Speaking to Eurogamer in an interview published today, developers of Sony Online Entertainment's The Agency have confirmed that the upcoming spy-themed MMO will not feature a microtransaction system for game items.
Their comments follow news last month that SOE had struck a deal with Live Gamer to provide real money trading services for the game. The announcement prompted speculation that The Agency's in-game items - especially the collector card-style NPC operatives - might be sold.
"I want to make this very clear," said lead designer Hal Milton. "This is not a microtransaction system within The Agency to allow players to buy weapons, outfits, or operatives to be effective within the game world. That's something that we're absolutely not planning on doing."
He explained that the Live Gamer system would be used, as it is in EverQuest II, to create an auction system for players to trade and sell goods; an official version of the grey markets in gold and equipment that exist around other games.
However, he did not rule out "alternate mechanics" that might increase the number of operatives a player might recruit through a one-off purchase. "We have some alternate mechanics for operatives that we may support with out-of-game transactions, and we may have the opportunity for players to spin up, at least, a random booster pack that gives them the opportunity to possibly recruit other operatives."
Director of development Matt Wilson added that the business model for the PC and PS3 title had not been decided yet. "We're still figuring it out as we go along, looking at what the markets are up to, how is the PlayStation 3 evolving from that standpoint," he said. "The other thing is Free Realms, another SOE product - it's launching and it's going to have a bunch of new business models that they play with, and we're interested in seeing how those play out before we decide what we're going to do."
For more on The Agency, check out yesterday's preview.