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Would MMOs survive with a $5 subscription fee?

SeelinnikoiSeelinnikoi LONDONPosts: 661Member Uncommon

Would MMOs survive with a $5 subscription fee?

 

I think they can and they would get a lot more people using a lower subscription and a cosmetic/service cash shop.

 

What you guys think about it? Would you pay a $5 subscription if you were assured there would be no p2w/b2w cash shop ?

Comments

  • Unholy28Unholy28 Madison, NJPosts: 9Member Uncommon

    Runescape survives on $5-6 subscription fees.

    They are a browser based MMO but they still have found a way to make it work and constantly add content to the game.

    So, I feel like other companies could make it work too but there definitely would have to be sacrafices made, such as graphics etc.

  • GrayGhost79GrayGhost79 Webster, MAPosts: 4,813Member
    As always it depends on the experience they are providing for the $5. The fee itself is rarely the problem, it's what you get in return for that fee that tends to be the issue. 
  • RictisRictis UnknownPosts: 1,219Member Uncommon
    Honestly, I am happy giving $5-$15 a month. I think any less and it should be F2P and any more and your getting ripped off. Personal preference really. I assume that regardless of the price range though a cash shop would be included for extra profit and those special vanity items etc.
  • Instigator-JonesInstigator-Jones Posts: 519Member Uncommon
    I actually asked this EXACT question, albeit in a SWTOR thread (yea, you can guess how that went), but I posed the question relating to any sub based model. I think a cheaper sub fee is very reasonable. The current $15 model seems outdated and I would think developers would get a larger sub base and more consistent funds trickleing in with a cheaper sub. The FTP model may have (arguably) surpassed the P2P model in that more revenue is generated (ie gouged), although a cheaper sub might just turn that around. I can appreciate those that proclaim thier comfort with a $15 sub, but that's not the point; what if it was cheaper?
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,643Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Seelinnikoi

    Would MMOs survive with a $5 subscription fee?

     

    I think they can and they would get a lot more people using a lower subscription and a cosmetic/service cash shop.

     

    What you guys think about it? Would you pay a $5 subscription if you were assured there would be no p2w/b2w cash shop ?

    The question isn't whether or not they could survive on it, as the resources invested and revenue needed could always be adjusted to work within that. The question is whether or not an MMO can even be marketed at that price.

    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

  • joshuahallsjoshuahalls Bloomington, ILPosts: 78Member Uncommon
    Yes, but the question is would it lead to 3x more subscribers or 3x higher retention rates version than a $15 subscription fee (or even 2x). If it doesn't, there isn't much of a reason to decrease it as you would just be shooting yourself in the foot financially doing so.

    Joshua Halls
    Co Owner-Lead Programmer The Repopulation

  • furbansfurbans Tinbucktwo, IAPosts: 965Member
    If they did do that I would wager they would charge for major patches though.  Companies are greedy like that.
  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,911Member Uncommon

    I don't see an advantage for the publisher.  It's still a payment barrier.

     

     

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,434Member Uncommon

    Wel lthey can survive,imo 5 bucks is about what they need to easily make all the bills,however yo uwould get nothing more.

    What you get then is content that only comes in way of xpansion packs,yo uare going to get a totally different game than if the developer knew it was going to recoup 15 bucks instead of 5.So half the content,tons of corner cutting.

    You are also not going to seethe developer keep al lemployees,they will let several go after contracts are done,so you end up with a small team working on the game and fututre xpacs.So you get not only half an effort on release ,you get half an effort on xpansions.

    Your going to get some freeware or equivalent game engine,then cheaper graphics,ugly textures that are strethced from 320x320 to whatever size.There are all kinds of little trhings as well that fall back intol the category of corner cutting.Less bandwidth alotted to players,instead of making 40 animation frames,they only put in the efort of 8 a.ani framesa and why so many f2p game animations look so cheap.

    It goes on and on,i don't want to break down every last part,but you will end up getting what you pay for.That is the way life operates.Every market in life has a going rate that the retailers operate under might be 200%,might be 100%,but the trend is about the same because wages are clsoe to the same and operating costs are about the same.Obviously a 120 man team costs more than a 30 man team but that is why you get what you pay for.


    Samoan Diamond

  • chaintmchaintm Chicago, ILPosts: 972Member

    I don't think the price matters (well within reason) for any MMO that is, but it comes down to quality, We have so many free to play MMO's now and one can argue if they are sucessfull or not. Most free based mmo's never require a credit card and in those cases any kid of any age can play them. So they get these populations and hope older people will join in from word of mouth. Most open and close within a year or two and try for the next thing. Most are reproductions with new skins only.

