Micropayments Are Here… Save Time, Use Money
I’ve noticed recently that everyone in my family seems to be tempted to use micropayments for DLC to increase the success in our favorite games. What is the deal with that? My wife is playing Candy Crush; buy extra lives now. My son and I both are having a blast in Clash of Clans; buy protection shields! And now, we are seeing a lot of advertising for additional downloadable content for our current First Person Shooter, Battlefield 4.
I’ve been a long time gamer and I think that while these micropayments are everywhere, I will try avoiding using them as it seems like cheating. It seems as if the initial sale from the vendor to the consumer just isn’t enough anymore. A game distributor isn’t willing to wait for a customer to buy the sequel in order to get more revenue from a game title. I see this also as a pay to play method with the new infinity gaming system from Disney. If you want to play as Mr. Incredible, that’s great, just buy the action figure and place him on the machine’s portal pad. Does running around as Capt. Jack Sparrow sound like fun? Yup, just buy the toy and stagger drunkenly around an imaginary toy box.
Micropayments have also been a great way for companies to monetize older titles and keep revenue flowing in. Sony Online Entertainment has made the MMORPG/FPS game PlanetSide2 available for free. You can start a character and grind your way to higher levels and better gear by simply playing the game and earning XP or you can purchase coins with US$ to get access to that same gear without paying for it in that earned experience points. Sony Station Cash can be purchased in bulk at 10,000 for $85. Some people may take that path and convert money for time (XP). I think I’ll continue to grind up to that really cool sniper rifle and scope that has been used on me a few times already.
Time also seems to be exchangeable for gems. In Clash of Clans, if you need to accelerate your resource collection you can get 2x the return of your gold mine or elixir extractor for 24 hours by spending a few gems. What are gems you ask? They are green little bundles of luck. Either you randomly find them in the game by removing rocks, trees or mushrooms or you can find them in your account after sending some money to SuperCell in the form of a micropayment. Either way, you will be soon swimming in gold like Scrooge McDuck.
Another example of this type of pay to play is Steam’s micropayment method for some of its game titles. Steam is offering to support micropayments through their Steamworks gaming platform for developers. If you are a game developer and want to add a cool new sword for $.99 or maybe some extra lives for $1, you can program that into the game, distribute it on Steam and give them a small cut of the take. Everyone Wins!
And now it’s easier than ever! Credit/Debit cards, Mobile, Paypal and game cards. Game cards are available everywhere now, malls, 7/11, Best Buy, Barnes and Noble and are available for nearly everything be it for Facebook, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Xbox Live, and even Google Play.
Well back to my original point. I’ve played online games for decades, and earning each level/point/quest/kill/achievement was fun even if it took a lot of work. Today I learned that Blizzard may soon be offering to upgrade your character to level 90 (the current max) on World of Warcraft for $60! WTH!?! Are we going to be overrun with level 90 Noobs?
Maybe I’ll just stick with MineSweeper, hey? Can I buy an in game metal-detector? How much? Ugh!
Why do you folks think? Should I “get with the times” or “It’s Outrageous!” Let me know in the comments section.