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General: My Excuse

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

MMORPG.com's Justin Webb submitted his column to us late this week because he spent his memorial Day at Funzone, the largest video arcade in the world. Today, he brings us his report from that trip and discusses tactics to get our quarters.



Funspot is the biggest video-game arcade in the world.

My column was late this week. It should have been ready on Monday. Sorry! What’s my excuse? Well, the dog didn’t eat my notes, and I didn’t have in-laws over for Memorial Day -- it’s actually way better than that. On Monday I went to Funspot.

When I say “went”, it makes it sound like I just went to the mall. Instead, this was more of a pilgrimage, a reverent journey to pay homage at the mecca of video gaming. You see, one of the benefits to living in Bostonis that it is very close to New Hampshire. And one of the really cool things about living near New Hampshire(apart from the whole no-sales-tax thing) is that it means you live near Funspot. And Funspot is AWESOME.

Read My Excuse.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • NytakitoNytakito Westminster, COPosts: 381Member

    Why do people have an issue with f2p???

    Simple.. There is a huge difference in going through a roll of quarters at the arcade for a good time playing arcade games, and a $2.99 (or whatever the fee is) credit card transactions, subject to interest and possibly international fees if the c-store is housed overseas, for items in a game.

    "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse." - Henry Ford

  • LukekiniLukekini Tampa, FLPosts: 75Member

    Ya cant quite compare borrowing the software, hardware, and power utilities to buying a name change or gear in an MMO.

    Its more as if you put a quarter in the machine and start to play. The other guy next to you wants to fight you and puts 4 quarters in and gets a special character that has 500% more hitpoints and can one hit you. Sure, many MMOs with microtransactions do not give you such power, but some do.

    The other hate is the fact that many of these micro items are simply taking out of the initial release in order to offer it later as long as you have the... lets say "Cryptic Points" to buy it ;)

    I can put a quarter in a game and find out its crap and move onto the next. That quarter is gone, but its not like its a huge loss to me. Ill just jump on something I know I like in the arcade and have at it.

    One of my worries about Battle.net 2.0 will turn to these transactions.

    I hope Guild Wars 2 avoid these for the most part. GW succeeded in the shadow of WoW with no subscriptions. So it is quite possible.

     

    - ya I'm here

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,980Member Uncommon

    Interesting comparison from F2P games to arcade games.

    Keeping in mind due to their money sucking nature, I always had to restrict my play time in arcades to whatever 5 or 10 bucks would buy, and I longed for the day when I could play games at home instead.

    Entrance, the home PC which I first bought in the early 80's (TRS-80) but real quality games didn't come until I bought my first PC in 1986 and played the Bard's tale.

    That was pretty much the end of my career in arcades, I finally had a one price fits all game with no hidden fees.

    Flash forward about 15 years and I start playing MMO's, and again, for a paltry 12.95 a month I can play all I want for a month.  Excellent.

    Enter the world of F2P (or Pay to Win) games, where we've gone backwards and now have to pay for content, for power, for damn storage space in our vaults and backpacks.  

    Pretty easy to see the difference from where I sit.

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • WhiteLanternWhiteLantern Nevada, MOPosts: 2,732Member

    "This got me thinking about the paradoxical F2P discussions I see in the forums. Our entire industry evolved from arcade games, where players paid to experience content, and paid more to prolong that experience. (Many early MUDs and online games also used similar models, whereby players paid for time on those games.) Why do so many people have an intrinsic problem with microtransactions in F2P or freemium games? The rage on the forums is palpable. There’s a sense of entitlement coupled with a suspicious feeling of being swindled, with a side-order of indignation at “that guy with all the money”. Am I talking about someone complaining about F2P on the forums or am I describing the social politics of a video-game arcade in the mid-80s? It could be either. And, why do so many people react as if this kind of monetization is anything new? It isn’t. Publishers have been after your “quarters” since the dawn of the medium."

     

    LMAO! Baiting isn't allowed in the forum, but it is in the editorials. No offense Justin, it just tickled me.

    As for the article: thanks for the write-up. I've never heard of this place, but now I think I'll schedule a little vacation.

    I want a mmorpg where people have gone through misery, have gone through school stuff and actually have had sex even. -sagil

  • JerYnkFanJerYnkFan Kenilworth, NJPosts: 339Member Uncommon

    First off that place is awesome!  On the NJ Shore they have an arcade on the boardwalk that has alot of the old games.  Can't go there without playing Punch Out and Street Fighter II.  The C-64 had some really good games.  Pools of Radiance anyone?

