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

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Comments

  • RhazmuzRhazmuz Posts: 208Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by crasset15

    Ah the good old days when everything you had in-game came through honest work.

    I don't have respect for item shop games. I don't care if it makes you the most profit, in my opinion it is unethical business practice. If your monetisation methods start affecting the design of your game, then I aint playing it. You make your game insanely grindy, and basically bait people to play with the aid of the item shop. A game is a game, why should one person have any kind of edge (and yes, reducing the time it takes to reach max level is an edge) on someone else just because he has more money irl. Any xp potions and such are pay to win. You don't have to put in the same effort as everyone who did it normally, thus devaluing their honest work.

    Age of wushu for example. There is a gathering book in the item shop that doubles the amount of resources you get for 30 days. Otherwise a solid game, but any kind of motivation I had to be a crafter went straight down the toilet when I found out about their monetization schemes. You can stick your book up your ***. I'm not choosing between either paying, or gimping my character. Extortion is the word for it. They advertise free, but then you have extreme disadvantages, and end up paying more than a sub model, just to play the freaking game.

    My sincere middle finger to all item shop games. Hope you burn.

    You obviously have no clue how good item stores work..

    Anyway, enjoy the heaps of sustainable p2p mmos/games that are gonna be released.

  • xFortunadoxxFortunadox Collinsville, ILPosts: 6Member

    "If my only option for playing your game is to shell out $15/month, what are the odds I’ll continue playing when there are so many quality F2P titles on the market, with more coming?"

    I'm sorry, but this is an outright stupid argument. Games that start F2P don't have nearly the budget that TES:O has backing it. Because there is a large amount of money backing the project, there is a strong expectation for the project to attract a ton of subscribers. P2P far exceeds the profits of F2P, but only when you have a large subscriber base. So if their expectation is to have a large subscriber pool and make a massive amount of money from this game and not simply to command a respectful profit, then Zenimax would have to be crazy to even consider the F2P model. SWTOR didn't make a mistake. They made the correct decision given the perceived demand they expected for the game. The problem was that the demand for the game waned after people realized that this is another WoW-Clone with some CoH dynamics thrown in. And no, TES:O having a large budget doesn't therefore become a problem. It was obvious that an IP like Elder Scrolls was going to have a ton of money backing it. Anyone who didn't realize that from the beginning must have been surprised that the budget for Iron Man 3 was over 100 million.

    Also, let's just get this out of the way: F2P MMO's suck. They're unpolished, grindy, and restricted to hell in the free versions. Not to mention that they cost a ton to be proficient at and generally aren't quality products.

    I won't play the game if it's F2P. I'm tired of this crap. Make it P2P at $15 so that we don't have to spend years getting new content and bug fixes and getting nickel and dimed on virtually every feature that the game provides in order to scrape out a living for the company. And that the content continues to be AAA and not weaksauce content.

     
  • LanfeaLanfea EssenPosts: 219Member Uncommon
    if the numbers are correct - 100 million dollar for development and another 25 million dollar as marketing budget - it doesn't matter which payment model zenimax will choose, cause i don't see that TESO have the potential to refinance the investment cost.
  • kuroionikuroioni six feet under my rockPosts: 26Member Uncommon
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  • IncomparableIncomparable KuwaitPosts: 872Member
    How many of you study examples of business strategies? Your opinion on why devs should charge to have more money is ignoring an important strategy of differentiating a product that is customized to the different customers.

    They need money but they also need subs. There is a trade off of p2p and losing subs and content being seasonal.

    However, they should have p2p only with the right content that is repeatable end game that is of high quality.

    Otherwise when they bleed subs and can't release content fast enough due to a weak foundation then the alternative is a cash shop.

    Yet the first option ignores differentiating by only having a p2p model. Single rpg'ers don't pay subs. So can they make a product that fits them and still make an mmo with high quality features?

    Can box sales and stream lined development cover costs for future expansions? If they are efficient and developing content then b2p and a cash shop is better to keep populations healthy at all times of the game and not just at release of expansions.

    “Write bad things that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble”

  • MibletMiblet BognerPosts: 333Member
    Originally posted by Lanfea
    if the numbers are correct - 100 million dollar for development and another 25 million dollar as marketing budget - it doesn't matter which payment model zenimax will choose, cause i don't see that TESO have the potential to refinance the investment cost.

    To break even they will need ~2 million box sales.  It's not inconcievable that could be achieved given the attraction most new MMOs face in their opening month.  If using a cash shop or subscription model (B2P or P2P) the game could afford to sell fewer copies and break even a month or two later.  It's not as daunting a figure as you'd imagine...however their projected profit numbers will likely be insanely overestimated.

