Full blog is longish but interesting.
Full blog is longish but interesting.
They are just as much as casinos, gambling and stuff like that.
Just that.. with them you have a chance to win something back (even if really low).
In the games' case.. well, the only one earning something in money is the company which promotes the microtransactions. Users just get virtual good, which can be, in some cases, completely worthless (financially-speaking).
The blog touches on a lot of bad things that microtransactions have been used for but I don't think they're inherently any worse than airlines charging you to check in extra bags or for in-flight meal service. It's just price discrimination taken to the limit.
Micro transactions are an effective business model and the new wave of not just the game industry, but pretty much 'ALL' mediums of entertainment. Redbox for movies forced Blockbuster to adopt a similar system and actually killed off 2 blockbuster stores in my area, just to compete. Cloud gaming is trying to kill off the traditional blu-ray disc in a case system and so on.
People are just very willing to pay more for convenience. The system is not intrinsically amoral; it just has much more room in it's design for exploitation. Above all else, it just means consumers have to REALLY beware more than ever before. It's essentially the evolution of Pay-per-view.
Far as the game industry in particular goes...one thing that delighted me to read in this that I've been saying for a while, and something I wish EVERY SINGLE F2P PLAYER WOULD TAKE TO HEART IS THIS:
Just by actively playing, you are still an asset to the game's structure: so stop taking the companies' failures and shortcomings up the butt (and suggesting others do the same) because you 'didn't have to pay for it'. You contribute to the success and profits of the company indirectly. You're not playing 'for free' you're the sponsee of a sponsorship (The host of the game) providing life to their game's structure in return.
Another noteworthy segment is this:
This is what separates a crap F2P from a good one. And lately I think Maple Story has taken one step forward, 2 steps back recently. We once had permanent NX, now its gone: We no longer have to rely on 2x EXP cards to get anywhere, but the potential system has upset the balance.
Now... Here's the thing though... The blog fails to mention the concept of tradable cash items. Granted, Maple *is* behind the curve and only has this in limited form, via selling off Miracle Cubed gear and lol SoKs, but a LOT of other games allow paying players to sell cash-shop only gameplay items to the F2P community to easily get ingame money. Where would this fall in the structure of microtransaction? Would this still count as 'milking'? It's good in that it prevents free players from feeling truly disadvantaged and gives the cash spenders economic strength. Is this 'healthy' enough to be sustainable, does it strike a balance between maintaining value-per-customer and growth market ideas?
Tempted to comment to get their opinions out of it now.
Last edited by Seanny; 2011-09-04 at 04:09 PM. Reason: grammar, grammer.
But NX is about macro and not micro transactions, hence that's why they "upgraded" NX cards to Karma Kards (or w/e the name is), they even removed the 5k NX card...
Micro transactions are about 1~2 dollar for something permanent (just as if you buy 1/50th of a game), not 5 dollar to rent something for 3 months or 50~100 dollar per month to waste in a virtual casino (potential miracle cubes).
Just check in the Cash Shop screen (right side) what is selling well, those things don't have anything to do with micro transactions.
One of the only things that comes close to a -micro- transaction in maple is the good old store permit, 1.8 dollars for 3 months and the guild bbs emoticons for 50 cent.
Devil for some reason thats how they name that type of transaction, no matter if you are buying stuff for 1000 dollars.
And that's why a lot of people accept it as an "ok" thing.
If you would have to explain maplestory to a group of people who want to know why maplestory is free to play and how that is still profitable to the publishers, and you explain that it is about macro transactions and gambling addiction exploitation, people wouldn't be surprised how those games are financed.
But as long as everyone keeps calling this micro transactions it's just the next IT-soap bubble waiting to burst in 10 years, and then everyone is OMG, OMG, so -that's- how they did it...
There is no such thing as a free lunch, only looking at it is free... that's how free to play micro/macro transaction games work... ;)
Devil I would say its better to call them micro than macro since about half if not more of what they sell is actually cheap (1~5 dollar), macrotransaction sound more like your buying industrial equipment at a large scale.
EDIT: Also each time you buy is just one transaction so even if you spend 1200 dollars in cubes in a month they are 1000 microtransaction.
Oh, how I love Skinner Boxes.
If it weren't for Maple, I would never have become so well informed on this shady area of business.
Since when is a skinner box a shady area of business? It probably sounds like one when you think of F2P games and one-armed bandits, but you have to remember that your brain requires skinner boxes to work. Think of it this way, without the skinner box effect on the brain, I would not be here right now doing extractions.
A skinner box is a tool and a method of analysis, not an amoral piece of trash that people abuse.
Oh oops. The two lines weren't related, my "shady area of business" was referring to microtransactions, which I consider shady because of how much people love to argue about them.
The first line was just psychology nostalgia.
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