Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

The Simple Reason a 15$ Subscription Doesn't Work Anymore

EldurianEldurian Member EpicPosts: 2,736
edited December 2016 in The Pub at MMORPG.COM
I don't know the exact date that 15$ subs became a thing. I believe it was around 2000. It definitely was by 2003. Check this out though:

Inflation Calculator

Put in the year you played your first 15 and the year you played your first 15$ sub game and hit "Calculate".

Based on my estimation of 2000, a 15$ sub should now cost people 21$. Yet subscription prices have not increased whatsoever. People just want to go back to the good old days of 15$ subs but it's a lot like people who want to go back to the good old days of five cent coffee. It's been 16 years. We went through a major recession during that time period. 15$ doesn't pay the bills anymore.

No consumers have ever shown any indication of being tolerant to them jacking up the prices though. Any MMO that did would be massacred by public opinion as "greedy money grabbers." So they gave us cash shops instead. That's on us.

«1345678

Comments

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 33,966
    edited December 2016
    Can't disagree with your economics, and I've stated previously a willingness to pay $25, more for premium services.

    Not a simple issue though, even at $15 many  people don't want to pay it, that's the real reason why subs don't work.

    Some argue back in 2000 the $15 dollars was justified to cover expensive infrastructure costs. There is a common "belief" these costs have gone down tenfold or more, hence sub prices should go down or remain flat.

    You mention costs going up since 2000, not totally true. While Dev salaries may have gone up, many functions including customer support have shifted offshore to lower cost locations such as India or the Philippines.

    In fact much MMO development has shifted to countries such as Russia, China or S Korea where I'm betting total costs to deliver games is lower than in the west.

    At the of the day I doubt the costs are  much of a issue.  Players just won't pay a sub over the long haul because they don't stay interested in one title for more than a month or so.

    Some say the games aren't worth a regular fee, others say player preferences have changed and others point to the wider variety of entertainment or communication options available.

    Whatever the cause, developers have adapted their payment models to this brave new world.

    More often than not they offer a hybrid monetization model, incorporating optional subs with not so optional up front purchase prices.  

    Toss in an optional cash shop with items that vary between cosmetic and P2W (depending who you ask) and you have a model for financial success.

    Sub only games are basically dead, few remain that follow it strictly. Some Indies say they will launch with it but my guess is most will flip on this when the promised "sub hordes" don't show up.


    Post edited by Kyleran on

    "See normal people, I'm not one of them" | G-Easy & Big Sean

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing POE at the moment.

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • ForgrimmForgrimm Member EpicPosts: 2,972
    I'd gladly pay $21 a month to have access to everything and not be nickel-and-dimed in a cash shop. Cash shops weren't introduced because game devs didn't think people would pay a higher monthly sub cost though, they were introduced because for the majority of games, a cash shop is more profitable for the company, even more so than it would be for them to offer an increased monthly sub rate.
  • NanfoodleNanfoodle Member EpicPosts: 7,744
    $15 a month is just fine. Back in the day with EQ1 most of that was to cover networking costs. Tech has become so cheap that networking now is just a footnote on their lists of costs. Also almost every game has a cash shop so wheale's can do their thing. Not to mention the buying that happens here and there from the average Joe. Also games like FF that dont have a cash shop offer a $9.99 sub for people who play 1 char. 

    The game industry is not hurting because of the sub costs. Its because of the content. More and more content is forced solo play. You dont need people for 90% of the content. People level playing a solo game and make no friends. Get to end game that requires a much larger % of teaming and most people have not made friends. MMOs kept people for years and years because of the friends you made. You logged in to get help or because you knew your friend needed help tonight. 

    Classes, skills, crafting is being designed more and more for a solo experience. When you get sick of playing alone, you move on to another game. In the effort to capture a larger market of solo players. They have broken the magic of what keeps people playing. All for the greedy desire for large numbers of people to buy into the game to pay off development costs. They forget the real money is in the long haul.

