Sunday, February 21, 2010

Random Shots: As If You Hadn't Read Enough About Cash Shops

  • I apologize in advance for any rambling that's going on here. After Wednesday's pricing post and Friday's Allods Online news, I have a lot of thoughts going through my head. I'm hoping for coherency, but I'll settle for people just making it to the end without getting a headache.

  • After the announcement of the twenty dollar bag, I logged into the game to check on a hunch I had. Sure enough, I have a level 7 quest called Almost For Free, the reward for which is a twenty-four slot bag. So gPotato wasn't kidding, you really can get cash shop items just by playing the game. I ran out the the adventuring area to try it out. I have yet to find a single quest item drop. Reading the horrible zone chat, people estimated that it took six hours of slaying quest mobs to get enough drops to finish the quest. That's when their logic set in. When staring down that awful of a grind, twenty dollars to save yourself six hours sounds like a balanced alternative. (For more coverage about Allods, make sure you're reading Keen's posts on the whole mess.)

  • In the shower that night (because that's where I do all my best thinking), I came to an epiphany. Game companies aren't trying to price their products fairly. Their afraid that if they aim for the right price and hit to low, the community will balk at any attempt to raise those prices later. (Same thing with subscription fee. Just ask Mythic.) They would rather aim high, see if enough people bite, then lower the price if they do not. And I get that. From a business perspective, I really do understand.

  • The problem with all this is that, when I like a game, I want to give the people making it money. I want to support them. That's why I dropped two hundred dollars on a lifetime subscription to Champions Online. That's why I buy printed editions of my favorite webcomics, even though their still available free online. My money is a vote of confidence in the creators that they will continue to do good work.

  • But what I'm spending my money on has to make sense. Thus, the value proposition. If game companies don't treat me fairly, I don't want to support them at all. Even if the product if free otherwise, playing the game feels like supporting them with my continued presence.

  • What I'm trying to say is there are two factors in the equation. On one hand, I'm going to evaluate games as price-conscious customer. But on the other hand, I am also a fan. I want to be excited about the game and I want to contribute to its success. Accurate pricing would let me do both.

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. Completely agree with you. I've bought printed versions of web comics, bought music straight from musical artists I found on Youtube, and I've spent money in the Champions C-store as well as ponying up for a lifetime sub. There's nothing wrong with patronage for content creators whose work you enjoy, but when the business aspect takes over then the rules on what I'm willing to spend do to. Atari learned that recently, apparently gPotato is next up.

  2. Let me add my voice to Kae's, I totally agree. Hell, I once bought and mailed some hardware to a guy because I enjoyed grouping with him in a game in which decent players were sparse.

    I am really really digging Allods Online (if my most recent post didn't make that clear). I would be more than happy to spend some cash if gPotato would list something I wanted at a sane price.

  3. @ Blue Kae - Their most recent statement says that they'll be evaluating prices, but that they won't do it quickly. The chances of them moving fast enough, but not desperately so are vanishingly small.

    @ Yeebo - If anything, it'll be interesting to see what they really do with prices. If they come down a little, but not significantly, is that a sign that they're making money even with silly prices? We shall see.