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General: Massey: Subsciption Fee Creativity

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Comments

  • -aLpHa--aLpHa- Member UncommonPosts: 852

    I also would rather promote the time contingent payment model instead of the the content payment model.

    So you still got all the options for yourself.

    What i absolutely dislike is the new model that Champions Online takes, with both P2P and RMT at the same time. We (costumers) really need to draw a line somewhere or this will get out of hand.

  • uncletomauncletoma Member UncommonPosts: 159

    IMHO the best way is the the "Founder Offer" in LOTRO.

    With 149 euros i can play this game forever.

    There was another option (pay less every six mounths) but i really prefear the Big One.

    Now i don't play LOTRO (anymore? Only God can know) but playing for 2 years a spen less money with that option.

    Many people loves it, and i hope that more and more SHs can have similar payments.

     

  • DaedrickDaedrick Member Posts: 168

    Before: developers loved games and made money.

    Now: developers love money and make games.

    -------------------------------------

    Before: developers loved games and made money.

    Now: developers love money and make games.

  • thaniththanith Member Posts: 144
    Originally posted by Daedrick


    Before: developers loved games and made money.
    Now: developers love money and make games.

     

    i would modify sentence 2:

    Now: developers love money and make unfinished/unpolished games.

     

     

    image

  • wootinwootin Member Posts: 259

    I wonder why MMO makers don't simply set up separate servers for both systems? How hard can it be to exclude F2P/MT servers from the server list that a subscriber sees and exclude subscriber servers from the list that a F2P/MT player sees?

    If nothing else, the numbers you get on both sides would end this debate one way or another. Also, sub numbers are solid revenue, while F2P/MT is an unknown quantity. A company launching a new MMO product would find this a great way to hedge their bets.

     

  • RZetlinRZetlin Member UncommonPosts: 134

    Nexon had tried a similar model for Mabinogi.

    A year ago, you had access to the game, but you had to pay for the storyline content.

    The problem was the storyline content had access to skills which you could not get with free access (Paladin, Dark Knights, Spirit Weapons, etc.)

    The players complained about that and Nexon made the storyline free.  (though it seems that cash items and new pets are more expensive now)

     

     

     

  • PalebanePalebane Member RarePosts: 3,974

    MMO players are used to paying fees for games. FPS players would laugh if you tried to make them pay for multiplayer.

    Vault-Tec analysts have concluded that the odds of worldwide nuclear armaggeddon this decade are 17,143,762... to 1.

  • SimbamooseSimbamoose Member Posts: 18
    Originally posted by uncletoma


    IMHO the best way is the the "Founder Offer" in LOTRO.
    With 149 euros i can play this game forever.
    There was another option (pay less every six mounths) but i really prefear the Big One.
    Now i don't play LOTRO (anymore? Only God can know) but playing for 2 years a spen less money with that option.
    Many people loves it, and i hope that more and more SHs can have similar payments.
     



     

            I went with the "Lifetime Subscription" (Founder Offer) in LOTRO also.  I was playing WOW on and off for 4 years and played DAOC for over 2 so I knew if a liked a game I would stick with it so I decided to go with the LOTRO offer of $199.00. I waited a bit to make sure I enjoyed LOTRO and made sure that the company was supporting it's product (fixing bugs, responding to players wants and requests, adding some free content regularly, etc.) and when Mines of Moria came out and the Lifetime Offer became available again I jumped on it as I could see myself playing the game for a long time to come (taking a few weeks off now and then maybe). Before that I was playing $9.99 a month and asked my self could I see myself playing this game 2 years down the road and will this company still support it 2 years down the road aI sai 'yes' so it made sense to me.

           I think could help an established company who had a quality mmo and was supporting it to offer a Lifetime fee to attract a core of players who would definitely promote such a game.  If the company started to lose money with such a plan it could later just charge for an expansion every year or so because as stated above in on of the earilier posts the consumer usually doesn't take it into account this fee and only looks at the monthly fee which in this case is free to they could justify it.  After all they don't 'have to' pay it to play.  :-)

  • PalebanePalebane Member RarePosts: 3,974

    I consider box-price to be lifetime subscription fee enough.

