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[Column] General: Two More Problems No One's Talking About

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,596MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Dovetailing with Bill Murphy's "The Problem No One's Talking About", the Free Zone today takes a look at two other issues that remain under the proverbial table in many cases. See what those issues are and then leave your ideas in the comments.

We see it all the time - people champion a particular revenue model as the best, and imply or even state outright that the entire industry should adopt it. Despite the existence of a small group of people who seem to take some bizarre delight in positioning me as a fervent promoter of free to play, I've never been sold on any single “one size fits all” approach. What's more, I've never seen anyone present a case even remotely close to solid enough to make me think otherwise. 

Read more of Richard Aihoshi's The Free Zone: Two More Problems No One's Talking About.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,204Member Uncommon

    Excellent article.  I don't really have much to add other than until we have a shift in perspective there will be a string of mediocre successes and the occasional failure.

    I think most games could operate under multiple revenue models, but more so I think that certain design styles will lend themselves better to some business models.

    What will justify a subscription in the future?  Will content churn themeparks like RIFT, WoW, GW2, FFXIV and TOR work with a subscription?  WoW obviously can because of the numbers, but the rest?  Arena Net is looking to show that content churn MMOs don't need a subscription and it looks like it's working.

    What sorts of games will be more successful under B2P rather than a sub?  How will that manifest itself differently from F2P with an optional "starter pack"?

    I think we still have this problem when games like RIFT are still clinging so heavily to their subscription model while adding more and more micro-transactions to the game because they see it as the way to offer that sort of gaming experience.  Blade & Soul, TESO, and Wildstar all look to be subscription based.  How is this going to work if they don't offer anything more than content where established games have tons and they're playing catch up.

  • TamanousTamanous Edmonton, ABPosts: 2,125Member Uncommon

    Already posted a ton on this subject so won't go futher into it.

     

    Just wanted to say, "DAMN! Those some fatties in that pic!". That pic about players paying for games for the decline of the health care system or quality of life? Because nobody seems to be talking about that here either whilst playing their 12 hour gaming sessions on Red Bull and Doritos.

    You stay sassy!

  • LustmordLustmord Mt. Gilead, OHPosts: 1,095Member Uncommon

    Despite the existence of a small group of people who seem to take some bizarre delight in positioning me as a fervent promoter of free to play,

     

    Says the guy who writes a column about the Free to Play model.............

  • ThorbrandThorbrand West Palm Beach, FLPosts: 1,198Member

    MMORPGs where never suppose to cater to the casual RPG gamer and this is where it all went wrong. What they have done is push true RPG gamers to go back to playing PnP games because today games (I will not call them MMOs) lack so much content and depth they are maybe 10% of what games use to be.

    They will continue to fail for the gamers but not for the companies which is all the companies care about.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,715Member Uncommon

    Nice column, I agree both parts. Only a slight comment to this:

    " The changing nature of the MMOG player base

    In a related vein, we see little talk among readers about how the MMOG audience has shifted away from what it was years ago and is continuing to. "

    Little talk? C'mon, I try to put it in the spotlight all the time :)

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member

    "We see it all the time - people champion a particular revenue model as the best, and imply or even state outright that the entire industry should adopt it."

    I wonder who he means.

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member

    When mmorpg's apart of having f2p or freemium (aka hybbrid) servers start to ALSO have pure subscirption no-cash shop, no currency sell servers then I will say that they offer me a viable choice.

    Because now converting game to freemium is just offering diffrent paying model but with eradicating old one. Not increasing amount of models to choose.

     

    Anyway I am not advocating that ALL or even most mmorpg's should not have microtransaction based business model - I am far from it.  Just saying it does not as rosey as painted in article.

    As for 'adapting'. Being flexible and adapting is necessary when making many choices in your life. Still video games are just entertaiment and standing by your principles in NOTHING BAD.  Worst that can happen is that you will have to find new entertaiment.

     

    One more. I am talking about mmorpg's only. 

