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[Column] Elder Scrolls Online: F2P or P2P? Keeping Hush on the Business Model

BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing EditorBerea, OHPosts: 2,377MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Zenimax Online has been a bit hush-hush on the business model for Elder Scrolls Online and we're finding this all a bit concerning. Read on and learn why in this week's Elder Scrolls Online column.

It really doesn’t matter how good The Elder Scrolls Online ends up being at launch. Subscriptions, even in their heyday, were always a losing proposition. For one, MMO game design suffered to keep paying players playing by padding out content and utilizing numerous arbitrary time sinks. But for the most part, players were willing to pay, as long as the game was good and could hold their attention. Back then every MMO developer out there was competing for your $15, but in today’s world, they’re really competing for your attention.

Read more of Michael Bitton's The Elder Scrolls Online: F2P or P2P? Keeping Hush on the Business Model.

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Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,784Member Uncommon
    Why would anyone pay a subscription for a game they like when there are a lot of games that you can play for free if you're willing to be crippled enough that you won't like them?  The question nearly answers itself.
  • Effin_RabbitEffin_Rabbit Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 773Member Uncommon
    I dont see this being a sub-based game, guessing id say theyll go the B2P business model. But ive come to expect the unexpected from these mmo companies.
  • duggyfr3sh123duggyfr3sh123 oklahoma city, OKPosts: 95Member
    both TESO and WildStar are P2P.
  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    If you can follow the gw2 model, you have a game that will please many and earn you rep. If I payed 40 and got 6 months of playing time. I will buy another game you make and spend the same. This genre needs to build up some consumer confidence.
  • danwest58danwest58 Cincinnati, OHPosts: 994Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Why would anyone pay a subscription for a game they like when there are a lot of games that you can play for free if you're willing to be crippled enough that you won't like them?  The question nearly answers itself.

    Because F2P games suck and get little development when they are F2P.  Look at DDO and LOTRO, it takes them forever to get expansions and fixes because they do not have the money to pay developers.  For all the bosting about F2P earns you more money than P2P that is not true for all games.  The Truth is only a few F2P games (Mainly P2W games) earn more money than P2P games. 

    image

  • ThomasN7ThomasN7 87.18.7.148 1, NJPosts: 6,690Member
    I suspect it will be B2P like Guild Wars was. 
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  • NikopolNikopol The ZonePosts: 626Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Why would anyone pay a subscription for a game they like when there are a lot of games that you can play for free if you're willing to be crippled enough that you won't like them?  The question nearly answers itself.

    Haha, nice one.

    But despite that bit of wit, people seem to be digging the cash shop based models more and more, which is a bit sad to me if the trend is forcing more and more developers into going the cash shop way.

    I do play a couple of F2P games, but only as long as they have some subscription option as well - meaning, one that you can just pay and play without feeling the need to spend on top of the sub price. Though I'd still hugely prefer the "just sub and no cash shop" way.

    I'm kind of looking forward to WildStar and even TESO, but if either turns out to be F2P (not B2P) with pure cash shop model, I don't see myself playing it for more than a month.

     
  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 20,008Member Uncommon

    Could the answer be.... both?  Offer different tiers, including a sub model with access to most (if not all) content and then F2P models where you buy content packs, extra bag space, mounts etc?

    I think hybrid with multiple options is the way of the future.

    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

  • Effin_RabbitEffin_Rabbit Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 773Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by danwest58
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Why would anyone pay a subscription for a game they like when there are a lot of games that you can play for free if you're willing to be crippled enough that you won't like them?  The question nearly answers itself.

    Because F2P games suck and get little development when they are F2P.  Look at DDO and LOTRO, it takes them forever to get expansions and fixes because they do not have the money to pay developers.  For all the bosting about F2P earns you more money than P2P that is not true for all games.  The Truth is only a few F2P games (Mainly P2W games) earn more money than P2P games. 

    How many expansions does lotro have since 2007 and how many expansions for wow since 2004?

  • SephastusSephastus New Brunswick, NJPosts: 448Member Uncommon

    I like the Elder Scrolls series... but even if I am in the minority, I will not play it if it is Free to Play.

    I can't afford Free to Play games.

  • FluxiiFluxii cocoa, FLPosts: 184Member
    Originally posted by duggyfr3sh123
    both TESO and WildStar are P2P.

