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Subscription business model...why don't people (and companies) like it?

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  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 4,198

    Then those sub only games weren't really worth paying for were they. Your argument is based on the idea that when no one has a choice then they have to pay even if it isn't worth it. Once choices were opened up then people went with other options.

    What is good and bad is subjective. You and @Scot favor those who have more time in your "fairness" equation. You think games that favor those with lots of time to burn are "better", but not everyone has your values and your values aren't the measure of good and bad for all.

    Yes my argument is that many games weren't worth paying a sub for.  And yes competition does lower prices.  Free is pretty much dragging everything to the bottom in many cases.  MMORPG are not the first place to have Trojan horse sales schemes.  

    Yes, it is subjective but it doesn't mean I don't and many other players view P2W unfair or worst.  Maybe its from my sports days that I assume that once I step on the field everything is fair.  Yes, I may not have time to practice or money to buy the best training or gear but when I stepped on the court or field I didn't have to worry about refs being paid off or teams buying points.  
  • RictisRictis Member UncommonPosts: 1,300
    I think the F2P model is superior overall. That is of course as long as you can set it up properly in a game. For example, Blade and Soul does the F2P model very well while SWTOR does it horribly. Subscription games are still okay, as long as they can validate the cost of the monthly payment.
  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Member EpicPosts: 6,130
    Brenics said:
    I do find it funny people keep talking about whales. We are where we are right now because of whales. Games are getting worse and in some games (Star Citizen) companies are not in a hurry to make the game because they don't want to stop the whales from giving them more money. 

    At least to me the whales are exactly who have made our game worse. IMO!
    Derek Smart.

    There! Now both Star Citizen and Derek Smart rules have arrived at 1, so relevance to the topic at hand may resume. 


    Crazkanuk

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  • phoenixfire2phoenixfire2 Member UncommonPosts: 228
    edited March 2016
    My personal fav models are B2P and F2P with sub option, IF done correctly.  If they try to make me sub, and push a cash shop in my face, and make me buy bank and inventory, and make me buy other game systems then I'll pass.

    No game in recent memory has been good enough for box purchase + sub.
  • laseritlaserit Member LegendaryPosts: 7,591
    Torval said:

    Then those sub only games weren't really worth paying for were they. Your argument is based on the idea that when no one has a choice then they have to pay even if it isn't worth it. Once choices were opened up then people went with other options.

    What is good and bad is subjective. You and @Scot favor those who have more time in your "fairness" equation. You think games that favor those with lots of time to burn are "better", but not everyone has your values and your values aren't the measure of good and bad for all.

    Yes my argument is that many games weren't worth paying a sub for.  And yes competition does lower prices.  Free is pretty much dragging everything to the bottom in many cases.  MMORPG are not the first place to have Trojan horse sales schemes.  

    Yes, it is subjective but it doesn't mean I don't and many other players view P2W unfair or worst.  Maybe its from my sports days that I assume that once I step on the field everything is fair.  Yes, I may not have time to practice or money to buy the best training or gear but when I stepped on the court or field I didn't have to worry about refs being paid off or teams buying points.  
    It's hard to argue with subjective hyperbole. And please don't try and say sports at all levels aren't heavily influenced by money. College football would like a word.
    True...

    But it also takes takes away from the integrity of the sport and the integrity of the game.

    Integrity is a rare commodity these days. 

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  • alzooalzoo Member UncommonPosts: 17
    alzoo said:
    For argument's sake, what does everyone think of the following scenario?  Assume that the game is an open world MMORPG with good graphics and great gameplay, but not with true 'content' updates.  I'm picturing something like what Chronicles of Elyria is shooting for (except that they've already announced a completely different business model), but other games that are under development would fit the bill as well.  Free to play for 30 days.  Cash shop, but only for purely cosmetic/vanity items.  Initial month of subscription is $5 (that's month two of play).  Following months are $15 per month.  Anyone who has spent over $100 in the cash shop by the end of their first 30 days gets their subscription fee waived.  Subscriptions auto-renew month to month unless you opt out.
    Probably bad form to bump my own question when nobody thought it was interesting enough to answer it the first time, but screw it...my thread, my rules.  Anyone feel like answering the quoted question?  So it's a game that's presumably fun to play for a long time, but where the publisher isn't releasing anything that would be considered 'new content'.  If the game is good enough would this seem reasonable to you?  Would you be offended by the presence of the cash shop offering cosmetic goods only?  Do you think the 30 day free trial and 30 more days for just $5 makes the introduction to the game gentle enough that it avoids the pitfalls of b2p and some other subscription models?  Does waiving the sub fee for those whose behavior during the trail suggests that they might be whales solve the lower average spend problems that most subscription business models suffer from?

