You may have noticed that the term “microtransaction” has been used less and less in recent months. While it describe the purchase of virtual goods that have, in the past, been around the cost of a dollar (sometimes less, sometimes a little more) it has given way to a term we prefer to use, “virtual goods transactions.” And with games like Urban Rivals selling virtual goods that cost $9.99 on the iPhone, you can see one of the reasons behind the change.
Urban Rivals, created by French publisher Boostr, is actually a freemium, online multiplayer CCG (collectible card game) that has players battling some very distinctive characters, leveling up, collecting more power, and vying for supremacy against one another. Starting only with a single set of eight characters, players must purchase booster packs to improve their deck. Up until now, however, such packs were purchased using an in-game virtual currency called Clintz that worked for both the web and mobile renditions of the game. Now, like many successful games in the past (i.e. Mobsters), Urban Rivals is looking to also expand to the iPhone.
This is where the pricing come into play, as Urban Rivals’ US and UK Marketing Manager Nick Witcher told PocketGamer. The traditional cost of cards cost anywhere from $0.99 to $40 worth of virtual currency based on the number of card packs you wanted to buy ($1 is one pack of three cards). This was all purchased through the Clintz currency, but Apple doesn’t actually allow for virtual currency purchases through its applications, even if it can bought for other renditions of an iPhone-connected title.
This difference forced Urban Rivals to get around the restriction by creating a storefront that made use of Apple’s in-app transaction system — charging for the cards directly using real money rather than utilizing the virtual currency to make purchases like it did in the web version. Obviously, such a system was needed to allow for fair play amongst all the different available game platforms. However, the $9.99 offer, a set of 11 booster packs, will be an exclusive deal to iPhone users, but will be coupled with only three character pack purchases for $0.99 as an alternative. Not to worry though, as players of game will still be able to earn all the in-game credits, through play, that they could before with Urban Rivals’ older platforms. They simply can’t buy them the same way.