October 23, 2009

Reaction: How NOT to do Microtransactions

Cuppy posted a "how NOT to do Microtransactions" post and I felt my response was worth re-posting here:
I agree with a lot of what you said. However, I think you are taking micro too literally. A $20 (or even $50) transaction is MICRO in comparison of the whole revenue stream for a single game. That is where the term originated (not because the transactions were ever small couple'o'buckers).

Yes, there needs to be enough $1-$2 purchases, but if that is ALL you ever stick with, you are losing out on a TON of people willing to spend more. Raph made this point not too long ago and I agree 100% with what he said then (I just can't find the link).

My number one complaint with microtransaction games is that some are just god damn confusing. RoM, outside of a mount, was tiring to figure out and prevented me from ever spending money (I was always holding off thinking I would get X for free and pay for Z later). Also Free Realms didn't get any money from me because I was lost between figuring out if I just needed to pay a sub or just float for free and pay for tit and tat here and there. DDO is OK, but still confusing, especially considering a lot of what can be bought can be gotten for free and it isn't very clear.

Right now, I prefer Battlefield Heroes model, which is actually a dual currency system. Pay for the good stuff, like UNIQUE character customizations and non-game-balance-affecting boosts. While they have an in game currency (VP) that is earned via playing and allows you to purchase the BASICS like weapons and healing widgets.

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