There is much chatter at the moment regarding Real Money Transactions (RMT) AKA microtransactions, this is largely due to hints that Bioware could made SWTOR will be driven solely by RMTs and with no subscriptions. Additionally in the last week other have announced RMTs for other games, SOE has released the Station cash that can used with EQ1 and EQ2, and Blizzard have introduced character remodelling service.
Recently the Shut up we’re talking, Spouse Aggro and Van Hemlock podcasts (via Virginworlds) have all taken time out this week to discuss the topic of RMTs. This lead me into think about the current climate of RMTs and the future potential for the MMO game-space.
I’m told that Eastern MMO games are more frequently Micro-transaction based than Subscription being a complete opposite to the current Western gamer model. Of course it’s not completely new method to generate extra incoming from a game, many have allowed users to buy items like server transfers for many years.
A non-subscription game that has excelled in this area is Guild Wars, allowing for various purchasing options from extra character slots to PvP Skills packs. This appears to be a rather proviductive method to generate income, outside of the Game sales.
Closer to my gaming heart is the recent NCSoft released add-on packs for City of Heroes/Villains, delivering new costume parts and emotes, In addition to allowing the in-game purchase of extra slot options, rename tokens and server transfers.
So how good is the new black?
I’m a fan of RMTs, providing they are balanced, they can generate increased/renewed interest in a game title, plus the other benefit is they give extra revenue to the games owners. Now whether that cash is then injected back into the games development, is down to the company, but either way it’s good tidings for that game in general.
I think that in the current climate of financial uncertainty, any game that is advertised as non-subscription with micro-transactions is certain to gain favour of the masses.
As the changing face of the Western MMO market morphs into a thick-skinned old man, we’ll see that main established games will ramp up their focus on RMTs content to ensure that players gaming experiences are kept fresh.
So i think that providing that it isn’t at the expense of main content development I’m very happy to pay a little extra, to see a game I like, succeed.