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What are some compelling *business* reasons that MMOs shouldn't have microtransactions?

CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member

Yesterday's announcement of the palomino horse offering in ESO has stirred up anti-microtransaction sentiments again, but just like every other time, all of the focus seems to be on why players shouldn't like it.  But if we're being practical, it's not players who decide revenue models, it's companies.  If people ever want to see something different, the relevant topic is why companies should want to not offer microtransactions in a subscription based game.  

Because let's face it, decisions ultimately aren't made by players or by the game's actual developers, they are made by the business people who control the developer's purse strings. In order to get gaming companies not to move in the direction of subscription + microtransaction instead of subscription only, somebody is going to have to come up with compelling arguments for how refusing to offer microtransactions will result in higher profits.  If nobody can come up with such arguments, companies have not only the "right" but the fiscal duty to offer microtransactions.

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.

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Comments

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Greenwich, CTPosts: 3,717Member Uncommon
  • Sunnyguy46Sunnyguy46 Santa Rosa, CAPosts: 91Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Flyte27

    Business ethics

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_ethics

     

    And what is the key part in your compelling argument that has to do with microtransactions?

  • FinalFikusFinalFikus Chicago, ILPosts: 906Member

    Devalue of your brand.

    Your Brand is everything. You can't be  the maker of high quality high value entertainment AND low cost low value entertainment. One or the other.

     

     

    "If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Greenwich, CTPosts: 3,717Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Sunnyguy46
    Originally posted by Flyte27

    Business ethics

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_ethics

     

    And what is the key part in your compelling argument that has to do with microtransactions?

    It is unethical to sell items in a game for profit.  A game itself is meant to be a level playing field for all that can invest time.  Everyone who buys a game or pays a subscription fee should have access to all items within said game.  To me micro transactions are exploiting people by trying to feed on their impulse to buy things in game and also taking away the spirit of games in general.

  • FinalFikusFinalFikus Chicago, ILPosts: 906Member
    Originally posted by Sunnyguy46
    Originally posted by Flyte27

    Business ethics

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_ethics

     

    And what is the key part in your compelling argument that has to do with microtransactions?

    Children are the biggest spenders?

    "If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    People act like players have no say. If players didn't buy it these games wouldn't be around. Obviously there are people out there who are not bothered by these things. They're just under represented on forums.

    When these games stop expanding their cash shops and what they're putting in them we'll know players have finally had enough.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Uncommon
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • FinalFikusFinalFikus Chicago, ILPosts: 906Member
    Originally posted by Flyte27
    Originally posted by Sunnyguy46
    Originally posted by Flyte27

    Business ethics

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_ethics

     

    And what is the key part in your compelling argument that has to do with microtransactions?

    It is unethical to sell items in a game for profit.  A game itself is meant to be a level playing field for all that can invest time.  Everyone who buys a game or pays a subscription fee should have access to all items within said game.  To me micro transactions are exploiting people by trying to feed on their impulse to buy things in game and also taking away the spirit of games in general.

    One could argue that they cannot be considered games at that point as well.

    The ones who control convenience, are the makers and sellers of convenience, they offer a business model that the company itself wouldn't agree to, yet ask their customers to. It's bad for consumers. A company with no ethics does this.

    "If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  • FinalFikusFinalFikus Chicago, ILPosts: 906Member
    Originally posted by DamonVile

    People act like players have no say. If players didn't buy it these games wouldn't be around. Obviously there are people out there who are not bothered by these things. They're just under represented on forums.

    When these games stop expanding their cash shops and what they're putting in them we'll know players have finally had enough.

    No one does.  Only a tiny fraction pay a single penny.

    That pipe dream is ending, and their brands are worthless.

    "If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    Originally posted by FinalFikus
    Originally posted by DamonVile

    People act like players have no say. If players didn't buy it these games wouldn't be around. Obviously there are people out there who are not bothered by these things. They're just under represented on forums.

