Vote: Real Money Trading in Video Games?

Continuing our run of votes on controversial issues, here’s one that gets to the heart of a lot of the ongoing Diablo III debate. How do you feel about Real Money Trading in video games? In our vote about the D3 DiabloWikiAuction House a few weeks ago, support was mixed with RMT the sticking point for many, and the topic continues to bitterly divide many of our forum discussion threads, as well as filling online editorials.

It’s interesting that most (all?) of Blizzard’s comments about the RMAH have been defensive-sounding excuses or justifications. E.g., “People were doing it anyway, third party sites sell dupes/hacks and steal accounts, it won’t give that big an advantage to rich players…” and so forth. All those are arguably true, but they’re pretty timid. Did Bobby force this in and they haven’t really accepted it yet? Where’s the full-throated defense of a system they feel will bring benefits to a majority of players? “Time is money. RMT trading gives fair value to item finders, while enabling people with less gaming time to compete at a high level!”

I don’t entirely agree with that, and there are certainly counter arguments, but it beats the hell out of the spineless, “we can’t stop item sales, and it won’t be so bad” whining we’ve heard so far. For other such robust endorsements of the RMAH, and equally-assertive denouncements of it, check the upcoming DiabloWikiDiablo Podcast we recorded over the weekend. It should be posted later today.

That said, how do you feel about RMT in video games? Pick an option that represents your views, and we’ll get some community consensus. In my observation, a lot more people accept RMT and use it, buying or selling, than will admit to it in a forum post. Hence I think the results of this anonymous vote may give a lot different vibe than the generally-condemning public conversation on the topic. Of course I could be wrong…

How do you feel about Real Money Trading in video games?

  • 2) It's okay. Time is money. So long as the $ doesn't guarantee an insurmountable advantage. (35%, 1,673 Votes)
  • 5) Hate it. Real $ should have no place in video gaming power balance (29%, 1,405 Votes)
  • 4) Opposed on principle, but the D3 model is tolerable, since it's just player to player trading. (21%, 1,009 Votes)
  • 1) It's awesome. Money should afford advantages in everything, including gaming. (9%, 433 Votes)
  • 3) Don't know. Don't care. (5%, 246 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,766

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Last Poll Results

Our last poll got the most votes ever, though that’s not a big surprise since it’s a controversial issue, and site traffic is about as high as its ever been since the game’s debut back in 2008. As seems to happen with most of our votes on these big issues, you guys are quite divided: 41% like the always-online DRM vs. 40% who dislike or hate it. The rest accept it grudgingly or don’t care.

What do you think of D3’s online-only play requirement?

* 1) It’s fine. I’m always online anyway. (41%, 3,079 Votes)
* 4) Dislike. I’m buying a game, not renting it. (22%, 1,672 Votes)
* 5) Hate it. Will cripple my play opportunities. (18%, 1,350 Votes)
* 2) It’s okay if it stops piracy/hacking. (17%, 1,259 Votes)
* 3) Not sure/no opinion. (2%, 176 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,536

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39 thoughts on “Vote: Real Money Trading in Video Games?

  1. With regard to the results of the last poll.
    You add the two negative responses together, but don’t add the two positives.
    Shouldn’t you be saying:
    – 58% like or don’t mind the always-online DRM
    – 40% dislike or hate the always-online DRM
    – 2% don’t care.

    – Malignant

    • Yea I agree with Malignant.  Flux’s presentation of the data seems to reflect a bias against the always-online DRM.

      The community is not split at all. 58% find the always-online DRM acceptable… that is almost a landslide!

      • Oddly enough, I suspect that’s your view as well?
        60/40 on anything this major is close enough to be called a split community, but option 2 on the last one was a pretty grudging acceptance. If the option had been, “don’t like it but accept if it stops piracy” I think that would have gotten about the same votes. But would that have meant 57% opposed the DRM? I’d say it means more that 17% of people will tolerate anything for the sake of supposed security benefits if they’re not being personally ruined by it. As the TSA proves…

        • But what the guys here are saying is that if you just went with what was voted on and did not lump the results together: the votes for RMAH Blow away the 2 individual responses away clearly.

          Plus I would like to try to be in the next podcast since I grew up thru games that you could “Pay for Power”, cause a lot of what is going on in videogames is that. But the funny part is that a sometimes you hear a bigger uproar when people buy something and literally say “What?!?! I should be winning!! Why did I lose!?!?”

        • 60% is a landslide mate. David Cameron or Barack Obama will tell you the same thing.

          And well done on re-wording the poll option AFTER the pol has closed. Classy.

