Massively just reported that The Secret World, Funcom’s upcoming conspiracy-themed MMO, will have both a subscription and a cash shop right at launch. This from a developer who saved a title from the brink of extinction (Age of Conan) by converting it to free-to-play. So they know F2P makes money. Of course, they promise that the shop will only contain vanity items and convenience items. For now. I have yet to see a cash shop that didn’t start adding advantage items to the game, too.
You know what, though? I don’t give a damn if the only thing the shop will contain are fuzzy bunny slippers. I’m getting tired of MMOs double-dipping. If you’re going to make me pay a subscription, give me all the content you create. Yes, all of it. Including the vanity items.
If you want me to buy from your cash shop, you need to drop the subscription or give subscribers store credit each month. I’m not a perpetual money generator.
Right now I’m playing three MMOs: Perpetuum Online (subscription but no cash shop), Runes of Magic (no subscription), and APB Reloaded (subscription-optional). And you know what? I have no problem spending money in Runes of Magic’s item shop. Because the choice in how much or how little to spend is entirely up to me. You can even get all the content in the game using only in-game gold, because the cash shop currency is tradeable (much like EVE’s PLEX). As for APB? I haven’t spent a dime yet. I won’t spend money on a beta product. But once the game is live, I’ll consider a subscription. It’s not necessary. You can still be competitive without spending money.
I’m very disappointed that MMOs are more about making money than making a quality product. I want MMOs to make money, don’t get me wrong. I want them to be profitable. But you can’t truly succeed if you think, “I’ll make an MMO. Those things are easy cash!” You need to think, “I’ll make an MMO. I love those games, and if I make a good one, other people will love it, too.”