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General: Who Says Microtransactions are Popular?

StraddenStradden Managing EditorMember CommonPosts: 6,696

Are you one of the many of us who is wondering why the microtransactions model is becoming more and more appealing to MMO development companies here in the West? If so, TenTonHammer this morning highlighted an interesting survey from Playspan and Magid Associates that suggests that 46% of virtual world visitors (MMO players) bought virtual goods in the last year.

So, where are people buying from?

Where consumers are buying from:

  1. Marketplace of the virtual world or game that a user is playing in (29%)
  2. The official Web site of the virtual world or game (29%)
  3. A web site of an authorized reseller of the virtual items (25%)
  4. A web site of an unauthorized reseller of the virtual items (8%)
  5. Another player (7%)
  6. Other (5%)
  7. Not sure (27%)

Read the report, here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • niceguy3978niceguy3978 Member UncommonPosts: 2,020

    Wow, with the headline I was expecting to see polling confirm what many people on this sight repeat over and over, which is that its only a small minority who are in support of MT.  Instead I see the 46 percent number, while not a majority, still much higher than I thought it would be.  Many of the more vocal posters around here seem to be VERY ant MT or RMT and it will be interesting to see what comes of the looming discussion.  My prediction is that the data collection methods and/or the usefullness of polling data in general will be called into question.  

  • ThomasN7ThomasN7 87.18.7.148Member CommonPosts: 6,690

    It seems more people are accepting RMT because when ypu pay the monthly subscription fee it feels like you have to play a ton of hours to justify the cost. Where as RMT,  you can play anytime you want with no fee and just buy when you want to. I'm not sold on the RMT model 100% but in some ways it makes sense for gamers.

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  • EricDanieEricDanie Member UncommonPosts: 2,238

     Heh, it seems it's not that "optional" if 46% of the people purchase it, probably because of the exploiting of your addiction that are MTs. Average of $30, that's twice a monthly fee. I am part of this statistic, spent over $100 in virtual goods in the last 12 months and trust me, the fun you get out of it is much shorter-term than you could get from a monthly fee MMO, especially after you stop playing it or decide not to spend at the same rate as before, paying for virtual goods in a virtual world is the best scam for MMO gamers.

    What isn't very nice though is if games head even more this way, aiming to exploit much more than they do currently, trying to push the average to $50 or more like mentioned, and it all depends on what MTs offer you and how strongly the game "binds your will".

    Good luck for those that want to play these MT-focused games though, I prefer my $15 fee for an AAA title anyday, and that's because I've experienced both perspectives.

  • dhayes68dhayes68 Member UncommonPosts: 1,388

    Use doesn't necessarily equate with happiness. Its perfectly conceivable (you know how people are) that someone doesn't like RMT gets caught up in a game, especially with a free client, and at some point finds something they really want and its only a couple of bucks, so they give in and get it.  That doesn't mean they like it.

  • SamuraiswordSamuraisword Member Posts: 2,111

    If 46% have bought and thus supported, then 54%, the majority, have not, and by contrast do not support RMT.

    As long as 54% of the MMOGs on the market don't offer any form of RMT, I could care less about the rest.

    I will never, ever, play a game that offers or sanctions any form of RMT.

    image

  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 29,210
    Originally posted by dhayes68


    Use doesn't necessarily equate with happiness. Its perfectly conceivable (you know how people are) that someone doesn't like RMT gets caught up in a game, especially with a free client, and at some point finds something they really want and its only a couple of bucks, so they give in and get it.  That doesn't mean they like it.



     

    But it doesn't mean they don't like it.

    People have been buying virtual goods since everquest (and even before?). Regardless of whether a game incorporates it, there will be a second party who will see a market and will sell to those who want an advantage or want to close the gap or just want to make their play time easier.

    I remember speaking to a person in a game who said they spent an extra $7.00 USD (this was a few years ago) in order to take the edge off of having to make money in game.

    To them it was the difference between enjoying the game or having ot spend time doing something they didn't want to do. I know some will argue that she should have just not played the game but the argument is moot. She DID do this, found value in it, and that was that.

    So even if a game company does not include rmt, there will be people who take advantage of it. Thus, game companies are hearing that players don't want it but they have to spend an inordinate amount of resources fighting players and secondary businesses that buy/bring it to their games.

