Jun 24, 2011

[....And I Actually LIKE Most Cash Shops]

I made my peace with F2P and Cash Shops a long time ago, and am getting to enjoy more games because of it, but I really do not get the logic behind EVE Online's new vanity item pricing, even after they explain it:
"People have been shocked by the price range in the NeX store, but you should remember that we are talking about clothes. Look at the clothes you are currently wearing in real life. Do you have any specific brands? Did you choose it because it was better quality than a no-name brand?
Assume for a short while that you are wearing a pair of $1,000 jeans from some exclusive Japanese boutique shop. Why would you want to wear a pair of $1,000 jeans when you can get perfectly similar jeans for under $50? What do other people think about you when they see you wearing them? For some you will look like the sad culmination of vainness while others will admire you and think you are the coolest thing since sliced bread. Whichever it is, it is clear that by wearing clothes you are expressing yourself and that the price is one of the many dimensions that clothes possess to do that in addition to style and fit."
Out of all the F2Ps I've tried, I have never seen a vanity-clothing item go for more than $20 (maybe there's some out there, but none that I've played). And unlike EVE, those games don't require monthly subscription fees. I'm not sure why CCP would rather sell FEWER outfits at a higher price than MANY for a more 'market average' price -- there are far more people who'd be willing to pay even $20 for a 'virtual shirt' than there are those willing to pay $50+. Perhaps CCP feels the EVE playerbase is so 'different' that there is no real comparison between the typical MMO's cash shop and EVE's. But going by the angry reaction of many EVE players, they are clearly disappointed that the prices for tiny things like Monocles ($70?!) are so much higher than they are willing to pay -- in other words, they WANT to give CCP their money, and would if the items were more reasonably priced.

Sure, nobody 'has' to buy vanity items. But why make the cash shop hostile to most players and not a 'fun' experience for people? To me that's like saying you DON'T want more people to use it! How does that make sense?

The fact still remains, that a lot of the Western MMO playerbase is still very touchy and suspicious about microtransactions in their games, and this move by CCP appears to me to be souring those people even more on the concept than they would've if they had taken a more player-friendly approach for their cash shop introduction. Only time will tell if CCP's belief that EVE's playerbase is a good match for this extreme microtransaction model proves true.

Related Reading: Fear and Monocles

No comments: