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The REAL Problem Nobody is Talking About: Service Cancellation

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  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,469Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Beatnik59

    It seems to me that 2013 is starting off to be an interesting year for online games.  Zynga announced that it is cancelling thirteen of its Facebook games.  We have the War Z and Steam debacle.  And the most popular news story right now involves a game that isn't even available anymore, City of Heroes, and it's about the details concerning its cancellation.

    Service cancellation is the 800lb gorilla in the room that we refuse to acknowledge.  It hangs over every game like a sword of Damocles.  This is the only form of computer entertainment where the continued enjoyment of the things the consumer purchases is determined by factors wholly outside of the consumer's control.

    A consumer can be responsible for paying his box price, paying his fees and paying the price for value-added items or services he wants (like item store goods,  downloadable content or expansions).  What he cannot be responsible for is the logistics of running the service itself: overall service profitability, management directives, development, etc.  And, yet, it is often those logistical responsibilities, and not the consumer's responsibilities, that determine when, if, and for how long a consumer may enjoy his entertainment.

    We didn't have cause to think about that so much in the early days.  Ultima Online is still with us.  Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, and Asheron's Call is with us too.  I think we owe a lot to those early games, because if they folded up their tents and went home early, we'd be less comfortable logging in serious hours and spending serious money in games like these.

    As time went on, more games got cancelled.  Some games were in such rough shape, we could see why they had to close.  Other games, like CoH, weren't in rough shape.  I think the reason we're still talking about CoH, even now, is that it showed us how little control we have over our fun.  It showed us that the illusion of "persistence," that what we do today will exist in the future, has been shattered.  It made many lose faith in the business model, and can you blame them?  People ought to know if the game they are investing time and money in today is going to last a day or ten years.

    When we hear all the pre-launch hype, how come we never ask "how long can you guarantee this service will be up for?  A year?  Ten years?  Twelve weeks?"  That would be good to know, wouldn't it?  You play a game that'll disappear in three months differently than a game that'll be around for ten years.  Your spending patterns also change...do you really need the extra character slot if your character will disappear in a month?

    And yet, this most existential of questions, "when will you take the game away," is a question that the developers and publishers cannot answer.  One would assume it is "whenever our business requires us to," but even if they knew, they are loathe to say.  Knowing that the games are going to be taken away breaks Castronova's "magic circle," it makes the whole exercise of playing an MMO pointless.

    Now it could very well be the case that there's nothing that can be done to make this form of computer entertainment more stable for the consumer.  But, assuming that we can do something to insulate the consumer from a game cancellation, what could we do?

     

     Well it seems too obvious to question.  People can't see the future.  Companies are hoping to earn money from their service for as long as posible.    The question is loaded with game failure.

    It also is a gamer problem:  The expectation that a game can last.  Some gamers see games as an investment.  This is wrong but that doesn't stop people from thinking they have lost something important when a game closes.  It's a very bad perspective to think of games as anything more than hobbies or pasttimes.

  • SampparoundSampparound VPosts: 43Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by erictlewis

     


    Originally posted by maplestone
    All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

     

    Wow talk about a blade runner moment in time. Am I the only one who got that.

    It was the first thing that popped into my mind too. Didn't even remember it from Thenoob that Enigmatus likned to.

     

    But to talk about the issue here, there is always the risk of cancellation with MMORPGs. But I don't worry about it  really. There are plenty of games out there. If the one I'm playing goes down, sure I'd be upset, but I'd just move on to to the next one.

    Slacker extraordinaire!

  • PsychowPsychow SF Giants Territory, CAPosts: 1,784Member
    Originally posted by erictlewis

     


    Originally posted by maplestone
    All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

     

    Wow talk about a blade runner moment in time. Am I the only one who got that.

     

    Great scene:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTzA_xesrL8

  • TheScavengerTheScavenger Matrix, NYPosts: 911Member Uncommon

    This is why I refuse to play any NCsoft MMO or any other company that is known to shut down MMOs on a drop of a dime.

     

    At least SOE keeps their MMOs running, even if they don't make any money. There is SWG, but Lucasarts or some outsider forced them to shut down with the release of SWTOR. So that is more of an exception for them.

     

    NCsoft probably has the most cancelled MMOs of any MMO company. I can't think of a company with more canned products, and even canned when they make a profit. WTF LOLROFLMAO. Why anyone would trust them is beyond me or even touch their cursed products.

     

    At least multiplayer (well to some degree, if you can create your own servers) and singleplayer games you can play forever. Morrowind is ancient, and is still popular to this day. A lot of people still play Oblivion. Diablo 2 multiplayer is more active than Diablo 3 multiplayer, and its still running to this day. And even if server closed, I can still play Diablo 2 as a singleplayer game.

