Buy Runes of Magic at Walmart?

It seems Runes of Magic has been available at Walmart for some time, but only today did I realize it when I received a newsletter which stated you could now buy the game on Walmart’s website as well. Wait a minute…buy? Isn’t Runes of Magic free-to-play?

Seems like Frogster has a pretty creative marketing department as they are selling a free game to customers at Walmart for a few exclusive in-game items. The retail boxed version of Runes of Magic costs $14.96 and includes the following:

  • A Storm Hippogriff Mount
  • A little Goat of War pet
  • bonus Diamonds
  • Costumes
  • Furniture
  • A Villa

I don’t know what these items cost if you were to purchase them from the RoM in-game store, so perhaps $15 is a great deal, it just seems a little sneaky to sell a game that’s free. The obvious goal here is to get unsuspecting shoppers to buy the game not realizing it’s available for free online.¬†Pretty sneaky, but cleaver. ¬†What do you guy think? Does this type of marketing cross any lines?

12 Comments

  1. Very clever,

    Nice side of Xaras thinks maybe there is nothing underhand in it – maybe they are just making the disk version available to those people who do not like downloaded versions. I know for one I much prefer to buy Microsoft Office on DVD and pay the extra rather than go through the whole Product Key Card download rigmarole.

    Although cynical side of Xaras thinks they are being sneaky! I wonder if the bod from Walmart knew there was a free download version when he purchased a load of copies for stock.

  2. This is not sneeky. For several reasons. Most wal mart shoppers are attracted to this section of the store and pick up what looks flashy. This is the grand opportunity for first time players to even learn the word mmorpg. Usually it is just us trolls and gamers who wallow in our little online world. The millions usually have a drop and go experience with xbox and counsel game sets. So, the marketing, in this form is great! More people will be logging in. I always picked up the under $20 games at wal mart. I found “Secret Service” and other horrible, yet fun games that last about 3 months at wal mart LOL! NOW, THE PRODUCT:
    IT IS PRINTED ON THE BOX: “No subscription or credit card needed”. That takes all the sneakiness out of it as yes, over $20 IN GAME, barely get’s you a mount. You can have a mount with about 10 diamonds left.. not enough to buy ALL they are offering on this box version :). WHAT is a little sneaky is that the furniture and the villa take “energy”. A crap system. Furniture gives you boosts, like exp boosts, when you log off, or are online. They leak you like %10 exp over 1 hour, and in that hour the furniture loses “energy”. YOu have to recharge this energy in the cash shop… THAT is the sneaky, part.

  3. Given it lets you skip having to use up your bandwidth and time downloading and gives you items, it’s providing a service. Plus the extra game stuff.

    If it was a third party selling ROM on a disk, I might consider that a trick. But when it’s the actual company, and given how a free game is not free (cash shop, obviously!), then this is what they mean by ‘free’.

    These days every lil’ mmorpg seems to have their own pet definition of ‘free’.

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