    I didn't agree with the article though.  While P2P does form a barrier to entry albeit a small one by todays entertainment standards, games live or die by how entertaining they are.  SWToR didn't lose subscribers because it was P2P (it may have attracted more if it was free, but then it may also have failed to break even in that case), it lost subscriptions because of a lack of endgame and a niaviety of how long their content would keep people entertained.  Simply put..while fun for a bit it didn't have anything to sustain that entertainment beyond a month, 2 at most.  Most games that have switched to Freemium have not done so because they chose P2P but because they simply weren't entertaining enough for the price.

    Unless companies stop spending enormous amounts of money on games (which also would lead to people having to experience lower graphical fidelity) the F2P model for a budget this size is insanely risky.  B2P carries less risk though also has problems with sustainable income after the inital rush which in turn potentially hurts future development (moreso if initial profits were not high enough to sustain the next content's development).

    Given the budget for this game I really cannot see anything other than P2P.  F2P is a dream for those wanting to play it for nothing, B2P is possible though I believe their projected profits will rule it out due to it's long term sustainable profits.  Despite the silence the business model would have been selected some time ago, short of something disasterous happening they won't change that so late in the development cycle.

    It would be interesting to see the information from freemium games as to their profitability in comparison to P2P per capita.  I would be suprised if their profit is higher, even with the larger potential playerbase.

  • RattenmannRattenmann ReitmehringPosts: 510Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Sephastus

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

    I can't afford Free to Play games.

    You are not alone. I am in the same boat.

    I can not afford "free" games, since they usually cost WAY more to get the full game then any other payment model. That, or the game really is cheap and plays like it. Never seen a good FTP game. Not a single one.

    MMOs finally replaced social interaction, forced grouping and standing in a line while talking to eachother.

    Now we have forced soloing, forced questing and everyone is the hero, without ever having to talk to anyone else. The evolution of multiplayer is here! We won,... right?

  • jmcdermottukjmcdermottuk LiverpoolPosts: 976Member Uncommon

    I have to disagre with the article. SWTOR failed not because it was sub based, but because it was crap. If Zenimax make a good, quality game, then they can charge a sub for it and people will pay it. Add your standard 14 day trial which can be upgraded so people can try it out and you get your easy entry.

    And which "quality" F2P games are you referring to? F2P games from the ground up often feel 2nd rate to me. The only quality ones are those that started as P2P and went Freemium.

    I personally won't be buying it but not because of any payment model. I have problems with the whole DAoC2 argument but that's not important.

    If the game is good it can succeed with a subscription.

  • AyulinAyulin Mt marion, NYPosts: 334Member
    Originally posted by JasonJ
    Originally posted by Ayulin

    Subs have always been a losing proposition? Are you kidding me, MikeB?  MMOs survived just fine on subs for over a decade

    And compared to the revenue of F2P games, they failed.

    If a BAD F2P game can make more money that most P2P games, its a fail model which is why it is finally dieing in the west and it only took so long because companies just couldnt let go of the massive greed they had.

    Too bad for them they lost so much of the market to South Korean companies I doubt they will ever get it back...even Blizzard is targetting the eastern market more now...pandas...lol.

    Compared to F2P? What the hell does that even mean?

     

    There are P2P MMOs out there that are running for over a decade now, still subscription only, and still doing fine.

     

    There are new MMOs coming out that will still maintain a subscription fee, and - so long as they're good enough to maintain a healthy enough player-base, they'll do fine as well.

     

    Every P2P MMO that has gone F2P has maintained the option for a monthly membership because - and this part is important - a substantial number of people still prefer subs to F2P/Cash Shops. In some cases, people prefer subs, but like the option of a cash shop in case they want to buy something extra.

     

    There is absolutely nothing "fail" - in comparison to anything - about something that is still making money for developers and is still in demand by a large portion of the population.

     

    Something that's still successful and making money, and is still in demand by a significant portion of a population is not "fail", not in comparison to F2P or otherwise. The word you're looking for there is "viable".

     

    You're doing the same mental gymnastics as MikeB. I know you're emotionally invested in it and really really really want to believe it's true. Sadly, for you, it's not, and will not be no matter how many times you say it's so.

     

    The pro-F2P people, like yourself, have been beating the "Subs are dead! F2P is the future!" drum for about half a decade now. Yet here we are. Subs aren't dead. F2P hasn't "taken over". Far from it.

     

    Leave the dead horse be already, will ya? You've got a nice selection of F2P MMOs to choose from. Can't you be satisfied with that? Can you really not retire the war-drum, and live and let live? Are you that emotionally invested in it that you can't just let it go?

     
     
     
  • SkuzSkuz WorcesterPosts: 1,034Member Uncommon

    I'm hoping they go with a B2P model, or perhaps a B2P with a few tiers of subscriptions layered on top of the main game for cosmetic extras,  at worst B2P with cosmetics cash-shop.