    I think sub cost always comes down to quality. Look at neverwinter, some people love it most are meh about it. It's the same comments we see about any free to play, "Its fun for a bit, but very hallow" meaning substence of depth in the game is really not there and if you want to feel any meaning or true progression it's going to equal that you purchase something and that's usually something that is extremly high for something you will never really own. So then you take that, think ok what is the average monthly cost of a sub based MMO, 15 bucks. So does this 35 dollar item = 2.3 months worth of game play for the look/use I am getting from said item?

    So keeping in mind that free to play really isn't free to play in my opinion for most people, we can say that every MMO has a cost of some point. So what determins if something is worth it's value? The quality of the product.

    Could you have a 5 dollar sub game and survive? Sure , if the game is worth it, but if the game is worth it, then the chances are 5 dollars a month wouldn't cover development cost , maintence and running cost while retaining a descent profit margin. When it all comes down to it, the old saying comes to mind "it takes money to make money" MMO's like an genre is about cash. One day, long ago when electronic games first came out, a guy invented MUDS. they where free and they where fun, then along came PONG and someone figured out you could put a price tag on it and market it. From there the rest is history.

    With all that in mind, a 5 dollar game surviving? I would say no, you can't even break even at the price unless you have other means to counter that and it would be in game money malls. This is being done in free to play and even guild wars 2. Thou maybe if you have a 100 dollar buy in and 5 dollars a month, but I really don't know anyone that would buy into it and at some point, the company would have to raise the rate or add in that money mall to keep afloat or add a nice amount of expansions and be a game that can retain a player base.

    When dealing with 15 a month, it's a number most people will pay for a descent game more would pay for a great game, but a descent one the company can keep a float longer on, putting it at 5 would close the doors just that much earlier. So I guess I could have summed this up at the start with "No". lol

    "The monster created isn't by the company that makes the game, it's by the fans that make it something it never was"

  • strangiato2112strangiato2112 Richmond, VAPosts: 1,538Member Common

    WoW could easily survive

    EvE would have an outside chance

    Rift, EQ, and EQ2 would shut down their servers tomorrow

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,643Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by strangiato2112

    WoW could easily survive

    EvE would have an outside chance

    Rift, EQ, and EQ2 would shut down their servers tomorrow

    You seem to be dismissing the coginitive bias of price relativity. The assumption by most would be that the MMO is of lesser quality, as a good quality MMO is $15. To be clear, I'm not saying that is logical, rather that it is a very common perception. The developer would have to invest time and resources in regularly overcoming that hurdle for as long as their MMO existed or until such a time that all MMOs are $5/month.

    EQ and EQ2 would probably benefit from it. WOW would easily drop in subscriptions, not from people leaving, but from the lower acquisition rate.

    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

  • strangiato2112strangiato2112 Richmond, VAPosts: 1,538Member Common
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by strangiato2112

    WoW could easily survive

    EvE would have an outside chance

    Rift, EQ, and EQ2 would shut down their servers tomorrow

    You seem to be dismissing the coginitive bias of price relativity. The assumption by most would be that the MMO is of lesser quality, as a good quality MMO is $15. To be clear, I'm not saying that is logical, rather that it is a very common perception. The developer would have to invest time and resources in regularly overcoming that hurdle for as long as their MMO existed or until such a time that all MMOs are $5/month.

    EQ and EQ2 would probably benefit from it. WOW would easily drop in subscriptions, not from people leaving, but from the lower acquisition rate.

    EQ and EQ2 would be destroyed.  Even with the f2p options, they are still heavily sub based.  EQ2 does a good amount of microtransactions, but if we say they go from 100k subs to 150k subs because of a sub price, not only is that still a loss off 9 million per year but much of that increase in subs would come from the f2p pool.

     

    But I guess you could argue that if they dropped to $5 a month they can justify removing the free points they give to members so they might regain some of that back

     

    It would be an interesting experiment, but I dont blame them for not wanting to risk it.

     

    WoW would lose heaps of cash, but with 3 million+ monthly subs from NA/EU alone they could easily pay for their staff.  WoW is a cash cow.  The other games, not so much.

     

    I dont think any of those games would suffer from a perceived quality drop, but newer games might.  

