Prevalence and Salience of Problematic Microtransactions in Top-Grossing Mobile and PC Games: A Content Analysis of User Reviews


Microtransactions have become a major monetisation model in digital games, shaping their design, impacting their player experience, and raising ethical concerns. Research in this area has chiefly focused on loot boxes. This begs the question whether other microtransactions might actually be more relevant and problematic for players. We therefore conducted a content analysis of negative player reviews (n=801) of top-grossing mobile and desktop games to determine which problematic microtransactions are most prevalent and salient for players. We found that problematic microtransactions with mobile games featuring more frequent and different techniques compared to desktop games. Across both, players minded issues related to fairness, transparency, and degraded user experience, supporting prior theoretical work, and importantly take issue with monetisation-driven design as such. We identify future research needs on why microtransactions in particular spark this critique, and which player communities it may be more or less representative of.

Honorable Mention
Elena Petrovskaya
University of York, York, United Kingdom
Sebastian Deterding
University of York, York, United Kingdom
David I. Zendle
University of York, York, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom


会議: CHI 2022

The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (

セッション: Games in the World

4 件の発表
2022-05-02 20:00:00
2022-05-02 21:15:00