    When these games stop expanding their cash shops and what they're putting in them we'll know players have finally had enough.

    No one does.  Only a tiny fraction pay a single penny.

    That pipe dream is ending, and their brands are worthless.

    yeah that's what I keep reading on this forum....year after year. Yet microtransactions have grown every year.

  • AzureProwerAzurePrower AustraliaPosts: 1,530Member Uncommon

    Subscription vs. Cash Shop.

     

    When business model interferes with game play. It manipulates the game play to suit the business model.

     

    Best way to piss off the majority of people that support your game.

  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKPosts: 12,216Member Epic

    There arent any.

    However microtransactions have to be implemented well - example Rift, and not poorly (example most mobile apps)

     

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Uncommon
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • FinalFikusFinalFikus Chicago, ILPosts: 906Member
    Originally posted by DamonVile
    Originally posted by FinalFikus
    Originally posted by DamonVile

    People act like players have no say. If players didn't buy it these games wouldn't be around. Obviously there are people out there who are not bothered by these things. They're just under represented on forums.

    When these games stop expanding their cash shops and what they're putting in them we'll know players have finally had enough.

    No one does.  Only a tiny fraction pay a single penny.

    That pipe dream is ending, and their brands are worthless.

    yeah that's what I keep reading on this forum....year after year. Yet microtransactions have grown every year.

    So have buy to play and subs.

    "If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,916Member Uncommon

    Technically speaking, I am not sure that they are actually doing microtransactions. If you pay X for an item, that is just a direct sale. It does not matter if the purchase is in game, online, or in a store.

     

    For this to be a microtransaction, there needs to be two transactions. One for the exchange of money, the second for the exchange of goods. The reason that many games use virtual currency, is because they only pay the fee for the transaction once, and then can sell multiple items.

    P.S. Why all the F2P bashing... on a P2P Game.

  • Ramonski7Ramonski7 Aurora, ILPosts: 2,659Member Uncommon

    For me the two revenue models are symbolic of two types of core mindsets. One being a developers' mindset focus on enticing players to stay and the other a corporate mindset enticing players to spend. A majority of developers use to work toward retaining players for their mmorpg in the hopes of getting enough subs (players) to satisfy the suits and their desire for more revenue. It goes without saying, happy suits leave devs free to think of more creative ways to develop content for gamers to enjoy. But more and more it seems that developers are being trained (brainwashed) instead to appeal to a gamer's wallet rather than his/her heart. Basically we are no longer trying to get you to stay, but to spend a.k.a. the corporate mindset.

     

    And it really doesn't help that the suits have the most deceptively powerful term, F2P, at their disposal. They use this to get players to contradict themselves. It's all cosmetics....oh but you want better graphics? In the mean time those are cosmetic too.

    image
    "Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas."

  • FinalFikusFinalFikus Chicago, ILPosts: 906Member

    Talent goes to work in other fields.

    "If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  • AzureProwerAzurePrower AustraliaPosts: 1,530Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Superman0X

    Technically speaking, I am not sure that they are actually doing microtransactions. If you pay X for an item, that is just a direct sale. It does not matter if the purchase is in game, online, or in a store.

     

    For this to be a microtransaction, there needs to be two transactions. One for the exchange of money, the second for the exchange of goods. The reason that many games use virtual currency, is because they only pay the fee for the transaction once, and then can sell multiple items.

    P.S. Why all the F2P bashing... on a P2P Game.

     

    ...Do you even know what a microtransaction is?

  • RenoakuRenoaku Posts: 1,167Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by CazNeerg

    Yesterday's announcement of the palomino horse offering in ESO has stirred up anti-microtransaction sentiments again, but just like every other time, all of the focus seems to be on why players shouldn't like it.  But if we're being practical, it's not players who decide revenue models, it's companies.  If people ever want to see something different, the relevant topic is why companies should want to not offer microtransactions in a subscription based game.  

