The prices attached to some of the items in the Black Desert cash shop have been something of an issue since the second closed beta began. Frankly I’m not that concerned; I’ve seen games sell items for higher prices than I would ever pay and I either resign myself to never owning those things or wait for them to go on sale. Basically I look at in-game items the same way I do physical items from brick and mortar locations—I buy the things I need or want and can afford or I go without.
Working in retail, I’m acutely aware of the fact that just because something is marked at a high price point does not mean it will actually sell for that amount. I’ve seen all sorts of product come through my company’s stores and I think “we’ll be sitting on this inventory until our next clearance sale,” because I have a decent idea of what our target market will and will not pay for certain items. So when I saw a costumes and weapon skins bundled at $32 in the Black Desert store I wasn’t furious, I just knew those items would be out of the question for me and the success (or failure) of selling those things will be a matter of what percentage of the player base feels the same way.
And when a company cannot move enough product at the set retail price— which may end up being the case with these costumes— they mark those items down to see if a ten or twenty percent decrease will make a difference in sales. In fact, it’s not all that uncommon to mark the retail price high so that the sale price still nets a significant profit margin. With digital items it’s a little different as there is no physical inventory but the basic principles are the same. Daum and Pearl Abyss will need to make money beyond the initial box price and if costumes aren’t paying the bills at $32 a pop they will most certainly adjust the prices until they do.
So how overpriced are these items? My first thought when I realized it was both a costume and a weapon skin bundled together for $32 was that it might not be that much different from other games. I mean, World of Warcraft sells mounts for $25 apiece and even had the audacity to sell a single head slot cosmetic item for $10 apiece. However looking at the cash shop in The Secret World by comparison, I can buy a full outfit for around $8 and a weapon skin for $4-7 each. So at most, I’m looking at $15 to get similar digital items from another game that is also buy to play. That does make Black Desert’s costume sets look wildly overpriced.
That said, my advice to anyone who thinks that $32 is too much for a costume should come as no surprise—don’t pay $32 for a costume. Wait it out and let the market correct itself. Daum and Pearl Abyss are trying to make money, these first few months they will make most of their income from the box sales but eventually they will be relying more and more on cash shop purchases. If no one is buying at that price when the cash shop purchases play a more significant role in covering operating costs, that’s when we’ll start to see the sales; maybe even permanent adjustments to price. It’s their call to choose the initial value of an item on the cash shop, but it’s the response of the player base that will determine whether those prices are sustainable or not.