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Reader Comments (41)

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 9:07PM Averice said

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I think your last paragraph hits it spot on, it's about what people find fun.

On the opposite side of micro transactions, we constantly hear advertisements from banks or other businesses that rally against micro transactions. "Stop paying for hidden fees" is the major one I can recall at the moment. I feel that this is a stigma microtransactions are going to have to overcome before becoming completely acceptable.

Yes, people pay for iPhone apps, or small things like that. But as you know, nobody pays more money for ketchup at McDonalds. Sure, chick-fil-a has managed to charge people extra money for their sauces, 25 cents a sauce packet, but there's a breaking point where you just don't pay anymore. You don't buy a burger one slice of bread or piece of pickle at a time. And that, in my opinion, is the problem with some of the companies that are attempting to use micro transaction. You don't charge piece meal for the product, where it's unfinished without, but you can charge for frivolities.

It's about the game world as well. When some people playing your MMO can just buy the end game whatever with outside money, then it trivializes all of the rewards players are supposed to be working towards. Take gold selling companies for example. Gamers hate them for more reasons then just the spam, as do game companies, because they trivialize parts of the game itself. If you can just buy the end product with real life cash, then what's the point of the game. Micro transactions in games are a different beast then they are IRL. Macro transactions such as server transfers are different then spending money on something within the game world such as a more powerful weapon than anyone else has access to.

Posted: Sep 12th 2009 4:36PM Dblade said

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Honestly, I think you should try one. I have heard so much, and believed it myself along the lines you mentioned, but when I took someone up on a dare and played one, I found it really wasn't the case. Its too indepth an argument to do in a comment box, but try a good one, and you'll see you still need a lot of effort and skill to succeed. All convience MTs do is enable people to make grinds a little easier.
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Posted: Sep 11th 2009 9:34PM (Unverified) said

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Just a note: Runescape doesn't do microtransactions. They are subscription-based.

Posted: Sep 11th 2009 9:54PM Krystalle Voecks said

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Ah. I was under the impression that there were some elements that were additional on top of the subscription option. Thanks for the note. I've corrected the opening to reflect something a bit more relevant to the discussion at hand.
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Posted: Sep 12th 2009 7:28AM (Unverified) said

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Low cost airliners with hidden fees comes to mind, and their doing great!

Noone is cheaper than Ryanair, and in the end, it will benefit the smart customers.

This article really made me reconsider this form of payment in mmo's. Just as long as it has nothing to do with gear...

Posted: Sep 12th 2009 12:50AM Myria said

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When you have to bugger the definition of "microtransaction" to mean, well, pretty much anything you need it to mean in any given paragraph, it's pretty clear you've got no point worth pursuing.

Frankly I don't get why this blog pushes "freemium" and microtransactions every chance it gets, neither shows any sign whatsoever of getting any traction at all in the west.

Well, unless you redefine "microtransaction" to mean anything and "freemium" to mean every MMO, which seems to be the general, if bizarre, tact here.

Posted: Sep 12th 2009 4:38AM Dblade said

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Uh, Myria it is probably having more traction than the sub model. I don't think people realize how many F2P micro games there are out there. Massively tends to not give consistent press to them, except for a few like runes of magic. We are talking hundreds, some very good.
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Posted: Sep 12th 2009 1:07AM (Unverified) said

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It's already a done deal. The fight against microtransactions was lost years and years ago.
We had our chance as a customer base and this is what the market picked.
The only people still arguing / disagreeing / writing about this are people who were blind to it for the last few years.

Sad but true. You can thank all your gold buying buddies (which is a large portion of the player base) for this and the success of the boat load of F2P games over the last 5 or 6 years.

Posted: Sep 12th 2009 1:24AM (Unverified) said

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I do not mind microtransactions. But I hate how SOE does it. Instead of going to a online store and dropping a couple dollars on a item, you instead drop a couple dollars on a "pack of cards, with a chance at a random item".

Posted: Sep 12th 2009 7:18AM Krystalle Voecks said

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That depends on the game. Free Realms is under SOE's wing and is designed to work properly with a cash shop, IMO.
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Posted: Sep 12th 2009 2:43AM (Unverified) said

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A little harshly put :)) but I feel your pain in general, especially over the poor attempts at logic/sanity, but in the case of games like Second life they make good sense, but when it comes to the old questing and PvPing for levels and items games, yeah, they are beyond a bad joke.

We get into trouble when people don't define 'type' of MMO. If you buy stuff in second life all day it probably does feel natural, but when you grind all day in AoC or LotR then ... no, Kdolo summed it well :)) when it comes to item shops at least. And no one gives a toss about server change chargers and so on, no one.