    Took a ‘short break’ from MMORPGs after the initial excitement about the launch of Ultima Online wore off.  Beginning to reacquaint myself with the genre in anticipation of Chronicles of Elyria (friend code E1E266).

  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 4,198

    It's hard to argue with subjective hyperbole. And please don't try and say sports at all levels aren't heavily influenced by money. College football would like a word.
    Yes, but you're not talking about a professional product.  Those are scholarly athletes playing amateur ball.   And I would say college sports is one of the last places you'll look for integrity lol.  In most sports outside of baseball you have salary caps that induce levity. 


  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member LegendaryPosts: 9,000
    I think MMO's echo the general business model being used by all businesses now a days.  Increasing profits by charging more for less.  Have more work done with fewer employees and lay off those who are no longer needed when possible.  I don't think it really matter what the earnings model is.  Everyone wants to charge as much as they can so they can make more money.  Few want to put this money back into the game when they can put a minimum back into the game and use the extra for bonuses in order to buy a bigger house, more cars, and put their kids in better schools.

    If the sub model were superior and kept the game at a higher quality then other models then it stands to reason that these would be the most popular games for serious players.  Because they were the best quality MMO's.  But their quality is not perceived as better just different.  P2P doesn't always equal better.  Quality depends on the game itself and how it's put together and run by the devs.

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  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 12,342
    edited March 2016
    Torval said:
    You made a string of lengthy arguments dismissing use cases for the most fringe of reasons. I brought up Netflix tiered subscriptions bringing in more customers and increasing retention which is equally as important.
    Pointing out you are comapring apples and oranges are no fringe reasons. Tiered subscription of Netflix and single MMO sub of lowered price are two completely different things - different markets, different products, different business models, etc.

    Just read the orginal point:

    t0nyd said:
    I assumed that we would see a varied sub market with some games charging between 5 to 15$ a month. I would have thought that older games like anarchy online would offer a lower sub price by now. How much more wrong could i have been.

    The question was why older games don't lower their sub price. In that regard I replied that doing so, you won't get any more customers(make more money). And that's true.
  • waynejr2waynejr2 Member EpicPosts: 7,769
    waynejr2 said:
    Gdemami said:
    But did they get more customers than others because their price was lower?
    Again, Walmart is very different story. Walmart is a retailer - they are selling same products for lower price. That is not the same as lowering price of YOUR product.

    The point is simple. People play games to have fun.

    Does lowering price make the game more fun? No, thus you won't get any more people playing it.

    It is generally pretty bad practice to compete with price. In order to make business successful, you have to stand out.
    But I thought the whole point of F2P was getting rid of that nasty "barrier for entry"?

    The whole g.d. Barrier of entry BS has been going on since we had to pay $$ per hour back in the AOL/TSN days.   At this point, it is just beggars and freeloaders.................
    Yet the F2P folks like to throw that barrier into the debate as a major set-back AND a plus for F2P games.  I happen to agree that at this point, video games are inhabited mainly by beggars and freeloaders.  There have always been these folks, but now they are the majority.
    CEO and Marketing guy talking. 
    CEO  "people are saying we are having a barrier to entry problem". 
    Marketing guy "On the forums, people want free to play". 
    CEO  "how are we going to make money on Free to play?" 
    Marketing guy  "on volume!"
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  • BrenicsBrenics Member RarePosts: 1,939
    CrazKanuk said:
    Brenics said:
    I do find it funny people keep talking about whales. We are where we are right now because of whales. Games are getting worse and in some games (Star Citizen) companies are not in a hurry to make the game because they don't want to stop the whales from giving them more money. 

    At least to me the whales are exactly who have made our game worse. IMO!
    Derek Smart.

    There! Now both Star Citizen and Derek Smart rules have arrived at 1, so relevance to the topic at hand may resume. 


    Just going with the flow of talk about whales. You should have seen that, unless you skip posts. :-D
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  • DrDread74DrDread74 Member UncommonPosts: 308

    Threes nothing stopping hybrids from being successful. Games can be Free to Play but with a subscription for "hardcore" players which opens up features that only "hardcore" players can benefit from like something that makes it practical to play for 10 hours a day when normally it isn't. Unless you're playing 10 hours a day you wouldn't care that there is a subscription that opens up a feature for people who do. Something like that makes it NOT pay to win because the paid players aren't really at an advantage over you in that situation.