    Seems that that is a mixed message. I can easily see it being difficult for a game company who hears that players don't want it but then they spend all their time trying to remove it. At some point they are going to look at each other and say "wait a minute, someone is pulling a fast one over on us".

    and rmt runs the gamut of buying server transfers, name changes, to fluff items, to buying gold, power leveling, acctual accounts.

    Therefore the demographic who would purchase things for their games is quite broad and varied.

    With more and more game companies adding it, more and more game companies will see that the sky hasn't fallen and they too will add it.

    I can easily it being in most games in a few years.

    Remember, cable tv, when it first came out, touted that there were no commercials and that you would just pay for the service and watch what you wanted.

    Well, as anyone can tell you there are commercials now.

  • gatherisgatheris Member UncommonPosts: 1,016

    hmmm - a couple of posters and seemingly pushers of the rmt idea are rejoicing at these numbers

    i don't see anything to indicate that what is being shown here is related to the gripes about rmt on this site which are rmt + subscription + box purchase

    that is where the problem lies - - -  i have nothing against rmt as long as i get a free download and free play - - -  otherwise i won't be playing

    once again for those that are too stupid to get it - - -  i have already paid for your fluff+ with that subscription i paid

     

    image

  • toordtoord Member Posts: 139
    Originally posted by SaintViktor


    It seems more people are accepting RMT because when ypu pay the monthly subscription fee it feels like you have to play a ton of hours to justify the cost. Where as RMT,  you can play anytime you want with no fee and just buy when you want to. I'm not sold on the RMT model 100% but in some ways it makes sense for gamers.

     

    I agree with you in that when you pay a sub you feel "pressured" to play more to make your money worth. However, RMTs and MTs in general are there not for that convenience, but to make you spend more, not less. If they would change the model to a pay-as-you-go subscription to, say, a dollar a day I'd be all for the MT model. However, when you can buy your way to the top, or when you get nickel-and-dimed to do anything it damages the game, and IMO, ruins the fun of it.

  • weblinkz2002weblinkz2002 Member Posts: 112

    Honestly, everyone is already used to Micro-transactions. Anyone who has ever played a TCG (trading card game) or bought a cellphone then wanted to add unlimited data/unlimited txts (yes you pay a monthly fee, but those additions are extra costs) these are all based off of microtransactions, even though the fee you incur recharges monthly, if you want addons you have to pay additional fees.

    World of Warcraft, amongst other games, are buy the box, then pay a set fee. But they also added server transfers/renames, etc. Those are actually a portion of microtransactions. City of Heroes offers a shop where you can by additional stuff for your characters and character slots, they just heavily market the fact its a P2P (pay to play) then they get you are paying for additional content.

    What the real reason is why most of the players in the western markets are not happy with Microtransactions (and I am not talking about buying in-game currency, but actually buying from an item shop) is that most F2P (free to play) games have been developed for asian markets, specifically China and Korea, and the differences in cultures cause for difference in game styles. And for the dilution of Free to play games from Asia in America, most games have been published improperly. This includes, but not limited to, lack of suitable content, inproper translations, poor customer support, etc. If more free to play games were of higher quality and better fitting to the western markets, then the MT payment method for a game would not be so heavily distasteful to us.

    I guarantee that if WoW had started off as F2P then most would not be as heavily against MTs.

    Edit: Another reason why players hate the idea of MTs is most games sell items to allow players to have a too large of an edge on players who don't pay money. If more companies balanced out the items and place more items that allow players to customize from others, then the idea of an item shop would be less crude.

    ~Webby "This MMO needs more dead bird."
    image

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,233
    Originally posted by gatheris


    hmmm - a couple of posters and seemingly pushers of the rmt idea are rejoicing at these numbers 

     

    I don't think it's rejoicing, as this is something they've known for years - it's old news to most, but a revelation to a lot of the posters here for some reason.

     

     

    -- Whammy - a 64x64 miniRPG - - RPG Quiz - can you get all 25 right? --
  • gatherisgatheris Member UncommonPosts: 1,016
    Originally posted by LynxJSA

    Originally posted by gatheris


    hmmm - a couple of posters and seemingly pushers of the rmt idea are rejoicing at these numbers 

     

    I don't think it's rejoicing, as this is something they've known for years - it's old news to most, but a revelation to a lot of the posters here for some reason.

