How long before we see actual money in Xbox Live games, a la Farmville?

Just been reading about the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare online multiplayer…

As you might have read, Call of Duty: Black Ops not only rewards XP in multiplayer, it also rewards CP (“CoD points”). CP is your main currency for unlocking gear and content. Everything in multiplayer costs CP to unlock — killstreaks, new guns, even layers and symbols that can be used to create your own emblem and logo. So CP, while plentiful (especially when you’re good), is important. Losing it in wager matches puts you further away from getting whatever items or unlocks you want.

Wager Matches are a special gametype in which you actually “bet” CP on your performance. Every player that enters a Wager Match antes up a certain amount of CP (it was around a hundred in the matches I played, though if enough players chose a menu option to “double down,” it got doubled for the match). With that total, you’re basically betting that you’ll come in the top three of that match. If you finish in the top three players, you get more than you anted, and if you’re not in the top three (“Out of the Money,” the game calls it), you lose your ante.

That means that if you’re not good, you can lose CP quickly. “One in the Chamber” gives everyone one bullet, and while you can earn another bullet with each kill, a miss leaves you stuck with the knife. Most players would simply fire off a bullet as they ran at each other, and then knife fight to the death if they missed. I sat firmly “In the Money” during these matches — as a pretty good pistol shot and an even better backstabber, I always had a few spare bullets to fire.

The above article highlights some of the features in the new Call of Duty game. Notably, that you can wager ‘CoD Points’ to buy or attain new things in the game. This is similar to the model of Farmville, but Farmville also successfully and sneakily allows you to use real money to buy items too. Sneakily, because it reels you into the game and starts an addiction with free content, which can only be completed and satisfied by spending money.

I’m betting if you could buy most Call of Duty Modern Warfare emblems with in-game credits, but had to spend £1 of real money to buy some kind of fancy animated emblem for your multiplayer identity, there’d probably be quite significant uptake. And with Xbox Live downloadable content so easy to pay for online, it wouldn’t be much of a leap for most people to start doing that. I reckon it’s only a matter of time.

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One Response to How long before we see actual money in Xbox Live games, a la Farmville?

  1. Anonymous says:

    You’re right.So many people think nothing of paying a few bucks for the latest ring tones or wallpaper for their mobiles.And with the number of people playing online (COD is awesome by the way), the game makers and console people are just a few steps away, like you say, from cashing in.Advertising has crept into game playing, and I’m sure other streams of revenue will surely follow.

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