    Because let's face it, decisions ultimately aren't made by players or by the game's actual developers, they are made by the business people who control the developer's purse strings. In order to get gaming companies not to move in the direction of subscription + microtransaction instead of subscription only, somebody is going to have to come up with compelling arguments for how refusing to offer microtransactions will result in higher profits.  If nobody can come up with such arguments, companies have not only the "right" but the fiscal duty to offer microtransactions.

    I will be honest with you from my experience in online gaming.

    My problem isn't Micro-Transactions, or Real Money Trading in games, in fact I personally support both as long as RMT is from legit sources and not bot's but this is about Micro-Transactions so lets get started.

     

    I have no problem with ESO selling a Horse as a Early Starter Item for $20  for example, the problem is I don't trust the gaming industry or game companies anymore, I don't Trust the developers of ESO after Beta testing for 24 hours submitting my recommendations and them not taking me serious enough to fix many of my complaints with ESO I am done with ESO I am just not buying the game because it tells me they likely won't stop with a horse micro transaction, but will likely sell pre-leveled characters, cosmetics, and charge for every character re-customization you want to do like all the others I don't want to be playing a game like this.

    Take Age OF Wushu, a recent F2P Game I wanted to go back to, the game is a good game not the best but decent in my eyes, but my problem is that you have to spend $30 a month to enjoy the game to buy cosmetic items, money for VIP, and money for a mount, the cosmetics are rental items, the mount is rental, and VIP is just time purchased so basically I have to pay to enjoy my game and pay for everything I want to enjoy the game why not just pay $15 for EVE Online have the ability to re-customize as much as I want for free.

    Games Like Aion, almost every Perfect World Game too have similar issues with Micro Transactions, even APB Reloaded a game with potential completely ruined my Gamers First who I hope goes out of business down the Road and the game gets put in hands of developers that can give us a Truly free 2 Play MMO.

    If you want my honest truth, I think (RIFT) is the only current MMO, with a Truly Free 2 Play game, Without having to spend tons of money to play the game, I wouldn't bother playing or spending money in games like Perfect World, Nexon or many of these titles, the games have good graphics, and audio, but limiting a players experience is what kills the game.

    Micro-Transactions, are not a bad thing, its the reputation they get because of all these foreign game companies and the way they do Micro-Transactions on everything which to me kills the game for me.

    However if used properly with Micro-Transactions and used properly in ESO they can be used for good things, but the moment ESO starts limiting character Re-customization, charging for Barber-Shop's, and so on I would just unsubscribe even if I purchased the game I would say I am done here and mean it until it goes F2P. 

    Selling Cosmetics, and Mounts, are perfectly fine as long as they are done similar to Rift, Where a person just unlocks the cosmetic pack, then can freely use it whenever they choose to use it changing hair's, face, and so on, but charing $2 USD per character change for example or Points that require Real Money would make me quit.

  • CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member

    Originally posted by Flyte27

    It is unethical to sell items in a game for profit.  A game itself is meant to be a level playing field for all that can invest time.  Everyone who buys a game or pays a subscription fee should have access to all items within said game.  To me micro transactions are exploiting people by trying to feed on their impulse to buy things in game and also taking away the spirit of games in general.

    To your first statement, it's only unethical if you believe capitalism and profit are inherently unethical.  And the "level playing field" argument really holds no water if you think about it for a second, because in a sub only game the playing field isn't level.  It is simply tilted in favor of those who have more time, instead of those who have more money.  Offering things like XP boosts and gear for sale could fairly be seen as *correcting* an imbalance, allowing those with more money than time to still have as good an experience as those with more time than money.  Player A wants to reach goal X, and has enough free time that he can spend 50 hours in a week doing so.  Player B wants to reach goal X as well, but only has 10 hours in a week that he can dedicate to it; he also has a lot more disposable income, and is perfectly willing to spend an extra $100 in order to be able to reach goal X in 10 hours instead of 50.  

