Word got out this week that Blizzard has partnered with PayPal in order to handle all the Diablo III real world money transactions for the upcoming Action RPG. Monetization of games isn’t something new, heck people have been making a living on selling shoes in Second Life. And there’s Entropia, that MMO barely anyone has heard of that uses real money as their currency.
The way I see it, this is a sign that Blizzard is preparing the way for their own version of Entropia Universe. If not, why start a lasting relationship with the biggest name in online money transactions. There are plenty of services that won’t cost half as much that would service the back end of a monetization system just fine. It seems to me that this won’t be the last Blizzard title to use real money in some way, shape and form, and they are laying the groundwork now by partnering with the biggest guy on the monetization block.
I have my own opinion on what real money would do to a game, but I would rather hear from you. What do you think about Blizzard’s decision to use real money in a virtual environment? Is this the end of the world as we know it, or merely the first step toward Skynet?
I personally don't care so long as it doesn't affect too much of the core gameplay, especially if there is a monthly fee. You shouldn't be able to buy additional stats or better gear for real money from the company that runs the game. I would mind If I spent hours farming or hunting down an extremely legendary weapon with unmatched stats to only have someone else just buy it (I'm going to exclude the fact that RMTs exist for now...).
Anyways, I never mind people paying for visual changes to their character or gear. Which is the common way of donating to f2p games nowadays. You give a "donation" and in-turn you get a visual skin much like in LoL. I don't care if Blizzard uses real money in their gaming world... most of the money is virtual nowadays and if all people have to do is play their favorite Blizzard game, then why not let them spend more money on it if they choose?
Depends on how it's used. F2P MMOs use it all the time in order to generate a profit, while still keeping their titles accessible for those with lighter wallets. Most cases the selection of items they offer for purchase are far from the "pay-to-win" stigma that they generally carry. It's more like giving yourself a little something extra in exchange for a couple bucks.
Blizzard's mentality going into this I think is "People are going to be stupid and do this stuff anyway, so we might as well get something out of it." There probably will still be a "black market" for D3 items, if only to avoid the tax, but for the most part, having a more trustworthy source rather than hoping that some random jerk in China won't decide to hack into your account and steal everything you got seems like a better alternative.
Still not really sure if it's possible to make actual money off of this and use it for more than just Blizzard products, but it'll definitely be interesting to see how this little experiement goes.
I'm weary. For the past few years, spending real money in games is simply buying time. Spend X amount of hours farming these various items to make an awesomer item, or give us three bucks and get it immediately.
On the one hand, the option is alluring. If I care that much about the game, but I can't play it all day because I'm not fourteen anymore, then I have the option of decking myself out in as good of gear as the moneyless, time-filled geek. (Well, maybe not that moneyless after spending months on end collecting epic gear to sell.)
On the other hand, rich people suck. A lot of video games turn into, well, real life. There's culture and social structures and systems put in place, and to think that people will be able to get ahead in that environment not by the amount of work they put in, but with money? That happens all the time in our real world. Giving that option in our fake worlds may devalue them.
TL:DR, I have no freaking idea. And I can't wait to see the results.
I'm not entirely sure how much the Diablo 3 Real World Auction House will see my participation - not because I'm for or against micro transactions, but because I'm an Altoholic and any good items that drop will most likely get shuffled to another character. ^_^