It's because games are never taken seriously as a hobby I guess that this sort of crap is thinkable. I used to pay a sub to play in local amateur sports league run by a pro team, and although in no one way ever one of the serious players (although we mostly turned up each week and were even occasionally sober before the game) if we had found out that other crap teams had been able to pay to boost themselves in anyway... well.. everyone would realize in seconds that there would just be no point.

Imagine: the stadium we played in needed cash to develop so we are letting teams 'buy points' for small amounts each week if they are too busy to come play. They'd just be laughed as 99% of players walked away for good.

The subs players will keep playing subs games, live and let live, but please keep that crap away from respectable games.

Posted: Sep 12th 2009 2:53AM (Unverified) said

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the fun term in microtransaction games is free to play, pay to win

Posted: Sep 12th 2009 5:51AM CCon99 said

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But the problem is "companies" like SOE and Cryptic think they can do both charge a monthly subscription, then on top of that sell those subscribers items that don't physically exist.
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Posted: Sep 12th 2009 4:19AM (Unverified) said

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@Hub

"if we had found out that other crap teams had been able to pay to boost themselves in anyway... well.. everyone would realize in seconds that there would just be no point."

Yet this happens, all the time, a team with more money can afford better kit, better coaches, and even take it to the extreme of hiring profesionals to play for them. They aren't buying points, but they can still use money to gain an advantage over other teams.

Posted: Sep 12th 2009 5:07AM Rich said

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Like it or not, its the way of the future for MMO's.

Posted: Sep 12th 2009 6:24AM (Unverified) said

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I just got two points, one doesn't SOE do this MT with a dieing MMO EQ namely? Meaning they don't care if you leave. Also didn't Cryptic get bought by another company? So ... isn't the point of it being large or in charge meaningless?

I find this article dense mentally as it's long swiping irrelevances are thrown around as if there were some connection to the genre.

MT isn't becoming more prevalent, it's only becoming a tactic of weaker SMALLER companies or initial ventures (ATARI/CYPTIC) or a penny slot machine tactic (SOE) you know the slot machines they put next to the door on your way out of the casino.

When SW:TOR and Blizzards new mmo is announced it will again be the last desperate tactic of weaker smaller companies.

Generally no one takes a PC game with MT seriously except a minority few. For instance in your many rambling of irrelevancies you fail to realize or mention that many things that tend to come for PC tend to come for free relative to many other forms of media. For instance Live! for Windows is free, compared to it's console counter part. DLC or MT products tend to also come for free for instance Mass Effect content that was at cost for again console player yet for free for PC players. It's because PC players have choices we move on to what makes sense and not what robs us.

Posted: Sep 12th 2009 7:34AM Krystalle Voecks said

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SOE has a brand new game that is built entirely around microtransactions and F2P - Free Realms. It is also, by all reports, doing smashingly well for them.

That said, I did point out a larger company - Blizzard offers a macrotransaction structure here in the West, which is still part of the same general concept. The idea is to get you to continue to purchase intangibles for the game you already bought on top of the money you're already paying. This is why I also pointed out DLC. Western markets don't bat an eyelash at the larger sums, but they'll go postal (witness commentary here) when you suggest that smaller sums for only the content you want might actually be something that the market is working towards.

Also, are you aware that World of Warcraft has a completely different pay-as-you-go model in the Eastern markets? For that matter, there are more players in the Eastern markets than there are subscribers in the US or the EU? (Or, I believe at last breakdown we heard, potentially both combined?)

Also, DLC on PC is not universally free. The additional DLC for Fallout 3, as an example.
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Posted: Sep 12th 2009 10:35AM (Unverified) said

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Yeah, the eastern markets one is a good arguments, but then as a few Asian people (I've known in real life) have explained to me, that's more of a cultural thing, and this is not the place for that kind of thing.

And hasn't hurt Aion much. Isn't that a pay per hour thing in China. They seem to be holding up OK :) If western companies can't find investors in their games maybe we should be looking East. It's by no means all f2p, just the light weights and failures ;) (Mostly)
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Posted: Sep 12th 2009 1:02PM Averice said

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Nothing wrong with a pay as you play system. Such as "5$ for 10 hours" or what have you, that's probably a little expensive.

That's not micro transactions in my eyes though, that's just an alternative pay system for the entire game, you're just paying for a log in time amount instead of paying for a time slot.

It's a very cultural issue, and as the other article on here covers, the Hood guy talks about how they are willing to pay micro transactions just to beautify their characters in the East, while here in the West, that's not as large an issue, that isn't what the game is about. It's about game play, not just social identity with said game.
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Posted: Sep 12th 2009 6:28AM (Unverified) said

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Also who is paying you guys to spout this nonsense? This is what the innumerable article prophesying this crap. I remember this same crap almost 10 or more years ago and guess what I still don't see it happening.

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