Friday, November 4, 2011

Free to Play, Microtransactions, and Virtual Billboards

So as I'm sure many of you are aware, DC Universe has gone F2P (free to play for all of you anti-acronym freaks).  The change in business model has given the game a HUGE surge of new players.  Over 120,000 people signed up overnight to play DC Universe.  Now their servers are crashing due to the overwhelming demand for the game.  No doubt SOE is throwing an office parade in celebration, but now is no time to stop working.

If SOE isn't careful, the entire game could be ruined by F2P, as many games have been.  Such a huge name like DC would make that much harder to do, that is certain, but it can still happen (don't forget we once had a Matrix MMO).

At this moment, they have multiple tiers of accounts and already a DLC pack for bonus powers.  Player's could in the future begin to complain about buying your way to power (although in a game where Lex Luthor is a futuristic bionic cyborg hero/villain, that seems oddly fitting).  But SOE could lower the price of some of the microtransactions greatly with advertisements.

Now before I hear (well read) anyone say "What? I don't want commercials and banners in my game," listen to what I have to say first.  We live in an ad filled world, and sometimes it's enjoyable.  The highway has billboards ALL over the place, but no one really cares THAT much, unless they danger the wildlife (which is extremely rare).  I propose that DC Universe does the same.  Many games on consoles do this occasionally, but they don't have the huge pool of consumers that MMOs have.  In a "modern-ish" setting, like what DC Universe offers, advertisements would not only fit in the game, but would be rather GOOD to have in game.  I could see myself being immersed further in a world that connects so seamlessly to the real world.

Anyway, I was one of the 120,000 that joined up to play DC Universe, but since the servers have been down I haven't had a chance to play.  I am rather excited for it, though.

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