Now, it appears that we're starting 2009 with another Western company heading in the direction of adding microtransactions to their in-game landscape. Turbine, despite recent job cuts, has added several job postings in other departments. The one that caught our eye, however, was a recent posting for a "microtransaction/e-commerce manager" who will be in charge of "delivering and maximizing the revenue derived from Turbine's micro-transaction-based in-game store." They've kicked around the idea of adding microtransactions in interviews before, but this posting seems to support a definitive move in that direction.
Will we see item malls popping up in Turbine's games in 2009? What kinds of things are they seeking to add, we wonder. Will they be purely cosmetic items, like non-stat vanity clothing or allowing players to pay a monthly fee to keep their in-game housing? Or will this be more towards the Eastern model where you can get powerful armor and weapons from item malls? What this means for the future of Turbine's games Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Asheron's Call is pretty much anyone's guess at this point. In any event, it's certainly going to be interesting to see how the shifts going on with companies like Turbine and SOE will impact the overall Western MMO industry.