          FYI I voted option 2 on the always online poll

          • What are you talking about? 40% of the community disliking or hating a feature is a hell of a lot. Lets say this vote scaled to \real\ life and 10 million people buy this game. That would mean Blizzard is left with 4 million customers that are unhappy with a major feature of their game. That’s HUGE. 2 unhappy people per 3 happy people is a VERY split community.

  2. I chose option 4, since it’s not cash shop or anything like that in D3. I just hope they will allow RMAH in hc too, I have always liked hc more, and extra cash wouldnt hurt. 🙂

  3. I had a really hard time choosing between 4 and 2 as pay 2 win games where the items are sold by the publisher is an immediate deal breaker. But there are games with RMT aspects where you buy things that are not pay2win (league of legends comes to mind) and those are perfectly fine.

  4. Flux, you seem to have a problem understanding what the results of your own polls mean. “It’s fine” and “it’s okay” in the last poll are not the same as the respondents saying they “like” the always-online DRM. I picked “It’s fine” specifically because I don’t “like” it but I also don’t really care. In fact, you don’t have an option for people who like it–only people who think it’s fine or okay.

    There’s a similar problem in the new poll where you’re trying to pigeonhole the reasons that people do or don’t like RMT along with their degree of like or dislike. There’s plenty of reasons people might think it is bad or good other than what you’ve listed and you’re doing the poll a disservice by making it too specific. There’s a reason that real polls have plain <strongly like-like-neutral-dislike-strongly dislike> answer ranges and use the question (or questions) itself to inject whatever personality is needed.

    • I do miss the bitching about the poll questions, when I post innocuous polls.Much more fun when people are trying to push their own agendas by criticizing the wording. I commented on the last poll results to a guy above who said the same thing as you, though that’s obviously a subjective issue I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind about.

      I do feel strongly that 1-5 vote type polls wouldn’t work very well for most of the things we debate here, though. They’re fine for something boring like, “do you like the Witch Doctor?” but I try not to waste your time with bland crap like that. Furthermore, those type of results are unenlightening and lack nuance.

      Envision that 1 = love: 5 = hate type scale for this vote. Say we got 10/20/35/25/10 in results. What would that tell “us?  Some like, some dislike, most are kinda-neutral.” Well hell, we know that already! Boring!

      Besides, what would 4 mean on RMT approval? Either you’re a 5 and you don’t want it, or you’re some 1-3 level of approve/tolerate. 4 on RMT is like being “kind of” pregnant.

      The thing that’s interesting about this scenario is that D3’s RMT isn’t traditional p2w; it’s just player trading + $. So players can dislike RMT in general while still tolerating or even approving of the D3 system. Which is why I try to to craft vote options that grant insight into what people really think about issues, rather than just general mood ring BS votes.

      • I’ve yet to see any included but perhaps it would be fun to see the vote options from those who think the vote options in this poll are poorly chosen.

        • 1) Love it. I appreciate the enhanced security/integrity, and improved sense of community.
          2) Like it. I accept the need to enforce security, even if it limits options.
          3) Neither like nor dislike. I have no strong opinions for or against this requirement.
          4) Dislike it. I prefer more options, even if it compromises security.
          5) Hate it. I typically game on a laptop in subway tunnels and/or LANs without internet connectivity, rendering this game unplayable during the majority of my gametime.

          • Not sure how to edit posts here. #5 should be rephrased to “Hate it. I typically do not have reliable internet connectivity on my gaming systems, rendering this game unplayable during the majority of my gametime.” That covers the general spectrum of connectivity issues rather than limiting it to a few fringe cases.

            On a sidenote.. odd, there’s an “Edit” button for this post, but not my earlier one.. timout limited feature I take it?

  5. I don’t like paying for items.  The idea of you can’t beat ’em, then join ’em is lame.  The real reason Blizzard is doing it is to make $$$, plain and simple.  I think it’s lazy for people to buy good items.  You should either find them, or trade from a person who found them (legit).  Who’s to say Blizzard won’t dupe items, just to sell to people… money corrupts.   It would not surprise me for Blizzard to eventually charge to play online.  Right now they are setting us up for “online only.”  Soon you will have to purchase everything to play and be competitive.  The younger generation is duped into believing you have to pay monthly fees for access to good games or buy virtual items to be good.  The old school way is to actually play the game, master it and EARN the items you find. 