    I could not care less about mmofps, mmorts. corpg's and other genres and subgenres including ones like dota and moba games having mmo slapped on them when they have not more to do with mmo's than any online shooters. 

  • TamanousTamanous Edmonton, ABPosts: 2,125Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Thorbrand

    MMORPGs where never suppose to cater to the casual RPG gamer and this is where it all went wrong. What they have done is push true RPG gamers to go back to playing PnP games because today games (I will not call them MMOs) lack so much content and depth they are maybe 10% of what games use to be.

    They will continue to fail for the gamers but not for the companies which is all the companies care about.

    Quoted for truth.

     

    I've stated nearly exactly this before. Developers went for a cash grab and totally forgot their core audience who is willing to commit to only one game. Casual, watered down mmos (with the rpg taken out of it) are killing the genre. In fact it has become an entirely different genre with a playerbase thinking sandbox games with deep and long term investment requirements are only for an old school dieing breed. This couldn't be further from the truth.

     

    MAKE A GAME FOR THE RPG GAMERS! It is ludicrous to think a developer would strip core systems or add fluffy mini-games  to FPS or RTS games just to attract players who never played them before ... so get them the f#ck out of my role playing game thanks and stick to a pay model that nurtures community and not separates it. This could be a different model entirely for all I care as long as it supports the game and doesn't forever corrupt it.

    You stay sassy!

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,204Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by fenistil

    When mmorpg's apart of having f2p or freemium (aka hybbrid) servers start to ALSO have pure subscirption no-cash shop, no currency sell servers then I will say that they offer me a viable choice.

    Because now converting game to freemium is just offering diffrent paying model but with eradicating old one. Not increasing amount of models to choose.

    Anyway I am not advocating that ALL or even most mmorpg's should not have microtransaction based business model - I am far from it.  Just saying it does not as rosey as painted in article.

    As for 'adapting'. Being flexible and adapting is necessary when making many choices in your life. Still video games are just entertaiment and standing by your principles in NOTHING BAD.  Worst that can happen is that you will have to find new entertaiment.

    One more. I am talking about mmorpg's only. 

    I could not care less about mmofps, mmorts. corpg's and other genres and subgenres including ones like dota and moba games having mmo slapped on them when they have not more to do with mmo's than any online shooters. 

    What P2P MMORPGS don't have rmt or micro-transactions of some sort?

    And seriously, you can't just exclude whatever you want by way of personal definition.  That's part of the "stuck in the past" problem.  Gamers are so stuck on shoving things in neat little self-defined boxes so they can feel good and not get their feathers ruffled that they miss the big picture.  You're missing the big picture with that last paragraph.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,204Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Tamanous
    Originally posted by Thorbrand

    MMORPGs where never suppose to cater to the casual RPG gamer and this is where it all went wrong. What they have done is push true RPG gamers to go back to playing PnP games because today games (I will not call them MMOs) lack so much content and depth they are maybe 10% of what games use to be.

    They will continue to fail for the gamers but not for the companies which is all the companies care about.

    Quoted for truth.

    I've stated nearly exactly this before. Developers went for a cash grab and totally forgot their core audience who is willing to commit to only one game. Casual, watered down mmos (with the rpg taken out of it) are killing the genre. In fact it has become an entirely different genre.

    You both keep thinking that, but please don't wonder why you're continually and bitterly disappointed when reality disagrees with you.
  • TamanousTamanous Edmonton, ABPosts: 2,125Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Originally posted by Tamanous
    Originally posted by Thorbrand

    MMORPGs where never suppose to cater to the casual RPG gamer and this is where it all went wrong. What they have done is push true RPG gamers to go back to playing PnP games because today games (I will not call them MMOs) lack so much content and depth they are maybe 10% of what games use to be.

    They will continue to fail for the gamers but not for the companies which is all the companies care about.

    Quoted for truth.

    I've stated nearly exactly this before. Developers went for a cash grab and totally forgot their core audience who is willing to commit to only one game. Casual, watered down mmos (with the rpg taken out of it) are killing the genre. In fact it has become an entirely different genre.