    MMOs need to take the modern features they have made and take them back to the roots of what made MMOs great. Then you will have a game that keeps players (smaller group) but over the long haul, will make more money. 



  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 27,070
    I've been saying this for years.

    But tell someone to pay 20+ per month and they will freak. So companies have to look to other ways to make money.

    I'd rather just pay the 20+ per month.



  • NanfoodleNanfoodle Member EpicPosts: 7,744
    edited December 2016
    Forgrimm said:
    I'd gladly pay $21 a month to have access to everything and not be nickel-and-dimed in a cash shop. Cash shops weren't introduced because game devs didn't think people would pay a higher monthly sub cost though, they were introduced because for the majority of games, a cash shop is more profitable for the company, even more so than it would be for them to offer an increased monthly sub rate.
    We made cash shops a thing and I know when that happens. Many years ago Blizzard put what the community calls the "Sparkle Pony" mount. Over the weekend they sold 25 mills worth from Friday night to Sunday. Blizzard is not hurting for cash but that moment made every game company stop and go hmmm. Was not long after that services we use to get for free became micro dings. Again not because companies were broke but because we were willing to pay for stupid things we used to earn by playing the game. Now you dont need to play at all. Like that guy the spent 25k in RL money to have a maxed out char in EVE. 
    Post edited by Nanfoodle on



  • RogueJDRogueJD Member UncommonPosts: 31
    Well, there's a lot to be considered here... This is a tricky topic, and nothing will be likely be gained from a debate here.

    Here's my thoughts:

    Bottom line: It's a business decision.  I'd happily pay more for a subscription-based game, but in today's world, it may not pay the bills for the developers.  Sadly, the most vocal are the ignorant minority of players who publicly denounce this as a "money-grab".  They're mad that they may not have a credit card, and it's a harder sell to have mom pay $21 a month.  It's a recurring commitment.

    Compound that notion with the fact that many gamers play more than one game.  This is also a trend that has changed since 2000.  It is less convenient to dedicate more money a month to a single game, when little Johnny plays 6 different games (not just MMOs).  Subscription = a recurring expense.  Younger culture is adverse to this.  Cash shops represent more "impulsive" expenses to the player (there's probably a better word for it.).

    • Subscription-only: Filters out the burdensome players.  Let's face it, that vocal, yet ignorant and immature kid "bad apple" likely doesn't have a credit card.  Sure, there are exceptions.  The company has a relatively steady stream of income, but has a smaller player base.  Current business models show it's just not as profitable as cash shops.

    • Free-to-Play: Potentially larger player base, as they're casting a wider net.  Where's the company's income coming from?  Business must get funds somehow, or else they can't continue development and upkeep, so they do it in creative ways.

    • Buy-to-Play: Casts a slightly wider net than Subscription-only.  That 13-year-old that can't swing a subscription might have access to initial resources to play.  Less common in MMOs, unless there's a successful Intellectual Property (IP)(Think: known franchises).  Company sees an initial influx of money, but doesn't have any funds coming in the future, especially if they don't meet their development costs.  Answer: expansion packs.

    • Cash shops:  Screw the community, let all the kiddies play.  We'll make our money from the 1% of players that heavily use the cash shop.

    • Hybrid Models: The compromise.  Seems to be the current trend in MMOs.  Hard to please everyone, though.  Players who prefer a better community now have to deal with the kiddos, though less than with a F2P.  Companies may see an initial influx of capital, and have a potential for sustainment funds through cash shops and expansions.


    Johhny doesn't realize he's spending more in cash shops than he does in subscriptions.

    TL;DR:  Effin' Millenials.
  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member LegendaryPosts: 6,492
    Well what do you know, its the same excuse people in FFXIV community use to justify that games monthly updated cash shop vs wow's that updated 2-3 times a year and even makes stuff which donates 100% of the profits to charity.

