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How Can MMOs Be Monetized Fairly? a Column at MMORPG.com

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  • NitthNitth Member UncommonPosts: 3,904
    Nitth said:
    Cyrael said:
    Subs are the only way to monetize fairly. All of the F2P options are exploitative in some way.
    It's not that simple, Subs don't work well for people with little time.

    The problem is you need a system that works well for people with lots of time OR money that provides a healthy profit for the business.
    What possible way would a sub not work for people with little time?   Can they play 1 hour a week?  Well then that's a whopping $3.75 for an hour play based on $15 a month sub.

    Give me a break...

    You cant turn back the clock, Most mainstream gamers don't want to have to grind shit and rather just pay for  it.

    That's why were in this mess in the first place.

    Weather your pro-sub or pro f2p these people represent a large share of the market and should be represented in a "fair" model.

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  • KonfessKonfess Member RarePosts: 1,666

    My prefered monetization, is P2P.  Yes, WoW does it right.  Their game is Free to Try (Free up to level 20), as stated the cash shop is reasonable.  Though the sale of cash shop items on the market (anti-gold farming) is now being called p2w.  F2P only exists for the P4F (Play For Free) crowd, this is not healthy for the industry.  Games can not survive catering to P4F gamers, in search of their totally free game (white whale).


    I'm an Engineer at Heart, so I always return to the math.  £10 x 2.000.000 is what companies want to make each month from their MMOs.  If you want to offer them £5 x 250.000 (obtainable player base), then it won’t fly.  You're going to tell me all they have to do is retain double the player base (more like 16x) to get the profits they want.

    Remember, this is why games cost so much, they have to make these payments each month.

    • Operating Cost (buildings, servers, furniture, utilities, employees)
    • Existing Product Development (bug fixes, expansions, updates)
    • New Product Development (diversified revenue stream)
    • Stockholders, those who eat profits in big bites (CEO, COO, CFO, board members, lawyers)
    Making less money will never be the answer.  Players must speak up and tell makers what they want from a product and what they don't want.  Then they must pay for it, most likely monthly and for as long as they play.  And saying the thing they don't want, is to pay for their game play isn't going to happen.

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    As if it could exist, without being payed for.
    F2P means you get what you paid for. Pay nothing, get nothing.
    Even telemarketers wouldn't think that.
    It costs money to play.  Therefore P2W.

  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 11,054
    Nitth said:
    Nitth said:
    Cyrael said:
    Subs are the only way to monetize fairly. All of the F2P options are exploitative in some way.
    It's not that simple, Subs don't work well for people with little time.

    The problem is you need a system that works well for people with lots of time OR money that provides a healthy profit for the business.
    What possible way would a sub not work for people with little time?   Can they play 1 hour a week?  Well then that's a whopping $3.75 for an hour play based on $15 a month sub.

    Give me a break...

    You cant turn back the clock, Most mainstream gamers don't want to have to grind shit and rather just pay for  it.

    That's why were in this mess in the first place.

    Weather your pro-sub or pro f2p these people represent a large share of the market and should be represented in a "fair" model.
    No. Fair has nothing to do with people who "don't want to grind shit and rather just pay for it".

    The question wasn't which is the best model but which is the fairest.   Nothing about P2W can be considered "fair".

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  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 21,178
    edited August 2016
    Nitth said:
    Nitth said:
    Cyrael said:
    Subs are the only way to monetize fairly. All of the F2P options are exploitative in some way.
    It's not that simple, Subs don't work well for people with little time.

    The problem is you need a system that works well for people with lots of time OR money that provides a healthy profit for the business.
    What possible way would a sub not work for people with little time?   Can they play 1 hour a week?  Well then that's a whopping $3.75 for an hour play based on $15 a month sub.

    Give me a break...

    You cant turn back the clock, Most mainstream gamers don't want to have to grind shit and rather just pay for  it.

    That's why were in this mess in the first place.

