Free MMORPG & Free MMOs

Micro Transactions in Pay to Play MMORPGs?

Posted on: June 19, 2010

Earlier last month World of Warcraft had a short promotion. Players could purchase a celestial steed in game (A special cool looking mount) for a one time payment of $25. Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind WoW made over 4 million dollars in a like 1 week. EverQuest II from Sony Online Entertainment had a similar deal where players could buy an in game pet for real life cash. They also made a lot of money. I used to think “cash shops’ were supposed to be in free to play games. After all, don’t pay to play MMORPGs make money through subscriptions? They do, but from the looks of what Everquest II and World of Warcraft did, it seems like pay to play games like cash shops too. In my opinion this is pretty stupid. Game developers are getting way too greedy. If they want to make money from cash shops they should go free to play. Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online from Turbine used to be pay to play, but once they realized they can make good money from cash shops, they went free to play. So if WoW and EQ2 want to run cash shops, they should also go free to play. Making money from both subscriptions and micro transactions are a bit ridiculous. Whoever pays for these items in these subscription based games are crazy. They’re already paying a fee every month just to play the game, and on top of that they’re paying extra to get special items in game.

Games like World of Warcraft have subscriptions because they have enormous mmo development costs. Age of Conan from Funcom and Warhammer Online from Electronic Arts are also on the same boat. Star Wars: The old Republic from Bioware is rumored to cost some EA some $100 million dollars. Thats A LOT of money. These games want to recoup the development costs by charging a subscription as they think that’s more profitable. I think World of Warcraft is the only game that can actually charge a subscription these days. It’s the most popular game. Most other pay to play games including Warhammer Online and Age of Conan are in decline. If these games went free to play, they could be making so much more money through cash shops. So many pay to play games went free to play in the past and made a lot of money doing so. Obviously not all of them were successful. Archlord and RF Online both used to be pay to play and are free to play today. I think Warhammer Online should go free to play. I know I’d play it if it were F2P!

Anyway. To all the people spending real life dough for items in games like WoW / EQ2, you guys are crazy. You already pay money every month to play these games, there’s no need to pay extra just to get an in game pet that does nothing. Seriously. The WoW mount did nothing aside from look shiny!

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June 2010
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