  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Thereiam, ARPosts: 2,697Member

    The reason people hate the F2P model is because we've moved past it as a society.

     

    The internet used to be pay by the minute in the early AOL/Prodigy/CompuServer days and the first ISPs. Then the companies made a deal of paying per month for your internet, guess which style people in America do more of? It's the subscritpion model.

     

    Phones for a long long time were pay by the minute, land lines and cell phones now do monthly subs and a lot of those options are unlimited calling. More people now use subscription with phones for either x number of minutes contract or unlimited.

     

    People have subscription for TV, some for radio, more for consoles (Xbox Live Gold etc.).

     

    Subscriptions has become the model we work well with as a society. So when people start trying to take that away and change it to a "keep buying more crap for the game you play and end up paying more then you would have with just a subscription" model, plenty of us don't like it. And yes we also don't like playing a game where a person can ridiculously throw hundreds of dollars at it in a month and get an advantage. It's not some deep, tough to understand, psychological reasoning why people are against the model. It's actually plain and simple.

  • eyeswideopeneyeswideopen Fresno, CAPosts: 2,414Member

    So in other words, an "editorial" on arcades is really a thinly veiled endorsement of the legitimacy of microtransactions.

    -Letting Derek Smart work on your game is like letting Osama bin Laden work in the White House. Something will burn.-
    -And on the 8th day, man created God.-

  • YakatizmaYakatizma Maynard, MAPosts: 2Member







    Sorry SnarlingWolf, but that is BS.

    You Subscribe to a Service

    You Pay for Goods, whether virtual or not.

    This is true even in the examples you cited.

    You subscribe to your phone service, but you buy (with micro-transactions) ringtones and wallpapers and junk like that that personalize your phone, or in other words "enhance" it.

    You subscribe to a television service, but you buy (with micro-transactions) for On-Demand Movies and Sporting Events (that's buying content within a service you are already subscribed to).

    You subscribe to an Xbox Live Gold account but you buy (with micro-transactions) Xbox Live Arcade Games, Clothes for you Avatar, Virtual Pets (that's paying for virtual goods and content within a service).

    Non-mmo services created  the Subscription + Micro-Transaction model and more and more mmos are following that trend.

    F2P MMOs simply offer their basic service (the game client and hosting of the servers) for free, and depend on the sales of virtual goods and content in order to sustain the free service.

  • CeridithCeridith Toronto, ONPosts: 2,980Member

    Interesting article... but the tangent in the end is going to drum up some drama :P

     

    Honestly, comparing an arcade style game to an MMO is comparing two completely different animals, especially if you're throwing the whole P2P/F2P arguement into the ring.

    While arcade games did operate on a pay to continue method, this does not equate to micro transactions in the sense that they are applied in MMOs today.

    Paying in an arcade game meant extending your play time, where as paying for MT in an MMO usually equates to purchasing advancement in some form or another. These are two completely different payment models, and the latter of which is far more "taboo". This is especially so considering that MMOs are inherently multi-player games, and in many cases, so purchasing an advantage via MT means that other players who do not purchase the same are inherently at a disadvantage in some form or another. The arcade model of payment does not have this issue because even if some may be multi-player, they do not inherently disadvantage one party over the other aside from the opportunity to play longer.

    If MT in MMOs were to operate on a payment model inline to traditional arcade games, then it would be more along the lines of paying a MT every time you went to a dungeon or instanced zone, or every time your character needed a rez, etc. Of course, such can still cause some imbalances in the MMO spectrum as the player who could not afford to experience additional runs of such content could very well be at an inherent disadvantage compared to others.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,452Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

    The reason people hate the F2P model is because we've moved past it as a society.

     

    The internet used to be pay by the minute in the early AOL/Prodigy/CompuServer days and the first ISPs. Then the companies made a deal of paying per month for your internet, guess which style people in America do more of? It's the subscritpion model.

     

    Phones for a long long time were pay by the minute, land lines and cell phones now do monthly subs and a lot of those options are unlimited calling. More people now use subscription with phones for either x number of minutes contract or unlimited.

     

    People have subscription for TV, some for radio, more for consoles (Xbox Live Gold etc.).

