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343 Industries Succeed with Micro-Transactions

Halo 5: Guardians has been seeing major success from their micro-transactions known as Requisition Packs (REQ Packs). Whenever micro-transactions are discussed among gamers, it is usually because of the negative impact they tend to have on the game to which they have been added. Most gamers will automatically view micro-transactions as “Pay-To-Win” deals, meaning spending a little cash will guarantee an easy victory. However, I believe that 343 Industries have found a way to make micro-transactions successful without feeling necessary.
In Halo 5: Guardians, gamers are able to earn REQ points after each match in Warzone and Arena multiplayer that can be used to purchase REQ packs. Each pack contains a variety of items, such as weapons, armors, weapon skins, assassination animations, stances, and emblems. The Arena playlist, which is the ranked playlist, only allows the cosmetic items to be used. The unranked Warzone playlist, however, allows weapons, vehicles, and power-ups to be used.
As mentioned above, REQ points are earned by spending time in Halo 5: Guardians. However, these REQ packs can be purchased with real money. With the Warzone mode allowing these REQs to be used, most gamers immediately decide that this is a pay-to-win purchase. But, I disagree. I believe that skill is more important than REQs.
In Warzone, a player first has to earn the ability to call in their REQs, which will require skill on the player’s part. Now, the obvious argument for the pay-to-win side is “if both sides are equal in skill, but one has more REQs to use than the other, who would win?” And, yes, the team with the REQs is most likely to win in that situation. However, every match isn’t totally even. I would argue that having the REQs do provide more of an advantage, but not  a guaranteed victory. So, let’s just call these REQs “Pay-For-Advantage” instead of “Pay-To-Win.” On most occasions, that is exactly what it will end up being.
343 Industries has stated that the money used to purchase REQs will be added to the Halo Championship Series (HCS) grand prize. Originally, the HCS prize pool was $1 million dollars. 343 Industries recently announced that the Halo World Championship has increased to $2.5 million, simply by using the money that has been spent by players to purchase REQ packs. Obviously, fans have supported micro-transactions enough to help raise money for the major championship. But, 343 Industries has found other ways to use these funds for the fans.
Taking a bold move, 343 Industries stated that they would not be charging anything for their DLC. Why? It is being funded by the REQ purchases, allowing all Spartans to continue to play together instead of dividing the community. So far, 11 new maps, 12 new modes, and more than 180 extra REQ items have been added into the game. This crowdfunding source has provided 343 Industries a way to keep all players together at all times. If everyone has the same content, then you can keep your matchmaking base as large as possible. However, asking consumers to purchase a $20 map pack will definitely keep players from being able to game together, which will then persuade them to find another game to play instead. Halo has kept players in their game longer, which also means that players are more likely to drop a few dollars for a REQ pack over time.
343 Industries has found the sweet spot for micro-transactions. The money that goes in doesn’t disappear, but instead is seen going back into the community. All of the content that is created by 343 has to be funded in some way. Being able to earn REQs without spending money gives gamers items to chase, which keeps them coming back. Allowing these rewards that are not “game-breaking” to be purchased helps fund the best part of Halo 5, which are the monthly updates of maps and game modes. I hope that other companies will look at the way 343 Industries has used micro-transactions and will find ways to continue to improve it!
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