    15$ depends on the population of the title. It works for wow because the game has the highest mmorpg population plus the game has barely been updated graphically over the years. Something like FFXIV does have higher costs, but it doesn't justify SE's greed. Multiple things in their cash shop are bound to player or gender seperated (having to buy a male and female version of a costume even though there is a system that allows other costumes to be swapped between the male and female versions). So, true, unless there's a few million people playing a paid title and the graphics are pretty good then 15$ wont be enough for that title. There's just a right way to go about getting the extra money which a lot of companies like to get greed and try to milk more.
  • TalonsinTalonsin Member EpicPosts: 3,619
    I drop $15 for a simple lunch so getting a months worth of game access for that same price is crazy awesome.  Sadly, many gamers have trouble seeing this. 

    If Trion would release an Archeage server with no cash shop, increased labor, sub only with no free players/no plex and guarantee I could get two 24x24 land plots, I would pay $30 a month for that.

     
    "Sean (Murray) saying MP will be in the game is not remotely close to evidence that at the point of purchase people thought there was MP in the game."  - SEANMCAD

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko Member EpicPosts: 6,910
    Sovrath said:
    I've been saying this for years.

    But tell someone to pay 20+ per month and they will freak. So companies have to look to other ways to make money.

    I'd rather just pay the 20+ per month.
    It comes down to human psychology in the end.

    The average player refuses to pay $15 upfront for a month's worth of gaming. But they'll happily make 10 purchases of $2 each during that time...

    Just give people the ability to rationalise things and to "fool themselves", and they'll seize it with enthusiasm ! :D
  • ForgrimmForgrimm Member EpicPosts: 2,972
    Nanfoodle said:
    Forgrimm said:
    I'd gladly pay $21 a month to have access to everything and not be nickel-and-dimed in a cash shop. Cash shops weren't introduced because game devs didn't think people would pay a higher monthly sub cost though, they were introduced because for the majority of games, a cash shop is more profitable for the company, even more so than it would be for them to offer an increased monthly sub rate.
    We made cash shops a thing and I know when that happens. Many years ago Blizzard put what the community calls the "Sparkle Pony" mount. Over the weekend they sold 25 milling bucks from Friday night to Sunday. Blizzard is not hurting for cash but that moment made every game company stop and go hmmm. Was not long after that services we use to get for free became micro dings. Again not because companies were broke but because we were willing to pay for stupid things we used to earn by playing the game. Now you dont need to play at all. Like that guy the spent 25k in RL money to have a maxed out char in EVE. 
    Celestial Steed became available in 2010. Cash shops were a thing well before then.
  • PhaserlightPhaserlight Member EpicPosts: 2,907
    You've left out one important consideration, OP: the proliferation of substitute products:

    You are correct that 15 year 2000 dollars are more than 15 year 2016 dollars, however there are far more games to choose from in 2016.  I've read that Steam alone released something like 4,000 games just in the past year.  It's harder to ask players to spend $21 a month when many of them may not know the difference between a peer-to-peer network architecture and a server-client architecture.  Tell them it's for the continued development of the game and they come back with "well, the buy-to-play model pays for that" (which may or may not be true, but it's the perception that drives consumer behavior).

    That stated, customer loyalty is a thing. I've been paying $7 a month after discount in a subscription for one particular game (I bet you can guess which one) since November 2004.  The developers have been obstinant about not raising prices, and they have a point. I feel it's a very fair deal considering what options are out there. 

    Money doesn't magically make anything better, by the way.  In most cases money follows success, not the other way around (although it does take a certain amount of overhead to "get off the ground" and to keep the lights on); it's basically the reason there's such a thing as stock dividends. 

