So, back in 2011 I was appalled to see an assortment of items listed for 5000 Gaia Cash ($50) during the first ever Black Friday Sale. Things have undeniably changed since I posted that little rant.
For starters, 2000-5000 Gaia Cash items have become pretty much the norm in the Cash Shop. Fine, I'll accept that. Gaia Online is a business after all.
But, here's the problem:
In my last journal entry I addressed the fact that the Cash Shop was originally established as a way to provide a more diverse selection of items for cash spending users to choose from as "rewards" for contributing to the site. When the Cash Shop first opened, 499 Gaia Cash was the highest cost for any one item. Back then, there was actually a fairly decent selection of items divided between price ranges of 25-49 Gaia Cash, 50-99 Gaia Cash, 100-250 Gaia Cash, and only a small number of items priced between 250-499 Gaia Cash. A short time later we started seeing the first 999 Gaia Cash Evolving Items and they were worth the then steep price tag because of the sheer number of wonderful and exciting poses we had to look forward to.
Then came the Chance Items. Love them or hate them, they're so profitable that they're here to stay. 149 Gaia Cash will get you a single and 999 Gaia Cash will get you a bundle of nine. The prices for these haven't changed at all, aside from occasional discounts knocking the bundles down to 750 Gaia Cash. There are also the occasional sets of items, several items priced between 199-499 Gaia Cash that can also be purchased together as a bundle for 999 Gaia Cash, usually with a bundle exclusive item as an additional incentive.
But then, late last August, something awful happened. Flynn's Booty, a 99 Gaia Cash gold generator that can generate up to 100,000,000 Gaia Gold was released into the Cash Shop. This evil monstrosity has been back almost every week since and spawned a 1000 Gaia Cash counterpart, Flynn's Chest, a gold generator that promises between 1,000,000 and 250,000,000 Gaia Gold. Bundles of Flynn's Booty are sold for 999 Gaia Cash for twelve and Flynn's Chest are sold for 5000 Gaia Cash for six, occasionally discounted at 750 Gaia Cash and 3500 Gaia Cash respectively. These gold generators have had dire consequences for the Gaian Marketplace. Gold Generators are unfortunately becoming another Cash Shop norm as Flynn's Booty and Flynn's Chest have been not-so-cleverly repackaged as Divinity's Reach, a 1000 Gaia Cash gold generator that will grant between 1,000,000-5,000,000 Gaia Gold OR possibly grant a rare re-released item. And, of course, 5000 Gaia Cash will get you a bundle of six. And then there was Santa's Super Sack, a 1000 Gaia Cash gold generator that promised up to 500,000,000 Gaia Gold OR a very slim chance of granting the coveted Angelic Halo.
Compared to the gold generators, re-released rare items priced anywhere from 250-9999 Gaia Cash, and even beyond, seem downright tame. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, the gold generators aside, the seemingly arbitrary pricing of re-released rare items has created a very different problem.
Remember when we used to get brand new items released in the Cash Shop?
In my previous journal entry I touched upon an issue that is incredibly well known to the exclusively gold spending users on Gaia Online, the monthly update to the Gold Shops and how compared to daily updates to the Cash Shop it seems like blatant, hostile neglect. Well, cash spenders are starting to feel the same way about the constant re-releasing and re-coloring of old items being sold in the Cash Shop.
But that's not the whole story. As of this writing, there are a grand total of:
4 items priced at 49 Gaia Cash, all of them zOMG! power-ups.
3 items priced at 50 Gaia Cash
9 items priced at 99 Gaia Cash, three of them are zOMG! power-ups, one is a chance item, and one is the Luck Key.
2 items priced at 149 Gaia Cash, one is a zOMG! power-up and the other is a chance item.
4 items priced at 199 Gaia Cash
5 items priced at 250 Gaia Cash, three are bundles of zOMG! power-ups.
9 items priced at 299 Gaia Cash, six are chance items.
4 items priced at 399 Gaia Cash
23 items priced at 499 Gaia Cash
1 item priced at 500 Gaia Cash
1 item priced at 699 Gaia Cash, an alchemy bundle that should be moved to The Bifrost.
5 items priced at 749 Gaia Cash
18 items priced at 999 Gaia Cash, two are chance item bundles and one is just a chance item. One is an item set bundle currently discounted at 499 Gaia Cash.
1 item priced at 1199 Gaia Cash
2 items priced at 1499 Gaia Cash, one is a chance item bundle and one is just a chance item.
1 item priced at 2000 Gaia Cash
1 item priced at 2499 Gaia Cash, it is a chance item bundle.
1 item priced at 3500 Gaia Cash.
1 item priced at 5000 Gaia Cash, it is a chance item bundle and is currently discounted at 2500 Gaia Cash.
Note that all those zOMG! power-ups are also available in Back Alley Bargains so they don't even belong in La Victoire. Aside from the January Chance Item and Bundle, none of these items are particularly new. Yes, there are some new re-colors hidden in some of those item bundles, but those are re-colors and don't really count as brand new items.
There really ought to be more simple, one-pose, items available for under 250 Gaia Cash as an option for those who want something cheaper than a Monthly Collectible. There should also be some more elaborate items for between 250-499 Gaia Cash, and not just Evolving Items and items that are part of a bundle set. There should be some even more elaborate items for between 499-999 Gaia Cash aside from just Evolving Items, Chance Item bundles, and bundle sets. The Cash Shop seriously needs more items that can be purchased directly in general. And there should definitely be a wider selection of genuinely new items.
Remember, cash spenders like to see a diverse selection of items at a wide range of prices that makes them feel like they really have a choice about how they are being rewarded for contributing to the site. Right now, those choices are sorely lacking and the prices don't always make a lot of sense. When all the choices are expensive, then it isn't much of a choice. And when there isn't really anything new to choose from, well that isn't much of a choice either. Cash spenders are getting increasingly picky about what they're willing to spend their money on. If you don't give them a desirable choice, then that's money that's slipping away from the site.
Don't just rehash past successes! Diversify the selection with fresh ideas!
Philosophical Inquiries & Random Nonsense
In a general sense I write when I feel like it about whatever interests me at that particular moment in time. Whether that means getting in character or writing about something serious depends entirely on my mood.