Monday, June 7, 2010

Micro-transactions in MMO’s in General Info

In the last two years or so micro-transactions and free-to-play(FTP) games with item shops have become very popular.  I would like to theorize that with the growth of Blizzard’s, World of Warcraft and its literal domination of the MMO market has caused many other MMORPG titles to lose subscriptions, thus moving them to take the route of FTP.  Many other new games have been released in the last two years that aren’t even subscription based, they are FTP right off the bat, but the kicker is they are considered “item shop” games.

What are micro-transactions and item shop games?

Item shop games are games that charge the user to purchase upgraded gear as well as pay for premium content that is released that isn’t available to those who play the games for its FTP factor.  There are also games that are paid subscriptions that have micro-transactions, thus giving the player the ability to pay for specific items that are only offered for real world money, not in game currency.

Many gamers, like myself, would not pay for items and content and would rather just pay a monthly subscription.(which sounds crazy cause we’re still essentially paying for those things) But there has been a huge uproar in the MMO community against these types of games. It’s strange to me when a subscription based MMO decides to offer micro-transactions. It is comparable to a drug dealer, they decide that they have enough addicts, so they will offer a gem or two for real world currency, thus those “addicts” decide they need this piece of armor or new mount and they pony up $25 dollars. You can’t hate these companies though, their sole purpose is business in the first place, so the more revenue the better. So the ones we can blame are those people that think an “ethereal flying mount” or some “uber” sword that will make them unique and look cool is worth the money. Psychologically it makes you look at those people to try and see what they are lacking in real life that they have to prove something in a virtual world.

Maybe I’m looking at it in a poor manner, but let’s just hope that micro-transactions and FTP item shops go the way of the doe doe in the future.  Let’s also hope that SWTOR never becomes this type of monster.

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