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Pay to Play Gaming

November 24, 2011

Pay to play (p2p), or pay for play, is often compared to free to play (f2p) gaming. There are more than 300 different websites that are currently offering pay to play services.   Pay to play refers to the situation where users pay money in order to access content or online services, often games. These games are often MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) where large numbers of online participants interact with one another in an online world.  There are several different ways that the companies behind such games set their games up. The first example is that the most popular online game, World of Warcraft (WoW). As of November 2011 there were more than 10 million paid subscribers playing WoW. Originally WoW required a monthly subscription fee of $14.99 for users to play. Users have the option of paying in one month, three month and six month segments, with the costs rated accordingly.

WoW recently released a new subscription package that allows players up to level 20 to play for free. These players are limited in the amount of gold they can collect and the in game actions they can participate in, and essentially play a basic version of the same game.

WoW has adapted their payment options depending on where in the world the player is located. For example, in China many users play WoW in internet Cafés. The CD keys that are required to play the game can be purchased independently of the software package. Gamers then have to purchase prepaid game cards that allow for a certain amount of time to be spent playing the game and a monthly fee model is not available.

Other Massively Multiplayer Online Games have different payment platforms.  For example, Runescape, a game that I spent hundreds of hours playing as a child, has a free version of the game that users can play indefinitely. They can level their character up until all of their stats are maxed out at 99. However, users have the option of paying to access the “members” content which increases the size of the game world and the numbers of activities in it substantially.  Runescape memberships are available to be purchased in Canada through several methods. Users can purchase a membership card in one of many stores that has a code that can be redeemed online for P2P status, they can pay online with a credit card, pay by SMS message or several other options.


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