    Vault-Tec analysts have concluded that the odds of worldwide nuclear armaggeddon this decade are 17,143,762... to 1.

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,233
    Originally posted by wootin


    I wonder why MMO makers don't simply set up separate servers for both systems? How hard can it be to exclude F2P/MT servers from the server list that a subscriber sees and exclude subscriber servers from the list that a F2P/MT player sees?
    If nothing else, the numbers you get on both sides would end this debate one way or another. Also, sub numbers are solid revenue, while F2P/MT is an unknown quantity. A company launching a new MMO product would find this a great way to hedge their bets.
     

     

    The game has to be designed differently in order to accomodate each model.

    "If nothing else, the numbers you get on both sides would end this debate one way or another."

    I doubt it. Fact, industry research/reports and historical data haven't changed anyone's mind on this topic yet, so it wouldn't start now. However, if you feel that it would end the debate, check out Puzzle Pirates since they have done exactly what you suggested for the past four years. 

    Link: http://www.mmorpg-center.com/story-479-The-Revenues-behind-the-Free-MMORPG.html

     

    Puzzle Pirates has offered both subscription servers and free to play servers since 2005.

     

     

    -- Whammy - a 64x64 miniRPG - - RPG Quiz - can you get all 25 right? --
  • SimbamooseSimbamoose Member Posts: 18

    Another reason why MMO subscription based games like WOW have continued to flourish in a bad economy is the 'bang for the buck' theory.  If a form of entertainment can be obtained in a cheaper more convenient way people will usually go for it.  Take for instance the renting of movies online as compared to going to the theatre or video store and renting them.  It's much more economical and hassle free to just to rent them through a mail order service for a monthly fee making theatres and especially movie rental stores more of a bother.   Likewise, it's much easier to pay a monthly fee and plop yourself in front of the computer than to decide each month which game I want to buy at the store and then go and buy it shelling out $40-$60 each time.  I've played a ton of games over my lifetime buying sometimes 2-3 games a month for a console or pc and ever since I've been playing mmos (about 5-6 years) that habit has virtually stopped and my consoles hardly see any use. Those games I did buy rarely saw more than 15-20 hours of gameplay/game  and most became virtually untouched afterwards.  In contrast my mmo habit costs me roughly $300 a year to maintain as compared to around $1200 a year before with an even much higher per hour cost.  Like they say "entertainment is entertainment" regardless of the cost so why spend more than you have too?  I definitely favor a P2P with a Lifetime Subscription option although I like to every now and then add a little F2P of another game just to spice things up a bit now and then when I need a break.

  • XanraeXanrae Member Posts: 19

    We shouldn't ask which model brings in the most revenue, but which results in the best games.

    •  
    • Microtransactions encourage the developer to spend as little as possible on ongoing content, while making said content mandatory to progress and have fun. In practice, this means experience elixirs and an abysmal base experience rate. Or you might see weapons that are exactly the same as the ones that drop off monsters, except with double damage.
    •  
    • Hourly fees encourage the developer to release content that takes long stretches of time to complete. This is worse than monthly fees, because this model would strive to discourage people from logging off, forcing them to spend more time per day in the game. You would see things like important vendors being put in capital cities only, slow flight paths and quests that send you to the other end of the world.
    •  
    • Expansion spam, ala Guild Wars, has to be profitable because Guild Wars does it and it is quite successful. The advantage for the player is that they can give the base game a try and buy expansions as they go. The disadvantage is the big frontloaded cost if you join the game after a few years, whereas the game itself has lost value due to being older. This may discourage latecomers. This can be solved through some creativity, like a 'Battle Chest' model ala World of Warcraft where you get all the older stuff for eurocents and only the latest expansion has a significant price.
    •  
    • Basic monthly fees encourage long term thinking on the part of the developers. Otoh their entry barrier is fairly high, especially for kids with no credit card, and good luck getting game time cards onto the shelves as an indie enterprise. (Anyone tried a pay-by-SMS or Playpal model yet?) Also, WoW will kill you if you get anywhere near its pricing point, but if you don't, you're admitting that your game is worse...

