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Microtransactions: Final Thoughts

Posted on Nov 16, 2009 by: Jason Griffith
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The purchasable minipets continue to cause a storm across the blogosphere. I’ve already mentioned them here and here, but rather than offer another analysis on the Pandaren Monk as I did with Lil’ K.T. I’m just going to offer one finally post on it and then I’m leaving these two alone.

I don’t care what fears people have about Blizzard offering other things in the future (they can go ahead and put T5695 gear up for sale for all I care), as far as I’m concerned that is in no way a valid argument for anything.

The only argument I have found that is valid to any degree is not so much an argument as it is a failure to understand: How can you justify spending $20 on two pets?

To even things out a bit, let’s forget about the $5 donation to the MaWF and just look at it as a flat $20 price tag here with no further bells and whistles.

Cost Analysis
Actual Cost: One Pet
Most people are looking at this: $10 = 1 pet

What most of them are failing to see is that it actually works out to this: $10 = 50 pets

Which means the actual cost is: $0.20 = 1 pet

The reason for this is because each of these pets is a BoA item that is mailed to every character you have and every character you make in the future. Each account is able to have 50 total characters across all servers, and every one of them gets this pet for the same fee. Now, not everyone is so much an altoholic as my wife and I (both of us have had to delete toons for having reached the 50 toon limit), so not everyone is going to be able to see it that way. But, some people are as bad as I am, or even worse, and they actually get an even better deal than twenty cents a pop.

For the sake of consistency though, we’ll go with a maximum of 50 toons.

Actual Cost: Both Pets
Alright, lets open it up a bit and throw that second pet in there.

Most people see this: $20 = 2 pets

What they miss: $20 = 100 pets

Actual Cost: $0.20 = 1 pet

Now, the math here obviously comes out to the exact same thing because the cost is the same in both cases. We double the cost, but we also double the quantity purchased.

Perspective
To put that into perspective a bit, let us change what we’re purchasing to nails instead of vanity pets. As with any example, it’s not going to be perfect and any trolls can come by and chew on my nails if they want. Yes, nails are real world items that can serve a purpose and be functional, but that’s not the point. Read with the intent to understand, not with the intent to respond.

Example: We’re going to say that you just bought a beautiful Asian painting. The details of the painting aren’t important, but if you’re really interested I’ll tell you that it depicts a monk. You need to hang it on your wall, but you don’t have any nails. So you go to the store to buy a nail and find out that they don’t sell nails individually, they only come in two varieties and they only come in boxes of 50. Either nail would work, but the picture will hang a bit differently with one than it will with the other, and both ways appeal to you.

You aren’t sure which nail is going to suit you the best, but you know that you could probably find uses for either type. You also know that you only need a single nail, but having several might come in handy later on down the road. If you could buy a single nail for $0.20 then you would prefer to do that, but sadly the store doesn’t allow such purchases. So you have to decide whether you want one type of nail, or both types of nails, and you have to deal with the fact that you may very well be buying more nails than you’ll ever use.

My decision was to buy both types of nails and see which style of hanging appealed to me more, knowing that I could change between both styles of hanging whenever I wanted to by switching out one type of nail for the other.

Conclusion
The point of me breaking this down for you isn’t to try to convince you to change your mind on whether or not to buy them, the point is to open your mind a bit to help you see a clearer picture of what you’re actually buying. In essence, you aren’t just going to a store to buy yourself a nail, you’re going to a store and buying a box of nails. Whether or not you decide to use them all is up to you. You may only need a single nail to hang up that nice picture on your wall, but you’re buying a whole box that’s available for you to use if you have a want or need to do so.

How you justify the cost is dependent on how you chose to look at it. Did you spend $20 on a single nail, or did you spend $20 on a box that has 100 nails in it? The answer is up to you; it’s all in how you choose to look at it.

I didn’t spend $20 to buy my wife 2 pets, I spent $20 to buy my wife 100 pets, and she’s enjoying every one.

Posted in World of Warcraft Tagged: BoA, Microtransactions, Purchase, Vanity Pets

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