    "The simple is the seal of the true and beauty is the splendor of truth" -Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
    Authored 139 missions in Vendetta Online and 4 tracks in Distance

  • filmoretfilmoret Member EpicPosts: 4,906
    That inflation calculator is wrong and severely misunderstood.  You couldn't find a computer in 2001 that cost less then 1k$ brand new.  A gallon of gas still costs about the same as it did back in 2001.  The average wage is still the same as well.  The cost of a new car is about the same.  So inflation exists but not to the severity that most economists describe.
    Are you onto something or just on something?
  • PhaserlightPhaserlight Member EpicPosts: 2,907
    filmoret said:
    That inflation calculator is wrong and severely misunderstood.  You couldn't find a computer in 2001 that cost less then 1k$ brand new.  A gallon of gas still costs about the same as it did back in 2001.  The average wage is still the same as well.  The cost of a new car is about the same.  So inflation exists but not to the severity that most economists describe.
    I would put this somewhat differently:

    As simply as possible, inflation exists but the market has changed.

    "The simple is the seal of the true and beauty is the splendor of truth" -Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
    Authored 139 missions in Vendetta Online and 4 tracks in Distance

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko Member EpicPosts: 6,910
    filmoret said:
    ...  The average wage is still the same as well...
    I think I'm beginning to understand why Trump got elected if the average wage in the US is still the same after 15 years... :D
  • ShaighShaigh Member RarePosts: 2,007
    There is no reason why mmorpg should have a subscription.

    The old argument was network costs but that hasn't been true for a very long time. A newer argument is frequent content creation but developers never managed to do do frequent enough content patches to warrant $15 a month. The real reason for subscription is that they wish to earn more money and for a very long time mmorpg were a golden cow for publishers.

    The reason customers paid $15 a month to access the game was that mmorpg back then had a unique experience you couldn't find elsewhere. That hasn't been true ever since we started to have wow-clones popping up everywhere and as mmorpg became more and more about solo gameplay people no longer want to pay $180 a year just to access a game.

    If you want to charge people for extra content just sell it as dlc. It will be more than enough to keep things running.
    The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    Nanfoodle said:
    $15 a month is just fine. Back in the day with EQ1 most of that was to cover networking costs. Tech has become so cheap that networking now is just a footnote on their lists of costs. Also almost every game has a cash shop so wheale's can do their thing. Not to mention the buying that happens here and there from the average Joe. Also games like FF that dont have a cash shop offer a $9.99 sub for people who play 1 char. 

    The game industry is not hurting because of the sub costs. Its because of the content. More and more content is forced solo play. You dont need people for 90% of the content. People level playing a solo game and make no friends. Get to end game that requires a much larger % of teaming and most people have not made friends. MMOs kept people for years and years because of the friends you made. You logged in to get help or because you knew your friend needed help tonight. 

    Classes, skills, crafting is being designed more and more for a solo experience. When you get sick of playing alone, you move on to another game. In the effort to capture a larger market of solo players. They have broken the magic of what keeps people playing. All for the greedy desire for large numbers of people to buy into the game to pay off development costs. They forget the real money is in the long haul.

    MMOs need to take the modern features they have made and take them back to the roots of what made MMOs great. Then you will have a game that keeps players (smaller group) but over the long haul, will make more money. 
    Either that or they need to go in a new direction.

    You are certainly right about one thing: it was cooperation that made MMOers stay so long in the same game. The less cooperate gameplay the shorter time before the average player leaves.

    As for the $15 they were to mainly cover the running fees of M59, UO and EQ. Not only the bandwidth prices are lower today, they have also cut the support department since that time.
  • angerbeaverangerbeaver Member UncommonPosts: 1,059
    August 2007 I paid either $199 or $299 for a lifetime membership to Lotro. Going with the $299, it has been 9.5 years which is 114 months. 

    So far I am up to paying $2.62 a month and the price keeps dropping ;)

    I cannot see how long term this helps Lotro when they offered it but I'm sure glad I bit into it.
  • BurntvetBurntvet Member RarePosts: 3,465
    edited December 2016
    And nevermind that at this point, it is more about people not wanting to pay a sub for the "same" game for Nth time (insert WoW clone or Asian grinder name here), or a crappy unfinished game (like MO or either DF) or a crappy shallow feature light game (like TOR or anything Cryptic puts out).