    Weather your pro-sub or pro f2p these people represent a large share of the market and should be represented in a "fair" model.
    No. Fair has nothing to do with people who "don't want to grind shit and rather just pay for it".

    The question wasn't which is the best model but which is the fairest.   Nothing about P2W can be considered "fair".

    The thing is P2W is not a clearly defined term, so without a consensus on what p2w is exactly - we can't speak to its fairness.

    To make matters worse, fairness in itself is a very subjective thing so we have a situation where an unclear term is being evaluated for a very subjective value - yeah good luck with that.

  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 21,178
    I think fairness is completely subjective - so IMO you find a game that is "fair for you" and you play that.

    Adapt to reality of now, don't expect the world to change for you.

    If you can't find anything to suit you - move on.


  • BurntvetBurntvet Member RarePosts: 3,465
    Back to flat sub: $10-$15 a month for unlimited playtime and access. Access to all items through gameplay.

    No cash shop BS, no Korean activity gating mechanics (like labor points and such), no pay for bonuses. No gambling lock boxes.

    Or B2P with B2P expansions once in a while.


    I think the gimmicks have just about all played themselves out by now.


  • Zer0KZer0K Member UncommonPosts: 68
    So before I continue to prattle on, I want to know what your preferred payment model is for the genre. Do you think a hybrid approach that places players first is the answer? Do you think World of Warcraft already does things right or should more companies adopt ArenaNet’s approach with Guild Wars 2? Let me know as I’m keen to hear your thoughts.
    Read the full story here
    To me, playing an MMO is a time investment.  I never consider playing an MMO game without asking myself "Does this game look good enough to justify my play-time?".

    A good MMO will have content and game-play elements that encompass many things, including the game-world LORE and story.  A mix of PvE and PvP, engaging combat, chain-quests, various factions/races, dungeon crawls, raids, group content, solo content, easter-eggs, loot tables, item rarity, visually stunning....

    Well an MMO to me is like a second home.  A place to escape reality and spend my time in.
    So THAT is why I view and MMO a time investment.

    MMOs are not and should not be created like they're some console RPG shooter, with content to be consumed in a few weeks and then the player moves on to consume some other game.

    THAT is one of the mistakes developers and publishers have been making with the genre, IMO.
    They create shallow and grindy games.  Games with not very much depth, where players can plow through levels easily by either grinding their way, or paying their way to the top.
    Insta-gratification and dumbing-down of certain elements have helped destroy the genre, just as much as people may say it has helped it.

    Truth is, most recent MMO games aren't good enough to convince players to pay a monthly subscription. The content and game depth is just not there.
    Plus, no one in their right mind would pay a subscription fee when there's P2W in the game, where players can bypass all that with their wallets.  (Well, maybe some ArcheAge players aren't in their right mind...)

    Let's take a look at SWTOR, a subscription game at launch, but lacked several key features that quickly made it more of a game to be consumed quickly and players move on.  Enter their server merges, called by me only 3 months into the game after release, and then their move to the system they have now.
    They went to that system because the game simply did not have enough depth and good design back then to support the subscription model.

    Everquest, back in the day, had a subscription model, and one of the reasons it persisted for a long time was, because there was tons of content in that game, with depth, community, little dumbing-down of systems, etc.

    Enter greed of the publishers and developers, the 'lay down and take my money' attitude of the players(who'll pay for Alpha/Beta access and even pay to TEST the game, because they're so desperate), desperate for ANYTHING FREEKIN' NEW because they can't find a game they truly like, and haven't consumed quickly.  You've now got a cycle of near P2W cash shops, with games having even more grind, to try to convince players to spend real-world money in someway to bypass such long, uninspired and tedious grind-a-thon gameplay.

    Ugh.. Makes me sick..

    I'll happily pay a subscription for a game that's worth my time.
    Such a game is where:
    Everyone starts out the same
    There's no P2W cash shops
    There's no dumb-down systems
    There's lots of content
    There's a deep, rich world to explore in many different ways.