     

    Subscriptions has become the model we work well with as a society. So when people start trying to take that away and change it to a "keep buying more crap for the game you play and end up paying more then you would have with just a subscription" model, plenty of us don't like it. And yes we also don't like playing a game where a person can ridiculously throw hundreds of dollars at it in a month and get an advantage. It's not some deep, tough to understand, psychological reasoning why people are against the model. It's actually plain and simple.

    That's not exactly true. Oh sure, on the surface it seems correct but you have to remember that what is driving all of this is the idea that businesses are trying to figure out a way to get recurring revenue.

    So with all of your examples, they seem true, the cable, the phone, music, but what it boils down to is "what are consumers willing to pay before we can charge them additional fees.

    So cable has a subscription. But if you want to see the "good" movies or newly released films then you have to pay a bit extra. Going home at Christmas means my brother and I searching the "free" movies before I roll my eyes and say "let's just look at the pay per view and I'll pay for it".

    A special event on cable? You pay for that event.

    Phone? you pay for a specific plan but if you go over that plan you start paying a bit extra. My guess is that each plan aims at a certain "usage demographic" and just undercuts what the average time for each group uses. This way a person is always abutting his/her maximum minutes and has to fork over a bit extra each month. Not to mention the seductive use of surfing while using the phone and paying to download or upload things.

    I know that there are music busineses that desperately want to charge you to listen to your music by adopting a subscription fee. You have a wider variety of choice but you have to pay to always access that music. However, it seems the i-tunes store has for the moment defined the pay to own space for the moment. This is more to my choice as the idea of renting my music, no matter the cost vs amount of content, seems despicable to me. Still, I wonder what businesses are trying to figure out how to add on extras? If there aren't already some extras to be had?

    It's true that we don't pay by the minute for the internet but I believe that's because it is now looked at as a delivery system. Charging each minute for that system pales in comparison to charing a modest sum for access yet can generate far more revenue at online stores or paying for online content.

    If I have to pay by the minute then that will seriously limit the amount of time I spend browsing content that I also have to pay for. But if I pay a moderate price and can surf as much as I want then I will spend more time browsing online shops and even making impulse buys.

    You see, it's all about making the barrier to entry low so that people show up and find something they truly want to pay for.

    As far as the arcade comparison to cash shops, one could also look at it as the person who siphons more quarters into a machine can also play longer if his/her skill is not up to the skill of the better players and thus has a chance to compete for that high score if he just uses a bit of money.

    Just like some cash shop games. It's very similar.

  • DalynDalyn Portsmouth, VAPosts: 19Member

    Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

    The reason people hate the F2P model is because we've moved past it as a society.

     

    The internet used to be pay by the minute in the early AOL/Prodigy/CompuServer days and the first ISPs. Then the companies made a deal of paying per month for your internet, guess which style people in America do more of? It's the subscritpion model.

     

    Phones for a long long time were pay by the minute, land lines and cell phones now do monthly subs and a lot of those options are unlimited calling. More people now use subscription with phones for either x number of minutes contract or unlimited.

     

    People have subscription for TV, some for radio, more for consoles (Xbox Live Gold etc.).

     

    Subscriptions has become the model we work well with as a society. So when people start trying to take that away and change it to a "keep buying more crap for the game you play and end up paying more then you would have with just a subscription" model, plenty of us don't like it. And yes we also don't like playing a game where a person can ridiculously throw hundreds of dollars at it in a month and get an advantage. It's not some deep, tough to understand, psychological reasoning why people are against the model. It's actually plain and simple.


     

    Really great post ....

  • xaldraxiusxaldraxius Hastings, MIPosts: 1,249Member

    Did they have Sinistar? I loved that game.

    "Run Coward!"

  • ArbolArbol Nasville, TNPosts: 13Member

    Ah, Tempest. The only one of those games I spent enough time on to be fairly good at. Not too many people played it the arcade I went to, but I poured some serious tokens into that thing. A great game!

  • StraddenStradden Managing Editor Halifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

    Originally posted by eyeswideopen



    So in other words, an "editorial" on arcades is really a thinly veiled endorsement of the legitimacy of microtransactions.


     

    Hmm, well, first of all, it's a column. If it were an editorial, it would be labelled as an editorial.

    Second, there's nothing thinly veiled as the author clearly states the similarities between games designed to prompt players to pump quarters into a machine and games designed to prompt people to spend money in an item shop.