    Why should these products prioritize the experience of people who prefer spending time to spending money, and as a result leave money on the table?  In both cases, at the end of the week the players have achieved goal X.  Why is it any of player A's business how player B got there, or vice versa?  These games aren't primarily populated by children anymore.  The average age of gamers in general is in the early to mid 30s, and MMO subscribers as a population skew even higher.  A lot of people in this market have a lot more money and a lot less time than they did when they started gaming, and companies offering those people a way to use money as a substitute for time is not only good business, it's good customer service.

    Originally posted by greenreen

    You still don't get it. You think it's about money.

    These games were able to capture people because they offered a world. Inside that world were different rules. That's what makes people play for years. Realize that some games have been around for over 5 years. Years of people's lives they put into games. They are entirely too personal to say one thing will trump all or even one payment model.

    Once one game became 5, people had to decide which rules they preferred.

    Now that 5 has become 505 the rules are still the differentiators.

    Without distinguishing gameplay, all games are the same.

    Without distinguishing payment models, all companies are the same.

    The payment models became part of the differentiation system as a whole and they will be as hotly contested as any other gameplay related item. They will be the parcel by which decisions are made. Even more so as the number of games and game companies increase.

    The players CHOOSE the game and the players CHOOSE the payment models no matter which are offered.

    Today I make a new game.

    My game costs 100 a month to join and play. Inside you play as a white cube that engages in battle with other white cubes. I have made the decision as a game developer that my game costs 100 a month to play and you should respect me for my wise business decision. Why should I settle for 15 a month when clearly my cubes are worth 100 a month. This is a wise business decision for me. I will also be selling colors for my cubes at 10 per color in my add-on cash shop because I choose this as the developer.

    You will be playing my game - correct? And my decision to charge you for colored cubes along with my 100 a month fee because I am in charge, I am the one with the product and I am the one who determines pricing?

    No, you will deny my cube game because you know that as the player - you make the decision on not only what game you will play but also which pricing structure you will choose.

    To deny that is to deny reality.

    You post portends that players have little control. You are so very wrong about this. Anything can be for sale, only things that sell have value.

    ESO with a cash shop no longer had value to me. Cut and dry. As a player I make this decision. You can't talk me into liking their cash shop anymore than you can talk me into liking Maplestory's graphics.

    You still don't get it.  You think it's not about money.  You do get to decide whether or not to play a given game.  But guess what?  The people who are financing these games don't care whether you play.  They do not care about any individual.  They only care about market segments.  If they believe they can lose 100% of the potential revenue from the market segment of people who refuse to play a game with cash shops, and still make more money than if they weren't offering a cash shop, then eventually we will reach the point where no AAA game is without a cash shop.  Historical trends in the industry have shown (so far) that there is no financial downside to adding a cash shop to a game.

    The actual creative artists making the games don't make these decisions, not now, if they ever did.  Nobody who says "Yeah, we could do it without a cash shop and make a ton of people happy, but there is a 99% chance our revenue would be far, far less doing it that way" is going to get their project financed at a high level.  Just not going to happen.  Unless, as I state in the OP, somebody finds a compelling argument for how the road to the highest profit actually requires rejecting microtransactions/cash shops.

    Originally posted by Ramonski7

    For me the two revenue models are symbolic of two types of core mindsets. One being a developers' mindset focus on enticing players to stay and the other a corporate mindset enticing players to spend. A majority of developers use to work toward retaining players for their mmorpg in the hopes of getting enough subs (players) to satisfy the suits and their desire for more revenue. It goes without saying, happy suits leave devs free to think of more creative ways to develop content for gamers to enjoy. But more and more it seems that developers are being trained (brainwashed) instead to appeal to a gamer's wallet rather than his/her heart. Basically we are no longer trying to get you to stay, but to spend a.k.a. the corporate mindset. 

