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Online Games and Cash Shops: Why People Pay

Online Games and Cash Shops: Why People PayMost of the contemporary games work on micro transactions and have their own cash shop where you’re supposed to be spending more and more money. Studies show (according to PlaySpan and Frank N. Magid Associates) that said cash shops are going to generate around $17 billions by 2015, and American gamers alone have spent on micro transactions around $250 millions in 2009. Why people buy things that don’t even exist is another story, but why spent so much? Here are the basic reasons on why people part with their money.

1. When you don’t pay in cash, you don’t have an exact feeling of spending money. It’s not like when you take a piece of that precious paper (you worked so hard for it!) and give it to someone else. You just press a button, and your bank account log just shows you a new number. So not feeling like you’ve spent something, you are ready to spend more – and people do spent more using plastic cards or checks rather than cash, which also works for online games cash shops.

2. You don’t want to wait. There are all kinds of people, someone doesn’t have much time to spent on online gaming (which is really time-consuming these days), or aren’t interested in building up their character and want to skip the game play up to the end-game content or whatever is their goal. So they buy experience boosters to be done with the character development as fast as they can. Also, this covers buying things you could get for free if you’d have spent your time.

3. You want to be better than everyone else. Humans are social beings and our society’s standards assume we’re in a constant competition with everyone else – having a better job, getting into a successful marriage, getting a new shoes before that freak Jenn has got them first. Et cetera. But many people who, due to some reason, are unsuccessful in this competing life are having inferiority complex, which makes them compensate for it in some field they can be good at.
In gaming, and especially in online games with cash shops, these people buy a lot of stuff to “be awesome”, to be better than someone else. Many games exploit this reasoning by implementing more and more levels of awesomeness, so you have to buy more and more things to just stay cool.

4. The price doesn’t look so high. There’s this obvious, old and beardy trick when you’re paying not a $100, but $99.95, which is practically the same, but the second number looks smaller than the first.

5. The prices are really low, but it’s an item that you need constantly. Like healing potions or portal scrolls or other game-specific things. They don’t cost you much, but you need them all the time, so you do shop for them now and then, and spent a presumable amount of money not even noticing it.

6. Hidden recurring charges. Yes, the game might be “free to play”, but it may still has recurring charges that are not obvious to you. Many games offer additional inventory or bank space, or a mount (or anything else that you may need for a prolonged period of time) for additional charge. If you bought (for example) an additional inventory slots pack, you probably won’t want to get back to living without them – and keep paying. This is what i call a hidden recurring charge. And these charges alone can cost you more in this “free to play” game than if you’d pay a $15 for a subscription-based game.

7. There’s a “limited time offer” – be it a limited discount time on something or a limited amount of items available for sale. It’s an old trick too, actually. Remember, when you watch a TV spot for these new kitchen knives, and a salesman says if you call and place an order right now there’s a 50 bucks discount plus a second set of knives as a special gift to first few callers? It makes my mom reach for the phone every time, no matter how many times I’ve told her it’s a scam!
So the cash shops work like that too: when you think the time is running short, you stop thinking and just jump at the offer. Actually, buying things with a discount seems to be a good strategy for you, but many people buy more than they need – just in case, because, who knows, a good stash is always good – and spend more than they would have without the discount offer.

So, here are the basic reasons why people pay and why you may want to pay for a game too – there’s nothing wrong with paying for someone’s work, just keep in mind, how much are you really ready to spent and if the thing is worth it.

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