    Source? I haven't seen an announcement for either and it's quite a heated debate for Wildstar at least.

     

    Also, I didn't know TESO was releasing this year... seems like it was just announced.  I thought it'd be '14 or '15.  Then again, I haven't followed that closely.

     
  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,462Member Uncommon

    just because there is a f2p game, no mattter how good, doesn't mean I would want to play it.

    The way I'm wired is to say "hey, I want to play that game, it's p2p, no problem, as long as I feel I'm getting my money's worth I'll play it.

    These subscrption fees are a pittance when compared to what people throw away on a daily basis. Coffee, soda, snacks, extra breakfast bar, etc. $15 adds up quickly, one can do it in one day without thinking about it. So why would $15 be a bother to me?

    But one thing the article did get right is that they are competing for my attention. The money doesn't matter but what matters is how good their game is.

  • XiaokiXiaoki White Pigeon, MIPosts: 2,609Member Uncommon

    Really bad article.


    SW:TOR couldnt sustain a subscription payment model because it was a really bad game. People beat the singleplayer portion of the game then quit rather than stick around for the horribly buggy and unfinished endgame.


    A good article would have expounded on that rather than just say "subs failed for TOR which automatically means that subs will fail for ESO".


    And to say that subscription based were always failing is just ....laughably bad. I dont even have the words to express how wrong that is. "Always a losing proposition" is definitive statement which means he's saying that WoWs subscription are a failure ....I mean ....really ...how can you


    *brain explodes*

  • furbansfurbans Tinbucktwo, IAPosts: 965Member

    Name one "quality" F2P MMO.

    Neverwinter that you oh' sooo blindly praise is really a mediocere MMO AT BEST.  Neverwinter relied heavily on the IP to carry it through.  Foundry is limiting, combat doesn't even resemble D&D, many features that are staple in MMOs are missing, nickle n diming every where, WAY to casual and combat is a complete faceroll.

    DDO a game I have played extensively is severly lacking in competency in the Dev dept, age old bugs not fixed and see no effort to fix (a numerous feats that are bugged for archery they they acknowledge and yet still have yet to fix or state any intention to fix which have been out for close to a year now), cotentent have to purchase that is so burdensome that one tends to go VIP for a bit first, combat is just plain bad in regards mobs moving around even when at a stunned state or how lag is a constant issue.

    SWTOR...lol, need I even go into that game's piss poor implementation of F2P?

    AoC might be the most decent F2P MMO.

    After Neverwinter I will never touch a F2P game again as the nickle and diming is jsut ridiculous and the quality is certainly lacking.  P2P games are successful for a QUALITY game.  Isn't Rift still P2P even though its a definition of a WoW clone?  WoW is still strong, EVE is sub based and a very successful MMO, SWTOR failed because it was a horrible MMO (great CoOp game, but lousey MMO).

  • Trudge34Trudge34 Stevens Point, WIPosts: 392Member Uncommon

    I suspect the payment model wasn't the reason it couldn't retain subs and I would suspect it wouldn't be the reason that, if ESO follows the same path, Elder scrolls couldn't retain them either. Doesn't take much to look at the outrage over the PvP focused end game to see that quite a few players are upset over the direction of the game. If ESO fails to retain subs if launching as a sub game, it won't be the payment model here either that did them in but alienating the core of their fan base with their game design and execution. 

    People are willing to pay for good MMOs, that hasn't been the issue here for quite a while.

    Played: EQ1 (10 Years), Guild Wars, Rift, TERA
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  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,221Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Why would anyone pay a subscription for a game they like when there are a lot of games that you can play for free if you're willing to be crippled enough that you won't like them?  The question nearly answers itself.

    I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say Quizz.  Are you saying the only two options are free open equal gameplay versus oppressive crippled restricted frustrating gameplay?  If so, then that's a horrible false dichotomy.

    Those might be your options and a reason why you're fine with renting your gameplay, but those aren't my options.  I have plenty of fun options (Tera, GW2, TSW, City of Steam, STO, Neverwinter, and a couple more) that don't require a recurring monthly fee.  I don't feel crippled in any of those games any more than I did in Rift before I got Storm Legion.

    The major differences I see in my sub-locked / p2p games is that I'm renting temporary access to a game and have a floor with how much I have to spend in order to have fun.  The sub-locked games require I spend approx $180/year + xpac/rmt/box fees - so around $220 - $230 per year.  All of that is locked the moment I stop paying them.  With sub-free games (b2p or f2p) I can put that much money in, on my terms and my schedule, and I keep all that and can keep playing without having to spend more.

