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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Business Of Buying Virtual Gold

Dennis McCauley of the Philly Inquirer talks about spending $60 for 500 gold in Azeroth:

Getting my gold was a snap. The smallest quantity for sale by IGE was 500 pieces for $60, about twice what I wanted to spend. I decided to go for it, however, as I simply could not abide the prospect of skinning even one more level-10 boar. Within 20 minutes, the gold appeared in my WoW character's mailbox.

I should explain that 500 pieces of gold buys quite a lot of WoW bling. Instantly, I felt as though I had hit the Powerball jackpot. As fast as my gnome character's stubby little legs would carry me, I dashed over to the in-game auction house in Ironforge, one of WoW's large cities. There I used my newfound wealth to buy the best gear I could find. Nicely equipped, I started focusing on completing quests and "leveling up." I abandoned those tedious mining and skinning tasks. Like any self-respecting lottery winner, I had essentially quit my job and grabbed for life's gusto.
-- Time-savers or spoilsports?

I personally, especially as a Guild Wars fan, find the money people are willing to spend on MMO's astounding. Another $60 ... that's another high quality game. A completely different game, rather than new gear. Not to mention the monthly fee. The means a perfectly rational person is willing to put down $50 for the install, another $10 or so month for the ability to connect and the occasional $60 to avoid level grinding.

While the purists might rant and rave about how ignoble it is to "cheat" the system this way, I don't see how this isn't going to simply become the system. Sony and Blizzard will be looking at these companies making profit off their players for only so long before they decide to just internalize the action.

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svzurich said...

It already is going internal. Everquest 2 has "Station Exchange" servers set up by Sony to sanction and guarantee ingame transfers and real world payments. Sony takes a cut of each transaction. I expect this to expand.

Josh said...

I would completely agree ... I think Sony will mover more to a Station Exchange style system for the mainstay of the revenue and more companies will adopt a Second Life virtual economy to either augment or replace a subscription setup.