     

    MMOs however, have a very limited lifespan (in general) compared to singleplayer/multiplayer/co-op games. And they don't evolve nearly as much either. Singleplayer/multiplayer games have skyrocketed in technolgical terms compared to MMOs. MMOs are 10 years out of date, and Singleplayer/Multiplayer games are 10 years ahead.

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  • jimdandy26jimdandy26 salem, ORPosts: 527Member
    Originally posted by Beatnik59
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    I'm pretty sure the game *are* marketed as entertainment services.  Trion marketed their rift game as an entertainment service where they touted the sub fee giving you a full meal deal.  They've moved away from that somewhat, but they never marketed the game as something you bought with forever access.

    I'm projecting a bit, but I'm guessing you're a bitter CoH vet that is trying to paint a doom and gloom bait and switch scenario that isn't there.  You keep bringing up CoH and cast doubt on Wildstar, but ever single major publisher has closed games.  Are you actually suggesting that we all stop online gaming?

    In your fear point you say why should people buy into Wildstar if it's just going to close?  Counterpoint, why should NCSoft keep CoH, or any game, open just to keep a small population of gamers happy when it doesn't measure up to their requirements to keep the service going?  Why throw good money to keep something marginal running?

    You and others like you are projecting your assumptions and perceptions on others and the industry.  Games end.  Move on and find another game to enjoy while it lasts and if you can't do that, then find another hobby that isn't temporal.  Good luck with that.

    If these entertainment services are "temporal," then why is it that no developer in the history of online gaming has ever come out and said, officially, how long their service will last?

    As I said in my first post, they cannot answer that question, even though it is a question that every player and potential player has a right to ask.  And the reason they can't answer that question is because any answer they give only leads to more uncomfortable questions.

    The most obvious answer is "as long as our business needs are served by it."  But then, how does a consumer know, and how can a consumer predict, whether or not a publisher's business needs are being met?  There is no way to know.  And there's no incentive for publishers to tell players.  The only time players know a service is temporal is when it becomes cancelled: after the decision to take away their game has already been made.

    The funny thing about the "doom and gloom" or "bait and switch" scenario is that it really isn't a scenario, and it really isn't "doom and gloom."  It's the reality we've been conditioned to accept as players, and something we just brush aside--conveniently--when we are mesmirised by our brand new game.  But we've seen games fold in 88 days.  For all we know, the writing may already be on the wall for many games on the margins.

    Now, it's true that many publishers have cancelled many games.  All this means is that this is a problem inherent in the genre: one that the industry can either neglect or mitigate, if they so choose.  Now it's not up to me to suggest we all stop online gaming.  But I do know that many have stopped online gaming.  If it wasn't CoH that caused them to leave, it was SWG.  If it wasn't SWG, it was Tabula Rasa.  And I'm sure that when the next game gets cancelled, more people will stop online gaming.  And can you honestly say that the longevity issue isn't a good reason to stop?

    You don't get this kind of thing in other genres.  You don't get this in FPS, flight sims, building games, RTS, single player roleplay, peer-to-peer, etc.  So the "fear point," as you call it, isn't an irrational fear.  It's based in reality that these games are far too tied to forces outside of the end-user's control to be fun for them.

    See, I question your assertion that "games end."  Certainly Freespace 2 didn't end.  A full 99% of games haven't "ended."  Why is it only in this genre where games "end?"

    Because I'd have to think that the only reason these games have to "end" is because the industry hasn't figured out how to make them exist in some form.  The really do have a lot to gain by doing so, if you think about it.  If you are a small game on the margins, or you are an underperforming game, you have a lot to gain by making your game more secure for the end-user.  For example, if your MMO was integrated into a stand alone client, people might be more inclined to spend money on add ons and content, because they know that if the live service folds, their purchases won't go *poof* as well.

    The problem with your assertion is you are the very exception to the rule. You are the vast minority. Just like those who have something traumatic (which is a truly hilarious first world problem when you tie it to a form of media as you are) happen to them (spouse dieing, car crash, etc) and then completely avoid it. Sure, people do those things, but people belong to NAMBLA too. MMO are not the only subcatagorie that people play and then turn away from gaming in general, or even types of gaming, they are merely some of the most prevailent, and often vocal. The contract being made for any "persistant" world is one where you have access only aslong as it remains popular enough to offset the cost. It is not between an individual and the publisher, its between the playerbase. That is implied in the very name.

    I did battle with ignorance today, and ignorance won.

    To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled - because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance.

  • TerranahTerranah Stockton, CAPosts: 3,605Member
    I wish there was some legitimate option to service cancellation open to players.  I would love to be able to at least access Precu SWG and maybe have some means to unlock things and experience the world, if only for my own pleasure.  It was such a huge play ground, so many vistas that i will never see again.  Seems a shame to lose it all forever.
  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Po_gg
    Originally posted by niceguy3978

    Well that kind of depends.  If for whatever reason Steam closed tomorrow, i would be out a crapload of games that I would never be able to play again.