  6. @Flux Your pools are g8 exemple of manipulation 😉 I rly appreciate your work , but if u dont like something, just say it and dont use community votes to express your fillings 😉 In almost every news about RTM/online-only you’r trying to show how bad it is and how much ppl don’t like it, even if it isnt true. Chill m8 😉

  7. This polls would be best done with the typical 5 survey options of I like it alot, I like it, no opinion, I don’t like it and I hate it completely. Or go to the rating system for questions of 1-5 or 1-7 or something like that. Otherwise I like this site. IRS refreshing to see a site that doesnt fawn all over Blizzard and give them an ass kissing at the ame time. It’s very refreshing. I myself voted number 4 for this poll. As long as they never use it to introduce new items into the game in which they give an advantage I can deal. And if it helps rob money from te sellers of old, I’m happy.

    • See my reply above to thequt about why I don’t think 1-5 love-hate type opinion polls would work very well for most issues worth voting over. Especially not this one, due to how D3 is handling the RMT.

      • The poll you did was fine. It was just how you presented the voting together that was just a bit suspect. The people noting that proably dislike RMAH, but was pointing out how presenting the results in that way really did not help in certain ways.

      • I see it now Flux, thanks. Wasn’t there wheb I was writing my post. I see what your trying to do now though. Definitely makes things more interesting the way you do it with having a bit of a written portion.

  8. I really don’t like the idea of paying the developer/publisher for items, its kind of a dealbreaker for me. The way Eve is run, which is the closest equivalent to the currently suggested D3 model, I do wholeheartedly approve of.
    I expect the way I will use it is to never put any of my own money into it. I can sell items that neither me or my friends will be using for money and whatever I earn from that I will re-invest in items I can use. That someone wants to inject real money into me and my friends is kinda cool in my opinion. If it turns out that the RMAH is where the rare-item trading happens I want to partake in it, just like the forums of D2, but I don’t want to buy stuff there for cash, so I don’t see the problem with using whatever resource I get for the items I trade away to invest back into items for my chars. Its essentially item-2-item trading with an intermediary, just like in RealLifeTM 😛

    Oh and unfortunately I’m also getting a bit tired of the ever present Bobby-isms. Flux, you seem like a great guy and I value your opinion, but how about having opinion pieces not be mixed so much into all the other stuff, like polls? Kthxbye

  9. Well, the main point of argument was not in this poll: Is the game competitive, single player, or cooperative? D3 has these three parts to it, but we can see the cooperative as the minor one, by far. It is actually pushed to be casual. So to blame or to endorse RMT, this must be taken in account.
    For a Single player game, RMT works just like modding, it doesnt ruin anything, in fact it lets you play exactly like you want it. And benefits the producer, so all good.
    For a coop game, there is also a good side, stated by Blizz, that you can “catch up with friends and do more adventures with them” instead of doing MF runs previously. The bad side is the loss, or decrease, of the bragging rights. We’re coop-ing, but I always want that final blow, that carrier role, etc. How this will be handled is a bit of a question mark.
    Now, for a competitive or e-sport-like game, basically any purchase that gives an edge non-purchasers can’t achieve is a game-breaker. Wow has done (arguably) well so far, with the pets and mounts, and even with the Expansions, which all can give a bit of advantages to walk faster, have more loot available, but not definetely making you the best PvP’er or raider.
    Therefore in my vision we should trust Blizzard in this, cuz even if it proves bad, they’ll tweak so it won’t be game-breaker.

  10. Well i think this poll is lacking… why i hate voting… i would have to go with its Awesome, because time is money, and if it means i can make more money on bads that feel the need to actually spend money on a game that has no competitive side… Saying the $ may give people an advantage just seems hilarious to me… cause for one i am sure maybe years down the road it will, but what will that matter? Its to each there own, i would never actually spend more money on it and plan to make loads of money off of d3 to follow the thousands made off of wow, but this time without having to use 3rd party sites? Yes please.

  11. Curious why anyone here gets so upset about this always online thing or the real money… this will only help the game you enjoy playing progress, and also be safer. If anyone nowadays is not online 24-7 then maybe you should get out of your 3rd world country… if not i don’t see the issue there! People are always spending real money on games… but this time we get an easier chance to earn it back / give it back to the players? Yea sure it sorta sucks that the bads can get good gear possibly if they’ve got the RLM going… But it doesnt even change the fact that you would still roll right past them in the end.

  12. I have to say regarding the previous poll and what Flux commented about it: Although I choose that “I’m online anyway, so I guess it’s ok”, that doesn’t mean I’m all for it. It just means that it really wont affect me. But I do hate the direction gaming companies seem to be going and unfortunately see no reason why they wont stop going in that direction 🙁

  13. First time in a long time that no option fits me so i can’t vote.  It’s been implied before, and please don’t take this too personal, but your poll options have a knack for being biased and unbalanced.  You should imo rethink the way you make poll options, especially since you like to draw conclusions from them.
    And fwiw my vote for “Are you ok with RMT in games?” would have been “yes”.