    You both keep thinking that, but please don't wonder why you're continually and bitterly disappointed when reality disagrees with you.

    What is reality? The coming of several sandbox games and the new direction of a certain major mmo developer because of the impact of player opinion and the results of the lack of success current mmo design? Or ... sticking your head in the sand thinking nothing will change?

     

    Most recent mmos which have not lived up to their expectations have followed the rules of the industry you seem to think are standard. Nothing is standard in this market. Change is the norm and evidence does not support your opinion. These and other boards are filled with these very discussions. A reason a trend starts is due to popularity of the subject. More and more mmos are moving toward player drive system based content. Developers are trying new things to break the mold. FPS elements and sandbox systems even if simply layered over themepark design is the new trend. They are trying hard to break the mold yet haven't proven quite yet how to do it. All we are saying is that certain specific models have already worked in the past and have been abandoned along with the more audience who are voicing discontent with the status quo. 

     

    You provide no such evidence as to why proven models would fail today and merely suggest nothing will ever change ... perhaps the most extreme ignorance I have ever seen on these boards.

    You stay sassy!

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Originally posted by fenistil

    When mmorpg's apart of having f2p or freemium (aka hybbrid) servers start to ALSO have pure subscirption no-cash shop, no currency sell servers then I will say that they offer me a viable choice.

    Because now converting game to freemium is just offering diffrent paying model but with eradicating old one. Not increasing amount of models to choose.

    Anyway I am not advocating that ALL or even most mmorpg's should not have microtransaction based business model - I am far from it.  Just saying it does not as rosey as painted in article.

    As for 'adapting'. Being flexible and adapting is necessary when making many choices in your life. Still video games are just entertaiment and standing by your principles in NOTHING BAD.  Worst that can happen is that you will have to find new entertaiment.

    One more. I am talking about mmorpg's only. 

    I could not care less about mmofps, mmorts. corpg's and other genres and subgenres including ones like dota and moba games having mmo slapped on them when they have not more to do with mmo's than any online shooters. 

    What P2P MMORPGS don't have rmt or micro-transactions of some sort?

    And seriously, you can't just exclude whatever you want by way of personal definition.  That's part of the "stuck in the past" problem.  Gamers are so stuck on shoving things in neat little self-defined boxes so they can feel good and not get their feathers ruffled that they miss the big picture.  You're missing the big picture with that last paragraph.

    FFXI, FFXIV, Rift (borderline).

     

    Oh I did get the point of big picture. But why should I care if I cannot stand playing mmorpg's with cash shops or / and currency selling or / and rmah's?    I tried and I also played a game before and after it had those.  It sucks my enjoyment fast and I really tried to embrace it as I liked the game. But I could not stand it.

    It already does and ultimatelly it will drive me from mmropg market. 

    Unless there will be good enough for me some game with sub only servers cause when I stick I do it for years (with some breaks).

    "so they can feel good". "problem"

    What are you even talking about. Feel good what?  

    Problem? Problem for who? I am curious what is an answer for this question.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,715Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Originally posted by Tamanous
    Originally posted by Thorbrand

    MMORPGs where never suppose to cater to the casual RPG gamer and this is where it all went wrong. What they have done is push true RPG gamers to go back to playing PnP games because today games (I will not call them MMOs) lack so much content and depth they are maybe 10% of what games use to be.

    They will continue to fail for the gamers but not for the companies which is all the companies care about.

    Quoted for truth.

    I've stated nearly exactly this before. Developers went for a cash grab and totally forgot their core audience who is willing to commit to only one game. Casual, watered down mmos (with the rpg taken out of it) are killing the genre. In fact it has become an entirely different genre.

    You both keep thinking that, but please don't wonder why you're continually and bitterly disappointed when reality disagrees with you.

    Nicely put :)

    And I think it's because the same, the changing playerbase. Both comments are right, MMORPGs where never suppose to cater to the casual RPG gamer but Developers went for a cash grab and totally forgot their core audience. It's easier to cater them, and they got more money from it on the side. Simple as that.