    And it really doesn't help that the suits have the most deceptively powerful term, F2P, at their disposal. They use this to get players to contradict themselves. It's all cosmetics....oh but you want better graphics? In the mean time those are cosmetic too.

    In order to succeed, they need to have both mindsets.  If they don't entice players to spend, they will get fired and replaced by someone who does.  If they don't entice players to stay, there won't be anyone around to do the spending.  And the developers aren't being "brainwashed," they are simply doing what they have to do to keep their jobs, which means maximizing profits to keep the suits happy.

     

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

  • GrayGhost79GrayGhost79 Webster, MAPosts: 4,775Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by CazNeerg

    Yesterday's announcement of the palomino horse offering in ESO has stirred up anti-microtransaction sentiments again, but just like every other time, all of the focus seems to be on why players shouldn't like it.  But if we're being practical, it's not players who decide revenue models, it's companies.  If people ever want to see something different, the relevant topic is why companies should want to not offer microtransactions in a subscription based game.  

    Because let's face it, decisions ultimately aren't made by players or by the game's actual developers, they are made by the business people who control the developer's purse strings. In order to get gaming companies not to move in the direction of subscription + microtransaction instead of subscription only, somebody is going to have to come up with compelling arguments for how refusing to offer microtransactions will result in higher profits.  If nobody can come up with such arguments, companies have not only the "right" but the fiscal duty to offer microtransactions.

    Microtransactions reduce the amount of revenue you will see in an  MMO. 

    Look back at games like UO, FFXI, and others that are long running. It took time to obtain items and to reach various milestones. Later on after subscriptions declined they began offering items to purchase to generate additional revenue. 

    When you take a new game and start offering items for purchase it usually negates the time needed to obtain a similar or the same item in game. Experience increases, armor, weapons, and mounts gained outside of gameplay negates the need to obtain these items in game and speeds a player towards end game and thus ending their desire to subscribe until new content is released. They may or may not return at that point. 

    I don't completely admonish cash shops, but there is a time and place for them and at launch is not the it. 

    The longer it takes to get things in a game, the longer people play. When they run out of things to obtain (Items, skills, abilities, levels, housing, deco, etc.) they leave. When you devalue these items by making it available on a shop you also diminish the desire to obtain items in game. 

    Probably not very coherent considering I'm not completely sober at the moment and it is around 1am-ish, but hopefully you get the jist of what I'm saying. 

    The old MMO's in which is took time to obtain things were able to keep decent subscriber numbers for quite some time. Newer MMO's that launch with these cash shop offerings seem to go free to play fairly quickly. Maybe there isn't a correlation and I'm way off base, but I do know I personally felt a lot of pride and gladly paid each and every month in games where it took time to get things done and to obtain items( UO over 10 years, FFXI over 5 years), I typically fizzle out on these new MMO's after about 3 months. 

    3 Months at 14.99 a pop + maybe 50 to 60 bucks on the cash shop 

    vs. 

    10+ years at 9.99 a month and 5 years at 12.99 + my mules bringing it to 14.99 a month. 

     

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,916Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by AzurePrower
    Originally posted by Superman0X

    Technically speaking, I am not sure that they are actually doing microtransactions. If you pay X for an item, that is just a direct sale. It does not matter if the purchase is in game, online, or in a store.

     

    For this to be a microtransaction, there needs to be two transactions. One for the exchange of money, the second for the exchange of goods. The reason that many games use virtual currency, is because they only pay the fee for the transaction once, and then can sell multiple items.

    P.S. Why all the F2P bashing... on a P2P Game.

     

    ...Do you even know what a microtransaction is?

    Why yes, yes I do. I am actually much more familiar than most. A microtransacion is small (secondary) transaction, which is used as part of a larger (primary) transaction. When you buy a virtual currency, you are doing the primary transaction. When you spend it, you are doing the secondary (micro) transaction.

