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General: Massey: Subsciption Fee Creativity

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Comments

  • green13green13 Member UncommonPosts: 1,341

    Despite the global financial crisis, the subscription mmo market continues to grow.

    http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=23003

    So the question I would put to Dana Massey is how do you reach the conclusion that the subscription model needs to be "reinvigorated"?

    This, the fundamental premise for the article, has no basis in reality.

  • ericbelserericbelser Member Posts: 783

    I think what can be learned from the "Premium EQ" service is that it is a bad idea to try and use it to prop up an already dying game. By the time it was available, EQ was such old news that the idea of paying a premium to play it in any form was nearly  laughable to most of the player base.

    Give me a game that offers me more live events, better writing and online interactive gm support (on top of a decent and otherwise stable game) at launch....and I am there. $25-30/month would be no big deal...probably more if I really liked the setting/genre and game.

  • ElementalElemental Member Posts: 23

    ok i see what ur say and thats nice and all, i don't think it'll be done the right way ever. but how about billing me for the time i actualy use i meen i don't have alot of time and so i may play one time a week or one time a mouth hell i have gone 3 or 4 mouths with out playing an mmo i am paying for so how about billing options like you can pay blank cheeper fee for the whole month unlimited or this much an hour or something more like a cell phone?

     

  • bonobotheorybonobotheory Member UncommonPosts: 1,007

    I'm waiting for an MMO to use the barter system.  I would gladly pay three chickens and a bushel of wheat for the right game.

  • brenthbrenth Member UncommonPosts: 294

    its true  either your all in or all out,,and   everyone changes as they play  get bored or burned out   or  need to cut back for financial or  time  reasons  it would make alot more sense for  subscriptions to be more "agile"

    I like your idea of  paying for  certain types of  gameplay  I really hate the "theme park"  rutt that MMOs have been in for a long time, effectivly not evolving with the players.

    I would really like to see a sort of  "gaming date service"  where you put in what you prefer as a gamer  your playstyle ect  and  you get a list of games fiting that profile 

    for instance  Im looking for a more realistic world  where food and drink are important  weather climate seasons  even wounds fo far all i find are glorified  arcade games  (hack and slash)  even  age of conan ended up being another dissapointment.

    recently im looking at  DUNGEON & DRAGON ONLINE (DDO) because they are switching to a free to play model  I played them when they first released but their world was  bitterly small  like only one city  ugh! (thought it was based on D&D)   I hope they finally opened up the rest of the contenent to explore  I like to play a druid or a ranger  not happy stuck in some dungeon all the time.   I probably trying it out right now if  they didnt  have you pay to  do the beta by having to get a subscription from fileplanet. 

     

    make a world, not a game, we dont want another game.

  • adarshakbadarshakb Member Posts: 35

    Yep ... Not every game is good enough like WoW and other games. Its too much to ask for players to pay the same amount.

    I liked the recent model of Football Superstars who have a F2P game but also have a monthly subscription and other item malls. Now they can cater to all ppl. This is not a flawless system. But pricing it lke TV pricings is NOT GOOD.

    If one gets to play the game then play to full extenct. But differenctial pricing models could be done. Like if the game is new and doesnot have many active users it can start at a modest 4.99 at the begining and raise the fees and months progress. That way ppl who come in new after some time also are assured that the server is populated and ppl who were in the begining is satisfied that they got a head start with paying less.

     

     

  • green13green13 Member UncommonPosts: 1,341
    Originally posted by Elemental


    ok i see what ur say and thats nice and all, i don't think it'll be done the right way ever. but how about billing me for the time i actualy use i meen i don't have alot of time and so i may play one time a week or one time a mouth hell i have gone 3 or 4 mouths with out playing an mmo i am paying for so how about billing options like you can pay blank cheeper fee for the whole month unlimited or this much an hour or something more like a cell phone?

    While I prefer the monthly fee myself, I think offering a pay-by-the-hour option for 'casual' players has merit.

    WOW already does this for its Chinese players.