    And that's exactly why I don't like Steam or gog etc. Boxes ftw :)

    I somewhat agree with OP... I'm a hoarder and while I have less and less time to play, I like to re-play my favourite games (even kept a P200 full with my dos games, and when c64 emulators became useful I gathered my favourite .d64's again - sadly maintaining a c64 is a moneysink nowadays). I basically grew up in the sense that my bought games are mine and I play them whenever I want.

    Probably that's why was it like a kick in the teeth, when NCsoft pulled the plug of AutoAssault (and later Tabula Rasa kicked one as well). I'm pretty sure that is the reason why I turned more into lore / content / levelling / rp. I was into that earlier too, but after AA closure I deliberately ditched any grind and so-called "endgame content". And while I still love my main games and support / advertise them, I play 3-5 simultaneously at a time, in case of one gets killed off...

    It could be my motto, have fun in your games, don't do anything what's boring or a grind, enjoy them until they last :)

    All GoodOldGames (gog.com) are DRM free and can be downloaded once you buy them.  You never have to return to the service or connect to it in order to play or install a game.  I archive all my GoG games and only install updates.  It's why I buy through GoG instead of Steam or other providers like that.  Even games they remove from sales are still available to those who've purchased them previously.

  • jimdandy26jimdandy26 salem, ORPosts: 527Member
    Originally posted by Terranah
    I wish there was some legitimate option to service cancellation open to players.  I would love to be able to at least access Precu SWG and maybe have some means to unlock things and experience the world, if only for my own pleasure.  It was such a huge play ground, so many vistas that i will never see again.  Seems a shame to lose it all forever.

    There are pre cu servers. Go figure that they are not very popular at all. Behold the power of rose colored glasses.

    I did battle with ignorance today, and ignorance won.

    To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled - because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Beatnik59
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    I'm pretty sure the game *are* marketed as entertainment services.  Trion marketed their rift game as an entertainment service where they touted the sub fee giving you a full meal deal.  They've moved away from that somewhat, but they never marketed the game as something you bought with forever access.

    I'm projecting a bit, but I'm guessing you're a bitter CoH vet that is trying to paint a doom and gloom bait and switch scenario that isn't there.  You keep bringing up CoH and cast doubt on Wildstar, but ever single major publisher has closed games.  Are you actually suggesting that we all stop online gaming?

    In your fear point you say why should people buy into Wildstar if it's just going to close?  Counterpoint, why should NCSoft keep CoH, or any game, open just to keep a small population of gamers happy when it doesn't measure up to their requirements to keep the service going?  Why throw good money to keep something marginal running?

    You and others like you are projecting your assumptions and perceptions on others and the industry.  Games end.  Move on and find another game to enjoy while it lasts and if you can't do that, then find another hobby that isn't temporal.  Good luck with that.

    If these entertainment services are "temporal," then why is it that no developer in the history of online gaming has ever come out and said, officially, how long their service will last?

    As I said in my first post, they cannot answer that question, even though it is a question that every player and potential player has a right to ask.  And the reason they can't answer that question is because any answer they give only leads to more uncomfortable questions.

    The most obvious answer is "as long as our business needs are served by it."  But then, how does a consumer know, and how can a consumer predict, whether or not a publisher's business needs are being met?  There is no way to know.  And there's no incentive for publishers to tell players.  The only time players know a service is temporal is when it becomes cancelled: after the decision to take away their game has already been made.

    The funny thing about the "doom and gloom" or "bait and switch" scenario is that it really isn't a scenario, and it really isn't "doom and gloom."  It's the reality we've been conditioned to accept as players, and something we just brush aside--conveniently--when we are mesmirised by our brand new game.  But we've seen games fold in 88 days.  For all we know, the writing may already be on the wall for many games on the margins.

    Now, it's true that many publishers have cancelled many games.  All this means is that this is a problem inherent in the genre: one that the industry can either neglect or mitigate, if they so choose.  Now it's not up to me to suggest we all stop online gaming.  But I do know that many have stopped online gaming.  If it wasn't CoH that caused them to leave, it was SWG.  If it wasn't SWG, it was Tabula Rasa.  And I'm sure that when the next game gets cancelled, more people will stop online gaming.  And can you honestly say that the longevity issue isn't a good reason to stop?

    You don't get this kind of thing in other genres.  You don't get this in FPS, flight sims, building games, RTS, single player roleplay, peer-to-peer, etc.  So the "fear point," as you call it, isn't an irrational fear.  It's based in reality that these games are far too tied to forces outside of the end-user's control to be fun for them.

    See, I question your assertion that "games end."  Certainly Freespace 2 didn't end.  A full 99% of games haven't "ended."  Why is it only in this genre where games "end?"

