In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread "Why are 'cash shops' in subscription based games acceptable?" by Fadedbomb. In the thread, Fadedbomb argues against cash shops in P2P games and opens up the topic to the MMORPG.com community:
Just wondering why people readily accept games that have "Cash Shops" in products that already require a monthly fee AND paid expansions?
Do people not realize that you're paying the developers to create content with your monthly sub only to resell that content you ALREADY PAID FOR via the cash shop? I shouldn't have to buy the box, pay a monthly fee, pay for expansions, AND pay for extra "fluff" content that i've already paid for to begin with!!!
It's like paying to see a movie, and once you're inside they ask you to buy a seat to watch the movie. Sure, you could stand in the back and watch it, but by the time the movie is over your legs are jelly and your face is stuck to that disgusting floor because the movie dragged on for 2hrs.
Don't get me wrong. CCP are one of the best companies running an MMO nowadays. Their product may not be very popular, but they certainly know how to run an MMO. $20 "digital box" price (that's been on sale recently down to $6), $15/month fee, with FREE expansions & they even doubled-back on their planned cash shop for "fluff" avatar clothing because they listened to the players who said "NO!".
I'm also an advocate for monthly fees over "Free to Play", however that's another box of chocolates :]!
So what are your fellow community members saying on the topic? Read on to find out!
s1fu71 is indifferent, but offers his take on why some accept these cash shops:
I think people "readily accept" a cash shop in a subscription model if they perceive that nothing in the cash shop gives an unfair advantage. In other words, if the cash shop offers fluff, or if it offers things you can get in game with enough play.
I'm not defending cash shops at all. But, I often see people accept them if this is their perception. Mostly I see casuals say things like, "I don't have the time to raid and get this gear. But, I can pay for it or something similar."
don't particularly care. The only cash shop I used was for DCUO. I'm on their F2P model. I spent a few bucks on getting more character slots. Perhaps that wasn't the best example since I don't sub. But, it's the only example I have. I don't see people in game really complaining or praising the cash shop in game.
udon is decidedly against this recent (and growing) trend:
I could care less if you want to spend a extra 5, 10, or 100 dollars each month on game, however what I do care about is that I can't play the entire game without doing the same. And yes having access to mounts, apperance gear, potions, etc. is still a part of the game that sub players who don't use the cash shop are cut off from. I'm paying once for a sub to support the game and get access than a second time for the right to purchase items from a cash shop that the developers used my orginal sub money to create.
I know why the MMO companies do it but you know what I don't own stock in any of the game companies nor do I get bonuses from them for meeting sales goals so I don't care. I'm the consumer not the company and as such I want the best possible service for the least amount of money. And in my book that's a sub game without a cash shop. The only ones left are Rift and SWTOR off the top of my head.
Searias offers an economics-focused take on the issue:
I am fine with cash shops + sub fees. It cost a lot more money to develop an mmo now a days compared to what it did back in the day and also with all the competition in the market and the limited amount of consumers, it's hard to predict if they would make enough money to cover costs. Plus, sub fees has not changed in a very long time, but wages have increased and resources cost a lot more money now than they did back in the day, the money has to come from somewhere to cover that also.
I don't really have an issue with cash shops in MMOs as long as I don't feel like I need their wares to enjoy the game. This is especially true for a subscription-based MMO that doesn't offer a F2P option (such as The Secret World). As long as it's fluff stuff or simple things like XP boosters, that's fine. Items of convenience don't bother me, regardless of the game's business model. However, if the game is balanced around these 'convenience' items then that becomes a problem. An XP booster should let me get ahead of a curve that is still reasonable without it. If the game is balanced such that I feel like I need to purchase these items or face a grindfest then that becomes problematic for sure.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!