    The tl;dr version is that I'm not renting my games anymore and I have plenty of fun options that don't require me to do so.  I may be in the minority, but why should I change that for ESO if it is sub-locked?

  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,410Member Uncommon
    The problem isn't the pay model with these games. The problem is the fact that gameplay and originality isn't worth neither Pay Per Month nor Cash Shop.
  • JynxxJynxx Cleveland, OHPosts: 21Member

    "Subscriptions, even in their heyday, were always a losing proposition."

     

    I'm sure the folks at Blizzard would contend with that statement right there. 

     

    Give us a good solid game that is updated regularly, robust in what you can do, and folks will pay subscriptions.  Quit throwing junk at us and expecting us to stick with it.

  • CoolitCoolit FalkirkPosts: 468Member Uncommon

    I expect it to be P2P with a sub and frankly if it’s a solid game I don’t mind paying.

  • znaiikaznaiika denver, PAPosts: 203Member
    It should be F2P subscription hybrid, similar to fallen earth, tera....
  • volvoxaureusvolvoxaureus IasiPosts: 27Member
    how about a subscription about 7 dollars/month ??
  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 531Member Uncommon
    Wow that was some seriously biased crap in that article.  There is nothing wrong with P2P.  SWTOR didn't fail because they were sub based, they failed because they failed to provide value to their subscribers.  That just doesn't fly anymore.  If people are paying $15 a month they want to feel like they are getting something for their money.  They don't need endless amounts of content to keep them busy, but they do need something to make them feel like their $15 is worth it.  F2P is go to model when you know you can't provide enough value to your customers.  
  • GravargGravarg Harker Heights, TXPosts: 3,332Member Uncommon

    I would rather play a P2P game that is good like Rift.  The problem with TSW and STWOR was that the majority of people bought the game expecting something totally different or better than they were.  I'm not saying they are bad games, just for alot of the people that bought the game.  If you have a good game that alot of people will play, then P2P still works...look at Rift.  I know the EU servers are supposedly dead, but the NA servers are full.  My desktop lags in Meridian since there are so many people there lol.

     

    P2P also lends itself to a sense of obligation to play and like the game.  People that don't like the game won't pay, so they don't get to play.  Something I noticed in F2P games, the general and world chats are full of people spamming how bad this game is (the game they're playing, not ESO).  You rarely see that in games like Rift, WoW, DAoC which are P2P.  Lotro and DDO is the only F2P title I've played that you don't get alot of "omg this game sucks" spam.

     
    Edit: P2P games don't feel like the developer is trying to milk you of your money either.  There is no "You must by this item or be gimpy!"  or "If you don't buy this item now, the price will go up and you'll be so lame! BUY NOW!"   And P2P ends up being the cheapest model if you plan on spending any amount of good time in a game.  F2P games usually tend to cost people that actually want to play the game two even three times as much in the end.  I have no clue why people like F2P games, it's only negatives and no positives that a P2P with a free trial doesn't have.
  • Effin_RabbitEffin_Rabbit Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 773Member Uncommon
    Maybe its something like the power of association and how paying a subscription just feels like paying another bill and no one likes paying bills. Maybe people feel like with F2P and B2P they have more control over the situation even if that may not be the case, where on the other hand feel P2P some sort of contractual agreement they are obligated to. I dont know, marketing is shady business and I dont know of any P2P titles that dont employ some sort of item shop so its all pretty confusing to me as to whats worth it.
  • thinktank001thinktank001 oasisPosts: 2,027Member Uncommon

    " It really doesn’t matter how good The Elder Scrolls Online ends up being at launch. Subscriptions, even in their heyday, were always a losing proposition. For one, MMO game design suffered to keep paying players playing by padding out content and utilizing numerous arbitrary time sinks. But for the most part, players were willing to pay, as long as the game was good and could hold their attention. Back then every MMO developer out there was competing for your $15, but in today’s world, they’re really competing for your attention. "

     

    What a ridiculous statement.  If you don't like the pacing of MMOs, then don't play them, and I don't see how cash shop models are any different.  In fact, they take those arbitrary time sinks, make them twice as long, then add a cash shop item that reverses their design for an hour.   

     

     

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