Saturday, 12 May 2012

LOTRO: Best advertisement ever

Back when LotRO Europe was transferred from Codemasters to Turbine and our servers had just crossed the ocean, I remember an occasion when my boyfriend was standing in the kitchen and I was just starting up the game. He jokingly said something along the lines of "Imagine seeing an add saying "buy LotRO, now available from Walmart!"" I looked at my screen, turned pale and said "errr... you better check this out..."

We sat behind the screen giggling at the offer. Okay, let's buy a larger pack, that's always cheaper, right? ...right? Not in America!

1000 TP for 10 dollar!
Buy 60% more for 200% of the price! 

Err, wait... typical American business strategy? I sort of thought it was a mistake, but even after almost a year I still see this loading screen from time to time. I can only assume this offer is presented as intended. We all know the cliche of 'Americans being stupid', but surely even if this would be true, they would be able to make this calculation.

What do you think? Is Turbine incredibly stupid or just absolutely devious?


  1. Hm. I think it is them trying to be devious.

    What I mean is this, the moment someone comes to the forums making those calculations and complaining about the price, some Turbine representative would give a response among the lines of:

    "The Turbine Points cards we sell at Walmart and other retailers are an option we offer for those who don't want or can't use a credit card to buy directly from our store. Unfortunately there is a series of logistical problems, plus the profit margin from the retailers the price of the Turbine Points cards more expensive than in our in-game store.

    Despite that we think that small inconvenience is worth it so that our customers can have the option of getting their Turbine Points through their favorite retailer."

    Or something like that. I don't know if Turbine Points card is the official name either. In any case, no matter how bad anything is, you can bet there will be someone in the company trying to spin it as a good thing for the consumer. And there will be some people who will believe it.

  2. It's not a typical American business strategy at all. I have no idea if Turbine is being stupid or devious. Either option is completely viable. :P

    I made a blog entry about this screen when it first appeared. It was so weird for me as I was living in England but seeing advertisements for familiar stores pop up. It sort of made my brain go, what, where am I again? :P And now they've added UK stores which I'm familiar with but now I'm in the Netherlands. This time it makes me a bit homesick for England (I'm an American but also got my British citizenship.. so I dunno what my "home" is now, but I find myself missing England yet never really missed the US). :P

  3. Well, I live in Brazil so the whole idea of game cards or whatever category those Turbine Points fall into is still relatively new to me. I think nowadays there are some who are sold in LAN houses due to a local publisher. Maybe even for WoW too? I heard we have a local server nowadays....

    In any case, it is not something I am used to. So I don't know how a typical American business strategy would be on this case. My guess was more based on the staggering amount of game companies that seem to do some decisions that defy all logic and yet trying to spin as the best thing for the consumer.

    So I guess it is indeed them being stupid while thinking themselves to be devious....

    I guess I can relate to a certain extent. Like I said, it seems we have an official World of Warcraft server here nowadays. Even with translations to portuguese.

    I am so used to my country being completely ignored by game companies (with some reason too) that when I hear news like that I am like "Wait? Are you sure about it? Did I suddenly moved to another country and somehow all the names got confused? Maybe this is an alternate reality?".

    As for your homesickness I guess that is pretty much proof that England is your actual home. Every other place is just a location you lived or live in.

  4. Note that the 1,000 point card has a price in pounds sterling, not US dollars. ;) The 1600 for $19.99 is the same price as the in-game store, so there's no ripoff for American buyers here.

    Math nerd attacks!
    For the British, let's see...
       19.99 dollars / 1600 points = .01249375 dollar per point.
    USD to GBP exchange rate is .6205:
       .01259375 dollars per point × .6205 pounds / dollar = .007752371875 pounds per point.
    1000 points in the UK card above:
       .007752371875 points per point × 1000 points = 7.752371875 pounds.
    VAT adds 20%:
       1.2 × 7.752371875 pounds = 9.30284625.

    The list price for the points is slightly higher in England, but most US states add a sales tax that's not included in the price, so that $19.99 card at Wal-mart actually costs $21.39 at the register in New Jersey, for example. Not sure if that makes up for the difference, heh.

    1. It's super effective!

      Heh, I can't understand how I missed that. In retrospect, I think I actually found out, but then kept my initial reaction stored in my memory. So much for my brains. :P

      Funny to see that the English are slightly worse off. I guess it's just easier to let them pay 10 pounds - 9.30 or something slightly higher is just an odd number. So perhaps not so devious after all.

      Cheers for the math nerd!


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