Game Theory: MicroBucks



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I think that with the other revenue streams in games today, including product merchandise tie-ins, movie tie-ins, in-game ads, and the marketing of associated products in a line (with Wii you can buy other games on line in minutes), in game microtransactions are going to be just one additional tool for making some games more profitable and for creating new hacking goals.  There will always be grognard games and other special interest games like flight sims, railroad sims, and fantasy/first person shooters that might not lend themselves to microtransactions or might not want them as part of their revenue stream.  They might not integrate well across platforms and could lend themselves to theft and fraud. And the author's special favorite category, the military sim designed to numb kids to virtual slaughter so as to con them into the military, probably won't have microtransactions.  Think of all the kids sitting in boxes in Florida, flying Predator drones for the CIA, glad they don't have suffer through ads or pay money to blow up random people in Afghanistan and Iraq with Hellfire missiles through a computer interface.

If you remember how easy it was to clone moneybags in Diablo, think how fun it would be to rip real money off from the DS or gameboy of passerby at the airport, or WOW money from kids at the lanparty at the mall.



I'm not sure about every type of game out there, but I'd be willing to pay 5 or 10 bucks for a Counter Strike: Source 'booster pack.'  Maybe even like 15 if they released some upgraded textures, a few new guns, and maybe some more character models and official maps just so long as everything was balanced for those people  who didn't pay the extra. It wouldn't make the game unplayable for those that didn't want to pay it, but it's an easy way for a company to extend the life of a game.



The Korean model, huh?  Wherein companies expect to reap millions of dollars in profits off of gamers' desire to have cool hats, coats, unicorn-mobiles and sparkly baloons on their in-game avatars?  What a horrible idea!  These games all lack content, the only thing they have going for them is their in-game economies, which are driven by the same folks seen on Jerry Springer every day.

 Good riddance to the causal gamer, let them eat up that crap to fund development of hard-core titles where GAMEPLAY rules all!



I love that stuff! Got a Tyranid and Space Marine army, and I also have a few Eldar and Tau models. Good stuff. But you are completely right. Micro Payments are quickly becoming standard, and with digital distribution, there is no way around it anymore. Heck, even with Expansion Packs, video game companies were already doing this. Expansion packs have just been renamed to DLC :P



It depends upon where the line is drawn. I take issue with paying for the game, and paying the monthly fee to play the game, and then being expected to pay even more to "unlock" non-trivial aspects of the game. That's not right. If you want to offer extras for people with burning holes in their pockets that's fine. Just don't make it required to compete with them.



Since selling WOW gold makes $300 million per year (according to Wired) Blizzard should just cash in and sell gold to it's members.

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