PS4, RMT, & F2P
Sony announced the PS4 today and tucked way in the presentation of all the shiny new goodies was a feature that will reportedly allow you to take over your friend’s controller. The use case Sony seems to have in mind is a social one wherein players will ask their friends to help them get through particularly tough spots in a given game. Perhaps this is an unflattering commentary on me but I have to confess that my first thought when I heard this was of armies of friend-for-hire skill gamers plying their trade via sites like TaskRabbit and Zaarly. In other words, the feature seems tailor-made to enable RMT.
For packaged games with finite content shipped once, it is unlikely that this would influence the business case much. Players might potentially get through the content faster but, apart from reducing the total effective play time of the title, this would not affect the developer. For certain free-to-play game designs whose economies revolve around a time/money exchange however, the effects could be more considerable. Admittedly, this would be a rookie design mistake which seems fairly easy to sew up with more savvy virtual economy planning but…it does have me thinking that there may be some surprising ecosystem discoveries as the console world embraces social.