Monday, February 22, 2010

Allods Online Pricing

There's a mini-controversy about pricing for Allod's Online. Keen has details. Allod's Online is a Free-To-Play game that started out in Russia. Apparently prices in the North American game are 10-20x times higher. (Keen says 20x, but all his examples are only 10x.) A bag that costs $2 in Russia costs $20 in the NA version.

So all the vocal gamers, parsimonious creatures that they are, are up in arms over this.

I don't know if the price is too high or too low. But consider this: Russia is a poorer country than the United States. Its GDP-Per-Capita is roughly a fifth of that of the States. Is it really so unreasonable to believe that if people in Russia are willing to pay $2, people in the States would be willing to pay much more? Heck, this is the land of $5 coffees!

I think a lot of times gamers take it as an article of faith that there is a large segment of people who are willing to pay small amounts of money to a micro-transaction shop. But maybe that group doesn't actually exist. Maybe the two major groups are people who will pay nothing, and people who will pay a lot. In that case, it's the best strategy to get as much money out of that second group as possible.

Edit: Also, the other thing that struck me was that there is a "level 10 rune that was $689 is now $6,890." Now, I have a hard time believing someone will pay $7000 for an item, but then again, I have a hard time believing someone paid $700. If the $700 item sold, then it is entirely possible the $7000 one will too.


  1. As I understand it, the "$7000 rune" is a bit of a hyperbole. Apparently it is theoretically possible to create a level 10 rune by combining 512 normal runes and a bunch of crystals - bought from the cash shop - or some such thing.

    And if anyone were to do this, it would cost $7000. But nobody ever would. It's like in Runes of Magic, I'm not sure there is any actual limit on how far you can enhance an item. I think I saw a spreadsheet which calculated prices up to several million dollars for a ludicrously enhanced weapon.

  2. A titan (a type of ship) in Eve has an estimated value over $7000 and there are over 300 of them.

    Most are produced as a result of the joint efforts of many people but i wouldn't be surprised if some were financed with real cash.

  3. I keep hearing about Eve's real-dollar amounts for ships and stuff, how is that calculated? Is it based on how much in-game money it costs to buy and how much that money costs directly from illegal gold-sellers in the game? or do you actually have the option of purchasing in-game money directly through micro-tansactions? Is it some sort of Ebay-based amount like osme old evrquest items and characters were?

    As to the original post, I'd bet the dollar amount is important, but not as important as ease of transaction. If oyu have to type in a credi-card number and exp date for every one I doubt you'd sell nearly as many as larger dollar items tied directly to your monthly billing. I know I've personally ordered stuff from stores that took paypal over stores that required a seprate signup and I've skipped over on some character recustomizes in WoW becuase it's not directly tied to my billing, and by the time I get the wallet and card out I've had the time to rethink the worth of that $10 or $15

  4. @Elladrion
    I think the cost of things in Eve is driven by the PLEX (Pilot License Extension). Eve has decided that when you buy a time card, you can convert them into an in-game item that you can then sell as an auction. You can't take them out of your hangar, so they're safe and can't be stolen.

    Those items sell for about 270-280 mil IST, and cost 15.95 IRL, so they've got a direct conversion there. I might be wrong, they might just do it by how much stuff sells for on eBay.

  5. Not really sure about the Russian economy... only that the big cities in Russia (e.g. Moscow, etc) are more expensive to live and vacation in than Paris, Vienna, etc.

  6. I'd like to know where they come up wtih the $7000 number for an eve titan. I've heard they cost around 70bil isk if you're the end user and around 40bil isk in pure materials cost. so that's about $2275 in materials coast or $4000 to buy it outright. That's using a 280mil isk = $15.95 conversion rate. $4000(or even $2275) is quite a bit different from the quoted $7000. I'd like to know they came up with that number.

  7. I used to think purchases like that were ridiculous, but now I'm wearing a 5000$ watch I bought to fit in with my coworker at my new job, so I'm not as quick to judge.

    What you are really buying are is social acceptance. You are paying your way up a social ladder. While it is virtual in this case, people have always paid money, either directly or indirectly, for status.

  8. 7 grand and I could pay off my sport bike and have some left over. Even 700 sounds crazy to me.

  9. $7000 is rent for over half a year... or 70,000 packets of Top Ramen.

    Either way, I'd be homeless or starving, which means I couldn't use the blasted thing anyways, so why bother?

  10. It's silly to think a group of low-paying customers do not exist. Take FreeRealms as an example, who just released flying dragon mounts for $5 and are selling like hotcakes.

    Also consider the popularity of inexpensively-priced downloads from iTunes/iPhone. People are readily tossing a dollar here and there for minor conveniences.

    There's money to be made here. Some companies are just too slow/set in their ways to understand they need to implement new business tactics.

  11. SHOCK NEWS - Companies charge their customers what they can afford!

  12. The bag wasn't the biggest problem, it was paying $20 for a perfume that would allow you to self rez otherwise you would have to wait 2 hours to be restored to life or paying for food to make your mount move faster than walking speed(mount walked as fast as your character) These were the biggest gripes since they were originally one charge per $20