Video game companies should consider transferring their property rights on their players account at the benefit of their users.
In allowing them to be able to sell or trade with other players eager to do so, video games companies will reply to a current players desire.
Currently, video game publishers are the owners of the accounts created by their players.
Seeing a player account like a marketable product is not exceptional: Look at the shares we are commonly exchanging and trading on financial markets. Those titles gain or lose value since their first date of issue and there are no more, no less, the « Life Points » of any quoted company.
In this idea and if we keep the equities activity for example, we could even imagine the exchange of player accounts between rival companies: a Blizzard Account could be exchanged for a Trion one for example, a Gameloft for an Electronic Arts…
However, I will stick on the simple free-trading and purchase of player accounts of a same publishing company.
Practices are that account selling exists on Ebay and on any lambda specialized/guild forum. Moreover, guides have been made on “How to sell an account” (still illegally)…
When there is a demand, a service must be set up: In doing so, companies will literally earn money, improve their acquisition and retention rate (They would see their retention rate fall more slowly over time).
In addition with a legalized account selling system, royalties and/or tax would come into play for the exclusive benefit of the company which will secure the process between two players.
Another benefit is the assurance of a longer life expectancy for a game which is one of the strongest assets for talking about profitability and brand spread.
Also, a players account free-trading system would provide a game a cyclical and generational rotation of its players. On the other side, players will see their time and money put in their game like an investment.
Our current system is not anymore answering to a player’s demand:
Currently, when a MMO is launched, a players community is created (or has been already created during the alpha phase of the game development or even earlier).
Immediately the players begin to pace as fast as possible all levels offered by the game and between 3 to 6 months it’s done!
Once done, this community is located at the top and players get by among themselves, held by the end game content (PvP – Dungeons – top notch Item collection) and their “social” inter-activities they may have created. However, the game’s erosion is gaining ground and the “first time” players get tired …
Players are of course lobbying for more content at the risk of seeing them deserting and spreading negatives declarations about the game through different specialized forum. It’s a well-known fact: “A player is the less patient customer you can encounter and one of the most demanding even if it’s free!”.
So our first generation of players is complaining and get bored… added to that, they are experimenting a growing frustration by the fact that they have wasted their time! They can’t sell their account they have invested in, not even giving it for free to a friend or their guild.
Proving this, usually, the same complaint can be read on forum for every game which has known benefits: ““They” have made profits on my back and lifetime!”
We can accept the idea of them being frustrated. Indeed, if the game is a success, its mainly because a tremendous number of players are playing at it, talking about it and enlisting friends and strangers seduced by the eulogistic critics, guides and other “builds” they have read from them. Finally, a player is part of the marketing system and should get a benefit for being a recruiting machine.
“Time is money”: In the future, next trials could be about the “stolen” lifetime spent in a virtual game and for which a lawyer is demanding a financial reparation for the player he is defending. Indeed, when you are playing, you are not creating, learning nor producing anything which could have improved your life mode. Moreover, gaming is a new addictive behavior, a toxicity against which parents can blame a game publisher for having disrupted their son studies and corrupted his professional future.
Now, to prevail such problems, a company should plan several means allowing a player to get a compensation for the time he has spent on its games.
At the time when we are talking about Gamification, investing time in an online game should allowing players to draw a kind of “retribution” that will generate enough satisfaction for them.
If we are considering a Gameplay approach now, generations of players keep coming cycle after cycle.
For newcomers, the whole players population majority has deserted the early stages of the game. They found themselves faced with the loneliness of the player arrived on the late or who has missed the first train.
Dungeons of the first levels still require a pack of players to complete and newcomers don’t have the mass players benefit came numerous in the release time of the game. They are often thrown against the indifference of the higher level players who consider them like “noobs”.
Few times mercy prevails after our new “hero” has been reduced to beg for assistance. Then, a big level character rush the dungeon for him: There’s no taste and pleasure. There’s no heroic memory or feeling for being just the spectator of your “epic” journey.
Even, if a newcomer is willing to accept this situation (for which he will have to renew several times), he has to reach the highest levels, mainly alone and learn “Strats” and “How to play” on sites in order to hope being part of a guild or just considered by the veterans.
If a player has spent too many strength and times for achieving his first goal in joining the highest rank of the game, a bored feeling has also made its way in his heart and in his mind “All of this spent, done and accomplished at the cost of other things, for only getting this… a 80+ level???”
Some are giving up shortly after and you won’t caught them again easily in a MMO.
So if those players were given the possibility to purchase an account from a veteran player who has resigned, they will immediately reach the highest level and more easily able to incorporate a large community. Then, they will have plenty of time to create a « reroll » and discover the low and medium level at their rhythm without having the necessity to chase this “noob”sticker.
Going back to the financial advantages of a free-trading system…
… and consider the surprising financial potential of the players guilds and their interest in getting back some of their deserting account members in order to redistribute them among their members or keeping them active for the perks and options they are offering to the guild (i.e: craft of a specific item) or simply for sharing the treasures hoarded by the leaving player.
Also, some player accounts will acquire added value in a such way that they will earn a kind of celebrity status.
Acquiring these “Stars” accounts for a purchaser will lead to a collection habits which is a strong addiction! (“Look, I have acquired “Parcifal, knight of the dawn!!!” – So lucky you are…!”)
Free-to-play games are in my sense, the best positioned in providing such services. They are not under the obligation of a monthly subscription.
In freeing the use of rights on the accounts created and by implementing safeguards to avoid torpedo of abuse that may unbalance the game (the ban will still be possible as the statement of conduct will stipulate it), companies offering free-to-play games will ensure the renewal of the players “horde” and a stronger durability of their game.
The first company which will go for such system will automatically gain advertising in doing so.
The company will also minor drastically parallel circuits which currently see the sale of accounts on “black market” and generating funds where there were not.
For the players, all the money invested won’t be anymore lost, or at least compensate. It will now only depend on him to sell as the best he can his player account and the lifetime and capital he brought in it.
The free-trading of player accounts will bring a system that has seen the heyday of capitalism and the development of modern society… because what is a MMO if it isn’t a societal paradigm which we hope the longest possible financial longevity.