"Year of the Paid Services" Too

Posted by Daeity On Thursday, August 4, 2011

Here was another draft he had created a few days after his "Year of the Banhammer" blogspot.

So, yeah.. if you've been reading the blog for a while, you know I've been talking a lot about what to expect from Blizzard in 2011.

Because of decreasing WoW subscription growth and the expected lack of Activision Blizzard releases for the year, there's going to be a lot of cutbacks within the company and implementation of new paid services to increase revenue as much as possible (that have actually been planned for a long time, but were waiting for the right opportunity to deploy, like when revenues for the quarter were lower than expected) and before BlizzCon.

This isn't just for World of Warcraft, though, you can expect the same for their other line-up of games. Virtual items especially, and other paid services.

Shortly after posing this, Blizzard announced their new Winged Lion mount.

And then just 2 days after I mention "Maybe guild paid services?" they just announced Guild Paid Services. =]

Expect more. Virtual pets and mounts are good sellers, and they might even experiment with a price drop to see if they can increase demand for the item. Or the ever predictable tax-deductible charity approach. Perhaps a pet that will fit in with the lion or Egyptian theme?

How about "game breaking" items like a larger bag? (RIFT did it.) It probably won't be something to replace your default bag slot, though, but that's planned for all users in the future. A wise person would sell a larger/cool looking bag for $5 (to sell more of them, since everyone will want multiple) and announce that part of the proceeds will go to charity. It takes the sting off.

Maybe demon/elemental renaming services? Paid visual customizations of gear/clothes/items? Forum (or in-game) avatar customizations?

Cross-realm grouping or raiding? Their current Real ID feature is an easy way to implement this ability so that you can party with (PVP/Raiding) friends and family members.. for a price.

"Paid Un-Banning Services"? Pay to have a permanent ban changed to temporary ban (or have a really old account recovered) with the understanding that you'll play nice moving forwards (and monitored more closely during their probation period). If you work in Blizzard marketing, pay close attention to this. It sounds absolutely crazy, but it works and with little investment. =]

There are a lot of possibilities.

One thing is certain however, they have already made promises and commitments to WoW microtransactions (e.g. that they won't be game-breaking) but they haven't made any promises in regards to their other games.

Their Next-Gen MMO will probably take great liberties and flex "Blizzard ethics", and I can definitely foresee game-breaking transactions available in future titles. This shouldn't surprise you though, this is just the way Blizzard is heading and they've made all of the signs and trends quite obvious.

Flame on.