     

    The original concept was that these secondary transactions could be very small, even less than a cent. The reason why two transactions were needed, is that the processing fee for such a small transaction would be more than the actual transaction.

  • GrayGhost79GrayGhost79 Webster, MAPosts: 4,775Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Superman0X
    Originally posted by AzurePrower
    Originally posted by Superman0X

    Technically speaking, I am not sure that they are actually doing microtransactions. If you pay X for an item, that is just a direct sale. It does not matter if the purchase is in game, online, or in a store.

     

    For this to be a microtransaction, there needs to be two transactions. One for the exchange of money, the second for the exchange of goods. The reason that many games use virtual currency, is because they only pay the fee for the transaction once, and then can sell multiple items.

    P.S. Why all the F2P bashing... on a P2P Game.

     

    ...Do you even know what a microtransaction is?

    Why yes, yes I do. I am actually much more familiar than most. A microtransacion is small (secondary) transaction, which is used as part of a larger (primary) transaction. When you buy a virtual currency, you are doing the primary transaction. When you spend it, you are doing the secondary (micro) transaction.

     

    The original concept was that these secondary transactions could be very small, even less than a cent. The reason why two transactions were needed, is that the processing fee for such a small transaction would be more than the actual transaction.

    Most consider a microtransaction to be a financial transaction involving a very small sum of money and usually one that occurs online. 

    Micro - extremely small.

     

  • CazNeergCazNeerg Puyallup, WAPosts: 2,198Member
    Originally posted by GrayGhost79

    Microtransactions reduce the amount of revenue you will see in an  MMO. 

    Look back at games like UO, FFXI, and others that are long running. It took time to obtain items and to reach various milestones. Later on after subscriptions declined they began offering items to purchase to generate additional revenue. 

    When you take a new game and start offering items for purchase it usually negates the time needed to obtain a similar or the same item in game. Experience increases, armor, weapons, and mounts gained outside of gameplay negates the need to obtain these items in game and speeds a player towards end game and thus ending their desire to subscribe until new content is released. They may or may not return at that point. 

    I don't completely admonish cash shops, but there is a time and place for them and at launch is not the it. 

    The longer it takes to get things in a game, the longer people play. When they run out of things to obtain (Items, skills, abilities, levels, housing, deco, etc.) they leave. When you devalue these items by making it available on a shop you also diminish the desire to obtain items in game. 

    Probably not very coherent considering I'm not completely sober at the moment and it is around 1am-ish, but hopefully you get the jist of what I'm saying. 

    The old MMO's in which is took time to obtain things were able to keep decent subscriber numbers for quite some time. Newer MMO's that launch with these cash shop offerings seem to go free to play fairly quickly. Maybe there isn't a correlation and I'm way off base, but I do know I personally felt a lot of pride and gladly paid each and every month in games where it took time to get things done and to obtain items( UO over 10 years, FFXI over 5 years), I typically fizzle out on these new MMO's after about 3 months. 

    3 Months at 14.99 a pop + maybe 50 to 60 bucks on the cash shop 

    vs. 

    10+ years at 9.99 a month and 5 years at 12.99 + my mules bringing it to 14.99 a month. 

    In 2004 this would have been a compelling argument.  When there were very few games to play, and all of them required a sub, people weren't nearly as likely to game hop, because doing so would mean paying the same amount of money for a less developed character roster and starting over at building social connections.  But fast forward to 2014, and the barriers to entry are so low in most games that people will shop around, and if they see more value in game B than game A, they will probably switch.  As a purely practical matter, games which offer cash shops offer more value than games which don't.  It may not be value that every customer cares about, but it is still value, and this is a numbers game.  Look at TOR; they made more money just on their cash shop in 2013 that any game other than WoW made from subscriptions.  They have to design revenue models for the way people actually behave in these games now, not for the way the (much smaller) audience behaved ten years ago.  And who knows, even back then the games might have made more money with sub + cash shop, nobody tried so the question is academic.

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

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