Activision Blizzard made more money in the last financial year selling microtransactions than it did selling games.

During Activision Blizzard's fourth quarter financial results, the publisher revealed that it made a record US$7.16 billion in revenue over the entire fiscal year, of which US$4 billion was made up of in-game purchases.

Even if you remove the money raised by Activision Blizzard's mobile studios – which include Candy Crush creator King – you are still left with US$2 billion in microtransactions from the company's PC and console games like Call of Duty: WW2, Overwatch, and Destiny 2.

Last year, Activision patented a system it hopes will convince more people to purchase items in multiplayer games by pairing up players of disparate levels.

Around that same time, the company came under fire last year for limiting the use of item-colouring "shaders" in Destiny 2, and offering extra shaders for real-world money.

Microtransactions are seen by some in the gaming community as a scourge; a predatory monetisation tactic by greedy publishers that force players to either grind endlessly for content, or plunk down a few bucks to save themselves some time. Others see them as a way to negate rising development costs. One thing is certain: they aren't going away any time soon.