Microtransaction Revolution Tips

Posted: 8th April 2013 by admin in World of Wracraft
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Games have been like banks in this recession with a new one falling each month. New launches are bogged down within the first thirty days because users cancel when their free time runs out. Investors are becoming even more anxious to see products out the door and development time has been cut all around. Many blame developers for creating subpar games that aren’t worth their $15 a month while developers blame the market and the economy. Me? I think that the subscription model is heavily outdated and archaic at this point.

Close your eyes and think about this. Well, wait; keep them open so you can read. Think about going to the video game store and picking up a brand new shrink wrapped game. Think about going home, playing it through to completion, the ups and downs in the story, and the satisfaction you get. Think about shoving it on your bookshelf and feeling that happy feeling as your collection grows. You look at the games and see either a building collection or an investment that you can turn around at a later point for more games.

On the other hand, think about the charge you see each month for your MMOGs. It’s like you’re paying another phone bill. You don’t get a new shiny box for your cash, no cartridges, no CDs, or even a +1 to games owned on Steam. You just have permission to play on someone’s server with a game that you’ve already bought. Feels kind of bad doesn’t it? If you pick up too many subscriptions then the number keeps growing and makes you feel even worse. $15 a month isn’t bad, especially if you play the game a lot, but what about $30? $45? At what point does the price become a bit too much when you don’t get anything tangible from it?

For example, I want to play Star Trek Online with my friends but I’m unable to because I play WoW and am not in the mood to pay $30 a month, especially for a second game that I might play casually. I get my monies worth out of WoW because I play a lot each week. However, with STO, I might only be logging on a few hours a week and playing around a bit. That’s one of the big reasons subscription models are archaic and need to go away.

Microtransactions work so well in countries like South Korea because it was used way before most modern games came out. For instance, Cyworld was South Korea’s largest social networking game and had over 25% of the country’s population playing. It was based purely off of microtransactions and it provided by a successful model. Games like Lineage and Lineage II were subscription based but almost every gamer already played them (much like we play WoW) and weren’t up for paying a subscription for something else. Not only that, but many gamers play from cyber cafes where you pay by the hour. Who wants to pay by the hour and then by the month for a game more than once?

The point of the story is that more games need to embrace microtransactions and more gamers need to stop flying off the handle when the word is mentioned. Sure, Blizzard will be charging us like OMGPOP does for some kind of armory features. I’m sure it won’t be as bad as what Zynga has done in the past with their social networking games (annoy your friends and download awesome toolbars that the CEO admits you can’t uninstall). It also won’t be necessary for you to enjoy the game. As long as there is a subscription on the game you can bet that there won’t be any XP potions in the Blizzard store anytime soon.

Other games should embrace the mechanic and open up the market a bit. Keep prices fair, keep limits in place on spending, and make the games fun. Let them out as free-to-play and let people enjoy the game without a ton of upfront spending. Then people like me could enjoy a lot more of the games on the market without feeling bad as our wallets are drained monthly for games we want to play, probably don’t mind spending money on, but would rather buy something than be billed for something.

Bioware may be doing this, so the rumors go. Star Wars: The Old Republic could be a microtransaction based game and that’s a scary thought. Imagine if you could play other AAA titles without forking out a ton of cash unless you want to level a bit faster or see additional content. 

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