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  1. #1
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    The changes of RMAH on sales of virtual items

    We are two students who are currently writing our bachelor thesis on “exchange of virtual items for real money”.
    We would appreciate if you would consider these questions and share your thoughts. Any input is valued!

    1a) With the endorsement from Blizzard, will the market for virtual items grow compared to earlier Blizzard games?

    1b) How will this change in market size affect the trade from the buyers point of view?

    2) How will the centralization of trade to one place affect the buyers?

    3a) Does Blizzards support for real-money-auction-house (RMAH) change players attitude towards paying for virtual items?

    3b) Will the “safety” of the auction house make players who earlier refrained from buying virtual items due to scams etc. change their opinion?

    If you are interested in the subject check out our original thread:

    Thank you for your time!

  2. #2
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Re: The changes of RMAH on sales of virtual items

    Long time lurker closely following the markets forum, but I'm always happy to help academia. For reference, I made significant money from Diablo 2 back around 2001 (I know, unprovable claims and all), and have been getting ramped up for the D3 market. Here's my thoughts.

    1a) Unquestionably. The market is now mainstream, and the whole concept is more accepted now than it was a few years ago. In my eyes, its just another form of DLC, which is undeniably successful, and to some extent ebooks, iTunes, you name it. The only difference is who is selling who's content, and with Blizzard's blessing, this doesn't matter.

    1b) Comparing it to D2JSP is unfair. D2JSP was niche, regardless of how large it seemed, and an in-game AH blows it out of the water in terms of scale. The best comparison is to the Eve economy, which is all player-controlled, and I think D3 stands to be significantly bigger (if the game doesn't suck, which is my only concern of it all failing). If someone asked me for a ballpark, I'd say most all players will try the RMAH, and a percentage (I'll throw 20% out there) do so regularly. 20% of however many millions of players is a significant number.

    2) Mostly answered in 1b, but centralization is huge. Look at IGX and the other gold farmers out there. It's a huge economy, but if you don't know about it (or don't want to deal with out-of-game, risky websites/services), its not an option. Its also hard to know who's who, what their reputations are, are they a scam or not, etc. That's removed now, and it's in-game, supported by Bliz, safe, and simply a part of the D3 experience. The buyer is now empowered to spend their money however they want to get whatever advantage they want, and they know they're going to get what they paid for. It's no different than Newegg or Amazon now, and who doesn't shop there?

    3a) Totally, see my previous point (I seem to be doing that a lot ). To expand on that, we're not far from having a generation of gamers who look at DLC as just another part of the game (or, how to get the full game), and this is conceptually no different. In a few years, I expect any game (RPG-style, at least, from WoW to Borderlands and everything in between) that doesn't have a RMAH-style feature to be left behind as outdated, and the companies that produce them will be ignoring a revenue stream.

    3b) Absolutely. This is whats going to make the AH successful in the long run. I don't trust Bliz to not screw things up, but I do trust them to own up for mistakes and repay the customer. I don't have this faith in any third party, or on something like eBay (although paypal chargebacks do help a bit there, but its a drawn-out process usually). I don't think safety will ever be a question, and as a result, the AH will blend into just being part of the game.

    As I mentioned earlier, the only thing preventing the AH from being this dynamic marketplace we all want it to be is the game itself. If the game sucks, and I feel there's a 50/50 chance of it (based on my months of time in the beta), the number of buyers won't be as high as it should be. Bliz is the reason it could all fail, and if it does, shame on them.

  3. #3
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Re: The changes of RMAH on sales of virtual items

    Very good input!
    If someone agrees or has another viewpoint please post or send a pm. It's good to know what kind of support there is.

    Thanks everybody.


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