  • GoldenArrowGoldenArrow Member UncommonPosts: 1,186

    The point here is that people who would pay for that smaller amount will pay for the full amount aswell.

    Making new subscription "amounts" won't bring you new players or make your profits higher. It would be nice customer service but that's pretty much it. Thinking economical wize which is the plain idea of subscriptions I'd say there's no cookie for gaming developers to actually get into thinking about limited versions and such. And also I don't think the player base of an P2P mmorpg would be happy about variety of amounts. F2P + Cash Shop are the game modes for wealthy > poor not the usual monthly payments where the devoted > casual. Even if you say that the "raiders" wouldn't pay more, they actually would. What comes to pay-by-hour system there are variety of difficulties. Maybe Pay-By-Hour upto 15$/month would be a working idea.

    In a nutshell it's not worth the effort. Maybe if there was a huge demand for let's say "Raid-Free WoW for 6.99$/month" they might go for it. But at current state no-pe.

  • NyastNyast Member Posts: 84

    Dear Dana,

    I hate to break it to anyone running a competitor, or developing “the next big thing,” but your game is likely not in the same field as WoW. So, I ask, why the heck do you insist on charging the same price?

    Your argument makes sense when you look at it from the player's perspective. But when you put yourself in the shoes of the developer, does it still hold ?

    So the main question I would like to ask you is, do you think the per-player-cost that the developer has to pay monthly is lower for indies than for Blizzard ?

    Do you think bandwidth is less expensive for indies ? Do you think the bandwidth a player consumes when playing is lower than in WoW ? Do you think the server resources the player consumes ( % of cpu, % of ram ) is lower ? Do you think the player needs less attention from customer support/representatives ? Do you think the game needs less maintenance/patches than an AAA title ? Do you think the processing fees/taxes through third-parties are smaller ? Remember, I'm talking of the per-player monthly expenses, not the total cost for everybody, which of course will be much higher when you have millions of players.

    Chances are, you've answered no to those questions. At best you're paying the same price, at worse you don't get the same deals and pay even more.

    So when you ask "why do indy developers insist on charging the same price ?", maybe the answer simply is: "because they can't afford to reduce it or they'd loose money" ?

     

  • ThorqemadaThorqemada Member UncommonPosts: 1,282

    In my opinion "Perfect World International" is a good example of a good f2p-game with itemshop.

    With an Itemshop there is no need for any monthly fee - any outstanding content that is worth more a f2p game usually offers could have its accessability linked to an item from the itemshop, players can buy this items and trade them for ingame-money to other players.

    That is maximum felxibility.

    Players can spend time on making ingame-money or spend real bucks as they want it...

    The game-company gets real money either way direct or via the trading player.

    "Torquemada... do not implore him for compassion. Torquemada... do not beg him for forgiveness. Torquemada... do not ask him for mercy. Let's face it, you can't Torquemada anything!"

    MWO Music Video - What does the Mech say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF6HYNqCDLI
    Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0x2iwK0BKM

  • cressowskicressowski Member Posts: 7
    Originally posted by green13


    While I prefer the monthly fee myself, I think offering a pay-by-the-hour option for 'casual' players has merit.
    WOW already does this for its Chinese players.

    Isnt this because more Chinese players use internet cafes for their gaming though? I dont know but I assume thats the reason.

    It doesnt make sense to offer a pay-per-hour fee in many cases. Some business models assume that their subscriber base has hardcore and casual players (and various layers in between) so they buy the expensive network capacity and servers for the average population (with perhaps a safety factor) while taking in revenue from the total subscriber base.

    However to be competitive in the market they might not charge say for example, 14.99 x the average population, they would charge 9.99 x the total subscriber base with the assumption that some players will be paying but just not logging on.

    If they deliberately cut that extra revenue by switching from a pay-per-month to a pay-per-hour model, they are effectively reducing their 'safety factor'. This is not really about whether a game succeeds or fails, its about the ongoing cash available to the business to respond to the environment (including boring stuff like staff salaries, pensions, etc etc).

