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The grey gold.

A new and growing segment in gaming. The old gamers, the ones who were teens when online gaming began, and who today are still active gamers - just now with jobs, families, massive experience and money to spend.

Author: Sinatrasun

Contributor: ChubToadSUN

Goldselling a good thing.

Posted by Sinatrasun Friday March 5 2010 at 6:35AM
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Buying ingame objects for rl cash is a touchy subject, but its a thing that many does either as buyers or sellers - they just dont really talk much about it publicly because the subject is generally taboo in the Mmo world.

Originally the arguments for this being a bad thing was immersion.  By mixing reallife and games together you miss the original roleplaying possiblities that you had in the Mud's. 

However as voice chat,  public chats and forums outside the game became the normal thing and the in character / Rp forums basically died away - this effectively stopped the big barriers , and made the r much smaller in mmorpg.

However at the same time lawsuits and possible legal problems began showing their head.  If a game company publicly accepts trades of ingame item, then it could be argued that they have a responsability for those items ingame that can be followed to reallife cash.

This is obviously a problem, hence forcing game companies to take a pubilcly and legally proven hard stance against trading ingame items for reallife currency. Generally the game companies wouldnt have a problem with this if it wasnt due to potential legal issues.

But why is so many buying, if its illegal.   Even the most law abiding non exploiting people in mmo's would gladly buy ingame gold for the right price and the reason is simple.

Build in mmo's is the time it takes to gather wealth.  This is the "stuffing" or the grind to be competetive.

The grey gold gamers that this blog is about finds themselves in trouble when playing the modern mmo's.    The problem isnt playerskill, carebearness or suckyness - the problem is time.

In essense a older gamer like me Loves to play mmo's, but we are also competetive and want to be on top of the game.

However we simply dont have the time a teenager, or a student does.  We are Fulltime Working people, with families, kids and responsabilites.  Competetive gaming is our hobby but we are being forced from this due to the ressource grind.

On the other side you have the kids,  they got mad amounts of time.   They have no problems in farming what is needed, and often much more than that.

This means we have a supply from the kids, and a demand from the old ones - but they are not allowed to trade.

Instead the kids swim in ressources, and the old ones often drop the game.  The old gamers have played for years, so they know excactly how much time they need to spend every week to get the ressources they need to play the endgame.  In wow it was the raids, and Darkfall its to get money for gear.

Ive stopped counting the times ive heard someone say "i love the game, but i dont have the time to play competetively, and if  i cant do that id rather not play at all"

In World of Warcraft i bought plenty of gold. For example at some point flying mounts was introduced, and you needed this mount to get to a given instance.  this mount cost 5000 gold,  no way that i could spend all the hours farming 5000 gold just to get access to a horse so i could do a raid that also costs a lot of gold for every raid.

When i played runes of magic, i bought crystals that i traded on the auction house for ingame gold, giving me the needed gold and the timeheavy players a income of crystals.

The Asians got it right !

In the asian mmo's they solve this by selling "crystals" that you pay for rl money.  Those crystals can be sold for ingame gold,  or convertet to ingame items - but  generally not gold.

This is a brilliant solution because this creates a market situation where the young players can get the stuff the costs money for ingame gold, the old players gets ingame gold and the game company gets more money.

I think we will see these solutions more often in the future.  Added to this everyone knows that microtransactions is a growing market strategy and by doing it this was the young players will play unhindered , and the old ones will be able to play competetively just for a bit higher cost.

Today the western Mmo's are not there at all, and im not really sure why.  Today you can not do any transactions of this kind so instead we have a large amount of chinese farmers doing shady deals selling gold very cheap using a exploited workforce.

Instead of keeping the older gamers money in the market either in the pockets of the game companies or the kids with a lot of time - it instead goes into a ever growing market of chinese gold sweatshops.

This obviously have to end,  and the best solution is the crystal method like seen in Runes of Magic.

Added to this ill mention that in a real mmo like Darkfall, where you have full loot then its a totally different and smaller problem because any item i might buy - is a item i will loose then i die.

Instead of hunting people selling or buying ingame items of cash,  the game companies should find the best way where they get involved - so all the money from guys like me can go into the hands of the game companies instead of a chinese farmer.

This is still a taboo subject,  so odds are i will get flamed bigtime for this entry - but i think its only a matter of time before this will find its way into the western mmo's as well, and in my oppinion it can not happen fast enough.

I know many players in World of Warcraft who have spend way more money on gold and item sellers, than they ever payed to Blizzard during 3-4 years of wow gaming.

Lets keep the money in the mmo community.


/Frank Sinatra
















The grey gold.

Posted by Sinatrasun Tuesday March 2 2010 at 7:33AM
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In my country we have a saying which directly translates to the term "the grey gold".   This refers to the old people retiring from their jobs,  with a life full of experience and money to spend due to no longer working and the pensions kicking in. The grey obvoiusly refers to the haircolor of those people :).

It occured to me that gaming has the exact same thing, and noone really puts a lot of focus on it - but that is a pretty big mistake.

Today we have a growing segment of gamers who have grown up to a life of gaming, but who also have kept being gamers even though they are now adults with jobs,families, a lot of gaming experience - and not to forget a lot more money to spend compared to when they were teenagers.

This blog will be about mmo's,  from the view of the above mentioned segment of gamers.  I think the grey gold gamers are the most underestimated group of gamers, and this is possibly the worst mistake you can make since this segment grows with the same speed today, as the youth segment - only with the twist that this segment has somewhat less time to play, but they also got a totally different amount of money to spend.

I represent a segment of gamers who would gladly pay a lot more money, if i find the game interesting. 

I play Darkfall as my main game, and Heroes of newerth on the side.

Both games are very cheap, and Darkfall uses the classic payment method of a few Euros/dollars a month.

And here is a thought:  Why is online gaming so cheap - and where could the games go if we payed a more decent amount of money to play.

Some rough example numbers from my household to visualise:

  1. Household (diapers,food,Cocacola) 1000$
  2. Fitness membership (rarely used)       100$
  3. Cable tv                                                         80$
  4. Darkfall Subscription                                 15$
  5. Volleyball 1*week                                       90$
  6. Internet connection                                    70$

I spend more time playing Darkfall than anything else (not  counting my job),  but its also the smallestpart of my budget by far.

I would gladly pay 100$ a month, for a game with massive content and lots of new content coming in every month/quarter.  I know that we might not represent the majority of gamers but we are there with money ready to be used - but how come noone wants our money ?.

Personally i just support the mmo market by spending money on stuff i dont need.  Ive played darkfall since release,  but ive also bought Champions online and Star trek online withotu ever playing the games just to support the making of the games in general.

My kind of gamer is growing,  i can feel and see the differences in the games and in the guild im leading.  We are in the thirties or maybe fourties,  and we might have families, jobs and our old parents still dont understand why that gaming "Thing" didnt stop when we stopped being teens.

But we know who we are,  we are the old gamers - the grey gold, and the growth of our segment will have a MUCH bigger impact on gaming than most people have realised by now.

This blog will consist of entrys by this segment of players,  and beleive me - we have a lot to say about  gaming.

Thanks for reading.