    I'm OK with a cash shop just for cosmetic stuff, but there MUST be a way to achieve such stuff in the game as well.  PLUS, there must be cosmetic items in game that are impossible for you to get by the cash shop, you MUST play the game.
    None of this insta-gratification crap.
    If you don't have the TIME to play to get items QUICKLY, don't bitch and moan.
    I've played games where I didn't have the time like other did to get all the best and cool gear.
    Yet, the game was still fun and I could still play and have fun.  I didn't NEED to stoke my ego with the best of the best.  I didn't have as much time, that was the reality, but the game was still lots of fun.
    AND THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

  • MaxBaconMaxBacon Member EpicPosts: 6,867
    Monetized fairly? Well with a Monthly Subscription to play the game would be a start, they get to cover their costs and continuous revenue income without forcing anything gameplay-wise.

    But the fault ends at players as well here, everybody wanted everything for free and the subscription model on MMO's started failed, so the free to play or buy to play became the mainstream, from that moment the monetization of this MMO's is done more aggressively. 

    Now it's too late, there's no hope, open your wallets and suffer.
  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Member EpicPosts: 2,234
    Just give me a box fee and a sub. Make the sub a reasonable number to sustain the game. Don't be afraid to crack the $14.99 barrier. Charge $25 a month (or more). I'd pay $50 a month sub for a great game without blinking an eyelash.

    And it would be FAIR... nobody buying advantages...


    While I agree in principle, I wouldn't be willing to pay $50 a month for any single video game.  I mean, it would have to be so incredibly mind blowing for that kind of fee that I don't think it could even be made.  

    Not only that, but as soon as you were able to charge $50 a month for a sub based game, then every goddamn game on the planet would invent a reason to be sub based or they'd quadruple their prices.  These companies would go "No shit, they're paying $50 a month for a sub?  Ok, charge $200 for the next Assassin's Creed"  The next Elder Scrolls would absolutely charge $50 a month.  The Call of Duty Franchise would be hot on the heels of it.

    I would be willing to pay, at a very maximum, $25 a month sub without any kind of cash shop whatsoever, for a really good game.
  • FlyByKnightFlyByKnight Member EpicPosts: 3,967
    Does there need to be a debate on how to properly monetize a game when others have done it without pooping the integrity of a title down the toilet?

    We're really going to blame the players not the folks with the actual dragon sickness? Okay then.
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  • OzmodanOzmodan Member EpicPosts: 9,499
    DMKano said:
    Nitth said:
    Nitth said:
    Cyrael said:
    Subs are the only way to monetize fairly. All of the F2P options are exploitative in some way.
    It's not that simple, Subs don't work well for people with little time.

    The problem is you need a system that works well for people with lots of time OR money that provides a healthy profit for the business.
    What possible way would a sub not work for people with little time?   Can they play 1 hour a week?  Well then that's a whopping $3.75 for an hour play based on $15 a month sub.

    Give me a break...
    You cant turn back the clock, Most mainstream gamers don't want to have to grind shit and rather just pay for  it.
    That's why were in this mess in the first place.

    Weather your pro-sub or pro f2p these people represent a large share of the market and should be represented in a "fair" model.
    No. Fair has nothing to do with people who "don't want to grind shit and rather just pay for it".

    The question wasn't which is the best model but which is the fairest.   Nothing about P2W can be considered "fair".
    The thing is P2W is not a clearly defined term, so without a consensus on what p2w is exactly - we can't speak to its fairness.

    To make matters worse, fairness in itself is a very subjective thing so we have a situation where an unclear term is being evaluated for a very subjective value - yeah good luck with that.

    Have to disagree here.  P2W is pretty obvious.  Anything that you can purchase that gives you an advantage verses other players.  Cosmetic items do not count.  That is a that is pretty clearly a definition that most will agree is P2W.

