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Blizzard launching World of Warcraft in-game store

Adding microtransactions for "convenience-oriented items", initially in Asia

Blizzard has confirmed plans to introduce an in-game store for World of Warcraft.

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The studio initially plans to test the store in Asian regions, where players will be able to purchase new "convenience-oriented" items like buffs to aid levelling.

While a Blizzard community manager by the handle of Bashiok said the studio is still "pretty early in the exploration process", the "long-term goal" is to enable players in all regions to purchase items using microtransactions without leaving the game.

Bashiok explained: "For players who are already interested in the in-game items we offer, such as Pet Store pets and mounts, the benefits of an in-game store are pretty clear. We think everyone would appreciate the convenience of being able to make such purchases without having to leave the game, and ultimately that's our long-term goal for the system, though there's quite a bit of work involved in retrofitting those existing items into the new system.

"First, we'll be testing the in-game store with some new kinds of items we're looking into introducing (in Asian regions, at the outset) based on player feedback: specifically, an experience buff to assist with the leveling process, as well as an alternate way to acquire Lesser Charms of Good Fortune.

"We've had a lot of requests from players in different regions for convenience-oriented items such as these, and as with other new ideas we've introduced as WoW has evolved-including Pet Store pets, mounts, and more-your feedback plays a hugely important part in determining what we add to the game.

"Ultimately it's still too early in the process to make any final determinations about our plans, but in the meantime, we hope you'll check out the in-game store once it's implemented on the PTR and let us know what you think."

World of Warcraft lost approximately 1.3 million subscribers in the first quarter of calendar year 2013, according to Activision Blizzard.

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said further quarterly declines "are likely" as the year progresses, raising "concerns" as the firm heads towards the competitive holiday period. He said Blizzard intends to release new content more frequently in a bid to keep players engaged and make it easier for lapsed users to return to the game.

Blizzard confirmed in May that its unannounced MMO, codenamed Titan, is undergoing "large design and technology changes". According to reports, Titan is now not expected to be released until 2016.

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