During the rise of the internet new ways to make money have appeared. The developers of games also sought out new ways to improve their revenue. One such idea was the introduction of micro-transactions in their games.
A micro-transaction in games refers to a person purchasing in-game items (a new character, a new armor, character slots etc.) or premium currency with real life revenue. This was made popular on the consoles through the market of xbox 360, but it existed long before on the pc platforms, especially in mmorpgs (massive multi-player online role-playing game). Even in the pay-to-play form of billing the micro-transactions have appeared and it led to most mmorpgs becoming free-to-play. A good example of this is Aion or Tera Online, especially in the Europe servers where the need for such transactions is much more prominent.
These online stores, done right, can enhance the players’ experience and bring even more revenue to the developers and publishers. But when it is done wrong it becomes a system that players refer to pay-to win, inflation is also a result of a bad organization of the trading market.
An example where the system seems to have been balanced is in FIFA ’14, where you futcoins in order to purchase packs in which you find new/old players which in turn you can trade in order to receive some compensation. Another example of the same style trading was made by Ubisoft, for their Might & Magic: Duel of Champions, a spin off card playing game from the original Might & Magic series which has drawn fans from all over the world. For this one Ubisoft preferred the free-to-play model while EA Games, the publisher for FIFA and all its series have gone fore the buy-to-play model.
Even so, it is not to say that one model is preferable over the other. This is a comparison over their micro-transactions not their billing system. One thing that these two games have in common is that instead of waiting and having to play for a long amount of time it allows you to purchase their packs (that contain football players for Fifa and Champions and monsters cards for Might & Magic: Dual of Champions). This helps the gamer that does not have the necessary time to play through 100 matches keep up with the one that does. The first is called a casual player and the latter is called a hard-core player.
Some have argued that the implementation of these micro-transaction driven markets have diluted the feeling of satisfaction that the player gets from his hard work and time spent. But there is a counter-argument for this, as to the frustration that a casual player receives when a hard-core player beats his team in a tournament or crushes his army, only because he has opened more packs and had the luck to receive better champions/monster cards or football players. This, I would say, is a thing to think on!