128: Virtual Item Sales

Christina Gonzalez

New member
Aug 27, 2007
Virtual Item Sales

"However, in 2004, things changed. Powell and Williams launched a premium subscription service, which granted players several bonuses, along with a sponsored downloadable toolbar. At the same time, they introduced banner ads. (People who paid for the premium subscription didn't have to look at the ads.) The community rebelled at the broken promise, but the designers claimed the ads were necessary."

Christina Gonzales documents the commercialization of Neopets.



a samurai... devil summoner?
Nov 7, 2007
right, and i want to say that it's not that new.

Flyff does it as well, but with unfair disadvantages. But only that way, will they get money, lots of it.

anyway, the promise of no ads, just immersive ones and some others, and declaring it's a 'vow' is a great way to kill your game or website, for that matter. As is in the article, if you grow continuously all day, you will shoot yourself in foot. Because largely, those things cost money, and only money will keep it alive. Sad, but oh so true.

But it seems the ones that created neopets went for the money shark, and should being feeling ashamed of themselves. Seems like the yabandoned dignity for a money blow job. But hey, who doesn't want those $160 million cash? I would take it. But then i wouldn't make such a 'vow', which is broken to such small pieces, it's irreversable.

Anyway, i'ma change gear and say that micro transactions are very popular with those 'free' MMORPGs. Mainly because users seemingly spend more money on it(i heared this, don;t know if it's true, just notifying). also, it has those exp boosters, which you want if you don't want to be stuck in it. But i'd rather pay for a rela game, like pokemon, at least i'm getting something good for my money.

I'm digressing though, But i don't think they will keep their promise of 'non-broken game with cash shop items', cause the only way to get the money out of people, is giving them an unfair advantage. But you're still better off throwing your money in a river. Just as wastefull... Allthough, videogames are wasted money anyway. But at least pokemon will be fun for me.


New member
Sep 14, 2007
I used to go on Neopets. A lot. I was fully addicted and obsessed with it. I like virtual worlds full of interesting things and other people, it's also why Pokemon, Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Runescape hit me so hard. None of those obsessions were too long ago, either.


New member
Nov 15, 2007
Hmmm. How sad. I used to, a while back, go on Neopets, but I stopped, before all the really heavy advertising in 2007, and I'm glad I did. Is there nowhere left for children to go without being bombarded with adverts that encourage them to mither their parents?

This sort of event is of course unstoppable, as companies want money; Who doesn't want easy money? It is, however, a sad reflection on what soceity has become.


New member
Oct 28, 2007
When has ANYONE ever done anything for free? Other than the philanthropists of the 19th century and early 20th i can't think of any...

Bandwidth costs money, content generation costs money. As a site becomes more popular it requires more bandwidth. Should be site developers work full time and pay for all that bandwidth? Is it better to limit the number of players to a sustainable level? Would these sites be as good if they were limited to 1000 players so the devs can keep it free?

The problem is that MMO developers - or at least the people who run them - don't UNDERSTAND the players.

Look at Star Wars Galaxies - when they got rid of several classes people lost alot. Its not just like pressing reset on a console game. Its more like someone coming into your house and shooting your dog.

With Neopets and the like its like being a KID and someone coming to shoot your dog.

Revenue generation is a necessary part of a 'free' game. However as shown you have to be very careful with changes you make.


What people should be angry at is not that they are trying to make money but that they do stupid things like giving paying players an advantage. How could they not see this would cause a backlash?

On the other hand the WHOLE POINT of the content you pay for is to make money sp if it doesn't give an advantage why bother?

A difficult balance.