively spend $200 per day. Candy Crush maker King noted to the inquiry that they used to email players about their spending but halted the practice due to the negative response.

“we would send an e-mail out when a player’s spend was $250 in a week for the first time. It was an e-mail that said, “We notice you are enjoying the game a lot at the moment. Are you sure you are happy with this?” […] We got back, “I wouldn’t spend the money if I didn’t have it” and things like, “I’m fine, please leave me alone”. We felt it was too intrusive so we stopped doing that.”

The whole long read can be found at the UK Parliament website here.

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