    To the question what is an acceptable way to monetize a MMO, I would have to say I prefer a subscription model, but will accept other models as long as they are not P2W and that they avoid the dreaded RNG nonsense in the store.  To say that I am very disappointed in Matt Friors latest announcement is an understatement.  I though Zenimax had more class.
  • Stuka1000Stuka1000 Member UncommonPosts: 955
    Sub is the only fair option but that leaves those players who cannot afford to sub out in the cold. The solution is simple really. Players that sub get access to the entire game without needing to spend another penny until next months sub is due, while free players have the f2p with cash shop option. The cash shop however should never include items that give an unfair advantage and should never throw rng gambling at the gullible. It is these last two requirements that companies appear to have trouble with.

  • RyuushimaRyuushima Member UncommonPosts: 59

    Amathe said:

    My preferred system is:



    1. Pay for the game;

    2, No monthly subscription;

    3. Shop that has cosmetic items only (e.g., armor skins, not armor); and

    4. Expansions cost extra.



    I instantly have to think about Guild Wars 1 when I read your post. I personally can't play it anymore due to it being so outdated but at least it had a near perfect business model
  • TalulaRoseTalulaRose Member RarePosts: 1,247
    With all the various options available if someone cannot find something they like than they need to first ask the question.....What exactly do I want?
  • sayuusayuu Member RarePosts: 745


    Netflicks is cheaper because they don't develop or create anything. They leverage what others have put the time/money into. So yes it is cheaper for them. The closest to them would be a company who offered multiple MMOs created by other companies in some sort of right of use agreement.



    Uhhh pretty sure netflix developed their proprietary streaming technology. . .also they do produce content, have for quite some time now. . .
  • acidbloodacidblood Member RarePosts: 851
    acidblood said:
    Not sure there will ever be a 'fair' system... even before WoW had a cosmetics shop / account services the $15 a month didn't seem fair as a non-raider (a lot of the updates were raid-only content). And the problem with anything but a pure sub is that you start to negatively affect gameplay / in-game content.

    I don't know... maybe a sub model (i.e. $15 a month) but you can 'refund' certain content (like the latest raid instance you have no interest in). Also, I really think expansions (e.g. WoW style major content update expansions) should come with a month of game time.

    Are you kidding me? Divide $15 by the number of hours you played WoW in an average month. That is somewhere between a low and ridiculously low cost per hour of entertainment.  And you want some kind of refund system for any content you don't like?
    Not saying I didn't enjoy it for the time that I played, but the main reason I finally quit was because $15 a month was simply too much for the privilege of being able to login occasionally... if the cost was lower (refund for 'dead on arrival' content was just an idea off the top of my head) then I would have hung around a bit longer, helped friends (of which I had quite a few IRL friends still playing), leveled an alt past 30, etc.
  • LithuanianLithuanian Member UncommonPosts: 397
    For me it would be free-to-play game with a cash shop.
    Before I get shouted at: cash shop that offers vanity items only . Rainbow monkey, pink Darth Vaders's robe or fancy glittering roof - here you are, select your payment method. Absolutely no item that gives any advantage in game world, like +0,1% crafting or +1 damage to your ranged weapon.
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,483
    Quizzical said:
    One can readily tell which side of those divides you're on from your replies.

    1)  Do you really think that people who aren't in a rush to play a game get upset if those who are have to pay extra?  It's pretty well established by now that games get a surge of incoming players when they go "free to play".  Do you think all those people who waited months or years after launch are hopping mad that people paid more to get into the beta than if they had waited until launch?  Only people who want to get in first get upset about having to pay more for the privilege.

    2)  Casuals who don't play much tend not to be especially vocal.  But in most games, an overwhelming majority of the people who play the game don't play it very much.  The reason that the rise of "free to play" brought so many more players into MMORPGs is precisely because of people who weren't willing to pay a subscription fee, sometimes because they couldn't justify it with how little they play.

