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[Column] The Secret World: The Price of Progress

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,622MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

In this week's The Secret World column, we take a look at the price of a monthly subscription. It's an age-old discussion any more but we have a unique take on it that we think you'll appreciate. Read on and then lend your voice to the conversation in the comments.

This isn't to say that I don't want to play TSW; I want to join my friends online, who seem to put a dedicated effort into tackling group content and shooting things with rocket launchers. My issue is economic more than anything else. With my current income, I simply can't afford a subscription game that costs more than 15 dollars a month as a result of being placed into a 15-Euro subscription model when I'm in the Philippines.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Secret World: The Price of Progress.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • TalonsinTalonsin Posts: 1,470Member Uncommon
    With the reduced content of current games (compared to full sandboxes like UO and EQ) and the abundance of quality F2P games, I think a price point of $8.99 per month is better suited for most of what is out there in terms of MMO's.
  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    How about the more achievement points you have the lower the price until you reach that ultimate cap of achievement points and are then permitted free access, get your hardcore on if this ever happens.
  • muffins89muffins89 Yakima, WAPosts: 1,306Member Uncommon
    it sucks that a couple dollars difference is keeping you from playing.  but that's life sometimes.  you can't always get what you want.

    I think the prostitute mod corrupted your game files man. -elhefen

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,719Member Uncommon

    I don't have a solution, so just a +1 for you to brought this up.

    And it's not only TSW sub, there are a lot of other stuff (books, PS3 at launch, etc.) which is/was priced as xx $ on US, so let's make it xx Euro in Eu. What, 1$<>1Euro you say? Only the better for them, some increased profit... (atm TSW sub is ~18.5$ here)

  • RyowulfRyowulf Greensburg, PAPosts: 668Member

    For people who really like the game a few dollars more isn't a big deal

    For people on the fence, I doubt a majority of them would play even with a reduced cost.  TSW doesn't offer enough or is different enough to justify an sub to people who are content to play beta, BTP, FTP games.

    TSW shines in some areas and is blah in others.  Its lack of drawing people in to sub is based on the game itself and how it was made.

    In other words if more people liked the game, more people would be willing to play a sub (higher cost or not).  After all $4 extra a month is hardly a big deal assuming an mmo is a person's total entertainment. 

  • DreskestDreskest El Paso, TXPosts: 69Member

    I've never had any problems paying for my entertainment.

    F2P, B2P, P2P or any other business model really don't mean anything if the games are not appealing to me.

     

    Been playing TSW since headstart, got lifetime, and have already spent over $100 at the cash shop, and I have no problem with that as long as the game provides the kind of entertainment that I'm looking forward to.

     

    There are tons of cheaper games out there for sure, but in my opinion, time is the most valuable asset that we have, and at least in my case, I am going to spend my time ( and money) playing something I really enjoy.

     

    I am not opposed to Funcom lowering their prices or anything, though. I just don't have any problems with the current business/pricing model. 

  • jenseajensea Vancouver, BCPosts: 47Member Uncommon

    I much prefer the subscription model over F2P. In the long run, it's cheaper. They have to make their money somewhere and being 'encouraged' to pay for every little thing in a game is annoying enough that I just stop playing F2P games. The current standard subscription price might be a bit high though. There's a lot of competition now.

     

    In the case of TSW, I think launching with a standard sub in place, as well as a cash shop, turned some people off. They might have done better with underdog pricing on their sub ... even just a couple of dollars cheaper would have looked better.

     
  • roo67roo67 londonPosts: 402Member
    I'm in the UK I wont ever play the TSW untill they bring it in line with almost every other mmo . I think the price in the UK is around the equivelent of 18.50 - 19 dollars . By being greedy I imagine they've put a lot of people off .They didn't even get the price of a boxed sale from me . I saw the game on offer for Haloween on steam and was almost tempted but I reminded myself of the subscription price and didn't bother . I liked the game in beta but this is another feck up by Funcom . Its bad for buisness I think whoever decided this was a good idea really is incompetant and should be fired .
  • mnemic666mnemic666 asdf, CAPosts: 157Member Uncommon

    I'm still waiting on freemium. I'm totally interested in the game and do want to play it, I just can't justify a box and subscription right now when I look at my own financials, and what I would be getting out of the game.

    I don't really understand why companies are still sticking to the traditional $15 (or more depending on region) a month model. It's pretty outdated right now and there's no reason not to offer a bit more flexibility in the pricing model, especially when they have a pretty robust cash shop alongside it.

  • MueslinatorMueslinator AugsburgPosts: 78Member

    TSW is a special case here in Europe: It's more expensive than any other comparable MMORPG - it sits at 15€ a month, while almost any other MMORPG is 13€. AND it has a cash shop attached. And paying a sub doesn't give you a stipend on that, either. Plus, the cash shop offers things that many people play for: Clothes. Even many outfits are split between in-game shop and cash shop: You can get the Racing Sweater in the in-game store - but the matching jacket? Only against hard money.