    #GoodMMOIdeas =)



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  • WarlyxWarlyx Member EpicPosts: 3,364
    edited March 2016
    The reason why the industry is shifting towards the F2P model is cost efficiency. To release a box purchase, subscription based game, you not only have to promise and display a great product, but sell the fact that your game will receive enough regular updates to justify the monthly cost.

    This means companies have to invest not only in getting the original title out, but have to make future development plans and keep on enough staff to get meaningful content delivered on a regular basis. This requires so much budget for the expected turn-around that in turn's off potential investors and publishers since they can make about the same profit with much lower risk by released F2P games with cash shops.

    This stresses the sub based titles to invest not only in man-power and future development but also better servers than their competitors as a person paying for access has the right to do so at their convenience and not yours.

    this

    u can release a f2p today and dont release a patch in months and no1 will say anything ...is F2P afterall

    if u release a p2p and dont have any content coming up....ppl will quit

    wow is a good example of that , look at WoD , p2p and no content or crap content...ppl say FU and quit.

    coming back to a p2p is hard , u need to research if its worth to come back or not...with a f2p u log in and find it yourself.

    f2p has no entry , just download or update the game and play.

    i still prefer p2p if content keeps coming , because in p2p every1 is on the same playground , no 1 is more OP because they payed more.

    there are some good f2p games out there , Marvel heroes as example , u can even buy heroes (grinding days) , but even then , the game is worth paying for , i tossed some money and bought some heroes and had fun for weeks it was worth it.

    However we all know that there are F2p that are just crap ppl still keep failing on that and thats why they keep coming , games that die within 2-3 months, or games that  even if u pay u arent going anywhere because another player payed way more ....and the next 1 even more.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,775
    Gdemami said:


    The question was why older games don't lower their sub price. In that regard I replied that doing so, you won't get any more customers(make more money). And that's true.
    say what? Isn't EQ (the original) free to play now? Hence, the sub price is lowered to zero.
  • VestigeGamerVestigeGamer Member UncommonPosts: 518
    Torval said:
    Which is it? Are F2P/B2P games cheap and only for freeloaders or are they too expensive for people who just want to pay a cheap $15/mo sub? You can't have it both ways.

    I hear this all the time, "F2P games are too expensive for me. I only want to pay $15/mo (50 cents a day)." "F2P are filled with freeloaders who only want to play games for free." So which one is it and who is really being cheap? If it's the former then the cheapskates are the mandatory sub fans. If it's the latter then it's the F2P fans.

    Maybe the situation is a lot more complicated than you're treating it with the overly simple answers and conclusions.
    They way I hear it used, sub games were a coast barrier to players.  You had to pay up front $40-60 AND $15 each month (after the first free month).  So I guess F2P means that this barrier is gone?

    But as pointed out, if players can not afford this, maybe they need to find a cheaper hobby?  Instead, we flood the genre with players that do not even like the genre (MMO) in the first place, just because it's free.

    VG

  • VestigeGamerVestigeGamer Member UncommonPosts: 518
    Gdemami said:
    Try to sell those Rollses for the price of Chevrolette and come tell us how it worked for you.
    Ahhh... the stupidity runs deep in this one.  You win.

    VG

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 43,609
    alzoo said:
    alzoo said:
    For argument's sake, what does everyone think of the following scenario?  Assume that the game is an open world MMORPG with good graphics and great gameplay, but not with true 'content' updates.  I'm picturing something like what Chronicles of Elyria is shooting for (except that they've already announced a completely different business model), but other games that are under development would fit the bill as well.  Free to play for 30 days.  Cash shop, but only for purely cosmetic/vanity items.  Initial month of subscription is $5 (that's month two of play).  Following months are $15 per month.  Anyone who has spent over $100 in the cash shop by the end of their first 30 days gets their subscription fee waived.  Subscriptions auto-renew month to month unless you opt out.
    Probably bad form to bump my own question when nobody thought it was interesting enough to answer it the first time, but screw it...my thread, my rules.  Anyone feel like answering the quoted question?  So it's a game that's presumably fun to play for a long time, but where the publisher isn't releasing anything that would be considered 'new content'.  If the game is good enough would this seem reasonable to you?  Would you be offended by the presence of the cash shop offering cosmetic goods only?  Do you think the 30 day free trial and 30 more days for just $5 makes the introduction to the game gentle enough that it avoids the pitfalls of b2p and some other subscription models?  Does waiving the sub fee for those whose behavior during the trail suggests that they might be whales solve the lower average spend problems that most subscription business models suffer from?
    Too many questions, hence you get no answers.