    If their competitors consider that same model as suitable (and lets face it, any mmo which manages to license really good IP is going to stick to the standard per month fee) then there is no reason for them to change. I don't include the indy developers in this because they don't have the ability to buy in IP to justify a 'market fee' so might well use interesting subscriber models to differentiate themselves.

     

  • MordacaiMordacai Member Posts: 309

    We took a different approach on what we thought was or would be a pretty good pricing model. For our game Force of Arms, we are pretty much giving away the client and were thinking of charging a flat rate sub fee of around $5 month to start due to the nature of our phased content release of the game.

    Phase 1=standard mech on mech combat game much like a planetside, halo, or fps--ish game.

    Phase 2=introduction of character avatars, roleplay, crafting and other related avatar activities.

    Phase 3=the full space game, multiple planetary systems, guild assaults, planet ownership, terraforming, races etc etc..

     

    So taking those into consideration, we figured a fee like $5 to start in phase 1, $10 to phase 2 and $15 for phase 3 would be a pretty standard goal for us to develop, and pay for development as an indie company, our game and to get it to a AAA looking title. There are many problems with this model, the major one being that, players on average don't want price increases in their games...based on what you get, how do you justifty not doing it?

    For us, server costs, deve costs, assets costs, bandwith costs aren't going to change. We'll start small and we won't have WOW numbers, this is fact, we know this. But as we grow, this model above would allow for gorwth and expansion from our own costs analysis.

     

    So we put the question to our primary audience and forum members and asked for their own feedback...you can see for yourselfs every answer is nearly different and theirs just not one model that quite works for every single game out there IMHO, but we have to keep in mind their are some standard costs on the dev side that will not change. You can see by this thread on our forums the debate goes on fairly long and we're still undecided at the moment which way is the right way to go for our players and for us...flexibility is gonna be key though...IMHO..

    http://www.forceofarms.com/msgbbs/index.php?topic=521.0

     

    Great topic by the way Dana and one that I and all of us at wardog are quite concerned and interested in.

     

  • SarkanySarkany Member UncommonPosts: 4

    I tend to avoid the micro / free to play games because in the long run I know they would cost me more money to do the things I want to do. In the long run I prefer the subscription model. From my first MMO, EQ1 to to WoW, and to my current, LOTRO I always ask myself 3 questions. Can I afford to spend the money? Is it fun? Is it worth the price?  When I left WoW I tried quite a few MMOs and eventually bought and played LOTRO. What brought me in the end to LOTRO? It was fun but also cheaper then anything else I enjoyed. Why pay $15 a month when I can pay $9.99 if I enjoy the experience as much as I did in a $15 a month game. In the end I didn't go back to WoW or anything else but stayed with what I thought was the best value.

    Price can have a large effect on what we play. There's lots of other bills out there to we have to pay and spending $5 less or more a month means having more money to spend on other things we need or want in life.

  • LordDmasterLordDmaster Member UncommonPosts: 130

    OMG

    Just make a game and sell the ingame money for real cash.

    100% flexable to all.

    F2P, no money drops from mobs, no AH to make ingame money.

     

     

     

    JJ

    Ok I thought it was funny.

    …..it’s a guideline, not a rule, as players we must remember: “It’s a Game”.

  • FalendorFalendor Member UncommonPosts: 81

    i would love to see a luxury MMO.  If it was just what i wanted i would totaly pay like 50$ a month for one.

  • TotemthumperTotemthumper Member UncommonPosts: 23

    I would Pay $300.00 a month for a solid MMORPG as long as it was DANA free

  • VyavaVyava Member Posts: 893

     I don't think the average MMO player realizes how much they really pay for an MMO.

    WoW isn't $14.99 a month at all. It is $14.99 a month + cost of expansions.

    EQ2 is even worse with expansions and packs on top of the subscription. Heck even worse with exchange and all those mini "premium" services.

    EvE is in the cheapest $14.99 subscription category with expansions free (last I played anyway, I assume they still are).

     

    MMOs are still among the cheapest forms of entertainment, but if you are going to discuss the cost to play a game then add in all the fees.