    You decide, but for me expansions seem the most logical course of action for a developer making a serious game (quick cash-in games will go with microtransactions). It does not encourage making a bad game, and it avoids a confrontation with WoW - or Blizzard's next MMO.

    How about weekly fees, payable by SMS? The entry and retention barrier would be pretty low if you could just ask players to send a €3 SMS every week.

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

    Originally posted by wootin


    I wonder why MMO makers don't simply set up separate servers for both systems? How hard can it be to exclude F2P/MT servers from the server list that a subscriber sees and exclude subscriber servers from the list that a F2P/MT player sees?
    If nothing else, the numbers you get on both sides would end this debate one way or another. Also, sub numbers are solid revenue, while F2P/MT is an unknown quantity. A company launching a new MMO product would find this a great way to hedge their bets.

    The game has to be designed differently in order to accomodate each model.

    "If nothing else, the numbers you get on both sides would end this debate one way or another."

    I doubt it. Fact, industry research/reports and historical data haven't changed anyone's mind on this topic yet, so it wouldn't start now. However, if you feel that it would end the debate, check out Puzzle Pirates since they have done exactly what you suggested for the past four years. 

    Link: http://www.mmorpg-center.com/story-479-The-Revenues-behind-the-Free-MMORPG.html

    Puzzle Pirates has offered both subscription servers and free to play servers since 2005.

    Wootin is right, and Puzzle Pirates is a good example that successfully used both models.

    You, however, are wrong to say that the game has to be designed differently to accommodate each model.

    Taking Champions Online as an example, the basic architecture to offer separate free-to-play + MTs and subscription versions is already there.

    This is all they'd need to do to achieve it.

    1) 'Hide' the shopping mall button in the subscription version. The mall code doesn't need to be removed. If players can't see and activate the button then they also can't buy anything in it and the shopping mall is effectively not there.

    2) Add a single field to the player stat database which indicates which kind of payment model they're using. CO uses mirrored instancing instead of separate servers so they'd just then need to split players into different instances based on payment model.

    3) Develop two versions of the list of available costume pieces and powers. Subscription players would get a full list and the freebie+MT version would have a lot removed.

    4) Throw xp potions, buffs etc. into the shopping mall.

    So that's a few minor database changes (incredibly easy) and a few basic IF THEN functions. That's much easier to accomplish than trying to shove something down players' throats that they clearly don't want.

  • jcpillarjcpillar Member Posts: 2

    I'm sorry, but this is the worst idea. The one area you don't want the game companies thinking creatively is how to charge for their product!!!!

    Are you really suggesting that mmorpgs should bill more like cable companies?? Cable companies are the biggest rip-offs there are right now!! You want a tiered system where it comes to content and payment?? That's horrible! Because we're not all watching our T.V.s alone in these games, we're all playing the game together. And to have some people able to do things that others can't fractures the communities that sustain these games.

    Sorry, I vote this article two gigantic thumbs down. Keep the subscription games like they are for this market.

     

     

    platinumpillars.blogspot.com for my video game blog.

  • wootinwootin Member Posts: 259
    Originally posted by Palebane


    MMO players are used to paying fees for games. FPS players would laugh if you tried to make them pay for multiplayer.

     

    Actually, with XBox Live, it's Microsoft who is laughing all the way to the bank. Although I found it interesting that online play was free for the WII - my friend's kids were playing some Mario Race game with people from France and elsewhere, which to me was really cool.

  • wootinwootin Member Posts: 259
    Originally posted by green13

    Originally posted by LynxJSA

    Originally posted by wootin


    I wonder why MMO makers don't simply set up separate servers for both systems? How hard can it be to exclude F2P/MT servers from the server list that a subscriber sees and exclude subscriber servers from the list that a F2P/MT player sees?
    If nothing else, the numbers you get on both sides would end this debate one way or another. Also, sub numbers are solid revenue, while F2P/MT is an unknown quantity. A company launching a new MMO product would find this a great way to hedge their bets.