    All in all, TSW feels very 'premium' priced to me, without really having arguments why I should pay that premium price (plus cash shop costs). Sure, it offers different content than many other games, but more? Better? If considered in the long run - not really. Yes, the investigation missions are really cool. But I don't pay 15€/month for three investigation missions. Heck, for that money, I got three licenses for L4D2 last weekend (one for me, one for my brother, one for a friend) - which offers me markedly more entertainment value: I still get to shoot zombies up with guns. And, well, it's for three people. And for a lifetime.

     

    The issue of 'regionally' overly expensive subscriptions has been discussed at length (I think a a thread with over 140 pages in the old forums), and apparently Funcom are still taking the stance of "If you don't like it, don't use it".

    Which, it is sad to say, is both an unhealthy attitude, and it also is what many people are indeed practicing.

     
  • HurricanePipHurricanePip Sommerille, MAPosts: 167Member

    I thought this article was going in another direction.  Sounds like a highschool commentary from someone that hasn't take business 101 or macroeconomics.

     

    If you want to argue sub costs vs f2p / microtxns, that's valid.  Trying argue $15/mo sub fees vs 15 euro sub fees without any hard data is very silly.

     

    If you don't worry about it, it's not a problem.

  • orbitxoorbitxo fort lauderdale, FLPosts: 1,408Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Dreskest

    I've never had any problems paying for my entertainment.

    F2P, B2P, P2P or any other business model really don't mean anything if the games are not appealing to me.

     

    Been playing TSW since headstart, got lifetime, and have already spent over $100 at the cash shop, and I have no problem with that as long as the game provides the kind of entertainment that I'm looking forward to.

     

    There are tons of cheaper games out there for sure, but in my opinion, time is the most valuable asset that we have, and at least in my case, I am going to spend my time ( and money) playing something I really enjoy.

     

    I am not opposed to Funcom lowering their prices or anything, though. I just don't have any problems with the current business/pricing model. 

    Been playing GW2 since headstart, got lifetime, and have already spent over $300 at the cash shop, and I have no problem with that as long as the game provides the kind of entertainment that I'm looking forward to.

     

     

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,645Member Uncommon

    MMORPG.com... please start publishing some pro subscription articles (or eve a column to balance your F2P promoting Freezone), to provide some balance to this debate? You are looking more than a little suspect these days in this area tbh.

     

    You could, if you wanted to, actually even do a little actual journalism (as opposed to worthless opinion pieces) and bring us some real unbiased investigation on the matter and the long term effects and viability of the F2P model vs the sub?

  • roo67roo67 londonPosts: 402Member
    Originally posted by HurricanePip

    I thought this article was going in another direction.  Sounds like a highschool commentary from someone that hasn't take business 101 or macroeconomics.

     

    If you want to argue sub costs vs f2p / microtxns, that's valid.  Trying argue $15/mo sub fees vs 15 euro sub fees without any hard data is very silly.

     

    I'm not quite sure what you mean here . The subscription fees are hard data .

  • EscadaEscada ManchesterPosts: 25Member

    Its hard to disagree with the author on the pricing and I too find myself paying the same amount being in the UK.  TSW has been an awesome game experience but due to the dwindling playerbase and having gone through all the content I am finding it more and more difficult to justify the expense.

    Nor am I greatly impressed by the news that Funcom is putting resources into other projects, at the expense of TSW.  Its perhaps a sound business move but it doesn't seem so great from a players perspective. 

     

  • MeliezaMelieza trabuco canyon, CAPosts: 269Member

    So...the whole article is just to complain about the sub being more in certain countries, but since you admit you don't even play the game, you can't even offer reason why/why not it would be worth a few more dollars.  I don't understand the point...

    The gangnam video is awesome though.

  • iozayiozay GroningenPosts: 28Member Uncommon

    This is an issue in the game industry in a whole(Not only to TSW). But the game is awesome and I feel that it is worth its costs :)

    I just feel that this article should be aimed on the industry as a whole instead of only one game ^^

  • MeliezaMelieza trabuco canyon, CAPosts: 269Member
    Originally posted by Ohn03s

    This is an issue in the game industry in a whole(Not only to TSW). But the game is awesome and I feel that it is worth its costs :)

    I just feel that this article should be aimed on the industry as a whole instead of only one game ^^

    This.  If they talked about TSW in specific why they think it would/would not be worth it thats one thing...but they didn't, they don't even play!

  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon

    Not sure I understand this completely. I have seen many complaints about it on the forums and I know other companies do not have this problem.

    Is it a currency conversion thing? Is it Funcom's issue or a third party vendor who accepts and processes payments?