    Because I'd have to think that the only reason these games have to "end" is because the industry hasn't figured out how to make them exist in some form.  The really do have a lot to gain by doing so, if you think about it.  If you are a small game on the margins, or you are an underperforming game, you have a lot to gain by making your game more secure for the end-user.  For example, if your MMO was integrated into a stand alone client, people might be more inclined to spend money on add ons and content, because they know that if the live service folds, their purchases won't go *poof* as well.

    Everything is temporal and has an end.  Eyelolled explained why end dates aren't announced above and it should be common sense.  Do you tell your boss (or employees if you're in the other position) how long they'll last?  Do you even know?  Just like gamers are taking a risk when they participate in the service, so are studios and publishers when they launch a game.  It's ludicrous to imagine they know when their game will end.

    I haven't done any research about hosted solutions for single player games such as hosted servers for FPS or multi-player, but I would think there have been some service somewhere where they don't provide the full online features anymore.  Just because you can host locally, play offline, or host p2p doesn't mean, if they're providing servers to meet on, that they will always provide their online component.

    This isn't a problem just with gaming, but like pointed out above all digital media and services hosted by others.  Microsoft has shuttered many technologies as has Google.  What happens to my digital media bought through Amazon if they stop hosting and providing it?  What happens to a club membership when that club closes?  What happens to a favorite community business when it ends?  People grieve and experience loss, but there are very few guarantees in life.  That's why I'm an opportunist and take advantage of opportunities when they arise because you never know if and when it will ever present itself again.

    Like you said, 99% of all this stuff remains operational, so the premise that we should fear the next closure right around the corner is an unrational call to fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  You're trying to paint the doomsday scenario over everything when it only applies to that 1% consistently.  I guess the trick is trying to figure out what that 1% is and avoid it if its demise will cause you distress.

    I do agree that this is a reality though, that eventually all will have their end day.  I just disagree that we should fret and worry that our games will be next on the chopping block.  Enjoy what you have while you have it and understand it won't be there forever.  Even if there is a stand alone client doesn't mean that OS and technology changes won't kill off your game or software.  There was a huge time period between DOS and some XP games being re-worked to function in a virtual environment.  Maybe someday the industry will figure out a way to monetize and re-publish some of those titles.  That is a good goal to shoot for and support, but I'm not going to stop gaming just because the current situation is less than ideal.

  • IG-88IG-88 GrandosPosts: 143Member

    OP does have a valid and interesting point, that sort of got lost in the discussion here;

    Is the game worth investing time and energy in, or should i turn somewhere else for my leisure time?

    Movies? A bookclub? Horseback riding?

     

    Or should i treat it as a temporary fun that might end tomorrow and play it the same way way i play Farmville or WordFeud?

     

     

  • SouldrainerSouldrainer Elmer, NJPosts: 1,857Member
    Originally posted by Beatnik59

    See, this is the reason why peer-to-peer matchmaking games like Diablo III and Torchlight II have an advantage over MMOs:

    You have clearly NOT played Diablo 3.  The #1 complaint about the game is that it uses the exact server setup you complain about, and is not peer-to-peer at all.

    Error: 37. Signature not found. Please connect to my server for signature access.

  • meddyckmeddyck Athens, GAPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon
    Most MMOs aren't worth playing for more than a couple of months anyway. If you play an MMO for years and then it gets shut down for whatever reason, just enjoy the great fun you had for all those years then move on to some other game.

    Camelot Unchained Backer
    DAOC [retired]: R11 Cleric R11 Druid R11 Minstrel R9 Eldritch R6 Sorc R6 Scout R5 Healer

  • eye_meye_m Notta Chance, ABPosts: 3,132Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Terranah
    I wish there was some legitimate option to service cancellation open to players.  I would love to be able to at least access Precu SWG and maybe have some means to unlock things and experience the world, if only for my own pleasure.  It was such a huge play ground, so many vistas that i will never see again.  Seems a shame to lose it all forever.

    rather than a kickstarter, a kick-continuer

    All of my posts are either intelligent, thought provoking, funny, satirical, sarcastic or intentionally disrespectful. Take your pick.

    I get banned in the forums for games I love, so lets see if I do better in the forums for games I hate.

    I enjoy the serenity of not caring what your opinion is.

  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,224Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Everything is temporal and has an end.  Eyelolled explained why end dates aren't announced above and it should be common sense.  Do you tell your boss (or employees if you're in the other position) how long they'll last?  Do you even know?  Just like gamers are taking a risk when they participate in the service, so are studios and publishers when they launch a game.  It's ludicrous to imagine they know when their game will end.

    I haven't done any research about hosted solutions for single player games such as hosted servers for FPS or multi-player, but I would think there have been some service somewhere where they don't provide the full online features anymore.  Just because you can host locally, play offline, or host p2p doesn't mean, if they're providing servers to meet on, that they will always provide their online component.