  • ThomasN7ThomasN7 87.18.7.148Member CommonPosts: 6,690

    I'm not the biggest supporter of RMT but I'm not totally against it either. I think that subscription models will be a thing of the past while RMT blossoms because it is simply more flexible for the gamer. Another option would be having gamers go the b2p route.

    30
  • TealaTeala Member RarePosts: 7,627
    Originally posted by PEGShane


    Dana, I'm told--and I have no direct knowledge of this, so please take it with a grain of salt--that one of the vodka brands (Smirnoff, I think), was the "cheap" vodka for a long time. They supposedly hired a marketing guy who did one simple thing--he raised the price to significantly higher than the biggest brand and positioned it as "better." Sales went through the roof and Smirnoff is now a huge company. (Again--so I've been told.)
    Would that work in our space? I dunno--probably depends entirely on what special experience the game provided and the customer service as well. But an intersting data point.
    And your shoe analogy works backward as well. Maybe the $30 shoes are the standard. Maybe it's the Nike--which likely costs much less to make due to volume and ability to negotiate overseas with cheap labor sources--that is the "other game" in this analogy.
    Thanks for a great discussion. :)
    Shane

    I dunno what Vodka you're drinking but stay away from it, it's some bad stuff.   Your analogy will not work in this situation because MMORPG's are not a drink.   They are a game and players of MMORPG's know what they like and what they don't like.   That is why recently released games are not doing so well on the market.    Do you really think for instance Age of Conan would have done better if they had launched with a monthly fee of say $25 US a monthy rather than the standard $14.95 a month and that they would have way more people playing today if they did have that kind of monthly fee?   LOL!   Seriously, lay off the bad Vodka and go for the good stuff, may I suggest Grey Goose or Absolut.

     

     

  • VyavaVyava Member Posts: 893
    Originally posted by Teala

    Originally posted by PEGShane


    Dana, I'm told--and I have no direct knowledge of this, so please take it with a grain of salt--that one of the vodka brands (Smirnoff, I think), was the "cheap" vodka for a long time. They supposedly hired a marketing guy who did one simple thing--he raised the price to significantly higher than the biggest brand and positioned it as "better." Sales went through the roof and Smirnoff is now a huge company. (Again--so I've been told.)

    I dunno what Vodka your drinking but stay away from it, it's some bad stuff.   Your analogy will not work in this situation because MMORPG's are not a drink.   They are a game and players of MMORPG's know what they like and what they don't like.   That is why recently released games are not doing so well on the market.    Do you really think for instance Age of Conan would have done better if they had launched with a monthly fee of say $25 US a monthy rather than the standard $14.95 a month and that they would have way more people playing today if they did have that kind of monthly fee?   LOL!   Seriously, lay off the bad Vodka and go for the good stuff, may I suggest Grey Goose or Absolut.

     

    It isn't lack of liking the games that really seems to be killing the new releases. A lot of people enjoy them, but seem to leave due to bugs and other issues often due to pressured releases. Over hyped and bug ridden or content empty due to a release before producing a release worth product is not a good business strategy in my opinion, but it seems to be the new standard.

     

    Oh and due to the irony of your statment the overpriced vodka story he is referencing is actual Grey Goose. Lack of flavor is only valued in the mixed drink market. Vodka  aficionados tend to go for vodkas which leave some flavor from the original ingrediants such as buckwheat or other distinctive sources.

     

  • badgererbadgerer Member Posts: 90

    Good ideas. The FAQ of upcoming subscriptions games have this statement cut and pasted from another site:

    "We will have a monthly subscription fee that is competitive with other online games."   ( read: $14.95 )

  • quixadhalquixadhal Member UncommonPosts: 215

    EVE-Online has the most flexible payment options I've seen.  You can pay the usual $14.95 a month, which can be paid by credit card, or paypal.  You can pay in the usual 1, 3, 6 or 12 month increments, shaving a dollar off the monthly price with each bump.  You can also buy game time codes from multiple retailers.

