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The $5 Glass of Water December 30, 2009

Posted by bitchwantstea in Tech / Science.
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Restaurant City

The BBC has just announced virtual transactions in gaming could be worth five billion dollars in the next five years.

This should come as no surprise if you’re a Restaurant City addict, like us.  It’s three o’clock in the morning, you’re tired, and – goddamnit – you just have to buy those vanilla sticks to complete your perfect virtual dessert…  Even if it means parting with some very real cash.

Sounds ridiculous?  Microtransactions are serious business, accounting for an unspecified but undoubtedly large chunk of Playfish’s (the creators of Restaurant City) bank balance.  Unlike your typical boxed game product, flash games like Restaurant City are free – but if you want to get ahead, it often means opening your wallet.  The key is not only giving you incentives to buy – such as in-game items you can only purchase with real money – but also making the transactions small and as unnoticeable as possible.  A few dollars here, a few dollars there…  Putting down five dollars for a mushroom shaped seat (hey, it looked cute, okay?) might not seem like much, when you add up these small transactions over several months, across millions of players, you end up with a lot of $$$.

Even if we manage to burn everything that comes within a five mile radius of our oven in real life, in Restaurant City, our tuna fish cakes will always be perfect.

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