Paying for extra game content is becoming an increasingly common business model. It makes a lot of sense, really, and it keeps games like Puzzle Pirates away from subscription fees for those who would rather play for free – and lets those who don’t mind shelling out the cash do so too. (Though if you spend $1400 in month on Farmville odds and ends, you might have a problem.)
World of Warcraft hasn’t done a lot of this, probably because they already charge a monthly subscription fee, and because selling anything that gives some players an advantage would certainly cause an uproar. But vanity items are something else entirely; after all, it’s not going to improve your gameplay at all to have a cool pet, but if you really want a Pandaren monk trailing after you, you can plop down $10 for the privilege.
For those of you not familiar with the game: Particularly with so many players hitting the level cap and grinding away at end game content needing new goals, collecting mounts has become a popular past time – especially since most of the really cool looking ones are really hard to get (if not nearly impossible).
Enter the best money-making idea I’ve seen in a while: the Celestial Steed. It’s a sparkly pony. That flies. And it doesn’t take endless hours of grinding to obtain – just a credit card number (and a willingness to part with $25). Within a couple of hours of going on sale on April 15, the queue number (since you have to wait in line to purchase) indicates that Blizzard made a million dollars in the first couple of hours. Apparently there’s already at least 140,000 or so trotting around Azeroth.
Granted, the players are only interested in the vanity items because they’re spending so much time in the game due to the quality of the entire experience – but it’s still interesting to note that they’re making nearly the same amount on the sale of one of these mounts as on the sale of a single expansion pack.