    This isn't a problem just with gaming, but like pointed out above all digital media and services hosted by others.  Microsoft has shuttered many technologies as has Google.  What happens to my digital media bought through Amazon if they stop hosting and providing it?  What happens to a club membership when that club closes?  What happens to a favorite community business when it ends?  People grieve and experience loss, but there are very few guarantees in life.  That's why I'm an opportunist and take advantage of opportunities when they arise because you never know if and when it will ever present itself again.

    Like you said, 99% of all this stuff remains operational, so the premise that we should fear the next closure right around the corner is an unrational call to fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  You're trying to paint the doomsday scenario over everything when it only applies to that 1% consistently.  I guess the trick is trying to figure out what that 1% is and avoid it if its demise will cause you distress.

    I do agree that this is a reality though, that eventually all will have their end day.  I just disagree that we should fret and worry that our games will be next on the chopping block.  Enjoy what you have while you have it and understand it won't be there forever.  Even if there is a stand alone client doesn't mean that OS and technology changes won't kill off your game or software.  There was a huge time period between DOS and some XP games being re-worked to function in a virtual environment.  Maybe someday the industry will figure out a way to monetize and re-publish some of those titles.  That is a good goal to shoot for and support, but I'm not going to stop gaming just because the current situation is less than ideal.

    Torvaldr, isn't it good to "worry" at times?  To be a little cautious?  Worrying prevents people from making bad decisions.  Look at the games and how their item stores are integrated.  They make it very easy to keep a credit card on file, log into there, pick up a ton of small ticket items that adds up to a lot when it's all said and done.

    They abstract the process by listing the items with some sort of proxy currency, like gems or aurum.  It is not unlike buying casino chips as the gambling medium; the extra level of abstraction allows someone to part with their money more easily.

    People have been known to spend hundreds--if not thousands--of dollars in these games.  They spend countless hours doing impressive things, like building beautiful structures, creating fansites and creating beautiful narratives for their characters.  They do it because they take the advice of "enjoy what you have," but without the understanding that "it won't be there forever."

    And the reason they don't is because of what you, I, Eyelolled and everybody else in this thread tacitly admit: the game publishers have no real incentive to inform players that their ownership isn't ownership, it's the illusion of ownership.  They don't have the incentive to tell them that their persistence isn't persistence, but the illusion of persistence.

    On the contrary, game publishers have every incentive to put forth the illusion that the things they pay for are real and legitimate things.  Like I said, they cannot tell the players it won't last, even if they know that the end is near.  Rather, they push the concept that the things they do and buy in MMO land are "persistant," that you can "fly free, forever."  Given how the games push the image that their worlds are built to last, don't you think that a word now and then from someone who tells the truth is a good thing?

    It is not unlike the casino business, if you think about it.  Philosophers from Hunter S. Thompson to Jean Baudrillard have said that Las Vegas is a place where you can get the illusion of love, the illusion of success, the illusion of fame; all kinds of illusions are there if you have the money.  But once the money runs out, there is no crueler place on earth.  Las Vegas is designed to separate a man from his money, giving him nothing lasting in exchange.

    MMOs are like Vegas without the slots: it gives you compelling illusions but, in the end, you are left with nothing.  Perhaps there is no better evidence of this similarity than when a Vegas casino owner decides his casino is no longer separating enough wealth to be useful: it's blown up, as if it never existed at all.

    It's just like when MMOs are used up, isn't it?  The publishers tear down the MMOs and everyone and everything that was there.  It was built to seem real but, in the end, nothing that went on there was ever "real"...that is, except the money that the players gave to it.

    It makes me wonder why, exactly, we feel the need to brush off this longevity issue.  Don't we have enough people in the industry, with huge budgets for public relations, to do that for us?  I think it is much better to offer the alternative: to "check yourself before you wreck yourself."  Perhaps if people would think a little into the possibility that their games might close, they might save themselves from a purchase or experience they might regret.

    __________________________
    "Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
    --Arcken

    "...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
    --Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

    "It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
    --Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,224Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Souldrainer
    Originally posted by Beatnik59

    See, this is the reason why peer-to-peer matchmaking games like Diablo III and Torchlight II have an advantage over MMOs:

    You have clearly NOT played Diablo 3.  The #1 complaint about the game is that it uses the exact server setup you complain about, and is not peer-to-peer at all.

    Actually, I've been playing it for a few days now.  I didn't know about this though...but yeah.  I'd see why people would be mad at that.

    __________________________
    "Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
    --Arcken

    "...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
    --Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

    "It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
    --Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  • madazzmadazz A town, ONPosts: 1,564Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by erictlewis

     


    Originally posted by maplestone
    All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

     

    Wow talk about a blade runner moment in time. Am I the only one who got that.

