Nostalgia For Coin Op Video Games Doesn't Include Actual Money
from the this-again? dept
For some time, people have been hailing micropayments as the next big thing, and the savior for online content. Though there have been several attempts at getting people to pay small amounts on a per use basis (an article, a chapter of a book), most have failed. Still, that hasn’t stopped content creators from trying. Now a company is trying to apply them to online games, likening themselves to a video arcade, and asking users to pay $0.25 to play a game. But the economics of online games is very different from a video arcade. In the arcade there is a scarcity of machines, so prices help with rationing. There is also the high cost of the machines themselves, which have to get replaced from time to time, suck electricity, and need repairs. In the online world the marginal cost approaches zero and there is no scarcity. Though asking for a quarter isn’t much, when combined with the mental cost of making a per use payment, users will seek a free alternative, of which there are many. Instead of trying business models that impede internet users, companies should look for methods of leveraging free content instead.