Microtransactions are a popular method for monetizing free-to-play (F2P) games, but are they a sure sign that a game is going that direction?
Many have speculated that the massively popular MMO World of Warcraft (WoW) will go F2P in the next few years, and a new consideration of microtransactions for the title may indicate this shift is in the works. According to Develop, Blizzard is exploring the option of adding this monetization method in certain regions, though few details are available.
"We are currently exploring the possibility of adding a way for players in certain regions to make purchases directly within the game," WoW's community manager Jonathan Brown recently noted, according to the news source, in response to player comments on a public test realm change "As part of this process, elements related to this will be appearing on the PTR. We'll provide additional updates on our plans as development progresses."
While WoW has been one of the most successful MMORPGs in history, its subscription counts have been slowly declining over the last few years. Despite an uptick in subscriptions with the launch of the last expansion for the game, the fall of subscription numbers has continued in 2013.
Microtransactions offer a unique way to monetize games that can be more successful than the subscription model in the first place. Blizzard saw success with ingame microtransactions with Diablo 3, and many other studios have as well. For any MMO developer, utilizing a game engine that supports this monetization method can provide key profit games over time, whether a game is F2P or not. Whether or not the consideration of microtransactions within WoW is a sign that the title is moving to the F2P model is unknown.