    Even with the comic posted above that referenced it, it still didn't click until you mentioned it lol.

  • Matticus75Matticus75 Posts: 396Member Uncommon

    I think the current business model is relativistic, meaning the presentation of "getting more" is really , "getting the basics" instead.

     

    Example, in the past you pay 49.99 for any game, a few months later an expansion comes out and you pay for it to "expand" the game, so we can be safe to say your getting more than the base game.

    Now it seems we get a partial game, at 49.99 and then your presented to buy the rest of the game as an expansion.

    F2P is a concept of generating increased revenue, probably a spinoff idea from WoW gold spammers. instead of selling gold outright, gaming companies sell items that you would normally get for "free" as part of regular content updates, maybe in the beginning you could get those "same" items for free or with in game gold, and so the extra cool stuff is what you would have to pay for. Now its a few really basic items with pretty much all new content at charge (again, now your being charged for the basic and cool stuff now)

    So people may argue "its a F2P game to begin with and you have to pay for more access, and you have a choice of what content you want and not want" thats all good IF we still have the same level of content in the past, with extras, not buying the basics!  but I want to play a game with a one time charge, sub fee, good quality and not have to worry about a devlopment enviroment that is at a reduced staff, spending the majority of their time making items and content you have to pay for.. STO is an excellent example, most of the content is "new C-Store" items, and lock boxes, other development content moves at a snails pace.

    On the other hand I would also be ok with, if because of the increased revenue the development team makes a "better" game BUT they ususally do not, most of the F2P games are low budget or low content.

    IF SWTOR has moved to the F2P model then why is content still comming out so slow? I dont really belive that if F2P boosts their revenue they are going to inverst it back by  having more staff on hand to speed up content creation.

     
  • jimdandy26jimdandy26 salem, ORPosts: 527Member
    Originally posted by Beatnik59
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Everything is temporal and has an end.  Eyelolled explained why end dates aren't announced above and it should be common sense.  Do you tell your boss (or employees if you're in the other position) how long they'll last?  Do you even know?  Just like gamers are taking a risk when they participate in the service, so are studios and publishers when they launch a game.  It's ludicrous to imagine they know when their game will end.

    I haven't done any research about hosted solutions for single player games such as hosted servers for FPS or multi-player, but I would think there have been some service somewhere where they don't provide the full online features anymore.  Just because you can host locally, play offline, or host p2p doesn't mean, if they're providing servers to meet on, that they will always provide their online component.

    This isn't a problem just with gaming, but like pointed out above all digital media and services hosted by others.  Microsoft has shuttered many technologies as has Google.  What happens to my digital media bought through Amazon if they stop hosting and providing it?  What happens to a club membership when that club closes?  What happens to a favorite community business when it ends?  People grieve and experience loss, but there are very few guarantees in life.  That's why I'm an opportunist and take advantage of opportunities when they arise because you never know if and when it will ever present itself again.

    Like you said, 99% of all this stuff remains operational, so the premise that we should fear the next closure right around the corner is an unrational call to fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  You're trying to paint the doomsday scenario over everything when it only applies to that 1% consistently.  I guess the trick is trying to figure out what that 1% is and avoid it if its demise will cause you distress.

    I do agree that this is a reality though, that eventually all will have their end day.  I just disagree that we should fret and worry that our games will be next on the chopping block.  Enjoy what you have while you have it and understand it won't be there forever.  Even if there is a stand alone client doesn't mean that OS and technology changes won't kill off your game or software.  There was a huge time period between DOS and some XP games being re-worked to function in a virtual environment.  Maybe someday the industry will figure out a way to monetize and re-publish some of those titles.  That is a good goal to shoot for and support, but I'm not going to stop gaming just because the current situation is less than ideal.

    Torvaldr, isn't it good to "worry" at times?  To be a little cautious?  Worrying prevents people from making bad decisions.  Look at the games and how their item stores are integrated.  They make it very easy to keep a credit card on file, log into there, pick up a ton of small ticket items that adds up to a lot when it's all said and done.

    They abstract the process by listing the items with some sort of proxy currency, like gems or aurum.  It is not unlike buying casino chips as the gambling medium; the extra level of abstraction allows someone to part with their money more easily.

    People have been known to spend hundreds--if not thousands--of dollars in these games.  They spend countless hours doing impressive things, like building beautiful structures, creating fansites and creating beautiful narratives for their characters.  They do it because they take the advice of "enjoy what you have," but without the understanding that "it won't be there forever."

    And the reason they don't is because of what you, I, Eyelolled and everybody else in this thread tacitly admit: the game publishers have no real incentive to inform players that their ownership isn't ownership, it's the illusion of ownership.  They don't have the incentive to tell them that their persistence isn't persistence, but the illusion of persistence.

