Runescape begins first microtransaction experiment

Runescape begins first microtransaction experiment

By Rob Crossley

April 2nd 2012 at 2:23PM

Credits for popular minigame can be earned through achieving in-game feats or paying cash

Cambridge based MMO specialist Jagex has launched a targeted microtransaction system within a small section of the Runescape universe.

Runescape customers are now able to purchase new attempts to play a popular minigame called Squeal of Fortune; a game of chance that offers various in-game prizes.

Jagex has preserved the many chances to earn spins through standard progression within Runescape.

The company told its community: “Although earning and winning spins are great new ways to spend more time [playing Squeal of Fortune], that’s not enough for the impatient among us!”

It does not appear that the microtransaction system appears anywhere else within the MMO, though the company has now established a framework to sell virtual items.

The new feature has immediately sparked complaints from vocal Runescape players, of which many claim to have been “betrayed” by the new policy.

In 2007, Jagex removed certain aspects of Runescape to stamp out ‘grey market’ trading of virtual goods. The game is monetised though advertising and an optional subscription to premium features.

The subscription options available will cost users anything between £3 and £10 per month.

Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard previously branded microtransactions “a stealth tax”, though he may have been referring to how other games, unlike Runescape, implement virtual sales by prohibiting player progression until such goods are purchased.

Rob Smith, an executive at Jagex, last week said that a gentle introduction of virtual item sales over time “could possibly be introduced, providing our audience is happy with it”.