Aggro Me: Final Exchange
Okay, this will be my final Station Exchange post for a long while and this time I mean it. I don't care if Sony starts letting you trade your newborn children in for an uber horse and 7 platinum, I'm not writing about it.
But, I felt I owed it to Sony to let you know that they did respond to two of my major concerns. One, no existing servers will be Station Exchange enabled. This is a departure from their previous statements. Two, there will be restrictions on transfers to Station Exchange servers. I still feel the Exchange will have a deleterious effect on the game and industry as a whole but I've said enough on that already.
There are also some interesting Station Exchange links going around:
Brad McQuaid from Sigil (producers of upcoming game Vanguard) states that this will not happen in their game. Good to know, since they are involved with Microsoft and there has been mention of Exchange type systems on the next-gen X-Box.
Mythic CEO, Mark Jacobs, goes even further in gaining my everlasting esteem by calling the Station Exchange "one of the worst decisions in the history of the MMORPG industry." Guess Smed won't be having him over the old mansion for dinner. And yes, I know Mark Jacobs has had his issues too but I like his writing style. He goes on to make a number of points, one being the possibility of increased lawsuits. Hmm...wonder if he reads Aggro Me because I made that predicition as well. Hi Mark! Nah, just kidding, it's so obvious that even a CEO can see it. Mark also makes a point I found quite interesting regarding the tax consequences of sellers who use the Exchange. How many sellers are really going to report their sales of virtual goods as taxable income? My guess is almost none. But guess what - the IRS (or your country's taxing authority) doesn't play that way. They are rumored to be cracking down on eBay sellers and they'll get around to this too, believe me. Do you honestly think there is any income that is not taxable? Can you imagine the headaches this may cause down the line for both sellers and game companies?There is also a well-written response from Smed at that same link.And for more, Smed, you can click here, where he discusses cross-platform games and chat and discloses that they are still working on the Station Exchange pricing system. And, if you play Star Wars Galaxies and you're upset that you're missing out on all the Station Exchange fun, grab your wookie and head over to this poll SOE is conducting about whether to bring the Exchange to SWG. May the Force be with you and all that.
This is an interview with Torrie Dorrell over at Computer Games Magazine about the Exchange, but be warned, some of it is dated already. As I stated above, they are no longer considering converting existing servers to the Exchange as the article states. Ah, consistency.
If you want more interviews with SOE peeps, here's Scott Hartsman doing one over at Allakhazam.
And to be fair to the pro-Exchange camp here's a well thought out argument from Come to Gaze against people like me who went bonkers on Sony. The article references Progress Quest, which I thought was a nice touch. In response, I'll just say I was mainly disgusted by SOE's blatant hypocrisy in my tirades. I don't have any problem with companies making Exchange type games, I just probably won't play them. I would prefer to play games that feel like an actual game, and not, as Mark Jacobs puts it, "an entertainment version of day-trading." And for those who make the argument that people with less time need a leg up - there is one. It's called Vitality.