This blog post is an after-thought to recent experiences in Rec Room.
Rec Room (https://rec.net) recently added micro-transactions and gifting items on PC. This feature has not been added to PS4 yet (for whatever reasons).
This has created an interesting dynamic between PS4 and PC players with PS4 players asking PC players to gift items because they can't buy tokens yet. I think this establishes an "elevated" position for PC players at the moment.
I've spent $600 on multiple 35k token packages now (humble brag), mostly to support an awesome game, but also to "flex" as some put it (read further).
The other night I was in Rec Center and started randomly gifting out items. Thinking about it afterwards, it would be an interesting social experiment on how those with money are sometimes treated differently in society.
I would use the analogy of high school, where the "rich kids" are more popular, with other kids living vicariously through them. My friends/subscribes doubled when "flexing" the financial ability to buy tokens and give away free stuff.
It was interesting to observe players mobbing around asking for hand-outs. Different personalities were on display. Being an "anonymous" online social game, people act differently on the internet than what they probably would in real life. Some inhibitions are removed when we are in an online game.
Some players were polite and modest. Some showed appreciation (messages with thank-yous). Some players, when given an inch tried to take a mile. Some acted more greedy, but some displayed knowing their limits or what was polite, when to stop. It was interesting to watch.
After buying tokens and making new acquaintances, a custom room was created using the stage room with some dice spawned. There were about ten players who would roll the dice, highest wins, ties go into elimination rounds until there is one player left, then they would receive a gift. At first it was anything, then we did 500, 600, 700, etc with multiple rounds.
What was the experience on my side? I found it very entertaining. I could totally see the power trip feeling and the temporary high of being the center of attention. I must admit it was fun being able to receive all this attention. Hosting a "game show" of sorts was also fun (and thank-you for co-hosting "you know who you are").
Is micro-transactions and gifting in Rec Room a good or bad addition? Some games get ruined by this, so there is a bit of "wait and see".
I see two sides to this.
One, I like the ability to support a free game which is so awesome and brings so many social game types, connecting people from around the world. I've made some cool friends from Australia, England, all around the world which is super cool. Being a free game, I have 376 hours on this VR game and it has provided so much entertainment for the value. If this helps againstgrav build more, add more content, improve the game, then hell yea I'm willing to support an amazing game like this.
Two, the darker side is the possible abuse that this opens up. One of the new players raised awareness to some things I would not normally think about. There could be a darker underbelly, where older men flirt and try hooking up with young girls. I would hope this is non-existent to a super low percentage of likely happening, but I could totally see the possibility.
There are probably many young girls in the game who could seek attention from the wrong type of older guys, potentially leading to "send me nudes and I'll buy you the anime bow".
I'm not sure if Rec Room currently has any reminders for "junior" accounts, but it may be worth adding some popups/reminders for younger players about the "stranger danger" of giving our personal information. Be safe!
Another question/aspect is whether it was more fun before when you had to earn the tokens. Now self-entitled jerks can buy up items and throw them around, filling their ego-cup. Is this a bad thing?
I do plan on doing this again, it was fun and social. While I agree with the opinions of the possible abuse, I think intent also matters. Another friend opined that this stuff happens everywhere, not just Rec Room. It's up to others to report it and people to be smart enough to know not to do it.
Were some players acting a bit greedy or cringe-worthy? Sure. Was it all good fun? Yes.