     

  • NeherunNeherun St. MichelPosts: 278Member

    The only thing I am wondering is that why majority of subscription based games are always the 13 euros or 15 dollars / month. Never less. I wonder if some business guy has calculated that this is the most efficient sub fee, and people stick to that. I would never even consider "should I sub or not" if a game was lets say, 5-7 euros a month. But for 13 euros, I can get a lot of stuff, as tiny sum as it is, people still start weighing their options what they could do monthly for that sum of money. 5-7 euros on the other hand doesn't get you a month of gym membership, but one cigarrette package or a six-pack of beer. Hardly equilavent to a month of activity.

     

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  • TalulaRoseTalulaRose Long Island, NYPosts: 480Member Uncommon

    F2p with bots because it costs them nothing to keep creating accounts.

    F2p with spam filling the channels because it costs nothing for the gold spammers to keep creating accounts.

    F2p with players who only log in just to ruin your enjoyment of the game.

  • MibletMiblet BognerPosts: 333Member
    Originally posted by Neherun

    The only thing I am wondering is that why majority of subscription based games are always the 13 euros or 15 dollars / month. Never less. I wonder if some business guy has calculated that this is the most efficient sub fee, and people stick to that. I would never even consider "should I sub or not" if a game was lets say, 5-7 euros a month. But for 13 euros, I can get a lot of stuff, as tiny sum as it is, people still start weighing their options what they could do monthly for that sum of money. 5-7 euros on the other hand doesn't get you a month of gym membership, but one cigarrette package or a six-pack of beer. Hardly equilavent to a month of activity.

     

    It's that price because that was the price roughly 10 years ago when the games of that time deemed it would net a reasonable profit and cover expenses (it literally hasn't risen with inflation, it's pretty much been static - meaning in real terms it's been getting cheaper and cheaper).  Since then companies have been terrified of raising it for fear of scaring away customers, but won't lower it as that reduces profit.

    Really though 13 euros doesn't give you that much.  It won't cover a night on the town, nor a month gym membership (not with my local gyms at least).  For the amount of entertainment that can be gained from a fun MMO for the price you literally will struggle to find better as almost every other form of entertainment has risen a fair bit over the last decade.

  • qwillerqwiller Chesapke Beach, MDPosts: 2Member
    I hope its P2P or B2P with cosmetic only cash shops. If a F2P option were added then let it be a hybrid where you have subscription tiers. I hate feeling like im forced to use a cash shop to fully enjoy a game.
  • PAL-18PAL-18 AnachronoxPosts: 802Member

    24/7 gm support  which actually works,gm events etc and company actually showing that they really like what they are doing ,sure p2p full forward.

    no support whatsoever , f2p b2p who cares,cash shop to keep some players happy all the way.

     

    So, did ESO have a successful launch? Yes, yes it did.
    By Ryan Getchell on April 02, 2014.
    **On the radar:http://cyberpunk.net/**

  • xXMapcoXxxXMapcoXx Parsons, TNPosts: 9Member
    Know what I think. Who gives a flying effer. I mean here are debating on crapy like our say does anything to the over all decision being  may to make it p2p or b2p or even f2p. The fact is they need to make a pay check and what ever way they seem to make it will be what they do. Now I personally dont see myself buying a game then having to pay ever single month just to keep playing it. I understand that as a game developer on an mmo if you are keeping the game alive an adding stuff to it you got to be payed to do that. Lets face it if your game sucks or get boring people are going to stop playing it. Same way with a regular game. You buy it beat it replay it to get it 100 completed you stop playing. MMO are no different either way some people are going to stop playing it once there done with it.
  • BoraellBoraell YorkPosts: 82Member Uncommon
    Personal preference masquarading (barely) as an article. You wont play it unless its F2P, I wont play it if it IS F2P...c'est la vie.
  • MallowayMalloway Charlotte, NCPosts: 3Member

    I hope to god they offer different payment models. Ideally it should be something like this:

     

    Buy the game + $15 subscription (P2P) = Full access to everything in game including a monthly allowance of so many cash shop credits and other perks for being a subscriber.

     

    Buy the Game (B2P) = Full access to everything in the game (similar to GW2)

     

    No money spent (F2P) = Limited access to certain game "wants" including limited bag space, limited bank space, limited dailies/dungeon ... etc 

     

        There are plenty of people, myself included, who are still accustom to the "old school" payment plans and don't mind buying the game and subbing to get the best experience from a game that we enjoy playing.

        If they do indeed go with the above business model, I'm sure they will attract a variety type of gamers as well as make enough money to put out expansions and continue development.