    The game has to be designed differently in order to accomodate each model.

    "If nothing else, the numbers you get on both sides would end this debate one way or another."

    I doubt it. Fact, industry research/reports and historical data haven't changed anyone's mind on this topic yet, so it wouldn't start now. However, if you feel that it would end the debate, check out Puzzle Pirates since they have done exactly what you suggested for the past four years. 

    Link: http://www.mmorpg-center.com/story-479-The-Revenues-behind-the-Free-MMORPG.html

    Puzzle Pirates has offered both subscription servers and free to play servers since 2005.

    Wootin is right, and Puzzle Pirates is a good example that successfully used both models.

    You, however, are wrong to say that the game has to be designed differently to accommodate each model.

    Taking Champions Online as an example, the basic architecture to offer separate free-to-play + MTs and subscription versions is already there.

    This is all they'd need to do to achieve it.

    1) 'Hide' the shopping mall button in the subscription version. The mall code doesn't need to be removed. If players can't see and activate the button then they also can't buy anything in it and the shopping mall is effectively not there.

    2) Add a single field to the player stat database which indicates which kind of payment model they're using. CO uses mirrored instancing instead of separate servers so they'd just then need to split players into different instances based on payment model.

    3) Develop two versions of the list of available costume pieces and powers. Subscription players would get a full list and the freebie+MT version would have a lot removed.

    4) Throw xp potions, buffs etc. into the shopping mall.

    So that's a few minor database changes (incredibly easy) and a few basic IF THEN functions. That's much easier to accomplish than trying to shove something down players' throats that they clearly don't want.

     

    Thanks for the explanation. It actually just seems easier to not have the item shop available on the sub servers. How hard can it be to simply not let people buy items from the item mart for characters on Servers AB&C, but let them do it for characters  on Servers DE&F?

    At least with CO, since Cryptic claims that everything you can get from the item mart is in game to be earned, no more changes would seem to be necessary for that one.

  • wootinwootin Member Posts: 259
    Originally posted by LynxJSA

    Originally posted by wootin


    I wonder why MMO makers don't simply set up separate servers for both systems? How hard can it be to exclude F2P/MT servers from the server list that a subscriber sees and exclude subscriber servers from the list that a F2P/MT player sees?
    If nothing else, the numbers you get on both sides would end this debate one way or another. Also, sub numbers are solid revenue, while F2P/MT is an unknown quantity. A company launching a new MMO product would find this a great way to hedge their bets.
     

     

    The game has to be designed differently in order to accomodate each model.

    "If nothing else, the numbers you get on both sides would end this debate one way or another."

    I doubt it. Fact, industry research/reports and historical data haven't changed anyone's mind on this topic yet, so it wouldn't start now. However, if you feel that it would end the debate, check out Puzzle Pirates since they have done exactly what you suggested for the past four years. 

    Link: http://www.mmorpg-center.com/story-479-The-Revenues-behind-the-Free-MMORPG.html

     

    Puzzle Pirates has offered both subscription servers and free to play servers since 2005.

     

     

     

    Actually, it depends on the game - CO and STO are claiming that everything in the item mart will also be in game to be earned. So there's no game changes necessary at all for those, it's just a matter of denying item purchases for characters on non-MT servers.

    Very interesting link and information - for a game like Puzzle Palace, MT is over 3x more profitable than subs. CAn I ask the average age of a Puzzle Palace player though? That looks like a kid's game, and since kids don't have credit cards, it's perfectly reasonable for them to have a low subscription rate, a high F2P rate, and a small percentage of players spending their allowances and birthday money on items lol.

    For grownup games though, everyone has a credit card and can therefore sub. So what would that do to the MT vs sub numbers is where my interest lies. I just have no desire to play a game where people can buy advantages over me with real money, and if I want a level playing field, I have to pony up real money too. All of which is scary great for the corporate money machine, but to me that's just scary.

