Everquest 2 Introduces It’s Own Greed Steed
Well, it was bound to happen at some point wasn’t it? Today a nice little email popped through my cyber mailbox promoting SOE’s new purchasable mount for Everquest 2 called the Prowler (there are actually three varieties, Ethereal, Ulteran and Sinister). And guess how much it costs? Yep, $25.
I don’t really know what to make of the Prowler other than it’s a rather unoriginal and obvious attempt to cash in and copy Blizzard’s success with the Celestial Steed. It doesn’t really bother me or excite me and it probably won’t make as many waves as the Sparkly Pony did so I guess you could say that I’m pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. Funny how the idea of a $25 mount doesn’t even spark an emotion in me anymore.
If anything though this action marks the dawn of an era many MMO gamers feared the most: the rise of the mega-transaction. It’s here in force and it’s going to stay. Online shops for the purchase of additional little “goodies” via micro-transactions have been around for a while now but with the arrival of the $25 Celestial Steed and it’s staggering profit, Blizzard managed to open a Pandora’s box, setting a precedent for all other games companies to follow. It’s never going to end now.
I suppose the real question is whether or not the profit from these items is being used to fuel the continued development of the MMOs we love or if it’s just cold cash that’s going straight into the pockets of the money-men at the top. Whilst I believe (and hope) that some of the revenue being generated is being pumped back into the original product to help sustain it, I can’t help but be cynical and imagine that it’s probably quite a small percentage. I’d love to be proven wrong (and maybe it’s more likely in the case of EQ2) but I’d be curious to see how much of the millions of dollars profit earned by the Celestial Steed went back into the development team behind WoW. My guess is not that much.
On a final note, I’d say that these mounts are more feline than equine so I’m going to be the first to coin a gimicky name for them: the Cash Cat (clever huh?). So who’s with me? Who’s going to take this term and make it synonymous with the EQ2 Prowler?!… No one, eh? Fine… be that way…