    So, yeah, the snarky one-sentence response probably wasn't necessary.

    Cheers,
    Jon Wood
    Managing Editor
    MMORPG.com

  • MasterWanMasterWan Atlanta, GAPosts: 37Member

    Dude,

    The end of your article speaks volumes.  I as well think its crazy that MMO players on this board are somehow above actually having to pay people for hard work.  Perhaps it is a reflection of the increasingly socialistic and prominent welfare state world that we live in.  America is the last bastion of true self reliance where the government doesn't pay you just for existing.   Hopefully our current government wont change that.

    50 bucks upfront and 10 or 12 bucks a month thereafter is not big bucks people.  When you buy an xbox game for 60 bucks, your stuck.  Atleast MMO's grow and change and hopefully in most cases get better over time.

  • mmosnarkmmosnark Columnist maynard, MAPosts: 24Member

    Originally posted by xaldraxius



    Did they have Sinistar? I loved that game.

    "Run Coward!"


     

    They did. It's still awesome!

    "Beware, I live!"

  • HokieHokie Vancouver Wa.Posts: 1,063Member Uncommon

    Wow...you brought back some good memories.

    And then made me realize, I'm old.  :)

    "I understand that if I hear any more words come pouring out of your **** mouth, Ill have to eat every fucking chicken in this room."

  • KenaoshiKenaoshi Porto AlegrePosts: 1,016Member Uncommon

    oh i remember, playing marvel vs capcon and SF2 on arcade in a local mall, today its just full of the same clothing stores ¬¬

    well 1 thing is a quarter (here a R$25 coin that went R$1 very fast) for that finished, high quality(in that time) product, other is to spend $50 for a little power up in a very crappy environment for totay tecnology.

    well, i do ENVY you =p

    now: GW2 (11 80s).
    Dark Souls 2.
    future: Mount&Blade 2 BannerLord.
    "Bro, do your even fractal?"
    Recommends: Guild Wars 2, Dark Souls, Mount&Blade: Warband, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

  • DwarvishDwarvish Stratford, CTPosts: 208Member

    WOW, is that an original Star Wars game??  I loved that puppy. After getting to and through the 'slot' in the Death Star and watching your torpedos hit the lil hole..oh yeah!!

     I  LOLed at the last paragraph.  So true!

    To quote:  Publishers have been after your “quarters” since the dawn of the medium.

     Ok, they can have a coffee can full if thats the original..I'd hog that puppy til my hands fall off.

  • DerrialDerrial Hillsborough, NJPosts: 250Member

    Funspot sounds pretty cool. I remember all of these games, but I'm in my early-thirties, so I remember them as Atari or Nintendo games instead of Arcade games. For me, the arcade was all about Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, and the numerous fighter-clones that copied them with varying degrees of success. And there was that carnival-themed pinball machine with the clown voice shouting "RIDE THE FERRIS WHEEL" loud enough that you could hear it in every corner of the arcade.

    Cool article, even though the attempted link to F2P doesn't hold water. Coin-op video games are closer to P2P than F2P. Both follow the formula of pay money and get game time, not pay money and get Sombrero of Unstoppable Pwnage. Although I have to admit the mental image of Pac Man wearing a Sombrero of Unstoppable Pwnage is quite amusing.

  • hogscraperhogscraper Cov, KYPosts: 322Member

    lol, DigDug! Arcades were so much fun when I was younger. Being in a place where everyone hung out, the lights the sounds, so much fun. I remember a friend explaining to me that he "knew for a fact" that some kid scored so high on DigDug it overheated and started to melt the top of the controls panel. I found out later that day it was actually cigarettes that melted the panel. For that entire day I was totally blown away that there could be someone that good at the game I loved.

    I've never understood why people are so bent out of shape over F2P. If you don't like it move on. Almost on the verge of being like religious zealotry the way some people react to finding out that some people simply do not feel the same way they do about how to pay to play.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    This got me thinking about the paradoxical F2P discussions I see in the forums. Our entire industry evolved from arcade games, where players paid to experience content, and paid more to prolong that experience.

    Hang on a second here ... I *strongly* disagree with this statement.  The video game industry had its roods in arcade games, but MMOs have their roots in hobby-project MUDs that were labours of love with no commercial intent.  Modern MMOs arose when game companies upped the anty by adding a level of expensive graphical sophistication that hobbiests couldn't match, creating the commercial market.