    On the contrary, game publishers have every incentive to put forth the illusion that the things they pay for are real and legitimate things.  Like I said, they cannot tell the players it won't last, even if they know that the end is near.  Rather, they push the concept that the things they do and buy in MMO land are "persistant," that you can "fly free, forever."  Given how the games push the image that their worlds are built to last, don't you think that a word now and then from someone who tells the truth is a good thing?

    It is not unlike the casino business, if you think about it.  Philosophers from Hunter S. Thompson to Jean Baudrillard have said that Las Vegas is a place where you can get the illusion of love, the illusion of success, the illusion of fame; all kinds of illusions are there if you have the money.  But once the money runs out, there is no crueler place on earth.  Las Vegas is designed to separate a man from his money, giving him nothing lasting in exchange.

    MMOs are like Vegas without the slots: it gives you compelling illusions but, in the end, you are left with nothing.  Perhaps there is no better evidence of this similarity than when a Vegas casino owner decides his casino is no longer separating enough wealth to be useful: it's blown up, as if it never existed at all.

    It's just like when MMOs are used up, isn't it?  The publishers tear down the MMOs and everyone and everything that was there.  It was built to seem real but, in the end, nothing that went on there was ever "real"...that is, except the money that the players gave to it.

    It makes me wonder why, exactly, we feel the need to brush off this longevity issue.  Don't we have enough people in the industry, with huge budgets for public relations, to do that for us?  I think it is much better to offer the alternative: to "check yourself before you wreck yourself."  Perhaps if people would think a little into the possibility that their games might close, they might save themselves from a purchase or experience they might regret.

    I heartily disagree. There is a rather large gap between putting forth illusion as you put it and not reminding players at every turn. You are describing it much more malicously than it really is. Buying another form of currency for example is not there for obsufcation purposes (though it may provide that as a benefit) but to get around laws that force refunds. Its simple protection for them. You know up front that you are buying a digital good. You are paying for entertainment, just like with every other media service. You are left with the ideas, friendships, and memories of that experience, again, just like every other media service. Waxing lyrically about it will not change it.

    I did battle with ignorance today, and ignorance won.

    To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled - because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance.

  • GruntyGrunty Fort Worth, TXPosts: 7,029Member Uncommon

    It's a service. I subscribe to a service and can cancel the service. The service provider also can cancel the service. The service is access to a game.  Those options of cancellation are given in the license agreement I accept when I subscribe to the service. If I don't accept those options I don't subscribe. 

    Don't like that it is a subscription service? Don't subscribe.

    The first on-line game I purchased access to was Asheron's Call. It took me at least 2 months after learning about the game that I decided to play it because I knew it was a subscription and I could lose access to it at a future date. I played it for about 4 years.

    I knew it was a service when I got it. I know they are a service now. Services get cancelled by either party or by both.

  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,224Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jimdandy26

    I heartily disagree. There is a rather large gap between putting forth illusion as you put it and not reminding players at every turn. You are describing it much more malicously than it really is. Buying another form of currency for example is not there for obsufcation purposes (though it may provide that as a benefit) but to get around laws that force refunds. Its simple protection for them. You know up front that you are buying a digital good. You are paying for entertainment, just like with every other media service. You are left with the ideas, friendships, and memories of that experience, again, just like every other media service. Waxing lyrically about it will not change it.

    I'm not sure exactly what there is to disagree with, except that--perhaps--I'm bringing up issues that make people around here uncomfortable.

    Neither you, nor I, dispute the basics: that people spend time and money in online games, online games get taken away from the player for any reason the publisher sees fit, leaving people with nothing to show for it.

    Now I guess if you want to "wax lyrically" about it you can say that people have the memories of all the great things they paid for, but are now gone.  But that's rather weak, isn't it?  It's saying that a person shouldn't care if their car disappears, because they'll always have the good memories of the car.  But the person who has good memories of the car doesn't want the memories.  He wants the car.  The memories of the car are no substitute for the car.

    Of course, this digital stuff isn't like a car, but this digital stuff isn't like a resturant (the example brought up before) either.  Like you said, we buy "digital goods," but what does this mean?  The best real-world correlation I have found is that a digital good is like a casino token: something that works within the casino, but has no use outside of it.  Buy it and use it fast, though, because once the owner blows the casino up, those who buy casino tokens are SOL.

    If it's entertainment we buy, what kind of entertainment is it?  Well, you can rent a 90 minute feature on Netflix.  You know it's 90 minutes, you know when it'll be over, and if you want to watch it again, you can watch it again.  But a digital "thing?"  It might be available for two decades or two months, whenever the service provider wants to yank the service away.

    Again, probably the closest analogy is the casino: you take your chances.  Just like in the casino, and like you implied with the virtual currency, the house protects itself.  It'll always win, but the user?  "Let the buyer beware." 

