RuneScape Devs Discuss Monetization, a.k.a., The $62,000 Question
Remember a couple months ago when the British government specifically called out Jagex in one of its reports on video games, due to a player who reportedly spent $62,000 on microtransactions in RuneScape? Jagex certainly did, and in response, the developers hosted a livestream last week to discuss both that incident and their plans for the future.
The video is embedded below, but if you don't have the patience to sit through it for an hour and a half, it's been helpfully summarized on Reddit. According to that, Jagex reached out to Parliament following the report of the $62,000 player, and the committee said it will get back to them with recommendations, though there's also a line that says "Rather than waiting for them to tell us what we need to do, we will look at what we can do to bring it back ourselves in line."
Jagex said that about 55% of its revenue derives from microtransactions -- higher than the "one-third" quoted in the report (memberships account for the other 45%) -- and that money is invested back into the game. In general, membership at its current price isn't enough to sustain the game, which leads to more microtransactions, which the staff views as optional. Overall, the dev team feels it needs to do better at communicating and hitting deadlines and plans to release a roadmap for 2020.
The video currently has about a six-to-one downvote-upvote ratio on YouTube and the responders on Reddit seem less than satisfied with the answers. This is especially the case when one of the mods, asked if Jagex is "milking" its players, responds with "I don't know why anyone would think we would be." I don't play RuneScape, so I won't speak to how its microtransactions are, but if someone's working in the gaming industry and doesn't think that players might have a negative attitude about a cash shop, I'd advise them to perhaps educate themselves, at the very least, so as not to appear flippant and dismissive of players' concerns.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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