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Reader Comments (43)

Posted: Mar 4th 2010 7:32PM (Unverified) said

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Im not sure which way to go on the cash shop issue.

I like the idea of small 1 or 2 pound/dollar transactions, which i would happily pay for, although it pains me to think it, this would include vanity items or pets.

When it comes to content i would prefer to buy a "finished" game and then buy smaller content patches afterwards. I would then have to question if that would splinter the community.

Then, if i buy stuff i feel like i havent earned it or at worst i feel like im buying an in game currency via RMT.

At the end of the day if im having fun ill pay either way i guess :)

Posted: Mar 4th 2010 7:37PM Tizmah said

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Personally, I just feel better not having a cash shop. Cash shops always make me think of "lower class". I'm not saying that's true exactly, but that's the impression I take from cash shop because it usually involves cheap F2P games.

Posted: Mar 4th 2010 7:40PM ployer said

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I don't think cash shops are bad if they are done well. I can think of two MMO's which I think are pretty good which are DDO and Runes of Magic which are both of a decent level of quality.
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Posted: Mar 4th 2010 7:43PM (Unverified) said

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I too do not like the presence of cash shops/item malls in an MMO.Not saying they can't be used in a way that keeps customers and the company happy,just that it's a business model that is very open to becoming exploitative at any time.$15 a month is $15 a month,but the cash shop can be changed at any time and in any way.

Posted: Mar 4th 2010 7:50PM Scuffles said

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Cash shops Have gotten a bad rap for a few reason and one of them is that they have been associated with Korean shovelware grindfest MMOs

Now the F2P market is coming of age and the new F2P titles can stand on their own. The issue now is CS run by idiots ......

Most publishers seem to think Macro when they plan their "Microtransactions".

A well ballanced, well prices CS will print money for you ..... a poorly planned, overpriced CS will drive your customers away in droves.

Personally I could care less about subscription games these days most of them have tacked on some sort of CS or TCG with "loot cards" onto their subscription service anyhow. Its only a matter of time before they try to go subscription and full blown CS.

I'm also tired of hearing the P2P subscription gamers take some upper crust viewpoint and try to look down at F2P games as inferior, as I stated initially that might have been the case to begin with but the tide is quickly turning.

Which is probably why I keep seeing "I'd pay a subscription for this game" threads popping up in several game forums ....... just use the bloody CS. If their prices are stupid expensive don't use it and they will get the message, when they are reasonable ..... start using it.

Your not dealing with a bunch of silkroad clones anymore........ well there still out there but now there is some quality to be found in that quantity.

Posted: Mar 5th 2010 3:12AM (Unverified) said

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Sorry, Scuffles; tit's a personal pet peeve:
"Personally I could care less about subscription games these days"

That means you care about them a lot.

The term is "Personally I *couldn't* care less about subscription games these days".

And regarding your statement overall; rubbish.
As in, your statement is rubbish, but not nearly as much rubbish as there is in the F2P market. The quality vs quantity ratio is barely calculable.

99.999999999% of the time, a Cash Shop is a greed-ridden poorly conceived unbalanced and game-breaking attempt at revenue generation, and nothing more (when it comes to F2P titles).

If you believe any differently, then all power to you and your mighty wallet.
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Posted: Mar 5th 2010 3:13AM (Unverified) said

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EEEK! I said 'tits'! :-o

lol clearly that was meant to read:
*it's* a personal pet peeve..
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Posted: Mar 4th 2010 7:54PM Saker said

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Like everything the devils in the details.

Posted: Mar 4th 2010 7:54PM Averice said

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Good article. What you wrote is exactly how I feel about micro transactions.

At the same time though, I still prefer a subscription plan, because I like the feeling of having everything possible at my fingertips.

If a cash shop game can offer a subscription model as well, that's what I would prefer, but I have yet to see any game of the type having the quality deserving of a subscription payment. I'm pretty sure DDO also offers a subscription method instead of only cash shop, and other companies attempting to enter into Western MMO cash shopping should learn from DDO. Oh right, Free Realms also offers a subscription offer for those who would rather have that, though I've heard some people complaining about having to pay subscription and then Also buy things. A subscription shouldn't be a "deal" on some things from the cash shop, it should be everything.

Posted: Mar 4th 2010 8:11PM Daverator said

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I think your missing part of the point.

Guns aren't evil. But if 90% of people who had guns used them to rob everyone they came across, there would be public outcry against guns.

Microtransactions aren't evil. But when 90% of the companies that have them use them to rob everyone or force them to purchase what should be in the game to begin with, there is a public outcry against Mircotransactions.

Posted: Mar 4th 2010 8:20PM Gaugamela said

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Cash shops aren't exactly bad things but i think that some publishers and developers should start considering other options.
Why are the games currently on the market only monthly-subscription based or cash shop based?

Why don't we see different approaches from more publishers as Turbine did with DDO?
DDO worked so well because it didn't impose you a cash shop over a subscription (like Cryptic did with its shop - offering stuff that people usually access for free in other sub based MMOs like races for a faction for example). You can choose between a reasonably priced CS or subscription.

Unfortunately the developers and publishers from nowadays seem to think that it is ok to get more money from players by introducing cash shops in subscription games but offering inferior gameplay experiences compared to older MMOs.

A hint: if you are going to do a subscription based MMO with a cash shop, then introduce only cosmetic options in it and unnecessary services with micro prices.

