The MMO market is expanding, and with it, so are payment options. While at the Austin Game Developer's Conference I spoke with John Young, Vice President of Gala-Net, the leading operator of micro-transaction games.
Instead of charging a monthly fee, Gala-Net uses a micro-transaction system that allows users to purchase "Gpotatoes." Gpotatoes can be spent on various special in-game items, such as cosmetic upgrades, potions, and more.
When working with micro-transactions, says Young, it's important to balance. Free gameplay should be fun; paying for Gpotatoes, though, allows players faster and easier gameplay. While a number of players don't engage in micro-transactions themselves, almost everyone in-game is affected by micro-transactions. For example, if a non-buyer gets a special sword drop, they might trade that sword for some Gpotato potions.
So, let's talk game specifics! Gala-Net has five MMOs, currently: Flyff, Rappelz, Space Cowboy, Corum, and Shot Online - their newest game is a MOG called Upshift, a car racing game where anything goes, including front and rear mounted car weapons.
Rappelz recently launched a new update, Epic 4. This update rebalanced the entire game - Young said that so far, the reaction is highly positive, and he recommends that past players come back to give the game a try.
Flyff has a new version incoming soon, including a pet system and an item upgrading system. Players will be able to obtain eggs by killing monsters above level 20. An NPC in town will help you hatch your egg, and you'll get a new pet that evolves in battle. There are 7 pet breeds, and each pet has 3 forms that it evolves through - each with a different graphic. The item upgrading system uses sockets (Much like Diablo).
Gala-Net also has 2 new games coming up, but they're not ready to give more information - yet!