With the recent announcement that Diablo will be having a real cash auction house we know it is only a matter of time before that concept gets to WoW. Most likely it will not be any time soon, next expansion at the earliest would be my guess.
Anyone who thinks that it is not a possibility that a real cash auction house will come to WoW is completely fooling themselves. There are a few good reasons I can think of why the real cash auction house would be a huge plus for Blizzard.
1) Gold Sellers:
- Blizzard probably spends a lot of time trying to shut them down. Blizzard probably spends a lot of money on lawyers trying to sue the people that they can actually track down. Blizzard probably has to employ extra people just to handle this problem. With all that said, Blizzard spends a lot of money to try and stop people from selling gold. Allowing people to sell gold in game means there is no need for that any more.
2) Saving Money:
- If they allow gold to be sold on the auction house they are saving themselves a ton of cash. They no longer need to pay people just to track down the gold sellers. They will not have to pay lawyers to sue them when they find them either. It will save them a lot of money and remember boys and girls, businesses are in business to make money. Sure they try to offer a good product but the bottom line is money. If they are not making money there is no reason for them to stay in business. This saves them money, which means it makes them money by not having to spend it.
3) Making Money:
- Lets all not forget the best part of this for them. Every micro transaction they get a cut of. Millions of people play the game, if even 10% of them will buy and sell using the real cash auction house they make money. They make money when you list something, they make more money when you sell something. They do not need to buy or sell anything, they just sit back and collect when you do. How do you this ebay became huge? The same exact way.
4) Make Money Off The People Making Money Off You:
- For years and years the gold sellers sold gold, items, etc and made a fortune on it. So much so that there are new companies popping up all the time to do it. There is a large market out there. By adding this system they are no longer fighting them, they are employing them. Every time a gold seller sells gold, items, etc, Blizzard will get their cut. Better then trying to stop them, make them work for you.
5) More Subscriptions:
- To take advantage of this real money system I would not be surprised if they charge an additional fee to list real cash items for sale. Maybe not buy, but list. This means they will be making more money from subscriptions. Not to mention from all those gold sellers that want to do it legal and collect their checks now, they will now need a real account under their own name, paid legally.
6) Employ People:
- I can assure you that there will be some people that will quit their job and just grind on WoW selling things if this happens. I can easily see making 1000 a week selling stuff for cash on WoW with little to no effort. For some people, that is a hell of a lot better then what they are making now. While talking to a friend yesterday we joked that I picked 12 stacks of whiptail while waiting in dungeon queue, if only the real cash system was here I would put them up for 5 bucks each and have made 60 dollars real cash while waiting for my dungeon. 60 for doing nothing? I'll take it, thank you. 420 dollar per character, per week? Insane money if the stuff actually sells.
7) Keep People From Breaking The Rules:
- Are you aware of the amount of people that buy gold? Neither am I but based on the number of gold selling services out there I would guess many people buy gold. With that said I am sure many people get caught too and get banned from the game. If they buy and sell stuff out of game, then those people will buy and sell stuff in game. If they are buying stuff in game then they are not breaking the rules which means Blizzard has no reason to ban them meaning they are still a paying customer instead of banned rule breaker they make nothing off of now. It is good for business when you are not forced to ban people that pay monthly. Another good for business point and lets pop up a reminder boys and girls, they are in business to make money.
8) Allow People to Play Catch Up:
- People with money will be able to play catch up just by spending. This makes them enjoy the game more feeling there is less of a grind. It makes the people selling the stuff happy being they are making money. It makes Blizzard happy to take their cut. It makes raiders happy because they can sell the stuff they do not need that is BoE that drops and still get their BoP stuff from bosses which is better in most cases and would allow them to extend their epeen still, maybe even more. It makes everyone happy.
9) People Will Play More:
- The longer this is out the more people will try to make money with it. This will drive prices down of course but it will in turn keep people playing longer. People farming raids for BoE drops means more pugs running which means more people getting invited to clear content, which means more people being happy playing. Happy players spread the word. Happy players will get their friends to play. Happy players let everyone know. Money makers will tell others this is a great way to make money. Money spenders will tell others this is a great way to spend money. Those that are not making or spending will be able to take part in a much more active community because of it which means they will be doing more being happier and telling others how active it is which is always a selling factor to gaming.
10) Gold Making Opportunity:
- For those that do not buy and sell you can still take advantage of this. I can see it already. /2 Hiring top players 1000g per hour, Firelands trash. RL keeps drops. You might not have the money to spend or want to sell stuff, but you too can make gold in game by helping someone else that is trying to make money selling. I would not mind making 1000g per hour for playing when I am going to play anyway.
11) Transfer Fees:
- When money is involved some people will pay and pay huge to get what they want. I can see people advertising on the forums looking to pay for the underwater mount that is bind on use. Say they offer to pay something outrageous like 1000 for it. Someone on a different server that has it will make a level 1 alt, pass it to them, server transfer, and sell it to them, then delete the character. The seller makes money, the buyer gets its item and blizzard gets the listing fee, the selling fee and a server transfer fee. Yeap, Blizzard will love this.
12) Speaking of Transfer Fees:
- There will be some people that will continuously transfer to low pop server, farm the crap out of them, open a guild back and fill it and then transfer to a high pop server or any server where the prices are higher, real cash wise, to sell it. I can see people rotating like with with many characters. This means lots and lots of fee for Blizzard and I am sure they will not see this as a problem at all. Between server transfer fees, faction transfer fees, guild transfer fees, all from people looking to make money selling for real cash which would get even more fees, this is going to be a cash cow.
13) Don't Underestimate Micro Transactions:
- Take farmville for example. Last I read the thing pulls in over 5 million a week for a game that is not even 1% as complex as WoW was to code. Even with small numbers there is a lot of money to be made. Again, look at ebay, a billion dollar company that does not buy or sell anything, it just collects its cut, a micro transaction of you will. There are 100s of games out there like that. Ones that live off micro transactions. I used to be a mod for one and have two friends that own micro transaction games. I know the numbers are insane sometimes, first hand. I've seen people sign up for one of those games and spend 2K in their first day. Not kidding. Micro transactions can make a ton of cash.
I can see a lot of drawbacks to this as well like tons of people farming herbs, ore, leather, making it a bit harder to gather for those that gather for themselves but in the end it will all equal out. The more people farming to sell, the lower the prices will go and sooner or later inflation in the game will be down because the market will be flooded with everything you could imagine.
Personally I like the idea of selling for real cash and would be selling everything I can get my hands on for real cash. While I do not need the money, so to speak, there is no such thing as having too much money. I'll sell everything I can. Even if it means stacks of herbs 1 dollar each. If I do not need it for anything then it is still 1 dollar more then I had before. More is more no matter how little that more is.
The biggest drawback for me is the fact I do have money. Which means I will spend it. How exactly is that bad? Well, I enjoy the hunt, the grind, the earning items even if the random number generator hates me. If I saw the polearm for 50 dollars I would buy it in a heartbeat. With that said, once I have it there is no reason for me to do trash runs on my hunter ever again. This is a bad thing. Good thing I have a million 85s to keep me active if I wanted to.
I see this coming to WoW and I see lots of people being upset by it as well. One thing I see that I doubt other will see at first look is that in the long run this would be good for the game as a whole. It will make money for blizzard, all but wipe out illegal gold and item sellers, and even let some people make some real cash while playing a game they enjoy. Sure, there are some drawbacks, but I think the pluses outweigh the minuses in this case.
The question is not if this will happen, the question is when.