Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Blizzard using Paypal?

About six months ago, Blizzard Entertainment added a new option to account payment for World of Warcraft: payment by Paypal. While this is extremely convenient, as it allows anyone with a paypal account to play World of Warcraft, something else occurred to me. Blizzard has “tried” since the beginning to deter the infamous “Chinese Farmer” population by requiring either game cards or US credit cards to pay for account subscriptions. With the advent of paypal subscriptions, this protection is gone.

Why has Blizzard done this? Well, there are a couple things I can think of. I’ve mentioned before that I believe Blizzard thrives on account sales and the gold trade, as it allows more players to access the game that wouldn’t otherwise. While Blizzard bans gold farmers in huge waves, the farmers often know when these waves are coming, and curtail their activities for a short period. The ban waves keep players happy and the gold trade continues.

What does that have to do with paypal? Well, before the paypal change, players who wanted to play on US servers had to be in the US or use prepaid game cards (or have a confederate in the US with a valid credit card). Paypal accounts are much easier to get and use than using a bank account in the US for a non-US resident.

So why make this change? Well, to get places to sell them, Blizzard offers discounts on gamecards to stores. The gamecards cost the same as two months of play time (purchased monthly) to the consumer, but blizzard makes more raw money from the subscriptions than the gamecards. So, why let companies that sell to Chinese farmers make money that is rightfully Blizzards?

Sure it’s a conspiracy theory. Sure it’s only founded partially in facts, and is a lot of idle speculation, but then again, it’s my blog :-p I don’t know if this was Blizzard’s plan, but if I were an executive at Blizzard, I’d be pushing for this kind of plan. It’s something that’s easy to deny on a corporate level and ignore. Oh well.

Up later, more discussion of the Dynamic Spawn System. If I had the skill to make an MMORPG, I would.

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