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The REAL Problem Nobody is Talking About: Service Cancellation

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  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,643Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Beatnik59    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.

    That reality has always been there even back when MMOs started. Actually, it's a reality for any and every service or establishment that has ever been created. Enjoy it while it's here, have fond memories when it's gone.

    Somewhere out there is a legion of therapists that are going to be rolling in cash the day Facebook closes.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • MurlockDanceMurlockDance ParisPosts: 1,223Member

    Good OP. I admit that the possibility of service cancellation is one reason why I do not buy cosmetic items or any other fluff in cash shops. I only have ever bought unlocks and that is it. I would feel like I have egg on my face if I spent 100s of dollars on fluff stuff in order to look cool ingame rather than unlocking more enjoyable content only to have the game close on me.

    Playing MUDs and MMOs since 1994.

    image
  • GreenishBlueGreenishBlue Baltimore, MDPosts: 263Member
    that's suppose to be the permadeath; very hardcore, since one can't re-roll a new character

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

    I disagree because you have grown attached to digital products that you should not have grown attached to. Much like the lonely boy who grows attached to a stripper. Your subscription only ever buys you access to the server, and any additional money payed is increase your enjoyment there-in, and only have the value that you yourself deem them to have. That is the entire reason why those are optional. You cannot compare them with things like cars because beside the fact its physical ownership versus renting, cars provide far more than just entertainment.

    Originally posted by Novusod

    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.

    No company would let that type of legislation pass. It would be far too expensive for them. Again, renting a service is very different from buying a product.

    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.

  • RazperilRazperil Lewiston, MEPosts: 289Member
    Originally posted by jimdandy26
    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.

    Says you? Right, we'll just let that be your opinion. By the way, I think you "need" to smell the roses on those colored glasses. (Yeah, I most likely over-stepped those forum rules. Go figure).

  • jimdandy26jimdandy26 salem, ORPosts: 527Member
    Originally posted by Razperil
    Originally posted by jimdandy26
    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.

    Says you? Right, we'll just let that be your opinion. By the way, I think you "need" to smell the roses on those colored glasses. (Yeah, I most likely over-stepped those forum rules. Go figure).

    Sorry, I should say server, and its never capped. 2k players does not rate "popular" in pretty much any arena. If it were anywhere near as good or beloved as the Swg players have always stated there would be more than .9% of its original playerbase taking an interest.

    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.

  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,225Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jimdandy26
    Originally posted by Beatnik59
    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.

    I disagree because you have grown attached to digital products that you should not have grown attached to. Much like the lonely boy who grows attached to a stripper. Your subscription only ever buys you access to the server, and any additional money payed is increase your enjoyment there-in, and only have the value that you yourself deem them to have. That is the entire reason why those are optional. You cannot compare them with things like cars because beside the fact its physical ownership versus renting, cars provide far more than just entertainment.

    So you don't disagree with my posts.  Frankly, I'm trying to figure out exactly what I say that you don't say, besides the accusation that I've "grown attached to digital products," which is itself really rich.  (How can one accuse someone of growing attached to something when the person he accuses keeps reiterating how pointless it is to grow attached to the something?)

    Except, perhaps, that I am right...and it bothers you for some reason.  Do you have a stake in this business, by chance?

    __________________________
    "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

  • Four0SixFour0Six Missoula, MTPosts: 1,181Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Beatnik59

    That's what we have now, Eyelolled.

    But here's the thing that's really confusing.  If these games are, as you said, "not a commodity," how is it that the industry has been, for the better part of a decade, "commoditizing" them in the form of offering items for sale and services?

    They do it because they wish to create the illusion that the player has a sense of ownership of something.  But this sense of ownership is, in the end, highly dependent on the perception that the game will last.  As soon as the "magic circle" is broken, that the things people pay money for will disappear, people don't throw money into the thing as readily.  A $5.00 jacket for your characters looks like a good deal if you have it forever.  It looks like a really dumb thing to do if you only "own" it for two months on a lame duck service.

    I don't think these games are marketed as "entertainment," or places you visit, like Disneyland.  They aren't developed to slam them in one night like a prostitute.  They are marketed as things you live with, like a steady girlfriend or a wife.  They are places you can live.  And the reason I say this is because they encourage behaviors that only make sense if players are confident they'll have access to the game in perpetuity.

    These games offer choices in how a person should spend his or her time.  There are activities, like building and decorating a guild headquarters, that require the individual to forego content.  These activities take a considerable amount of time and expertise.  But you only take the time to learn these things and do these things on the presumption that you'll have the time to do all the other content.  And you could extend this to many activities, like receiving a matching set of some loot, or helping guild mates.  You only do these things under the presumption that the game will last a long time.  You don't do these activities if it all goes away in a few months.

    Now the reason why I say the longevity issue is a problem is that it is starting to affect how players are looking at these games.  For example, I know of a lot of people who are rather skeptical about Wildstar right now because of what NCSoft did with City of Heroes.  And I can't say I blame them.  Why throw good money and good time into something that might go *poof* for reasons not under your control?

    That's a big problem.  It's one thing if players are avoiding your game because they are afraid they'll like it too little.  It's another thing if players are avoiding your game because they are afraid they'll like it too much, and it'll be taken away. 

     

     Not me, no skeptics here. Why be skeptical? No reason, since I wont play another NC game again.

  • WereLlamaWereLlama Lubbock, TXPosts: 243Member

    I think the idea that a game will only be perpetually hosted if it is 'successful' will speed up the tipping point  of failure.

    Which, to me, means players will be super sensitive to all news and follow the flock out (and quit) if the game has the following two characteristics:

    1. Is so big that it is expensive to maintain.

    2. Bad reviews

    If both are true, people will soon quit immediately and not invest, and maybe not invest at all unless proven otherwise.

    This leads me to a possible future where almost all MMOs start tiny (low cost to maintain) and slowly grow their playerbase, like EVE / Tibia did.

    -Blitz

     

     

     

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