Blizzard Entertainment has confirmed that it will launch an in-game store for World of Warcraft responding to rumors by players in WoW test servers last week.
Community manager Bashiok said in the game's forums that Blizzard is still early in development of the in-game store but that the first tests will take place in the Asian regions before spreading to other countries. Blizzard looks to simplify the purchasing process that already exists on external websites and also add items that allow new players to catch-up quickly.
"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," he said. "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."
Bashiok also said Blizzard was responding to players requests for items of convenience and that players requests and feedback will have a huge impact on what will be available in the store. One possible outcome being the listing of many 'pay-to-win' items with experience buffs and ways to acquire lesser charms.
Blizzard has been dealing with falling player counts in World of Warcraft, still the largest subscription based massively multiplayer game out there, but facing serious competition from free-to-play services that offer in-game stores to purchase items and skills.
World of Warcraft still has 8.3 million users and Blizzard says it will be releasing many more expansions and content updates in the near future.