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Runescape players push back on microtransactions after someone spent £50,000 in-game

"There is just an overwhelming sense of ‘this company really doesn’t care about us’"

Nothing has changed in Runescape, and for many members of the community, that’s the problem. The UK DCMS’s report on loot boxes last week also discussed other types of in-game monetisation, and one section of the committee’s findings mentioned a person who had built up £50,000 (around $62,000 USD) from Runescape purchases – which has ignited a fresh meltdown over the game’s aggressive microtransactions.

It’s difficult to find a post on the Runescape subreddit from the past week which isn’t about microtransactions, and developer Jagex has yet to make an official response. A number of players interviewed by Kotaku about the state of the game put the complaints in more concrete terms.

“Outrage over microtransactions in Runescape isn’t a new thing,” one player says, “there is just an overwhelming sense of ‘this company really doesn’t care about us’ when they keep, keep pushing these promotions after many years of being told to stop, or at least tone down, without any signs of interest from Jagex.”

A passage in the DCMS’s report on ‘immersive and addictive technologies says “we were contacted by a member of the public whose adult son built up considerable debts, reported to be in excess of £50,000, through spending on microtransactions in British company Jagex’s online game RuneScape. For example, bank statements showed that in one day the individual spent £247.95 by making five separate payments to the company.”

Jagex told the committee “that it generates about one-third of its revenue from microtransactions, with two-thirds coming from an alternative subscription model.” The company says players “can potentially spend up to £1,000 a week or £5,000 a month” in-game, but asserts that only one person had hit that limit in the previous year.

Either way, a very vocal portion of Runescape players are unhappy with the state of the game, and the focus this report has brought to microtransaction issues has some players swearing off the game entirely – or simply moving to Old School Runescape, where there’s a bit less to buy.