I'm sitting here in EverQuest II right now, basically staring at the Station Marketplace. My character, Miss Seccia, has had 2,500 Station Cash in her pocket for a while now. It's been sitting there since I last bought it, begging to be used for something in the Marketplace.
There has been nothing that I wanted for two months now. No sets of armor, no potions, no character modifications. The cash has been sitting there unused, wasting away in my coin purse. And then, as if dropped down on a magical beam of light from the development team, EverQuest II introduced 25-dollar mounts into the game. A perfect 2,500 station cash for a mount that would be insanely useful to Seccia.
Yet, for as much as I stare, I know I can't buy this cat. That would make me a gigantic hypocrite.
A 25 dollar mount is still a 25 dollar mount
A long time ago, numerous weeks behind us, I challenged Blizzard and their 25-dollar horsey. Many of you guys didn't like that, especially after I said that only Blizzard could get away with charging an amount so outrageous for a virtual horse. My point, simply, was that if another company tried to sell a 25-dollar mount, they would get severe amounts of hell. With Blizzard, the angry posts only made up half of the threads I read, a far cry from the loud backlash I'm accustomed to reading.
So here we are, about a month out from the sparkle pony, and Sony Online Entertainment has introduced a line of cat mounts into their microtransaction shop for the price of -- you guessed it -- 25 dollars. I should be angry, nay, I should be frothingly angry... but I'm not. I'm sitting here actually contemplating whether I want to buy this mount. (After all, even if I do buy it, it's a work-related expense. HA! I love my job.)
" I should be angry, nay, I should be frothingly angry... but I'm not."
This mount costs $25 and you get one. One mount. Ha ha ha.
Follow the leader
I think a few people have been shocked by this announcement, but it doesn't really surprise me. I think it's surprising that it only took a month before another company decided to try on Blizzard's price point, but I can't say I blame SOE. Blizzard proved that the $25 price point was profitable, and they wanted to give it a try as well. That's just testing the market, and if people buy it, you can be sure it's going to continue.
And when I say, "It's going to continue," I don't just mean SOE is going to continue it. You can be sure that more companies are going to try to dip their toes into the water of "premium transactions," just to see how it works for their communities. If it works then great, they'll continue the practice with more stuff. If it doesn't work, then no problem, they'll just cease it and try an alternative.