    I'm not happy with it either, but the number of older gamers are thinning out with age, so we can't even lobby for older-type games... It sucks maybe, but Casual, watered down mmos (with the rpg taken out of it) are selling, and bringing more profit than the 'good' games.

  • AlberelAlberel LondonPosts: 1,121Member
    Originally posted by Po_gg
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Originally posted by Tamanous
    Originally posted by Thorbrand

    MMORPGs where never suppose to cater to the casual RPG gamer and this is where it all went wrong. What they have done is push true RPG gamers to go back to playing PnP games because today games (I will not call them MMOs) lack so much content and depth they are maybe 10% of what games use to be.

    They will continue to fail for the gamers but not for the companies which is all the companies care about.

    Quoted for truth.

    I've stated nearly exactly this before. Developers went for a cash grab and totally forgot their core audience who is willing to commit to only one game. Casual, watered down mmos (with the rpg taken out of it) are killing the genre. In fact it has become an entirely different genre.

    You both keep thinking that, but please don't wonder why you're continually and bitterly disappointed when reality disagrees with you.

    Nicely put :)

    And I think it's because the same, the changing playerbase. Both comments are right, MMORPGs where never suppose to cater to the casual RPG gamer but Developers went for a cash grab and totally forgot their core audience. It's easier to cater them, and they got more money from it on the side. Simple as that.

    I'm not happy with it either, but the number of older gamers are thinning out with age, so we can't even lobby for older-type games... It sucks maybe, but Casual, watered down mmos (with the rpg taken out of it) are selling, and bringing more profit than the 'good' games.

    Judging by SOE's recent shift in design philosophy I think it can be said that's not true at all. The MMO industry is now completely saturated with casual MMOs leading to new releases having too much competition to meet their sales targets (the number of games that have shifted to F2P is proof of that).

    The 'old-school' hardcore MMO style which was generally more feature heavy and sandbox in style is now a MASSIVE gap in the market. The more casual MMOs that saturate the market the more likely it is that a developer/publisher will decide targetting the old-school audience is more profitable.

    It is inevitable that the market will eventually swing back the other way and SOE has made a lot of noise to that effect lately already.

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member

    First of all, with your articles almost always being about F2P and even grouping them into something called the Free Zone, you should not be surprised if people think you are a fervent supporter of the F2P model.

    Second your comparison to hamburgers is too far fetched. You should instead compare to a closer media such as movies or something else which is also competetive. Imagine if there was a movie which allowed you to see glimpses of the movie if you did not pay and then for each additional scene you had to pay more and more.

    Obviously we have that with trailers which is free but there is no other model which try to leece you as a customer to pay for each additional scene in the movie. There are things like a better seat at a cinema, 3D and so on but all of these are add-ons and does not keep you a customer from seeing the whole movie. If MMO F2P was like that I would be fine with it but it is not. The entire F2P model is built so that you keep paying them more and more to get a full experience, something which a sub. based model gives you for a one time cost, much like watching a movie. It only gives you the illusion that it is free by giving you a small proportion of the game experience and then requiring you to keep paying if you want more.

    This is bad because the development of the game centers entirely on you paying more for every additional experience. Want an additional skill bar? Pay more. Want to level faster? Pay more. Want to access this dungeon? Pay more. Want to get better looks on your character? Pay more.

    F2P is all about greed and getting customers to pay more and is entirely made by the developers and for the developers. It adds nothing but negative things for customers.

    And finally we have the competetive nature. Imagine playing an online game where you are compeeting with other people and whoever opens his wallet gets an edge over others. So instead of you playing the game and get better, you have that still, you also can open your wallet and get an advantage. For me this is completely ludicrous and again the sole purpose is to get more into the developers coffins on the expense of the players.

    Now there are games which has minimal effects on the competetive nature, such as League of Legends, but once this can of worm is opened it cannot be closed and developers will be tempted to put more and more in there because that is their revenue stream.

