Diablo III: exploited consumers

03Oct11

Yesterday I was having my usual nerd session, I read some articles online about videogame news, particularly about the world of the MMORPG. Of course, if you are a real nerd, you cannot miss any article regarding the new massive multiplayer game that is coming out soon from Blizzard: Diablo III. I came across this interesting article two weeks ago about a new feature Blizzard will introduce in its new game.

I want to start by saying that Blizzard is hands down the leader of this market thanks to its lucrative and supposedly awesome World of Warcraft. This news about Diablo III could be a good example of what I read in both chapter 5 and 7 regarding “creative destruction” and “exploitative labor practices” even though this time does not involve real employers such as EA_spouse.

Basically, they will introduce an action house in the game where it will be possible to sell rare items for real money (in a legal way). Every transaction has a fee that will go directly to the developer (Blizzard) and the rest to the seller himself. They also give the opportunity to access North American servers to everyone in the world. In this way they can possibly triple their revenues and overcome policy laws of other countries. Blizzard is taking a new step in the MMORPG world although the consumers are a little bit worried about it. As the article highlights “ is this an incentive to exploit cheap labor”? I would actually say “completely free labor” since they will make money without any virtual expenses.

As a customer myself, I see this decision as an act of creative destruction that ”fosters economic growth…it undercuts cherished human values” (McCraw 2007). It also makes the product itself hard to understand. Even though I understand the final goal for any company is to make money, I see this innovation as a very poor and dirty way to exploit users and make them simply money makers rather than consumers of a piece of art.

Fabio Monticone

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/09/15/video-game-auction-house-could-ensnare-video-sweatshop-workers

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