In a world where everyone is trying to mind their own business, social interactions have been reduced to likes and shares on Facebook and other social media platforms. The gaming business has, therefore, taken advantage of this preference to entice players to interact online. As a result, MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) have been successful with millions or thousands of players playing simultaneously. As much as gaming is enjoyable, sometimes the experiences have brought some players to tears. When a man spends $1.4 million on MMO character, friend sells it for $552, and the court intervenes, you can be sure that relationships will be severed. Let’s check out the facts of this incredible story.
Friendship turns sour
Some people do take their online characters seriously; hence, one Chinese man spent $1.4 million to develop his avatar for “Justice Online.” It must have been great because his friend asked to borrow it. Without a second thought, the man loaned the avatar to his friend, who continued to spend hours playing the game. Unfortunately, with his fatigue, he made a typing error in the character. Maybe he should have just confessed to the man what he had done, but instead, he tried selling it back to him for $55,138.
Of course, the audacity must have been heart-wrenching considering how nice the man was to lend his avatar to the player only to have him sell it back to him. The man refused to pay the required amount, but his friend did not return the avatar to him. He looked for someone else on NetEase’s marketplace to buy, and this time, the price had fallen drastically to $552. The friend got someone, but by now, the man who had loaned the avatar to him had taken up the matter to authorities seeking to get his money back. He, therefore, sued both the friend and NetEase.
Through an online mediation, the judge who heard the case ordered NetEase to cancel the transaction. However, the man’s investment of $1.4 million had to be returned in exchange for $12,789, the amount in damages to the person who had bought it in the marketplace. It was not a complete loss to the avatar owner since he had also purchased the avatar at around $550 before developing it to be worth over a million dollars. All in all, he must have learned his lesson about lending out any investment to a friend.
Is spending a million-plus dollars on a game alarming?
Some would say that spending a few hundred dollars in a year is insane, which makes you wonder where to rank those who will fork out millions on microtransactions. It could be an addiction to the game that leads players to keep spending money, even when they do not have any. For instance, in California, as reported by ARS Technica, one man could not keep his hands off the game.
However, instead of staying within his limits, he stole $4.8 million from his boss and spent $1 million on “Game of War.” The California man is not the only one to pay such huge amounts of cash. Another man in Houston, Stephen Barnes, spent $2 million on “Modern War,” while another in Australia spent more than AUS $ 220,000 on “Transformers” Earth Wars.” These amounts appear high even to the ordinary person, but you would be surprised to learn that even mobile game developers find such spending unusual. Still, it is these heavy spenders who keep the gaming industry going.
How heavy spenders affect the gaming industry
According to Venture Beats, those who spend ridiculous amounts of money make up for a small percentage of players willing to fork out cash in exchange for virtual goods. They are therefore referred to as “whales,” and the game companies give them specialized treatment since they have a huge impact on the firm’s revenues. Social whales do not spend a lot but cause other players to spend their money. On the other hand, VIPs like Stephen Barnes, influence others to spend while also spending a lot themselves.
Consequently, if they left, the game companies would take a hit not just in terms of money but also the fun would reduce, causing players to seek alternatives. Therefore game companies turn a blind eye to some of the rules that VIPs break. When Stephen led a boycott demanding changes to be made to the game to improve it, the company, Gree, listened. Stephen united with 6,000 players, 22 of whom are the games top players to boycott the game as they needed Gree to give back an item that the players had acquired for lots of money. Having seen that they would lose their whales, Gree responded swiftly by not only refunding the controversial purchases but also making a point of regularly communicating with its players.
Must you spend a lot of money to play online games?
Money does not come easy; hence, the hierarchy of needs has always been our guide in prioritizing our needs. With this realization, some online games are sympathetic to our plight; we need leisure but cannot afford it sometimes. Therefore games like “Justice Online” have enabled players to play for free for up to the 34th level, after which they can choose to pay for in-game hours, buy a subscription or spend in-game currency. In the past, you paid a subscription fee such that even when you do not play, you still get charged for their service. With these changes, you now only pay for the time you spend in the game.
However, sometimes you have to buy something if you want to get ahead in the game. Game companies are witty in that you will be enticed with the free-to-play option, but at a certain level, you are expected to pay to enjoy more of the game. Therefore, for those who spend millions, it is easy to conclude that it is their ambitious nature that leads them to become whales. Otherwise, being contented at the lower levels ensures you have fun without spending a dime.