July 5, 2009

RMT != micro-transactions

Darren, the "common sense" gamer, believes $10 is a bit much for a mount in free-to-play, but supported by micro-transactions, Runes of Magic.
Here’s the deal….and I’m absolutely disgusted by this. A “permanent” horse in Runes of Magic, it is 199 diamonds…let’s call it 200 cause that’s what it really should be (…seriously guys…time to start rounding things up…). 200 diamonds cost $10.94 Canadian.

Are you seriously telling me, with a straight face, that a digital HORSE costs me $10…FUCKING..DOLLARS!!!@!@ That’s if you want to buy it outright…for cash. You can buy diamonds on the auction house which you can then buy the horse…but good gawd. The horses dollar value straight up is almost as much as an entire subscription.
Following up on this is a discussion at p0tsh0t:
Truth be told, while I’m usually more of the mind that RMT is the debbil, I think the RoM mount topic is a decent example of an RMT item and approach that could work in most games. What the game companies need to keep in mind is that their RMT and game models should deliver value and entertainment to a broad audience with varied time budgets.
Here's the problem. Real Money Trade (RMT) is not the same as micro-transactions.

RMT occurs when players trade real money for items in a subscription-based game. The developers rarely see a dime unless, like SOE, specifically set it up to take a cut of the transactions.

Micro-transactions are a business model, meant to allow a developer to support a game. In most cases, the game is free-to-play.

In this specific example, Runes of Magic is free to play, but supported by micro-transactions. If a player wants a horse, they spend $10 for the entirety of the time they play the game. World of Warcraft on the other hand, is a subscription-based game that has a volcanic third-party RMT market attached. Players often pay upwards of $500 for unique mounts, on top of paying $15 a month to access the game!

Further down in the p0tsh0t post, a breakdown of what an epic flying mount probably costs in World of Warcraft:
Using the epic flyer as an example, if I really applied myself, I could probably log on and earn a few hundred gold a day without outlevelling our group too much in a relatively small amount of time each session. At 200 gold a session, that would take about 25 sessions to yield the 5,000 gold for the skill and the mount. If I played an average session every other day, that would be about 50 days or almost two months of just casual self-gold farming. All other things equal, I should be ok with paying the equivalent of about $30 for my epic flyer (or the equivalent in game currency).
So, I ask the "common sense gamer" why he is flabbergasted by a $10 mount when it is obvious players are willing spend 3 times that amount just to access a service that will allow them the pleasure of working hard to obtain a mount.

The truth is that many traditional MMOG players have lost touch with the micro-transaction movement in the market. They see a $10 price tag for something in a micro-transaction game and apply the concept to a subscription game. Immediately it seems insane that anyone would pay real money for something that they feel they get for "free" in their subscription game. They fail to realize they are paying in time and real money for a mount in their subscription game. Often times, a lot more. Not to mention the players going to RMT markets to pay hundreds, if not thousands, of real dollars for in-game perks in subscription games.

I was once one of the lost. I used to see micro-transactions as RMT. It's simply not the truth. RMT does not equal micro-transactions.