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01 June 2011 @ 02:03 pm
Video Game Economics  

Activision is trying to get players to pay for a monthly subscription to their Call of Duty franchise, which is evil. Activision, by it’s very nature, is an evil company. Activision owned Infinity Ward released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the most successful video game of all time, and the people responsible were promptly robbed of their appropriately huge bonuses, fired, and sued.

Evil as they are: they could be eviler. Paid subscriptions aren’t nearly enough. Activision own Blizzard and the World of Warcraft franchise, which forces players to pay a monthly subscription to be called a noob, kicked out of their guild, and slain by an orc. Yet, WoW has a booming second economy of Gold Farming, wherein “players” will accumulate huge sums of in-game currency and then sell that fake money for foldin’ money (usually in Chinese Yuan). It’s a million dollar industry. Of course, having control of the game means Activision has control of the currency. There’s absolutely nothing stopping them from selling fake money on the side. They could be doing it outright like some free-to-play games out there, but then they’d suffer a backlash from loyal players. This is game where people will mass suicide their avatars in front of the auction house for any reason. Any reason whatsoever. Still, those people killing themselves are paying to kill themselves. I’d charge them extra for the feature.

They could also be controlling the illicit secondary market. Just set up a fake shop with a Chinese front and sell gold to people. The added advantage is that none of the money will go to the starving Chinese, since everything’s coming directly from the company itself with only the illusion of a middle-man. Who the fuck is going to say boo to them? No one would ever suspect, unless they’re being paid to suspect something, and Activision is the one paying investigators to root out gold farmers online. It’s the perfect crime, because it’s not even a crime, it’s an evil business model.