    3)  Do you really think that people who know that they'll never meaningfully participate in a game's endgame really get upset if that endgame that they'll never take part in is pay to win?  Most people tend to focus more on the experience that they'll have in a game than on things they know full well they'll never see.  The recent Black Desert incident is a good example:  volcanic rage from some small portion of the playerbase and a shrug from the rest.

    4)  Part of why people so commonly say that games should charge for cosmetic stuff is precisely because so few people care about it.  But do you think that people who do like having a lot of costumes appreciate being treated like whales and expected to heavily subsidize everyone else?  There are games that give you a lot of costumes for free, you know.
    Speaking from my own point of view (obviously):

    2) As Slapshot (I think) mentioned...  1 hour a week is $3.75 per hour for the normal sub..  I think what you're saying has merit, but it's really as much a perception problem for the subscription model as it is a prohibitively expensive model.  Folks don't like that they're paying the same as the power leveler who plays exponentially more...  Without realizing that for even the most casual of players, the subscription is stupid cheap in terms of cost per hours of entertainment.  We're talking unprecedentedly cheap in the entertainment business before services like Netflix came along (that, ironically enough, use subs).

    3) Absolutely; what the developers do within the game, even if it isn't specifically with content I'm experiencing at the moment, speaks loads to their overall vision of the game (and, more recently, their overall vision of monetization)..  No, it doesn't affect me NOW, but it will dissuade me from putting large amounts of time or effort into the game when it's obvious the direction of the game and/or its monetization is distasteful to me.  To act as if that vision won't, many more times than not, permeate itself throughout the game is wishful thinking at best.  Gamers that defend developer missteps with "well it's not MY class/level/zone/what-have-you they're changing for the worse!" are like ostriches with their heads in the sand, oblivious to the oncoming sandstorm because it isn't right in front of their faces at that moment.

    image
  • TalulaRoseTalulaRose Member RarePosts: 1,247
    sayuu said:


    Netflicks is cheaper because they don't develop or create anything. They leverage what others have put the time/money into. So yes it is cheaper for them. The closest to them would be a company who offered multiple MMOs created by other companies in some sort of right of use agreement.



    Uhhh pretty sure netflix developed their proprietary streaming technology. . .also they do produce content, have for quite some time now. . .

    Here's How Involved Netflix Is In The Production Of Its Series


    Once Holland's team helps Netflix choose and purchase a show, the exec says it's "a balancing act" trying to help guide production while also granting plenty of creative freedom. Holland explains to THR:

    "We view our job as helping support the creators to fulfill their vision,


    Business Insider.


    More of a backer setting up exclusive rights or the best deal.....hence the "Original" creates the optics of being part of the creative process.

  • TheAmazingDwarfTheAmazingDwarf Member UncommonPosts: 234

    waynejr2 said:



    I like the GW2 model. They should experiment with the sub models. How about a week sub or just a weekend sub.



    You mean like some games do?  The problem with that is the idiots.  In the past, people have suggested daily rates and here is where they go stupid.  They suggest Monthly Fee/30 as the daily rate.  So 15.00 would be 50 cents per day.  Just plain stupid.

    Make it 2 dollars per day Or some interesting choice they have to make between the various rates offered.



    I remeber many years ago EQ2 tryed something out like 7 days subscription or even shorter if I remember correctly.

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  • sayuusayuu Member RarePosts: 745
    sayuu said:


    Netflicks is cheaper because they don't develop or create anything. They leverage what others have put the time/money into. So yes it is cheaper for them. The closest to them would be a company who offered multiple MMOs created by other companies in some sort of right of use agreement.



    Uhhh pretty sure netflix developed their proprietary streaming technology. . .also they do produce content, have for quite some time now. . .

    Here's How Involved Netflix Is In The Production Of Its Series


    Once Holland's team helps Netflix choose and purchase a show, the exec says it's "a balancing act" trying to help guide production while also granting plenty of creative freedom. Holland explains to THR:

    "We view our job as helping support the creators to fulfill their vision,


    Business Insider.