     

     



     

    selective much

    anywho - - - not a revelation or nothing new at all just griping about both paying a sub and then paying for content - - - some are happy with that some aren't

    aren't = me

    maybe a few others

     

    image

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,233
    Originally posted by gatheris

    Originally posted by LynxJSA

    Originally posted by gatheris


    hmmm - a couple of posters and seemingly pushers of the rmt idea are rejoicing at these numbers 

     

    I don't think it's rejoicing, as this is something they've known for years - it's old news to most, but a revelation to a lot of the posters here for some reason.

     

     



     

    selective much

    anywho - - - not a revelation or nothing new at all just griping about both paying a sub and then paying for content - - - some are happy with that some aren't

    aren't = me

    maybe a few others

     

     

    I didn't mean to insinuate you were one of the ones that would be surprised by these numbers. My apologies for the confusion there.

    -- Whammy - a 64x64 miniRPG - - RPG Quiz - can you get all 25 right? --
  • ghstwolfghstwolf Member Posts: 386

    I question 61% year on year growth for 6 years (and yes it breaks down to that).  $1B to $17.3B in 6 years is the sort of BS projection that makes it nearly impossible to take any other part of their "survey" seriously.  Playspan and Magid are advocates of this revenue stream.  For Playspan it is what they do, for Magid growth in this segment would be a huge boon.  What's sad is few people look at who is behind what is being said, "some expert said it so it must be true" is way too common as a way of thinking today.

    The worst part is, people are such sheep it very well could happen.  The idiots with the money (the financiers) will read this report, insist on getting in early and few if any Subscription games will be made.  In the end gaming is pretty much like smoking: we all know it isn't good for us, it costs money and is only a bit more socially acceptable, but it is also a habit that borders on addiction for most.  "I won't play" is all too similar to smokers who'll stop if the price goes up (again), and it's not that either group doesn't mean it when they say it, but really the number who actually follow through is pretty small.

  • DrakkhenDrakkhen Member Posts: 195

    People have been buying virtual goods since everquest (and even before?).

    Actually I first noticed the sale of virtual goods not long after the launch of Ultima Online. It seems it was mainly driven by the in game housing at first, since house spots filled up fast, and it became impossible to place things like Towers, Keeps and Castles. Then it expanded into crafting resources (took forever to get enough resources to GM on, especially blacksmith), rares (even the dailies sold), and finally gold* and accounts.

     

    *The demand for gold wasn't high initially as it was easier to get than say a house or a thousand iron ingots.

  • ThomasN7ThomasN7 87.18.7.148Member CommonPosts: 6,690
    Originally posted by Samuraisword


    If 46% have bought and thus supported, then 54%, the majority, have not, and by contrast do not support RMT.
    As long as 54% of the MMOGs on the market don't offer any form of RMT, I could care less about the rest.
    I will never, ever, play a game that offers or sanctions any form of RMT.



     

    It is only an 8% difference which isn't alot. Not everyone is going to like RMT but people seem to be willing to give it a try and it seems so far they have been successful.

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  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,233
    Originally posted by ghstwolf

     The idiots with the money (the financiers) will read this report, insist on getting in early...

     

    But that's just it. The popularity of microtransactions seems to be new to the people on this forum, but it has been a profitable and growing business model for years. "Getting in early" happened in 2005.

    -- Whammy - a 64x64 miniRPG - - RPG Quiz - can you get all 25 right? --
  • green13green13 Member UncommonPosts: 1,341

    If anyone finds this 46% number to be curiously high...

    One of the first things any student of a research based discipline is taught to do when examining data is to ask, "who is conducting this research?" because if the researcher has any kind of incentive to find particular results, there are plenty of ways they can ensure they get them.

    Who conducted this "research"?

    Frank N. Magid Associates, and PlaySpan, the leader in monetization solutions for online games, virtual worlds, and social networks

    And did anyone in particular pay them to conduct it?

    These numbers don't gel with statistics reported by free-to-play mmo operators, who indicate that only a small percentage of players - under 10% - will ever spend money on their game.

    It's interesting that it should appear on the Ten Ton Hammer site - who seem to be very chummy with the Cryptic folk and who currently have CO advertising splashed all over their site.

    This "research" has all of the hallmarks of a marketing stunt.

     

  • spyderbitespyderbite Member Posts: 28

    This month alone, the GF and I have spent about $190 on the Market Place in EQ2.. and over $100 in FreeRealms. Outfits, vitality potions, etc.

