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Microtransactions Hit EQ and EQII, Station Cash Now Available

Posted Tue, Dec 09, 2008 by Cody Bye

How much news can we pack into the massively multiplayer online industry in one day? First, we hit you with the Cryptic being acquired by Atari, and then we dropped the bomb that Sony was cutting 8,000 jobs. Whether to counter the 8,000 job cut announcement or not, Sony Online Entertainment added their own bit of news to the mix announcing that they were introducing a microtransaction model to EverQuest and EverQuest II. Players will now be able to purchase items in these two games with currency called “Station Cash” that they can buy with real money.

Does this mean that the fundamental properties behind EQ and EQ2 have changed? At this point, the answer is no, at least according to their official SOE Station Cash FAQ:

It sounds as if Station Cash may give some players an unfair advantage.  How is SOE preventing this?

The EQ and EQII development teams have chosen items carefully in an effort to avoid a disruption in gameplay balance. Rather, Station Cash (and items purchased with SC) are intended to allow for convenience and added customization. Such items provide players with a unique gameplay experience for nominal fees. We understand that some players may not choose to purchase items, however, the option is available for all, leaving the choice in each player’s hands.

Does this mean SOE is fundamentally changing the business models of EQ and EQII?

No, this is simply a means to give additional options to our player base.

However, this kind of experimentation – if it proves profitable – will certainly make it appealing to the SOE management to possibly give F2P gaming in their two franchise games a shot.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

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