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    IT's not about the money. $5 or $15 the cost isn't keeping dedicated mmo players out. It's what you're getting for the money that's killing p2p games.

    If they can't offer more than a game that's free to play or pay as you go ( which is what a lot of free to play games really are ) then why make the comitment to pay every month.

    The argument really persists because so many of these free to play games are just total rip offs as well. They are the exceptions the rule that's being written though.

  • FonclFoncl UppsalaPosts: 197Member

    5$/month or 15$/month is not a deciding factor for me whether I'll play an MMO or not, if an MMO comes around that I want to invest time to play then it is worth 15$/month for me as long as I enjoy playing.  It's hard to tell what the optimal monthly cost to maximize profits is.

     

    I've been thinking about a different payment model, F2P with cash shop and a 15$ cap on how much you can spend each month in the cash shop on things that make your character more powerful or advances your character in any way. A payment model like that would mean the game is accessible for new players to try for free and noone can get an advantage over someone willing to spend 15$/month, since that is the cap. People may choose to spend the 15$/month differently but for me that is fine as long as everyone has the same choices and the same budget.

    The downside for developers is that they can't cash in on "whales" willing to pay a lot for power and/or advancement in games, I don't really see any downsides for players who want to play on equal terms.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,643Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by strangiato2112
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by strangiato2112

    WoW could easily survive

    EvE would have an outside chance

    Rift, EQ, and EQ2 would shut down their servers tomorrow

    You seem to be dismissing the coginitive bias of price relativity. The assumption by most would be that the MMO is of lesser quality, as a good quality MMO is $15. To be clear, I'm not saying that is logical, rather that it is a very common perception. The developer would have to invest time and resources in regularly overcoming that hurdle for as long as their MMO existed or until such a time that all MMOs are $5/month.

    EQ and EQ2 would probably benefit from it. WOW would easily drop in subscriptions, not from people leaving, but from the lower acquisition rate.

    EQ and EQ2 would be destroyed.  Even with the f2p options, they are still heavily sub based.  EQ2 does a good amount of microtransactions, but if we say they go from 100k subs to 150k subs because of a sub price, not only is that still a loss off 9 million per year but much of that increase in subs would come from the f2p pool.

    But I guess you could argue that if they dropped to $5 a month they can justify removing the free points they give to members so they might regain some of that back

    It would be an interesting experiment, but I dont blame them for not wanting to risk it.

    WoW would lose heaps of cash, but with 3 million+ monthly subs from NA/EU alone they could easily pay for their staff.  WoW is a cash cow.  The other games, not so much.

    I dont think any of those games would suffer from a perceived quality drop, but newer games might.  

    Interesting points.  I don't really see something like that destroying the EQs, but I agree with your point that it would affect a new game or a game that a person hasn't heard of yet moreso than an established or known game.

    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

  • davc123davc123 sloPosts: 371Member
    poe f2p and not p2w and still alive!
  • SeelinnikoiSeelinnikoi LONDONPosts: 661Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by davc123
    poe f2p and not p2w and still alive!

    Too early to know, its been out only a couple of months.

     

    I think we would all benefit from a lower sub. But there is a lot of truth in that MMOs die and survive without the subs fault..

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,772Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by joshuahalls
    Yes, but the question is would it lead to 3x more subscribers or 3x higher retention rates version than a $15 subscription fee (or even 2x). If it doesn't, there isn't much of a reason to decrease it as you would just be shooting yourself in the foot financially doing so.

    This, basically.

    People who object to a $15/month subscription fee are rarely objecting to the $15 but willing to pay a smaller subscription fee.

  • udonudon Durham, NCPosts: 1,797Member Uncommon

    Yes I think a game could but as others have said I don't think there is a advantage to it.  Lots of sub games have tired a $10 - $15 sub model and it hasn't made that much of a difference.  I do think going over $15 would be hard for a game to do.  If you tired it people would be asking why does this game rate a higher sub?

     

  • WarmakerWarmaker San Diego, CAPosts: 2,231Member

    I've long been a supporter for subscription.  But as with anything, what will you get with $5 subs as a customer?  That's the thing.  Full, complete access with all the bells and whistles?  Or will it still be limited and have to fork over more money to truly get the full access that traditional, old school subscription used to?

    What I'm seeing now is that even with a subscription fee, titles still have cash shops / item malls / stores where player benefits among other things, are STILL being sold to a recurringly paying customer.

    "I have only two out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (First Lieutenant Clifton B. Cates, US Marine Corps, Soissons, 19 July 1918)

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