    Not pushing it or anything.. but if its there and its something you want.. and you have the cash.. what's the harm? If you don't have the money, then you are still able to play the game as it was originally intended. Its the people who want the same stuff for free or as part of their $15/month that are anti-Microtransaction.

    However, the reality of it is that your $15/month doesn't go as far as it used to go in a better economy as far as development costs go. So, companies must look at new and innovative revenue models. Revenue that pays for itself. And, the hard fact is that Microtransactions do just that.

    image

  • spankybusspankybus Member UncommonPosts: 1,367

    Man, think how many gold farmers you see in games, if a ton of people weren't buying there product, they wouldn't be there. That alone tells me that people are willing to fork over cash for virtual items.

     

    For a company to say its a popular practice, doesn't really surprise me at all.

     

    Now, if your character had a flag placed over their head, marking them as such a person, i expect the practice would become a lot less popular lol

    Frank 'Spankybus' Mignone
    www.spankybus.com
    -3d Artist & Compositor
    -Writer
    -Professional Amature

  • AbrahmmAbrahmm Member Posts: 2,448
    Originally posted by green13


    If anyone finds this 46% number to be curiously high...
    One of the first things any student of a research based discipline is taught to do when examining data is to ask, "who is conducting this research?" because if the researcher has any kind of incentive to find particular results, there are plenty of ways they can ensure they get them.
    Who conducted this "research"?
    Frank N. Magid Associates, and PlaySpan, the leader in monetization solutions for online games, virtual worlds, and social networks
    And did anyone in particular pay them to conduct it?
    These numbers don't gel with statistics reported by free-to-play mmo operators, who indicate that only a small percentage of players - under 10% - will ever spend money on their game.
    It's interesting that it should appear on the Ten Ton Hammer site - who seem to be very chummy with the Cryptic folk and who currently have CO advertising splashed all over their site.
    This "research" has all of the hallmarks of a marketing stunt.
     

    Great point. It is a little convenient.

    I think the number is pretty high, but I'm not surprised that people do it. I've never had a problem with free to play + RMT as the developers need to make money, I just won't play those games. The problem I have is with RMT + subscription, as that is nothing but developer greed and a scam. Anyone that supports that model is a certifiable idiot.

    Tried: LotR, CoH, AoC, WAR, Jumpgate Classic
    Played: SWG, Guild Wars, WoW
    Playing: Eve Online, Counter-strike
    Loved: Star Wars Galaxies
    Waiting for: Earthrise, Guild Wars 2, anything sandbox.

  • RussariaRussaria Member Posts: 42

    Well, even though i hate to admit it, and consider the f2p model quite the scam, it is a scam that works. I admit to having spent at least 100 in the last year since I began playing Atlantica for gambling boxes to get some of the asthetic items. I've spent less but still other little micro payments on other little mmo games. I often refer to it as sort of the "Dealer/addict" relationship...and it's hard to resist, i think the companies take advantage of that. But, how can you complain when you do it yourself..lol Who's more to blame, the dealer or the addict? Especially in this economy, and yet...I sure do love my new Mars Rider Mount...LOL

  • thexratedthexrated Member UncommonPosts: 1,368
    Originally posted by green13


    If anyone finds this 46% number to be curiously high...
    One of the first things any student of a research based discipline is taught to do when examining data is to ask, "who is conducting this research?" because if the researcher has any kind of incentive to find particular results, there are plenty of ways they can ensure they get them.
    Who conducted this "research"?
    Frank N. Magid Associates, and PlaySpan, the leader in monetization solutions for online games, virtual worlds, and social networks
    And did anyone in particular pay them to conduct it?
    These numbers don't gel with statistics reported by free-to-play mmo operators, who indicate that only a small percentage of players - under 10% - will ever spend money on their game.
    It's interesting that it should appear on the Ten Ton Hammer site - who seem to be very chummy with the Cryptic folk and who currently have CO advertising splashed all over their site.
    This "research" has all of the hallmarks of a marketing stunt.
     

     

    Well, these statistics do corrolate somewhat with more independent studies as well. The below just focuses on gold buying.

    How many MMO players purchase virtual currency? And how much real money do they usually spend on virtual currency?