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,460Member Uncommon

    Ok, I'll be the crotchety old man here and say that it's still not a lot of money. Unless someone is dirt poor and is struggling to put food on the table (and no shame in many of us have been there) the amount of money people pay for beer, coffee, a data plan, extra snacks, heck movies, quickly end up dwarfing 15 dollars per month or 15 Euros.

    Even when I was just out of school with a horrible paying job, I could have afforded that. I might have to make a few hard decisions such as not buy coffee every day but I could have done it. and that's taking into account that dollar amount in the early 90's.

     

  • KuppaKuppa Boulder, COPosts: 3,292Member Uncommon
    Ya, I thought it was going to look more into sub vs other models. Its more of a sub here vs sub there. Which is a very unfortunate scenario but I would like one article to give some reasons as to why it is that way.

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  • YakamomotoYakamomoto Osaka, ARPosts: 363Member
    Originally posted by Mueslinator

    All in all, TSW feels very 'premium' priced to me, without really having arguments why I should pay that premium price

     

    TSW is super premium, because there are reliable monthly updates, mini expansions with new missions, new instances, raid, new features, new weapons, ongoing story and a new Issue Poster every month. It´s like a new episode of "Lost" every month as DLC. Social events with moderated live radio (Gridstream), Halloween event, Christmas event was hinted too. 

    Worth 15 bucks a month? Hell yeah, this game is a great show and worth every penny.

    The shop is purely vanity items, no boosts, only dimension transfer, barbershop coupons, no damn grab boxes/gambling anywhere.

    Got the lifetime grandmaster pack, so this is what REAL "buy to play" looks like!

     
     
     
  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    It's not that people in the UK pay more than Americans for tsw.

    It's that people in the UK pay less for other mmos,for historical reasons.

    When wow came out the pound was a very very strong currency and the dollar was weak. So at that time £8.99 was actually slightly more expensive than the usa sub rate. Over the last few years a direct conversion would be about £10.50
  • TamanousTamanous Edmonton, ABPosts: 2,126Member Uncommon

    If people want to play TSW is there not game cards they can buy and use? The drawback to freemium us the near complete destruction of community in mmos. I have played most western mmos that later converted to f2p options and each time the community took a severe hit.

     

    The fact of the matter is that people who won't pay for a membership will not also pay anything once playing the game ... yet they impact the game and community as much as paying players. Accessibility to content and how the CS works dramatically changes and each game that offers freemium options impacts monthly subscribers. This is flat out not fair no matter how you look at it.

     

    The only reason mmos offer this option is to increase returns. Obviously this is important to a company but it forever changes the landscape of the game. The player base undergoes a huge change. I've seen entire guilds disolve in Lotro once they went freemium. More free players filled the ranks but they are either impractical or impossible to have in mature guilds ... they simply cannot access the content paying players play. A community goes from mature guilds full of long time players to casual only guilds with a handful of full access players who tend to have pick up the slack of so many non-paying players that they are now the extreme minority paying the majority of money.

     

    I have no idea if TSW world ever go f2p but last I heard they decided not to for exactly the reasons above ... they want to preserver the unique community they have within the unique game they offer. Now I would have nothing against total free access via a trial to Kingsmouth (minus exploitive options Funcom may limit). The best thing for the game would be to find a way to increase subscribers. The best thing for any mmo would be the same instead of making them into rotating doors for new and old players.

     

    To be perfectly frank, it amazes me that most players here are from capitalistic countries yet so many scream for free access and expect other players to pay their way. It is both embarrassing and sad.

    You stay sassy!

  • RyowulfRyowulf Greensburg, PAPosts: 668Member
    Originally posted by Yakamomoto
    Originally posted by Mueslinator

    All in all, TSW feels very 'premium' priced to me, without really having arguments why I should pay that premium price

     

    TSW is super premium, because there are reliable monthly updates, mini expansions with new missions, new instances, raid, new features, new weapons, ongoing story and a new Issue Poster every month. It´s like a new episode of "Lost" every month as DLC. Social events with moderated live radio (Gridstream), Halloween event, Christmas event was hinted too. 

    Worth 15 bucks a month? Hell yeah, this game is a great show and worth every penny.

    The shop is purely vanity items, no boosts, only dimension transfer, barbershop coupons, no damn grab boxes/gambling anywhere.

    Got the lifetime grandmaster pack, so this is what REAL "buy to play" looks like!

     
     
     

    And yet some ftp games offer all or at least some of that  as well. Not to meantion a new feature like a stage is only going to interest some people. A new weapon?  More like a new skill. Right?

    Anyway can someone name a recent sub based game that was high quality across the board, a lot of people liked and that held their interest for more than a few months?

    That's the problem. Not that people won't pay to play, but that many recent games have had crippling problems that chased people away.

    People don't pay subs anymore because there is nothing they want to pay for.

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