    Now there was a post on this thread, a few pages ago, which asked if this is a worthwhile hobby, compared to...say...horseback riding or model trains.  And probably the best I can say is that it has a recreational value the same as, or slightly better than, a trip to the casino.  It's immersive.  It works on your senses powerfully.  But it is also a place where you can get into deep trouble if you go in there with low impulse control, without fully realizing what it is.

    Because--perhaps sooner than you think--"all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."  Just like in Vegas, you buy the illusions, but you end up with nothing.  Given the similarity between Vegas and online gaming, is it any wonder why Zynga is wanting to branch out into online gambling?  MMORPGs are pretty much there.

    __________________________
    "Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
    --Arcken

    "...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
    --Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

    "It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
    --Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  • NovusodNovusod Lakewood, NJPosts: 892Member Uncommon

    The closing down of games has some paralels in the auto industry. It is common practice in the auto-industry to only produce a car for a certain number of years usually about 3 to 5 years but in the early days the auto makers did not make spare parts for dis-continued models. If you needed a replacement part for your 1970 cammro in the year 1980 you were out of luck. Your only alternative was to rummage through junk-yards. Then consumers started to get politically active and demanded laws be placed on the books that required automakers to keep selling parts to their old models. Now I think the auto makers have to make replacement parts for 20 years after they discontinue a model.

     

    It is becoming clear similar laws will eventually be needed in the MMO industry. This really became evident during the closing of CoH. Paragon studios had a large development staff and was just about ready to release an expansion NCSoft dropped the bomb on them. Nobody saw this coming because this was large company with a loyal player base and now they were all just left hanging. One closed game is not enough to start a political movement though but this is how it starts. The next closed game will add to the discontentment and so will the one after that until it builds a groundswell that can enact real change as part of the consumer protection acts.

    If a law were passed it would be fine they closed down a development studio and said they were not patch the game anymore but the company would now be required by law to keep a legacy server system up. It can be a pay service but they have to provide something that keeps their products playable after the end of MMOs lifecycle.

  • Cephus404Cephus404 Redlands, CAPosts: 3,675Member

    I get so sick of looking at the entitlement happy people think that someone OWES them a  game.  You buy a game.  You pay a fee month to month.  Nobody owes you a damn thing beyond the month that you paid for.  If you buy a lifetime sub, you get to play for the lifetime of the game, not your lifetime.  When the game goes away, it goes away and nobody owes you a thing, beyond any paid for/unplayed time which should be refunded to you.

    Don't like it?  Stop playing the damn game.

    Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
    Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
    Now Playing: None
    Hope: None

  • xpowderxxpowderx Radcliff, KYPosts: 2,131Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Matticus75

    I think the current business model is relativistic, meaning the presentation of "getting more" is really , "getting the basics" instead.

     

    Example, in the past you pay 49.99 for any game, a few months later an expansion comes out and you pay for it to "expand" the game, so we can be safe to say your getting more than the base game.

    Now it seems we get a partial game, at 49.99 and then your presented to buy the rest of the game as an expansion.

    F2P is a concept of generating increased revenue, probably a spinoff idea from WoW gold spammers. instead of selling gold outright, gaming companies sell items that you would normally get for "free" as part of regular content updates, maybe in the beginning you could get those "same" items for free or with in game gold, and so the extra cool stuff is what you would have to pay for. Now its a few really basic items with pretty much all new content at charge (again, now your being charged for the basic and cool stuff now)

    So people may argue "its a F2P game to begin with and you have to pay for more access, and you have a choice of what content you want and not want" thats all good IF we still have the same level of content in the past, with extras, not buying the basics!  but I want to play a game with a one time charge, sub fee, good quality and not have to worry about a devlopment enviroment that is at a reduced staff, spending the majority of their time making items and content you have to pay for.. STO is an excellent example, most of the content is "new C-Store" items, and lock boxes, other development content moves at a snails pace.

    On the other hand I would also be ok with, if because of the increased revenue the development team makes a "better" game BUT they ususally do not, most of the F2P games are low budget or low content.

    IF SWTOR has moved to the F2P model then why is content still comming out so slow? I dont really belive that if F2P boosts their revenue they are going to inverst it back by  having more staff on hand to speed up content creation.

     

    The question is:

    Due to the time frame you want ,"X" service is putting out content too slow?

    WOW's ffirst expansion was 2 years after it first came out. Would you consider that slow?

  • Paradigm68Paradigm68 New York, NYPosts: 884Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by erictlewis

     


    Originally posted by maplestone
    All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

     

    Wow talk about a blade runner moment in time. Am I the only one who got that.

    No, you're not the only one

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Paradigm68
    Originally posted by erictlewis

    Originally posted by maplestone
    All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

    Wow talk about a blade runner moment in time. Am I the only one who got that.

    No, you're not the only one

    The real problem no one is talking about is whether Deckard really was or wasn't, you know...

2
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