  • VrazuleVrazule Member Posts: 1,095
    Originally posted by johnspartan


    Counterproductive.
    Say you don't raid and only pay 11.99 a month to play instead of 14.99. Someone invites you to a raid, you get excited, you think "hey maybe I'll try it just this once" nope too bad you only play 11.99.
    It discourages people from trying new things.
    It's nickle and diming for content. Bad.
    Raiding isn't any more elite or special then anything else, it's just part of the game why should I have to pay more? 



    Bad idea. Period. 


    That being said, I agree not everyone should charge the premium 14.99. Lotro should make 9.99 their permanent price, same with games like AoC/WAR etc. and other smaller titles.
    One idea that is kind of interesting is buying blocks of time.



    14.99 or whatever for unlimited, but you could buy maybe 30-40 hours play time for $6.99... 41-80 hours $9.99 etc. just making up numbers.



     

    What's wrong, afraid there aren't enough raiders to sustain their own content?  Maybe us casuals are tired of portions of our fees paying for your entertainment.  I would very much support scaling subscription rates, it would be quite fair and would force the developers to focus on profitable content because that's where the money is and not because hardcores are a very vocal minority.

    If someone really wants to try new things, then you upgrade your subscription, easy greasy when it's web based, huh.  But both you and I know that raiding would be the least popular subscription.

    With PvE raiding, it has never been a question of being "good enough". I play games to have fun, not to be a simpering toady sitting through hour after hour of mind numbing boredom and fawning over a guild master in the hopes that he will condescend to reward me with shiny bits of loot. But in games where those people get the highest progression, anyone who doesn't do that will just be a moving target for them and I'll be damned if I'm going to pay money for the privilege. - Neanderthal

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441

    The idea of a luxuary MMO with $30 a month and many writers adding good stuff all the time is actually not bad. I would pay for it if it is twice as fun as everything else.

    However if Guildwars 2 holds true to it's promise I will play it without both monthly fees and RMT shops.

    I also thinks Turbines life time membership should be mentioned, it is another smart way to control what the MMO actually costs. If EQ2 had something similar I would have bought it a long time ago. *Edit: I do play EQ2 now but a life time fee would still be nice*

  • ET3DET3D Member UncommonPosts: 317
    Originally posted by johnspartan One idea that is kind of interesting is buying blocks of time.


    14.99 or whatever for unlimited, but you could buy maybe 30-40 hours play time for $6.99... 41-80 hours $9.99 etc. just making up numbers.

    I've been hoping for a long time someone would implement this. There are lots of ways to have a tiered approach based on time (something I've learned in the dialup internet days). The charge unit can be a second, a minute, 30 minutes, a day, or a month like it is now. You can have various tiers like you suggested. It's very flexible.

    IMO the best way for MMO publishers to start is with statistics. Find out at what point players stop their subscription. Do they do it once they drop under 10 hours a month, for example? The you can create a tier based on that.

    I think that for getting new players in, a level-limited trial is the way to go (and you can also limit some other things, like communication options, to prevent spam players). A player can then get to like the game over time, instead of being forced to cram as much play time into a week or two.

    I'm exactly the casual player who'd pay something if MMO publishers implemented such things. Because I have very little spare time, I can't play much more than an hour or two a week. I'd be happy to have a subscription to a game that has entertaining short sessions (like City of Heroes), but I can't bring myself to pay $15 for the amount of time I can play.

  • ZorvanZorvan Member CommonPosts: 8,912
    Originally posted by Palebane


    MMO players are used to paying fees for games. FPS players would laugh if you tried to make them pay for multiplayer.

    Show me a regular multiplayer game that has as much content to begin with and has content added on a regular basis as an mmorpg does.

    Battlefield, Counterstike, etc., type games are pretty much stagnant outside of a couple official maps every once in a while, and noone in there right mind would pay for player made maps. So it's not that they can't charge, it's that they're not worth charging for. Whereas a mmorpg is worth charging for.

