Cash Shops Are A Gamer’s Best Friend

Cash shops are why we have free to play games.  The idea is pretty socialist.  A few people buy enough from the cash shop to make the game free for everyone.  These cash shops run the gamut from completely terrible to perfectly balanced.  See League of Legends for the perfect cash shop.  I’m sure you have your own example of a bad one.

Pay for what you play.  No need to spend money on anything else.  Star Wars: The Old Republic did get that part right in it’s free to play model.  Why help fund PvE raid development when you never set foot inside?  Where money is spent lets developers know what players are enjoying, and what they don’t care for.

How to Play The Market

Cash shop prices go up and down based on sales.  World of Tanks has sales several times a week.  Guild Wars 2 is a little more conservative, introducing new items seasonally or with occasional content drops.  League of Legends, once a week, and so on.  Be patient and watch for these sales, they often give you the best value.

Some cash shops work strictly off of currency.  Firefall uses Red Beans, Planetside 2 uses Station Cash, and so on.  Often times the biggest package offers the best value.  That’s a big chance to take on a new game though.  My suggestion is to buy the smallest amount you need to get what you want the first time.  Make sure you’re going to stick with the game before investing in it.  Sounds kinda like the stock market doesn’t it? Prices going up and down, and investing in more.

Personal Purchases

The first time I spent money on a free to play game was in League of Legends in 2011.  I bought $30 in Riot Points to get skins for champions.  This year I paid $14.95 for 3000 gold in World of Tanks.  I used it to buy credits, but it turns out it may have been a better investment to buy a premium tank.  I’m glad I only wasted a little bit of gold, instead of a lot.

Bottom Line

Since the introduction of the Star Wars: The Old Republic free to play system, I have been thinking about free to play business models a lot.  Game companies have to make money to survive.  A free to play model is the perfect example of Darwin’s survival of the fittest theory.  If the game is good, people will spend more money.  If the game is bad, nobody spends any money.  Despite my reservations about Star Wars: The Old Republic’s free to play model, it still lets you play a game you could not.  If you enjoy playing a free to play game, I encourage you to buy something.  Not every month necessarily, but from time to time.  Even if it’s the smallest package.  Free to play games will only stick around for as long as they are profitable.  It’s your obligation as a gamer to determine what games are successful.

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