And where are the other payment options for player?
I would really like to see an MMO that had pay by the hour plans. You would need to buy chunks of 5$/10$ of game credit everytime but you only payed when you were logged in. Lots of people don't jump on another subscription based MMO because they don't want to pay 15$ a month. Then give them the option to pay only when they are logged in and they'll probably look at your game since they don't have the pressure of having to play the game when they paid for the month. And couple that with a reasonably priced cash shop and you may have a winner.

Posted: Mar 4th 2010 8:50PM savedR said

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Wow, that's a great idea. I don't subcribe any MMOs now because I get like three hours of game time every six weeks. I don't get a lot of time to play games period, and I don't want to feel obligated to playing a single game every time I DO get time.

But if I could buy $10 or $15 worth of time, and have my play hours click off until I ran out, that would allow me to still play a bigger game like WoW with lots of premium content, but only pay for my actual time spent in game!

Some existing MMO like EVE should totally introduce this.
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Posted: Mar 5th 2010 8:42AM Gaugamela said

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Unfortunately it doesn't seem as great as that since no one ever published an MMO with that pricing structure in the US and Europe. I am still waiting for it. Even if it is a bit more expensive than an actual monthly subscription i wouldn't mind paying it to have a bit more flexibility.
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Posted: Mar 5th 2010 3:31PM (Unverified) said

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Me too. I've had to cancel my WoW account every time I want to play other games. I usually only get an hour or two a night to play games at all, and sometimes there's a new game that I want to check out. I'd love to be able to log in to a game whenever I want to, rather than keeping a $15/month subscription that makes me feel like I'm "wasting" my money if I don't log in "enough". As it is, I can definitely see a future in which I'm subscribed to both WoW and STO, despite only playing each one a few hours a week.

Microtransactions seem like a good way to solve this problem, in theory, but in reality it taints the game design to prevent you from having any fun unless you pay more than $15 a month anyway.

Why can't we have a game that prevents us from logging in at all if we don't pay (like a monthly sub), but that doesn't charge us when we're not actually playing it? Or will that just end up changing the game design so that we have to stay logged in for extended periods of time to get anything done?
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Posted: Mar 4th 2010 8:31PM Joshua Przygocki said

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I usually end up spending more in a cash shop than I would on a subscription... or if it is like EQ2, I pay for both the sub and my occasional purchase in the marketplace

Posted: Mar 4th 2010 8:42PM (Unverified) said

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Subscription based games have been doing just fine for years without any Micro transactions at all. If your paying for the game EVERY month you should get everything the game has to offer. The only things that should be paid for are things that happen outside of the game, like server transfers and such. Blizzard makes plenty of money EVERY month, there is no need for micro's and just leaves a bad feeling when they do.

Micro's are fine for F2P games...they gotta make money somehow. Duh. This all seems obvious to me.

Posted: Mar 5th 2010 3:23AM (Unverified) said

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This is a 'bad feeling'?
"The Make-a-Wish Foundation has announced they have received a $1.1 million donation from Blizzard Entertainment; half of the earnings from a special World of Warcraft pet."

Aside from my evil play on your words, take a good long look at that number.
Yah?

Now, double it.
Keeping up? Good!

Now remind yourself of this:
This figure was the result of the total sales of the Pandaren Monk pet, solely, for November and December 2009.

I think one could safely say that most folks have no problem shelling out for an item when it's well-designed or when the game elicits a feeling of value and enjoyment.
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Posted: Mar 4th 2010 8:46PM (Unverified) said

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Free to Play done right?...Guild Wars... the way a F2P game should be.

Posted: Mar 4th 2010 8:58PM savedR said

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Yeah, I love GW. But, I also don't get to spend a lot of money on games, and the GW games never go down in price. That kept me out of them for a loooooong time... And now, I made the mistake of only buying Factions, but it'll cost me at least $19.99 to get another chapter.

And Factions has plenty of gameplay, but it took me 3 characters and several months with my average game time to really get started with it. I keep thinking if I'd bought the first one or Nightfall, I would have gotten started a lot easier.
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Posted: Mar 4th 2010 9:15PM Macabre 13 said

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While I totally agree with the viewpoints of your article, Sera, it's all very "Utopian." Ideally, cash shops would exist and operate as you've outlined, avoiding the pitfalls and such, but the reality is far from that, in my opinion.

Communism can also look great on paper, but in practice, well...

The problem is, as Abriona stated, cash shops are very open to exploitation, and that is quite off-putting. When every piece of content is influenced by "how much can we charge for this", and every facet of gameplay or development influenced by "how can we get them to spend more", I believe you quickly tend to lose sight of "how can we make our game fun." I fully understand that this is, first and foremost, a for-profit industry, but as you stated in your article, if you make it fun, we will spend.

To be fair, I feel cash shops do have a place in our world. I feel games and/or services like Farmville, Playstation Home, Xbox Live Avatars, as well as more casual-oriented games like Freerealms, lend themselves perfectly to such models. Perfect for the "Beanie Baby" types, at least, to be sure.

But when it comes to games for, dare I say, "real" gamers, I'd rather cash shops stay away, if for no other reason than to make everyone at least feel like they're playing on a "level playing field."

Prejudices aside, I try to maintain an open mind, so while the news that BP was going the cash shop route was a bit unsettling, to say the least, I'm still willing to give it a chance. After all, what do I have to lose, right?

Anyway, good article, and here's hoping at least one developer/publisher takes note.

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