Guild Wars 2 might be known for its buy-to-play model, but its small cash shop has been going strong, or so says NCSoft.
NCSoft's latest earnings call revealed a healthy amount of microtransactions in Guild Wars 2 since its launch last year. Managing Director Nah Seong Chan stated:
…when compared to our initial expectation in terms of the box sales and the item sales, we have seen very consistent and strong performance in this area, and we do believe that we will be consistent going forward.
Due to Guild Wars 2's unique pricing structure, its developer has been able to deliver a subscription-less experience without the inconveniences of free-to-play games. For example, the hot new free-to-play Neverwinter regularly asks you to spend money on in-game items, gives you a ridiculously low amount of inventory space unless you buy bags, and lets players purchase the best equipment in the game while other are left grinding for months.
The success of Guild Wars 2's pricing model is very important for the MMO genre. Subscriptions are fading out—although Square Enix doesn't think so with its Final Fantasy XIV re-launch—and free-to-play gimmicks are becoming the norm. Even the $200 million budet Star Wars: The Old Republic has become a headache after getting rid of its mandatory subscription fee.
Guild Wars 2 lets you spend money for in-game items, but the choices are limited. There are a couple minor conveniences like dyes to purchase, but much of the store is filled with affordable vanity items that have no profound impact on the game. That's how it should be done.