I was reading an article on Massively a little earlier about GamersFirst’s new merchant site. My interest, hey, where are you going??? Sigh. OK, well I hope you come back once you’re done over there.
Yay, you came back!! Right, where was I? Oh yes.
My interest was piqued largely because GamersFirst is the publisher of Fallen Earth, which is quite good, and APB, which is also a game that exists. That, and the quite extraordinary claim that appears below.
“GamersFirst’s Merchant Center : Two great ways to make money!”
Well, that sounds good. I quite like money. Tell me more!
Way 1: “Sell unique game items to your online visitors. Whether this is your first time selling game items or you already offer hundreds of game products, we have the right items for your customer demographics. We offer several great games in all key genres and many market-proven game items for each of them. Our team of experts will assist you every step of the way. Getting started has never been so easy.”
Way 2: “Sell unique game items and exclusive game perks to your café customers. For a limited time enjoy FREE access to our Premium Café Service. Offered only to gaming cafés this service provides every PC in your café an undisputedly superior gameplay experience than is possible on a home PC. After you’ve attracted players with your exclusive café benefits, upsell them on unique game items to maximize their gaming.”
Hmm. Those sound quite similar. In both cases, you’re reselling in-game items, but method 2 requires you to own a café.
Hold on. “this service provides every PC in your café an undisputedly superior gameplay experience than is possible on a home PC.”??? How wonderful!!! And this miracle can be achieved at no cost to your café (for a limited time). But what is stopping me from taking whatever is causing this superior gameplay, and using it on my home PC, bringing about a universe-threatening paradox loop? How is this free scheme creating undisputedly superior gameplay experiences, and why is nobody disputing it? I feel a dispute coming on, but first, lets try to figure out what this scheme actually does.
Once you’ve signed up you will have access to our exclusive Premium Café Service as well as our entire catalog of game items and currencies at bulk purchasing prices. Premium Café Service gives your café a distinct edge over both your competition and home PCs. The most loyal and valuable players will be drawn to your cafe, and from there you can choose to sell them their favorite game items for maximum player value and cafe profits.
All that is necessary to get started with Premium Cafe Service is a set of basic network details so we can connect your entire gaming cafe to our premium network. Since this this is an absolutely FREE service, there is nothing to pay. You simply need to set it and forget it.
Your players will have the best gameplay experience possible at your cafe. You can use this to your advantage to attract more players and to also raise prices. You are free to choose how to include Premium Cafe Service in your business model.
I see. So when you say “undisputedly superior gameplay experience than is possible on a home PC”, you just mean that the players might get a discount on your item shop. That’s not really what gamers are talking about when we talk about “Gameplay”. I believe you may be trying to confuse us by using buzzwords. In fact, that entire passage I quoted seems like an attempt to flimflam cybercafé owners into signing up for a service that is only free for a “limited time”, getting much-needed promotion for their stable of MMOs. Most of that stable, it might be said, should have been put out to pasture some time ago. This program is not going to allow you to sell customers their “favorite game items”, unless their favorite game items are inside GamersFirst games, which, when you put it like that, doesn’t really seem all that likely, does it?
Unlike our competitors, we don’t enforce any price point restrictions on our merchants. You are free to price them as your market dictates without any outside interference.
Well, that’s sure putting gamers first, GamersFirst. I don’t really trust the whole reseller part of the MMO market. It feels like an unnecessarily holdover from more traditional and material forms of trade. In an MMO, I already have a direct relationship with the manufacturer, so why would I want to buy through a middleman who would be extracting profit for themselves? More to the point, why does that make sense from the point of view of the MMO developer? I can see the benefit of selling cards in Walmart, so that relatives who are not internet savvy can get a present for their MMO-loving kin, but selling ingame items or subscriptions through a 3rd-party website seems utterly counterproductive to me.
It is ALWAYS supercreepy to listen to discussions between middle-men, as it is we who are usually the commodity and resource being discussed. Regular folks aren’t really supposed to look at merchant sites like that, where being able to overcharge us without oversight is seen as a positive. We might also wonder why home owners are being promised an undisputedly inferior gameplay experience to the cafe folks. Fortunately, I don’t imagine that claim has any more actual truth to it than the one it logically follows from.
Anyhows, there’s no deep meaning to this post. Marketing people write meaningless and deceptive guff that looks insane to anyone outside its intended audience. I just enjoy the irony of seeing it done by a company called “GamersFirst”.