    Make a good game, and people will pay $15/mo.

    There just have not been any worth that in some time (excepting maybe the reboot of FF14).

  • centkincentkin Member RarePosts: 1,462
    Talonsin said:
    I drop $15 for a simple lunch so getting a months worth of game access for that same price is crazy awesome.  Sadly, many gamers have trouble seeing this. 

    If Trion would release an Archeage server with no cash shop, increased labor, sub only with no free players/no plex and guarantee I could get two 24x24 land plots, I would pay $30 a month for that.

     
    You see this is the thing -- there are quite a lot of people out there that would do this in their free game of choice. 

    There are 3 groups of people...

    1) People who don't want to pay (or at least pay far less than a sub)

    2) People who want an even playing field where there is no pay to win factor.

    3) People who want an advantage over the rest of the players and are willing to pay for table tilt.

    ---

    What has to happen is the devs need convincing that there are enough people in group #2 to make a pay to play server fiscally sound without losing people from #3 to the #2 servers. 

    I mean if there are even 10% of people in group 2 who are willing to pay $100 per month on a normal server just to make the pain go away then they have no reason to make a pay to play server even if the other 90% grouse.  This number is even lower if any significant portion of people in group 2 pay about a fixed price server worth of money give or take already in the game. 

    If say 30% of the group 2s are paying $20 per month in the game and say 20% are paying $10 then the devs have little reason to make the specialty server even if it made the people from group 2 happier as a whole.  It isn't their purpose to make people happy, it is to get more money.

  • AnnwynAnnwyn Member UncommonPosts: 2,850
    edited December 2016
    Eldurian said:
    I don't know the exact date that 15$ subs became a thing. I believe it was around 2000. It definitely was by 2003. Check this out though:

    Inflation Calculator

    Put in the year you played your first 15 and the year you played your first 15$ sub game and hit "Calculate".

    Based on my estimation of 2000, a 15$ sub should now cost people 21$. Yet subscription prices have not increased whatsoever. People just want to go back to the good old days of 15$ subs but it's a lot like people who want to go back to the good old days of five cent coffee. It's been 16 years. We went through a major recession during that time period. 15$ doesn't pay the bills anymore.

    No consumers have ever shown any indication of being tolerant to them jacking up the prices though. Any MMO that did would be massacred by public opinion as "greedy money grabbers." So they gave us cash shops instead. That's on us.


    The issue isn't exactly the inflation. The technology needed to host MMOs (hardware and software) back then was very costly. The cost reduced over the years as technology grew and became more accessible, so the subscription price is still perfectly reasonable, instead it's the price of the games themselves that have increased over the years to cover most expenses (dev salary, etc). The $15 only becomes an issue when your playerbase has shrinked below a certain threshold, forcing the companies to seek alternatives.

    The reason why a $15 subscription doesn't "work" anymore, which is not exactly true, is that the barrier of entry for a new player in a P2P MMORPG is not the same as a F2P or B2P. A new player who started playing an MMO when it came out will have a different experience than a new player who started 2-3 years later. Whereas the new player experience at launch is overcrowded with other players, the new player experience 2-3 years later is of a land largely empty save for the end-game areas. And if the end-game itself is not good enough to keep players around, well that P2P MMORPG will have to start seeking alternatives.