     
     
  • toshiyougantoshiyougan ijmuidenPosts: 2Member
    Originally posted by furbans
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Originally posted by JeroKane
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Why would anyone pay a subscription for a game they like when there are a lot of games that you can play for free if you're willing to be crippled enough that you won't like them?  The question nearly answers itself.

     QFT!

    I rather pay 15 dollars a month and have unlimited access to the game and enjoy a game that is not deliberately crippled to force people into the Cash Shop!

    F2P games are the plague! Litterly!  Nothing is FREE! People really need to get over that idea and that in the end you end up spending more money in F2P games, then in Subscription based games. Period!

    I've never spent more money in sub-free games.  I've spent over $300 on Rift over the last 2 years.  I've spent $30 on STO, $30 on TSW, $60 or $70 on GW2.  In sub games you spend a minimum of approximately $150 - $230 per year for rented access.  Even if I spent $300 per year on a F2P game I would at least be able to play it anytime without have to fork over more cash.

    And please, P2P games are just as crippled with time sinks to keep you subbing for longer - raid locks, dungeon locks, daily reward caps, etc.

    But P2P games are way more significantly better quality.  F2P games is your cheap budgeted B movies that went straight to DVD while P2P games are the movies you would go see at the theateres. 

    this statement is so flawed it hurts my brain, F2P doesn't always mean bad and P2P doesn't always mean good.

    i have played rift and it bored me extremely while i still play LOTRO at times and it's fun, you can't judge a game by sup model unless you actually play the game.

    better yet, P2P has 2 huge disadvantages, the games are made to take allot of your time which is boring and it pretty much forces you to play or you don't get your money's worth.

    F2P and B2P is worth it in every aspect, you can't complain about F2P games because it's free, B2P games are worth it because you buy it ones  and you get the same if not better game for the price of just 3 months.

     

  • pj2501pj2501 athensPosts: 11Member
    i hope not coming with sub...B2P is perfect
  • Wrath123Wrath123 independence, MOPosts: 1Member
    I don't see why so many people want to pay a fee each month for a game. It adds up...lets say the fee is 15$ per month, so if you play for a year that is 180$. I think it would be much smarter if it was buy to play like what Guild Wars 2 did. I think they would get more people playing that way, because not everyone likes paying a fee just to play a game. 
  • LivnthedreamLivnthedream Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 555Member
    Originally posted by Wrath123
    I don't see why so many people want to pay a fee each month for a game. It adds up...lets say the fee is 15$ per month, so if you play for a year that is 180$. I think it would be much smarter if it was buy to play like what Guild Wars 2 did. I think they would get more people playing that way, because not everyone likes paying a fee just to play a game. 

    Probably because just like Gw2 that money starts to peter out sooner rather than later. Which is why Freemium is a better solution. Allows you to pay if you want, or go ala cart at your own pace.

  • Squeak69Squeak69 Colorado Springs, COPosts: 956Member

    there are several reasons most i have argued to death about, but i will say this while B2P seems nice, without a cash shop after awhile any profit they see et eaten by the servers and maintence.

    that is what traditionaly was covered by the monthly sub, maintence and servers, plus amlittle extra for profit cause its is a bussnesss.

    F2P may be the way of the future, but ya know they dont make them like they used toimage
    Proper Grammer & spelling are extra, corrections will be LOL at.

  • onlinenow25onlinenow25 San Diego, CAPosts: 275Member

    These arguments are pretty funny.  Some of the blanket statements people make are pretty off base and have nothing supporting them.  But I'll point out one of the biggest blanket statements that seems to come around. 

    "There is still a large market for players for the p2p model." How ever you want to word that.  

    While true it is so far from being a majority or a large portion of players in comparison to f2p titles.  Look at LoL.  Yes League of Legends the most played game in the world currently.  Its f2p model has allowed everyone and their mother to join the game, and people don't feel obligated to spend money on the game.  Not only that but you don't gain an out right advantage spending money in the game.

    Next you have p2p games.  Where many of them are now f2p with a cash shop and optional subscription.  Tera, Rift, SWTOR, AoC just to name a few have all went from p2p to f2p.  Obviously something wasn't working.

    Now look at this from a CEO and Investors perspective.  What do they want?  They want a piece of that LoL money.  It dosn't matter that its a different game type, they want that money and that is the bottom line.

    Now what model looks more enticing as a CEO or Investor to make more money?  Not to mention have you heard of SUPER Whales? http://www.insidesocialgames.com/2010/06/10/super-whales-spend-money-virtual-goods/

    Ya, I will bet a CEO or Investor would point their money towards the game a guy has the ability to spend $25k on it in 6 months.

  • piratekainpiratekain Schofield, WIPosts: 7Member

    Error

     
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