  14. Option #1 on the RMAH poll is poorly written. It consists of two statements that have very little to do with each other. So while I agree that “It’s Awesome” I don’t think “Money should afford advantages in everything.” Presidential elections for instance, way too money-driven. The ‘including gaming’ caveat at the end is irrelevant because obviously ‘everything’ includes gaming.
    I realize that you are trying to make the polls dig deeper than “like or don’t like”, but it seems like ultimately all your references to the polls consist of exactly that: X% Like it, Y% don’t, and Z% don’t care. If that’s as far as you’re going to go in your analysis then that’s as far as you should go with the poll questions. Otherwise, you should remove the “like or don’t like” part of the poll entirely, and explore one aspect of the controversy (like the role of real money in online gaming) without trying to attach it to an overall opinion of the RMAH.

    Edit: #2 and #5 suffer the same issues, #1 was just the most immediately glaring to me.

    • Excellent point. Trying to merge “what you do or don’t like about something” and “how much you do or don’t like something” can cause a lot of confusion and misrepresentation. That’s a large part of the reason why serious polls will pose a question regarding a specific “what” and measure the “how much” for just that. In the case of collecting “whats”, the questions are typically of the “select all that apply” or “select the best fit” variety.
      However, these aren’t official or “srs” polls, so none of that really matters. As the poster above points out, attempting to justify conclusions based on malformed polls takes away from the site/organization’s credibility. That’s assuming the site’s credibility matters to those who make said conclusions.

  15. I really don’t care.  If someone wants to “cheat” they can do that.  Someone buying all the best gear at lvl 1 doesn’t diminish my gaming experience.   I don’t care if its sponsored by blizzard or done via the underground economy.  If the cheating leads to spamming, increased stealing accounts, botting that slows down servers then I’m against it though.  But that remains to be seen, maybe blizzard will get those under control?
    I mostly play singleplayer or with friends in private games and I don’t pvp much but if people are worried about pvping against someone with all the best bought gear, can’t you just inspect their gear and see what they have and then decide not to pvp them because they’ll destroy you.  If you use the matchmaking system you’ll be winning 50% of the games anyway, regardless of gear.

  16. Flux, in your “Diablo III’s DRM and RMT Spawn much Gaming Commentary” article, you shared a video which I thought was very informative.  While I respect that the video was about a different community and a different game, it seems as though the same conclusion would likely be reached; forum communities represent the smallest and most critical demographic of a given game’s player base.

    Assuming you watched the video in your own post, I would hope you’d have the honesty to acknowledge that your polls are likely biased very strongly towards being critical. Its because of this that I get frustrated when some of your articles reference past polls on the site as though the represent some sort of consensus amongst the playerbase.

  17. I chose #2 because it was the only non-douchey “I like” answer in the poll.
    It’s sort of pointless now to try to continue debating. Those who are willing to understand, understand already. Those who don’t won’t until after the game has been out for awhile.

  18. The answers need to be more objective in the future. Do you like DRM? Yes/No.  I can’t even answer the current poll because the answers put words in my mouth or are not the way I want to answer. I want a simple, “No, RMAH does not bother me.” I mean, is the poll asking how RMAH will affect PvP? because most of these claims of gaining an advantage could only really apply to that. For the average gamer who just wants to kill some monsters and get loot, it doesn’t really matter whether you get into a multi-player game and meet up with some dude who bought half his gear. I suppose the monsters you’re killing might be bothered since they’ll die so much faster, but they’re monsters and who cares about them?

  19. It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. After seeing the results of the previous week poll manipulated (again) in such a childish manner, I’m done with Diablo inc gamers. The problem it’s not the poll itself, I couldn’t care less. It’s becoming normal behavior to present personal opinion as facts on this site.
    I used to believe this site was a serious and informative site, but that’s just not true anymore. It should be crystal clear now to anyone with a bit of intellectual honesty, that this site has become nothing but Flux’s personal blog.

  20. Food for thought, note the post date:

    Posted 22nd Oct 2009 10:55 AM by Flux


    As for last week’s poll, we asked how you would be playing D3 immediately after the game was released, and while there’s no clear consensus, nearly 3/4 say they’ll be on, and most in multiplayer games. Let’s hope Blizzard’s new online service will be ready for that kind of server load from day one!

    4) Playing online with friends. 698 votes, 40.87%
    1) Single Player 467 votes, 27.34%
    3) Playing with strangers in public games. 321 votes, 18.79%
    2) Playing solo on 222 votes, 13%

  21. I would like to congratulate Flux on fantastic poll options with the latest poll. I think everyone will find one that really fits their opinions about it!

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