    What makes them stand out though, is that they implemented an in-game item which can be used to apply 30 days of game time to whomever uses it.  That item is purchased from CCP, just like a regular month's subscription, but it's not bound and thus can be sold using the in-game market system.  So, those who have enough real life income to do so can gain in-game currency from those who can't afford (or just don't want to spend) the usual fee.

    This is a very elegant solution, IMHO.  CCP gets their money for every player, even if some players are paying for others to play.  Those who would normally buy gold from farmers can now do so above board, and not add any extra currency to the system, since it doesn't just appear -- some other player has to buy the time.  AND, since it's a fully player-driven market, the demand will set the price.

     

  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 14,212

    1. You got your hybrid cars so now we have to have ‘hybrid business models’, business speak me up. :)

    2. “ways that MMO companies can reinvigorate the subscription model.”

    Can someone tell me what evidence there is that the subsrcription model needs ‘reinvigorating’? Or does ‘reinvigorating’ actually mean wringing as much cash as possible out of the players?

    3. “Hey, I can just play this a bit and it won’t cost me anything.” Fast forward two months, and that person might be regularly making “just one more buy.”

    This is why F2P is the One Ring of the MMO world, it looks so shiny and nice, it won’t cost you anything, but it ends up raiding your wallet. I find it hard to understand how someone who realises this can have any symphay for the F2P model.

    4. I agree the standard pricing in subsription MMO’s is unatural, if you pay more you should get more.

    5. Allowing casual players to only pay for what they want to play would be the death knell for MMO’s, we would be playing SMO’s (Solo Mutliplayer Online). How hard is it not to see the disater that would be?

    6. A premium MMO? In some ways players are already playing these. We are players who play subcription MMO’s, these are premium products compaired to F2P cheapo ones. Because I realise this I would play a more expensive subscription game, as I know subscription equals quality.

     25 Agrees

    You received 25 Agrees. You're posting some good content. Great!

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    Now Doesn't That Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside? :P

  • EricDanieEricDanie Member UncommonPosts: 2,238
    Originally posted by quixadhal


    EVE-Online has the most flexible payment options I've seen.  You can pay the usual $14.95 a month, which can be paid by credit card, or paypal.  You can pay in the usual 1, 3, 6 or 12 month increments, shaving a dollar off the monthly price with each bump.  You can also buy game time codes from multiple retailers.
    What makes them stand out though, is that they implemented an in-game item which can be used to apply 30 days of game time to whomever uses it.  That item is purchased from CCP, just like a regular month's subscription, but it's not bound and thus can be sold using the in-game market system.  So, those who have enough real life income to do so can gain in-game currency from those who can't afford (or just don't want to spend) the usual fee.
    This is a very elegant solution, IMHO.  CCP gets their money for every player, even if some players are paying for others to play.  Those who would normally buy gold from farmers can now do so above board, and not add any extra currency to the system, since it doesn't just appear -- some other player has to buy the time.  AND, since it's a fully player-driven market, the demand will set the price.
     

    Gotta agree here, EVE so far has the best "regulation" for people willing to spend more than the average the easy way and it benefits both sides as those who wish to spend that amount of in-game money to save themselves a $15 can do so. There's no scam in here - it's just a player selling a timecard to another player via an in-game supported method. Such a simple thing, but extremely effective in absorbing this extra money without making a scam model.

  • PhallPhall Member Posts: 54

    Subscription fees will always be an obstacle for people that can't spend much time on playing online games. I used to play a lot of MMOs some years ago when I had the time to do so but nowadays I'd think twice before paying even $5 or $10 for a whole (real world) month of  game time.





    Personally I'd welcome the option to buy smaller chunks of game time, i.e. pay-per-day/hour/minute instead for the standard minimum month in advance. However, this wouldn't count as a subscription model then as game time is only deducted once the player is logged in to the game world.



    Something similar has been done with WoW in China and it has been done with online games on AOL and Compuserve a long time ago.

    However, the total should be capped at a certain amount somewhere around a standard subscription fee to avoid charging devoted gamers large amounts of money each month.



    Such a cap wasn't in place with these AOL/Compuserve online games IIRC so some guys spent an awful lot of money on their game time alone back then. :þ



     

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