    I have to admit I miss the days when it felt like half the gamers I knew were moonlighting as zone designers on MUDs.  Message boards aside, it's become such a passive medium.

  • BlazzBlazz BrisbanePosts: 321Member

    Ooo, nice one maplestone.

    My problem is this:

    Arcade games are designed to be fun. Fun games can be totally ridiculous, have no storyline or relevance to anything, and just be about going on a Rampage! or something like that.

    MMOs were originally about the fun of role playing in an imaginative world, but have now been turned into pretty things that are, wait for it, more addictive than fun.

    :O

    When someone makes an MMO that is the other way around, I'll consider microtransactions on the same level as arcade games, but for now, it's all about following the carrot on a stick! That's a crappy game design that has made billions, and that makes me sad.

    I am playing EVE and it's alright... level V skills are a bit much.

    You all need to learn to spell.

  • GozerTCGozerTC Barstow, CAPosts: 119Member

    Am I the only other person here who remembers Ikari warriors?  I remember playing it and going "Why doesn't every game have these twisty joysticks?!"  Remember the old Microsoft Sidewinder joystick?  I bought one because of that twisting feature.  (Though I only used it in Mechwarrior 2+ :)

    As for the F2P/P2P issue I've never really had a problem with it.  Because I know darn well it happens elsewhere and have no false idea of "fairness."  Fairness is nice to talk about, and balancing is a good idea but the world is inherently unfair.  Getting past that  you can see how there are lots of competitive games and such that we've been "Paying for advantages" for years.

    Racing.  Seriously we can both buy the same car but then pay to tune it in different ways for our different racing styles.  There's no denying that the guy with more money will have huge advantages.  Though often times you'll have "divisions" to help sort people out based on money put into the system.  Perhaps F2P games could benefit from something like that?

    Then there's the CCG and Tabletop gaming markets.  Anyone else remember the Magic the Gathering days and rare cards?  Oh sure you could get lucky and find them, or you could just pay the money and get the cards you want.  Same idea there and again the tournaments came up with different divisions and rules to allow those players to get the game they want and still have other things for "not as high paying" people.  Sealed deck tournaments spring to mind.

    In the Tabletop space I point to Warhammer 40K. (Because it's the one I know the best) OMG the money you can spend on it!  Sure you can buy some really powerful and over the top guys, but in the end you can STILL lose to an all grey box army.  It comes down to luck and tactics, but that's what the game is all about.  The money goes more for the "frills" than the game itself since they do a good job of forcing "values" on all of the stuff.  Again there's also rules to prevent some of the really expensive stuff in big tournaments. 

    So basically for me I have no problem with F2P.  I don't really play any but I'm not inherently against them since I've delt with those systems most of my life. 

    Current Game: Asssasins Creed 2(PS3, Gamer Tag: Happy_Hubby)
    Current MMO: World of Warcraft and World of Tanks
    Former Subscribed MMO: Star Trek Online, Aion, WoW, Guild Wars, Eve Online, DAoC, City of Heroes, Shattered Galaxy, 10six.
    Tried: Too many to list

  • GozerTCGozerTC Barstow, CAPosts: 119Member

    Originally posted by Blazz

    Ooo, nice one maplestone.

    My problem is this:

    Arcade games are designed to be fun. Fun games can be totally ridiculous, have no storyline or relevance to anything, and just be about going on a Rampage! or something like that.

    MMOs were originally about the fun of role playing in an imaginative world, but have now been turned into pretty things that are, wait for it, more addictive than fun.

    :O

    When someone makes an MMO that is the other way around, I'll consider microtransactions on the same level as arcade games, but for now, it's all about following the carrot on a stick! That's a crappy game design that has made billions, and that makes me sad.


     

     I agree, to a point.  Some people think MMOs are fun.  I see the carrot and stick reference in both Subscription and F2P games so... *Shrugs*  Still agree it's a sad state of gaming. 

    Current Game: Asssasins Creed 2(PS3, Gamer Tag: Happy_Hubby)
    Current MMO: World of Warcraft and World of Tanks
    Former Subscribed MMO: Star Trek Online, Aion, WoW, Guild Wars, Eve Online, DAoC, City of Heroes, Shattered Galaxy, 10six.
    Tried: Too many to list

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