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,233
    Originally posted by wootin

    Originally posted by LynxJSA

    Originally posted by wootin


    I wonder why MMO makers don't simply set up separate servers for both systems? How hard can it be to exclude F2P/MT servers from the server list that a subscriber sees and exclude subscriber servers from the list that a F2P/MT player sees?
    If nothing else, the numbers you get on both sides would end this debate one way or another. Also, sub numbers are solid revenue, while F2P/MT is an unknown quantity. A company launching a new MMO product would find this a great way to hedge their bets.
     

     

    The game has to be designed differently in order to accomodate each model.

    "If nothing else, the numbers you get on both sides would end this debate one way or another."

    I doubt it. Fact, industry research/reports and historical data haven't changed anyone's mind on this topic yet, so it wouldn't start now. However, if you feel that it would end the debate, check out Puzzle Pirates since they have done exactly what you suggested for the past four years. 

    Link: http://www.mmorpg-center.com/story-479-The-Revenues-behind-the-Free-MMORPG.html

     

    Puzzle Pirates has offered both subscription servers and free to play servers since 2005.

     

     

     

    Actually, it depends on the game - CO and STO are claiming that everything in the item mart will also be in game to be earned. So there's no game changes necessary at all for those, it's just a matter of denying item purchases for characters on non-MT servers.

    "It's easy. Just a few lines of code!" ;)

    Very interesting link and information - for a game like Puzzle Palace, MT is over 3x more profitable than subs. CAn I ask the average age of a Puzzle Palace player though? That looks like a kid's game, and since kids don't have credit cards, it's perfectly reasonable for them to have a low subscription rate, a high F2P rate, and a small percentage of players spending their allowances and birthday money on items lol.

    You would be correct. 50% of the players are between the ages of 13-19. 33% of the players are 24-44 yrs of age. The rest of your reply is a bit off base.  All F2P games have only a small percentage paying, regardless of average age of the players. As for the "lol" about allowances and birthday money... why balk at a massive demographic with an obscene amount of disposable income? 5 years ago they spent it on CCGs. 10 years ago they spent it on CDs. 20 years ago they spent it on cassingles. They have gobs of cash they are more than willing to spend on their entertainment and not a single billor expense to make them think twice about it. 

    * Source : http://yppedia.puzzlepirates.com/Official:2009_Pirate_Census_Data

     

    For grownup games though, everyone has a credit card and can therefore sub.

    You seem to be under the impression that the issue is solely whether a person can or cannot sub and dismissing that there are many people who do not want another monthly sub.

     

     

    -- Whammy - a 64x64 miniRPG - - RPG Quiz - can you get all 25 right? --
  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 14,212

    You cannot dismiss the effect of a child or teenagers money. But that effect has been disastrous on gaming generally, including MMO’s. It has led to the dumbing down of the whole market. Rather than tiers of games for those with different gaming expectations we have a drift to the teenage or even preteen expectation of what a game should be.

     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

  • FreddyNoNoseFreddyNoNose Member Posts: 1,558
    Originally posted by green13


    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.



     

    Well, not as a slam, but I feel a lot of Dana's articles are pandering to the mmorpg forums. 

  • someforumguysomeforumguy Member RarePosts: 4,070

    Im beginning to think that people are getting a bit too comfortable about the 15$ monthly fee. We are talking about commercial companies here. The moment they get the idea that the major part of the customers accept 15$ without question, they come up with 'reasons' to put costs on top of that. O wait, they did. Monthly sub+microtransactions.

    Everyone forgot about free to play Guild Wars? Maybe its bad that Arenanet isnt hyping their upcoming GW2 enough and the fact that itll be free to play too. But with the polish and quality of a AAA MMO.

    Just look at the last 10 major subscription based MMO's that have been released, with all their lack of polish, some were unfinished games even. Lot of players apparently seem to be prepared to pay for things like  'potential' and even at release broken MMO's? Basically paying to wait for better times.

    How is it possible that customers in most other type of business can be so overly critical with their wallet, but so gullable if it comes to MMO's? Yes, they write about it in the forums, but still pull their wallet to pay for the next unfinished product. This is the commercial companies dream : Customers that not only accept, but even make up reasons why its normal to pay 15$ fees for a game.

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