Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

World of Warcraft Announces an In-Game Cash Shop

No real surprise there, though the article incorrectly dates the current web-based item shop to the "infamous sparkle pony," when in fact both the Pandaren Monk and Li'l K.T., and other minipets were available months before that.

The other non-surprise is the level of nerd-rage in the post's comment section over the sub-plus-cash-shop business model. I personally don't have a problem with it, as I purchased the above-mentioned minipets from the Blizzard store (I believe some of the proceeds went to charity), as well as in-game items from Cryptic's STO shop while subbed that game. This is the classic Time Rich vs. Money Rich dispute I've covered several times over the past few weeks.

For every product and service, there is a certain portion of the consumer base willing to pay more than the market price for it. This consumer surplus can be exploited (this is not a bad thing) by the supplier. It actually helps keep the market price where it is. I agree with Tobold's opinion that if players want to spend extra money on a game, they should be free to do so. An item shop enables that.
Basic Concepts of Economic Value
A cash shop doesn't necessarily mean the end of creativity in a game. In fact, it may provide the economic stimulus to continue game development. This is not a new concept.
Even those with a passion to create have to eat and pay the rent.
~~The Ancient Gaming Noob, 2009
One must agree that if the game isn’t paying the bills, you have to do what it takes to change that or shut the doors.
 ~~TAGN, in a comment on the same post.
I no longer play WoW. A cash shop certainly won't bring me back. Players seem to be leaving WoW in droves. But if the introduction of an in-game item shop keeps the doors open for those that still enjoy the game, I have no problem with that. I even encourage it. After all, in December, Funcom faced the decision to make The Secret World subscription optional or let it fail completely. They made the right decision, I think; and thousands of players are currently celebrating what I consider the best game on the market a year after launch.

BTW, another milestone: This is my 400th post on I Have Touched the Sky.

8 comments:

  1. The only surprising thing to me is that it's taken this long. They have been remarkably stubborn to respond to the market.

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    1. It's easy be stubborn when you've lost five times what anyone else ever had, and that's still a only quarter of your player base.

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  2. WoW has philosophically lost their market dominance. Gamers who can't form a personal thought on their own still talk about new games still trying to be the "WoW Killer", but that fad (if it ever actually was one) went out years ago. Most games stopped trying to be like WoW, and so now Blizzard is struggling to make WoW like other games.

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    1. I'd say the last game that really tried to be a WoW killer was SWTOR. After that fiasco (of expectations—I still think the game itself was decent), publishers and devs wisely set their sights lower. I don't know if including a cash shop makes WoW itself like other games, just a similar mechanic. If Blizzard has a strengths at all though, it's in adapting and polishing the ideas of others.

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  3. I said this on my blog sometime ago... and I will go out on a limb again and say it. I really and honestly feel like this years big Blizzcon announcement will be them moving to a free to play model. Everything I have heard floating around the industry is that Blizzard is losing China... that has artificially inflated the numbers for some time. It is rapidly getting to the point where it makes sense to join the free to play club that seems to be doing well for themselves.

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    1. Makes me wonder what Titan will turn out to be.

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  4. Part of me feels like this is akin to closing the barn door after the horse has bolted and many of us who have un-subbed from WoW aren't citing the lack of a cash shop as the reason. It's nice to see WoW being pulled into the current MMO universe kicking and screaming but more time (and money?) should be spent on things like updating the cartoony graphics and more creative quests.

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    1. I'll agree with everything except the graphics. Don't confuse a stylistic choice with a technical anachronism.

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