    So it's not that the P2P model doesn't work, it's that game studios have not been able to make it work save for a few exceptions. The P2P model is based around keeping your playerbase active in the game with (good) new content released every few months. If a studio is unable to deliver that, the P2P model won't work for them as they are not able to retain enough players to keep their games active and flourishing. The F2P model instead will give them more leeway to space out the content releases.
  • filmoretfilmoret Member EpicPosts: 4,906
    filmoret said:
    ...  The average wage is still the same as well...
    I think I'm beginning to understand why Trump got elected if the average wage in the US is still the same after 15 years... :D
    Yea America got screwed over pretty hard by its own government.  Sending a ton of jobs overseas and allowing illegal people to come take advantage of the system without paying taxes and using fake id's.  The other day a group of illegals was fishing without licenses and the police wouldn't even write them tickets because they all have fake id's and don't show up for court he told us.
    Are you onto something or just on something?
  • PhaserlightPhaserlight Member EpicPosts: 2,907
    Shaigh said:
    There is no reason why mmorpg should have a subscription.

    The old argument was network costs but that hasn't been true for a very long time. A newer argument is frequent content creation but developers never managed to do do frequent enough content patches to warrant $15 a month. The real reason for subscription is that they wish to earn more money and for a very long time mmorpg were a golden cow for publishers.

    The reason customers paid $15 a month to access the game was that mmorpg back then had a unique experience you couldn't find elsewhere. That hasn't been true ever since we started to have wow-clones popping up everywhere and as mmorpg became more and more about solo gameplay people no longer want to pay $180 a year just to access a game.

    If you want to charge people for extra content just sell it as dlc. It will be more than enough to keep things running.
    Citation needed.

    I believe it's a little more complicated than 'well, why turn off the money faucet'?

    You can rent a cloud server from Google, but do you have any idea what sort of specs you would need to run a MMORPG?  Do you know of anywhere you can get this for free (other than offloading the burden to the players themselves in a peer-to-peer network including all the pitfalls that entails)?

    There's no such thing as a free lunch.

    "The simple is the seal of the true and beauty is the splendor of truth" -Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
    Authored 139 missions in Vendetta Online and 4 tracks in Distance

  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Member EpicPosts: 6,130
    Sovrath said:
    I've been saying this for years.

    But tell someone to pay 20+ per month and they will freak. So companies have to look to other ways to make money.

    I'd rather just pay the 20+ per month.
    It comes down to human psychology in the end.

    The average player refuses to pay $15 upfront for a month's worth of gaming. But they'll happily make 10 purchases of $2 each during that time...

    Just give people the ability to rationalise things and to "fool themselves", and they'll seize it with enthusiasm ! :D

    Totally agree, but you missed the whole psychological aspect. It's not that they refuse to pay $15 a month, it's that they can't justify paying $15 a month when something very similar is "free". Furthermore, there is no meaningful differentiation between the two (paid and free) options which would make you WANT to pay for it. That's another reason I laugh when people say they'd gladly pay more for a superior product. There might be SOME who are the unicorns and would pay extra, but the vast majority would stay with the free option because of their justification bias. 

    Crazkanuk

    ----------------
    Azarelos - 90 Hunter - Emerald
    Durnzig - 90 Paladin - Emerald
    Demonicron - 90 Death Knight - Emerald Dream - US
    Tankinpain - 90 Monk - Azjol-Nerub - US
    Brindell - 90 Warrior - Emerald Dream - US
    ----------------

  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 7,039
    Forgrimm said:
    I'd gladly pay $21 a month to have access to everything and not be nickel-and-dimed in a cash shop. Cash shops weren't introduced because game devs didn't think people would pay a higher monthly sub cost though, they were introduced because for the majority of games, a cash shop is more profitable for the company, even more so than it would be for them to offer an increased monthly sub rate.
    What % of players do you think pay $252 a year to cash shops to play MMOs? Its well under 5% Im sure.... I always saw the monthly as a total waste of money...The day it went away was a good day.....I handed over hundreds of dollars to WoW and EQ1 and felt totally ripped off.
  • CrusadecrusherCrusadecrusher Member UncommonPosts: 283
    I would much rather pay $15/month to play an mmorpg then pay $100/month to watch the 5-10 channels out of "280" I get. 
Sign In or Register to comment.