Its hard to say if microtransactions really benefit gamers. I see microtransactions as a form of cheap DLC. Microtransactions traditionally come in th the form of additional costumes, new colors, new weapon add ons, update player stats for sports games, etc. Most of the time these cost $1-$2 in the game. A good example is the next Dragon Age game, a small gnome might come up to the player and ask, “Would you like to purchase a piece of rare armor instead of playing Dungeons A, B, and C for 10 hours?” Please pay me a $1.” That's not exactly how the dialogue would go, but the point is that this is a convenient service and if players are willing to pay then so be it. The alternative is to spend several hours trying to unlock what they could pay for. I used to think microtransactions were confined to non-AAA games but this isn’t true anymore, just look at Skyrim.
I can think of two things worse than microtransactions. One is the dreaded freemium model. To a lot of gamers this is what the free iOS and Android games focus on. The game is free, but to progress in the game you need to wait 24 hours or buy in-game coins, tokens, items or whatever for real money. Freemium games also usually have little pop up banners and ads. Once again, the paid in full version of the games doesn’t usually have ads or player restrictions. Sometimes it might be worth it to pay the full price for a game like Real Racing 3 just to avoid the hassle.
The other item that might be considered worse than microtransactions is day-one DLC. Most gamers dislike this concept just as much as microtransactions. Gamers buy the game, pay full price, and on release day there is DLC that adds additional content. To make it worse, the DLC is almost never free. Here are a few fine examples, Dead Space 3 had 11 pieces of day-one DLC. Mass Effect 3 had day-one DLC. Why can’t developers wait a few weeks until the game is out? Just like with the microtransactions, developers are after gamers’ money. I don’t have an issue with paying for DLC especially if it adds additional useful content, such as more levels, boss fights, and multiplayer maps. Some experts use the argument that more games should have day-one DLC because in the long run it will help gamers stay interested in the game.
The big benefit to microtransactions are if the player wants to pay for the content and it could potentially benefit them in the game. Microtransactions, along with DLC, can help developers and publishers make a little more money from gamers who buy games used. Ideally, it would be nice to receive most of the single player, story-driven DLC for free and have the optional multiplayer DLC cost money. But this isn't usually how it happens and unfortunately it does not seem like microtransactions, freemium, or day-one DLC are going away anytime soon. I am sure this trend will continue into the next generation.