Is RMT (Real Money Trading) bad?

thumb - Image 1For years, a debate has raged between players, game publishers, and ‘gold sellersÂ’ about the legality of RMT and its impact on games. Many people strongly believe that RMT is bad, that it goes against game rules and impacts in-game economies negatively. Publisher end-user-license-agreements essentially state that everything about the games they publish belongs to them; you (the gamer) have no rights.  Selling a virtual item to someone for real money is said to constitute an infringement of publisher property rights. Anti-RMT groups claim that RMT floods the market with excess currency and causes inflation.

But what's the truth, is RMT as damaging as some would have you believe? Read on to find out more.

For years, a debate has raged between players, game publishers, and ‘gold sellersÂ’ about the legality of RMT and its impact on games. Many people strongly believe that RMT is bad, that it goes against game rules and impacts in-game economies negatively. Publisher end-user-license-agreements essentially state that everything about the games they publish belongs to them; you (the gamer) have no rights.  Selling a virtual item to someone for real money is said to constitute an infringement of publisher property rights. Anti-RMT groups claim that RMT floods the market with excess currency and causes inflation.

But are these claims really valid? IÂ’m not so sure they are.  RMT emerged as a player-to-player activity and today, one third of the player base is actively engaged in RMT. DoesnÂ’t that suggest that RMT may, in fact, be an important component of online gaming?

Players are first and foremost, human beings. They may start out as simply “customers” but, since these games rely as much on “user generated content” as they do on game mechanics, and are as much real time social environments as they are games, the contribution players themselves make to the experience is crucial.  It ultimately determines the success or failure of the game. Good games are ones where many players are deeply committed to the game, both financially in terms of time and money and emotionally in terms of passion and creativity.

As humans, we strive to get ahead. We seek reward in all things, even if itÂ’s intangible, like happiness. We like freedom of expression. We gather material goods. We create things. We find satisfaction in accomplishment and ownership. These are simple truths about humanity.  Is it any surprise that gamers bring these proclivities to online games?
And isnÂ’t it a good thing that they do? After all, these are the tendencies that make us passionate about our likes and dislikes, and drive where we spend our time and money.

I enjoy the many creative and humorous guild and character names. So, who owns them?  The players who created them or the game publisher?  Who owns the playerÂ’s in-game reputation, their legend of accomplishments? Who owns an in-game “friends” list?

RMT may, in fact, be crucial to the long term success of online role playing games. Generally speaking, these games require players to invest significant amounts of time in the game in order to progress. This is good for the companies that sell the games. They benefit in two ways; it takes the player longer to churn through the existing game content (from the publisherÂ’s perspective it is expensive to create new content so slow usage is good), and since they sell you usage based on a monthly subscription model, again, slow is good (you subscribe for a longer period of time).   RMT is simply the player communityÂ’s response to the publisher strategy of making everything require a great investment in time.  If you donÂ’t believe me, just look at the number of players opting to buy already made game accounts, or paying others to play the game on their behalf to increase their character experience levels, or buying virtual currency for real cash, rather than earning it themselves by doing repetitive in-game tasks.  How many reasons can you think of why players might chose to do this?  The truth is, there are as many valid reasons as there are people on the planet.  Is there anything more personal or more valuable than oneÂ’s own time? ItÂ’s called life. No wonder so many players prefer the benefits provided by RMT.

 In real life, when we do not have the time or ability to accomplish a task, we pay someone else to do it - plumbers, doctors, carpenters, and the like. They offer their services in exchange for a fee. How is RMT any different?

I understand that some RMT companies use hacks and cheats and DO negatively impact the games.  There are good and bad people in all walks of life. The solution is to support RMT companies that operate with strong ethics and honest business practices, those that offer fair pricing, provide real guarantees, practice high levels of customer services, and have good channels for complaints.  Perhaps the best of the lot is www.GameXP.com.

Simply put, there is no law that prohibits the sale of RMT services.  IÂ’m a proponent for fair trade, free markets and the convenience of RMT.  I donÂ’t like monopolies which are what the current paradigm promotes.  I want the choice to spend my time and money as I choose.  The value of that canÂ’t be measured.  WhatÂ’s your opinion on this?

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