    More of a backer setting up exclusive rights or the best deal.....hence the "Original" creates the optics of being part of the creative process.

    I'm pretty sure you meant that as a rebuttal, but what you posted actually strengthens the fact that netflix produces content. . .

    . . .you do know what produce means, right?
  • AeliousAelious Member RarePosts: 3,521
    edited August 2016
    For a medium that is expected to be updated, bug fixed, balanced, etc. on a continual basis over time the only monetization model that makes sense long term is sub IMO. Want to add optional ways to spend after that, such as outfits and non-combat pets? Fine but you need a solid base first.

    "But if it has a sub it shouldn't also have a store."

    If I like and want to play a title that means I would like the development income to be healthy so that I can, in turn, enjoy a healthy stream of updates. If that doesn't happen and I'm paying a sub then I leave anyways so that's a non-issue.

    I play MMOs to enjoy playing them, not play moral police about the inner workings of thier financials, which I would not have the full context of anyhow. As long as the implemented monetization doesn't mess with the game economy I don't care and if I tried to care I would probably ruin enjoyment for the game myself for no reason.
  • victimgvictimg Member UncommonPosts: 1
    How can you say that about gw2? It's the best system out of the lot of them lol. Goes to show even the "experts" don't have a clue what's good for us. BDO is cancer, box price, preorder packs and a cash shop? Like I knew BDO would go P2W because that's the nature of it but I honestly thought we would have gotten node wars/sieges for a few months at +15 but they totally fucked the game, it was built on some frankenstien build and they said sieges weren't ready yet? Wat? They cheaped out on servers was the real reason, the servers would have melted if they'd done sieges at the start. I felt totally ripped off by that game. There was 0 decent pvp. Never again.
  • flames0042flames0042 Member UncommonPosts: 5
    Bottom line, you get what you pay for. If you do not want/like it, move on or do not play.

    I am loving BDO. Only MMO for years that kept my attention for more than 2 months.

    The funny thing, and I mean funny, is people think the store is buy to win. Its laughable to me actually. That being said, I have put enough time, albeit not that much, into getting on the leader boards for a couple categories, one of them is wealth.

    So I can get in game currency equal to what people pay $20 for on the cash shop in about...2 hours maybe.

    Honestly, I am not a hard core player. I just watched videos from people that knew how to play the game and took advantage of it.

    All that being said, they can charge whatever they want...I do not have to pay it. I paid for a game, as it was, with the implied promise of updates. They could have come or not, but I got the product I paid for. Yall get the same thing.

    I really, really think people have translated a very unhealthy entitlement mentality to mmos. The developers owe you nothing. Please try to realize that.

    You know what is fair? Whatever they want to charge. Its their product. We are paying for it. If you do not like the terms, move on. But you do not deserve anything except what was promised at the time of purchase. This is the type of product/service that will change over time.

    Now, when I got BDO there were some things not yet available that are now. Various content patches for example, that had yet to be released. So...if I paid X for the game, they release content, and someone else buys the game for X...did I get ripped off? They got more for the same money....how is that fair?

    We both got what we paid for, that is why.

    To assume that the above situation is unfair is like saying its not fair that I paid X and the 2nd person did not get charge the greater price of Y.

    Anyhow, back to main point, you get what you pay for. What they charge, and you agree to, which you do by default of paying it, is how the whole buying and selling thing works.

    If you do not like what you are getting...then find something that works for you. Fair has absolutely nothing to do with it.
  • tharkthark Member UncommonPosts: 1,188


    Netflicks is cheaper because they don't develop or create anything. They leverage what others have put the time/money into. So yes it is cheaper for them. The closest to them would be a company who offered multiple MMOs created by other companies in some sort of right of use agreement.



    Well they do create both Movies and series, called Netflix originals :)

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