    While your proposals seem fair to the players, if I'm a dev no way am I cutting the price like this at launch, knowing there's a slavering crowd out just dieing to throw money at any newly released or even pre-release games.

    Maybe a year or so down the road I might try to draw in the reluctant consumers, but then agian maybe not, the return likely would not equal the investment.

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  • VelocinoxVelocinox Member UncommonPosts: 1,010
    People are still lamenting free to play, but except for a few outliers most of today's free to play have a 'VIP' option that gets all the restrictions lifted, and a stipend per month you can spend in their cash shop. Some of the better ones even let you buy the expansions out of that stipend. Effectively giving you the expansions for free as long as you previously have been subscribed to earn the points.

    I think many people overreact when it comes to free to play and immediately think of Neverwinter and other egregious examples of the type.

    As long as the game allows a 'have all' (sans cosmetic cash shop) subscription program, I don't have a problem with them offering the game to others for free. I don't need to keep my fun away from others to consider it fun.

    'Sandbox MMO' is a PTSD trigger word for anyone who has the experience to know that anonymous players invariably use a 'sandbox' in the same manner a housecat does.


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  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 12,342
    Torval said
    Prove it.

    I responded to the claim you made and refuted it. You're going back to another point. It may not help older games, but if you're going to make the claim then you need to prove it.
    You didn't refute anything since Netflix did not lower their prices, they expanded their offer.

    Not may, it won't help. That is unless you believe that lower price makes games more fun...which would be a fairly far stretch to assume.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,775


    But as pointed out, if players can not afford this, maybe they need to find a cheaper hobby?  Instead, we flood the genre with players that do not even like the genre (MMO) in the first place, just because it's free.
    You are confused between affordability and desirability.

    I would be more than happy to pay $50 for a bottle of good wine that i enjoy for what ... a few hours with friends. I have also more than happy to pay $18 a seat for a 2.5 hours IMAX 3D movie (like The Avenger). 

    But MMO ... i probably won't spend a dime.

    Heck, i would even pay $60 for The Division (and I did). Unless you call that a MMO, MMO is the cheapest hobby, because the competition drives it down to free.
  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 23,185
    edited March 2016
    Torval said:
    Scot said:
    Deivos said:
    Axehilt said:
    If a game is free to play, it's F2P.  The history of a game doesn't matter.  If it's now F2P, it's F2P.  And that's also where it becomes a lot more clear which model is stronger, because post-launch F2P really can't be beat.  It's only at launch when you have a B2P component that you have any sort of chance to match F2P because for the right types of games with the right sort of advertising hype you can make a ton of money before the player has ever played your game.
    We don't even call that B2P in most cases.

    "Founders Packs" are the usual option for pre-game sales on F2P titles.

    Though this again neglects the explanation of why F2P makes more money. As observed before, it's not through offering a better product which mostly just means the game content has just been broken down and sold alongside an intentional imbalance of content progression to push incentive onto boosters, subs, etc.

    Really need to get back to observing ethics in the industry and remembering that the "financially strongest" does not make it the "strongest" choice for the players when it comes to treating them fairly and properly.


    Certainly the money went to their heads, F2P is the poorest choice when it comes to fairness as a game, and fairness to players.

    The history of the game does matter, P2P MMOs are designed better; even if just more gameplay, more content, bigger size. This was not just because they could generate more hype or spent more on their advertising budget. And there lies the conundrum for F2P, it is the former P2P MMOs that make the best F2P/hybrid cash shop games. Without those the F2P MMO market would look dire in terms of quality.

    As was discussed in other threads new release AAA P2P is dying. I see only one such MMO being released maybe every three now if we are lucky. What is going to replace those top ten revenue MMOs in five years time? What about ten years time? MMOs are on borrowed time, the big revenue generating beasts will seem outdated in a few years.

    F2P will be here in ten years time, but I question if the games it funds will even be MMOs by todays standards. F2P will have succeeded in turning a AAA genre into a tinyMMO genre.

    Integrity: in both senses of the definition of the word.  
    Moralizng an amoral situation with your argument to appeal to an emotional false sense of right and wrong is a logical no no. Unless you just want to admit you don't have a logical argument and that you feel your subjective perspective put on everyone else whether they like it or not.