    So yes, I would say that for customers, the F2P model is entirely bad. It gives you the illusion that it is free but rather what it really does is create two groups of people in the same game. Those who wants to pay to get an edge and those who does not want, or cant afford to. I don't see how that is good in any way or form, for us gamers.

    Now if they want to put in different bussiness models they could give you a time based sub for different costs. So if you only have 20 hours per week to play then that is what you pay for and so on. That way people with less time can pay less but not so that their 20 hours is worth more than some other guy who is playing 50 hours but cant afford to get faster leveling, better equipment and so on.

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    I'm a casual mmorpger, I can't stand it when I see people with better gear and more stuff and more achievement points ....... It drives me insane because I know I'm playing as much as I can, but even at that I know that guy with more stuff than me has put in twice the amount of time and left me in the dust. I think a lot of the new/ casual crowd falls into that category. One reason I do not play f2p and why GW2 falls off on my interest ladder is because I know that person paid for all thier cool stuff and I just don't want to fall into that, I know my competitive nature to have the most and best things, buying them leaves me with no sense of accomplishment, like it does on a level playing feild.
  • Smitt3kSmitt3k Pea Ridge, ARPosts: 21Member
    Originally posted by Rockniss
    I'm a casual mmorpger, I can't stand it when I see people with better gear and more stuff and more achievement points ....... It drives me insane because I know I'm playing as much as I can, but even at that I know that guy with more stuff than me has put in twice the amount of time and left me in the dust. I think a lot of the new/ casual crowd falls into that category. One reason I do not play f2p and why GW2 falls off on my interest ladder is because I know that person paid for all thier cool stuff and I just don't want to fall into that, I know my competitive nature to have the most and best things, buying them leaves me with no sense of accomplishment, like it does on a level playing feild.

    Ummm What is all that cool stuff you pay for in GW2??? Anyways, to respond to your post I think you gave a perfect example of what is wrong with the genre in general today. I mean no disrespect, but to be upset that someone has something that you don't because they spent more time playing for it is how it should be... What is next? Are we mad because someone is higher level than us and that is not fair because they have played more?

    I am by no means a proponent of huge gear grinds but I do think that done right they do need to be there in some way to give people that like to do that sort of thing something to play for. I am a casual player myself and I do not mind at all playing for items I want in a game even if it takes me twice as much time.

  • VolgoreVolgore Posts: 2,207Member Uncommon

    I'd say hypocrisy at it's best.

    A good start would be if you would stop giving free high score reviews to those titles that just clone existing models, come with zero innovation and fail 6 month after release, to an extend because of the things you complain about in your article.

    As these are also "two more problems no one is talking about" in your reviews.

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  • shastaman401shastaman401 cottage grove, WIPosts: 5Member
    What game are ghost fatties playing?
  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,577Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Tamanous
    Originally posted by Thorbrand

    MMORPGs where never suppose to cater to the casual RPG gamer and this is where it all went wrong. What they have done is push true RPG gamers to go back to playing PnP games because today games (I will not call them MMOs) lack so much content and depth they are maybe 10% of what games use to be.

    They will continue to fail for the gamers but not for the companies which is all the companies care about.

    Quoted for truth.

     

    I've stated nearly exactly this before. Developers went for a cash grab and totally forgot their core audience who is willing to commit to only one game. Casual, watered down mmos (with the rpg taken out of it) are killing the genre. In fact it has become an entirely different genre with a playerbase thinking sandbox games with deep and long term investment requirements are only for an old school dieing breed. This couldn't be further from the truth.

     

    MAKE A GAME FOR THE RPG GAMERS! It is ludicrous to think a developer would strip core systems or add fluffy mini-games  to FPS or RTS games just to attract players who never played them before ... so get them the f#ck out of my role playing game thanks and stick to a pay model that nurtures community and not separates it. This could be a different model entirely for all I care as long as it supports the game and doesn't forever corrupt it.

