Saturday, June 11, 2005

And so it begins

We all knew that a meta-economy for videogaming was in the works. Between the for-sale Everquest items to the planned deluge of micropayments on the Xbox 360, it was only a matter of time. Now it's been bumped to the next level; people with more disposable income can skip the tedious levelling-up process for MMOG's by just paying a premium for a more experienced character.

My worry is that this is the beginning of a vicious circle. If I'm a game company making a MMOG, and I can make money off of people wanting to skip the work it takes to level up, then I can make MORE money by making it even HARDER to level up. And if people will pay for items that you have to work for in the game, maybe they'll pay even more for items that you can ONLY get by paying for them. Gameplay could easily slip away from entertainment value to revenue generation value. And if the real-world rich people become virtual-world rich people, then all the bad things about class differences will come with it - how long before we start seeing a problem with virtual poverty in MMOG's?

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