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.The company told its community: â€œAlthough earning and winning spins are great new ways to spend more time [playing Squeal of Fortune], thatâ€™s not enough for the impatient among us!â€It does not appear that the microtransaction system appears anywhere else within the Runescape power leveling, 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 â€œbetrayedâ€ by the new policy.
In 2007, Jagex removed certain aspects of Runescape to stamp out â€˜grey marketâ€™ 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 Â£3 and Â£10 per month.Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard previously branded microtransactions â€œa stealth taxâ€, 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 â€œcould possibly be introduced, providing our audience is happy with itâ€.
Some player said â€œI know that Runescape isn’t the most respected and admired game in the world, but it has always been a nice way to kill some time for meâ€¦But when you play a game for a while, it really sucks to see that all the progress you have made the last few years now suddenly could be made in less than a week, if you just have the money for it. The rule against real world trading has been one of the oldest and most respected ones in this game, and now, out of nowhere, they now they not only allow it, but do it themselves during Runescape powerleveling. And the “squeal of fortune” affects every part of the game.. it has almost no limitations. The rewards are huge cash prizes, some of the most expencive gear and lots of experience points which players might have to spend years to achieve.