    You are totally correct here. The people that make games (Developers) discovered that if they made these games appealing to other people, they could sell them, and make a living doing this. The change from casual pastime, to commercialized career path meant that if they could spend their full time making games. This resulted in more games being made, and improvements in the complexity of the games themselves.

     

    Once upon a time people made games just because they could. Now they make games to make a living. The commercialization of gaming has changed the goal from just making something (that may or may not work, etc) to making something that people enjoy playing (the more the better).

  • PrecusorPrecusor PalmaPosts: 4,733Member Uncommon
    Wouldn't it be nice if we had a NWN model of gaming? Persistent worlds made by the players.
  • NightCloakNightCloak Barrington, ILPosts: 450Member
    Originally posted by Lustmord

    Despite the existence of a small group of people who seem to take some bizarre delight in positioning me as a fervent promoter of free to play,

     

    Says the guy who writes a column about the Free to Play model.............

    Agreed.

    I facepalmed hard when I read that line.

     

    I think he actually believes himself victim of some sort of injustice. It's also a comment that is completely unrelated to the article as a whole or even the point he was trying to make.

  • DutchSmurfDutchSmurf RomePosts: 9Member
    Originally posted by Alberel

    Judging by SOE's recent shift in design philosophy I think it can be said that's not true at all. The MMO industry is now completely saturated with casual MMOs leading to new releases having too much competition to meet their sales targets (the number of games that have shifted to F2P is proof of that).

    The 'old-school' hardcore MMO style which was generally more feature heavy and sandbox in style is now a MASSIVE gap in the market. The more casual MMOs that saturate the market the more likely it is that a developer/publisher will decide targetting the old-school audience is more profitable.

    It is inevitable that the market will eventually swing back the other way and SOE has made a lot of noise to that effect lately already.

     

    Shall we wait until SOE actually gives us something playable showing their new design philosophy before we point to them as the savior of mmorpg? We do see a slow move to more 'sandbox' like gameplay at the moment, but it is nothing like the 'old-school' games. You say there is a massive gap in the market, but all those developers do have market research. If there was such a gap and they thought they could make money of it, they would be. Since they aren't, that means either the gap isn't there or making the games for it doesn't bring in as much profit as making the next 'casual' game.

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member

     

    It was inevitable that as more and more people got into MMOGs, they wouldn't all be the same. As a basic example, it appears the average playing time is down perhaps a third or more from a decade ago when it was in the range of 20 hours per week. Sure, quite a few still play that much, but proportionally, more new users put in less time, which has caused the average to drop.

     

    So a decade ago a smaller player base, smaller selection, a different type of mmorpg also?

    Present: A much larger player-base, more online norm for games, more online options, larger selection of mmorpgs, and the predominant type of mmorpg played eg wow, lineage etc different? Also F2P skew: eg stats of customers who try and never return? So I'm not sure it's just the players, that affect that stat: It's a whole ton of reasons. What I'd be curious to find out is:

    mmorpg(s) that has highest proportion of players with highest av hrs / week  and a list of top 5 of these... That would be an interesting stat.

  • SuprGamerXSuprGamerX Montreal, QCPosts: 531Member

    "It was inevitable that as more and more people got into MMOGs, they wouldn't all be the same. As a basic example, it appears the average playing time is down perhaps a third or more from a decade ago when it was in the range of 20 hours per week. Sure, quite a few still play that much, but proportionally, more new users put in less time, which has caused the average to drop."

     Those were the golden ages of the MMO world.  Now a days we're just being fed the same garbage over and over again but with a different title.  I swear we'd cry and bitch alot less if MMOG's were being released at a paste of 2-3 a year instead of a dozen and a half. Would you imagine how GW2 would of been welcomed if MMOG's were released at a slow paste? WoW would of been dead by now , but no , because we're getting garbage month after month  we get that feeling of "deja vu" "Been there , done that."  Hence , the only reason why WoW is still the king of the world when it comes to MMOG market.

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