Imagine for a moment that you’re in charge of building cars for a motor company like Nissan. You’ve been working on building the tools and training to put together a brand new model of Skyline for years. You hire engineers to build the tools, you hire and train technicians to use the tools, and you create a cohesive and stylish design for the new car. Finally, the design and testing is done and the car goes to market.
Let’s say it’s a big hit, and that the car sells well. Lots of people like it! It gets featured in a movie and on TV, and the word of mouth spreads that it’s a great car. Lots and lots of people buy new Skylines. So what’s next for the team? Do you scrap all of the designs, tools, and training you spent millions of dollars to develop and go back to the drawing board to design the next car from scratch?
Just consider - the car sold like hotcakes. In fact, now there are a whole bunch of new Skyline owners who just want more Skyline stuff. They want a better exhaust pipe, they want to add a spoiler, they want a sleeker paint job that wasn’t offered at launch, or bucket seats, or special climate control, or the new rear view parking camera. Sure, not everybody wants these extra features or add-ons - there’s lots of people who are perfectly happy with their stock Skylines - but there are enough people who want these things (and have money to spend) that it would be prudent to consider. Do you turn just them down and ask them to come back for the next car? Especially when you’ve already got all the tools and training to build the exact stuff they want?
Microtransactions and paid bits of extra content of varying size for games exist because a lot of people want them and are willing to pay for them. Additional content for games is significantly cheaper to develop than initial content for games, because we’re using all the same tools and training to produce the new stuff. Some might say “But you could give it to us for free!” but that wouldn’t really be feasible. It still costs time and resources to build that new content, so it does need to be paid for somehow someway. That’s what the microtransaction cost is. But the reality is that the reason microtransactions and paid DLC exist is because developers are trying to get more use out of the tools and training they’ve developed for the game, and there are enough fans that want that sort of thing to justify it. If you ever look at DLC or microtransactions and think “I would never pay for that”, it just means it isn’t for you.