    In a recent survey (N = 1923), 22% of respondents said that they had purchased virtual currency (referred to here in shorthand as RMT - real money transfer). There was a mild correlation with age (r = .11) and no gender differences. In other words, male and female players were equally likely to purchase virtual currency. A multiple regression revealed that none of the motivations were substantial predictors of RMT likelihood (r-squared = .04) - although within the weak model, the Relationship motivation was the best predictor.

     

     

    Source: The Daedauls Project: Buying Gold, 2005

    http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/001469.php

    "The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in."

  • toordtoord Member Posts: 139
    Originally posted by spankybus


    Man, think how many gold farmers you see in games, if a ton of people weren't buying there product, they wouldn't be there. That alone tells me that people are willing to fork over cash for virtual items.

     

    THIS! It pisses me off so much people spending real $$$ for virtual items. I can assure that 46% of players is pale in comparison to the number of players who use plat/item farmers. I've seen people broke one day and forking millions of plat the next -- I've asked them and they always give me a BS excuse, 'cause they know they can get banned if they get caught. Then these same ... errrr. people go and start whining and bitching of all gold seller spam in general chat all over the place. Why are they so many? Easy because people use them and use them a lot! If not, there would be zero incentive for a gold farmer to stay in business.

  • green13green13 Member UncommonPosts: 1,341
    Originally posted by thexrated

    Originally posted by green13


    If anyone finds this 46% number to be curiously high...
    One of the first things any student of a research based discipline is taught to do when examining data is to ask, "who is conducting this research?" because if the researcher has any kind of incentive to find particular results, there are plenty of ways they can ensure they get them.
    Who conducted this "research"?
    Frank N. Magid Associates, and PlaySpan, the leader in monetization solutions for online games, virtual worlds, and social networks
    And did anyone in particular pay them to conduct it?
    These numbers don't gel with statistics reported by free-to-play mmo operators, who indicate that only a small percentage of players - under 10% - will ever spend money on their game.
    It's interesting that it should appear on the Ten Ton Hammer site - who seem to be very chummy with the Cryptic folk and who currently have CO advertising splashed all over their site.
    This "research" has all of the hallmarks of a marketing stunt.

    Well, these statistics do corrolate somewhat with more independent studies as well. The below just focuses on gold buying.

    Source: The Daedauls Project: Buying Gold, 2005

    http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/001469.php

    This study you've pointed us to does exactly the opposite of corroborate Playscan's results.

    22% is nowhere near the 46% being reported by Playscan.

    The Daedalus results do, however, line up with the results of this poll started by a Champions Online forum member, where you can see that 29% respond that they might be willing to spend money on MTs.

    http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/442766

     

     

     

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,233


    Originally posted by green13



    Who conducted this "research"?
    Frank N. Magid Associates, and PlaySpan, the leader in monetization solutions for online games, virtual worlds, and social networks
    And did anyone in particular pay them to conduct it?
     
    PlaySpan ordered the study from Magid. Magid did the study. You're saying Magid is now involved in gold selling? Or are you really trying to convince people that it's suspicious that the the seller of a certain product would pay an independent researcher to do a study on their product's market and buyers?


    Are you trying to spin that PlaySpan had a hand in the study and guided the results? That Magid is a fraud and not a legitimate research firm?
     
    These numbers don't gel with statistics reported by free-to-play mmo operators, who indicate that only a small percentage of players - under 10% - will ever spend money on their game.
     
    "...but only about 10% of his player base has ever paid him anything." - the article you linked


    "Did You Know 12% of Americans Spent An Average of $30 Last Year on Virtual Goods?" - subheader of the discussed report


    Those conclusions seem to be pretty similar to me. That you even went on to say "under 10%" further proves the only one trying to pull the wool over the eyes of anyone here is you.
     
    It's interesting that it should appear on the Ten Ton Hammer site - who seem to be very chummy with the Cryptic folk and who currently have CO advertising splashed all over their site.
    This "research" has all of the hallmarks of a marketing stunt.
    Because they have an ad from a game that has microtransactions it means they have an agenda? Can you direct me to an MMO portal site that doesn't have ads from companies that have microtransactions? Are all these sites in bed with PlaySpan?  That's one mighty big bed, greenie!
     

     

    Some serious tinfoilhattery going on.

    -- Whammy - a 64x64 miniRPG - - RPG Quiz - can you get all 25 right? --
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