    We're in this "situation" because a large majority of the player base wasn't satisfied with the previous situation and publishers weren't making the money they felt they needed to keep their games viable.


    Not really. Putting aside the clear unfairness of todays cash shop system, which you seem to just want to skip over and pretend it is not a "logical argument", lets have a look at the player base.

    There is no data to suggest the "large majority of the player base" did not want subscriptions. Yes people complained, but then they always do. I can remember many times people complaining that cash shops should be cheaper.

    What you are saying could be true if the player base in EQ to WoW days was the same type of gamer as the playerbase today. But we know that is not true, gamers who were at heart solo players moved in after WoW and their numbers became the majority in MMOs. They wanted MMOs to be like solo games in nearly every way. That's why F2P had so much appeal, gamers who were solo gamers could not see why they were paying a sub.

    So when the market started to bring out F2P they jumped ship and were joined by gamers who expect to play for free. Neither of these type of players is suited to or wants a AAA subscription genre. They want to play for free and skip from one MMO to the next. They were the new majority and it became lump it or leave it for the old school players.

    As for the companies, before F2P came out P2P was very viable. That was the market WoW launched into, that was the base of its huge success. As I explained, F2P created a climate in which it became harder and harder to sustain P2P MMOs. This was not switching to remain viable because your MMO was not good enough, it was switching to the only revenue model in town.

    Meanwhile solo is making big money with what is effectively B2P, but some how we are expected to believe B2P would not work in MMOs? This is not about viability, it is about a MMO business climate which is similar to say car insurance, cheaper the better, no matter how good a product you end up with.

  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 12,342
    edited March 2016
    Scot said:
    There is no data to suggest the "large majority of the player base" did not want subscriptions. Yes people complained, but then they always do. I can remember many times people complaining that cash shops should be cheaper.
    There isn't? Have you seen the number of P2P vs F2P games?

    People not only complained but they voted with their wallets and left P2P models.
  • DrDread74DrDread74 Member UncommonPosts: 308
    We should focus on becoming whales, they seem to have all the games made for them =)

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  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 4,198
    People not only complained but they voted with their wallets and left P2P models.

    Yes, that is why the vast majority of MMORPG player spend nothing. Shows you just how much they like the genre.

    Without being able to play for free this genre would obviously have autocorrected a long time ago.  Now we have a genre untenable number of games and game design.
  • cronius77cronius77 Member UncommonPosts: 1,652
    there is very few games being released to this day that could even merit a subscription. I honestly can't name one besides wow that I would sub to and the wow of now I wouldn't even bother either. All these asian games suck period they have the depth for a middle schooler and lack any creativity, same with most of the triple A mmorpgs being released.

    Lets see ESO is not worth a sub their content patches are lackluster and the game is full of bugs crashes and constant class nerfs with fotm builds each cycle.

    SWTOR the same ol same lackluster game that hasnt changed nor gotten better with huge pay walls for limited content and slow patches

    GW2 probably the most boring mmorpg on the market with small updates. slow dev time and no progression at all.

    wow- no content for a year enough said....

    BDO- sandbox game with no end game but forced pvp because the dev team is to lazy to create options

    Wildstar, Rift, LOTR online, Neverwinter, all on their last leg pretty much except maybe neverwinter but thats the biggest casino scam on the internet and should be considered gambling.

    So please anyone say you can get more than a couple of weeks of enjoyment at a time out of any of these triple A mmorpgs that have the value to continue paying 15 bucks a month for any of them(though some are buy to play no sub options)  especially once you get to end game where all the content comes in the form of patches and you are maxed out. 

    This is the real reason free to play is around and strong now, people like to blame this on our attention spans but in reality the games just suck nowadays for quality and polish. Games like EQ DAOC AC UO all made sure they spent the hours and time polishing expansions and kept their teams large and communities engaged. They didnt just dump expansions on you deciding to fix the bugs during live releases for weeks and weeks after. Content was made to last and grinding was harder, they also built communities through forced grouping of content not allowing you to solo to end game then group. Old games had strategy and methods to keep players interested and engaged. Including wow vanilla when it released you died ALOT and it was hard and time consuming to level solo so it still forced interaction. Games releasing in the last 5-8 years lack any soul at all and why most people are bored and wont pay a sub fee so companies instead of raising the bar decided to take the easy way out and release games free instead taking advantage of tricks to get you to buy small items bags etc while they knew you would be engaged in their games before you hit the boredom wall from lack of creativity or content.
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