Howdy, Stranger!

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

Raph Koster on GaaS as an MMO Business Strategy

AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 5,746
edited May 8 in The Pub at MMORPG.COM
Worth a read:  www.raphkoster.com/2019/01/30/what-drives-retention/#more-33564

He argues that GaaS is a business strategy, and F2P is a revenue model.

Don't shoot the messenger. I'm not advocating for this. Just felt he had some interesting thoughts.

P.S.

And if you see this Raph, no I have still not forgiven you for the lack of a path to Jedi at SWG launch, and the later hologrind. Grrrr.

EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

MendelGdemamiSteelhelm
«1

Comments

  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,292
    Excellent article.  I'm glad to see someone in the industry making a distinction between GaaS and F2P.

    Only point I might contest is Raph's observation about Player vs Player Competition.  Game maker may view players as a cheap source of game depth, but that is limited by the capabilities that the game provides to the player.  The player-as-opponent seems more a way to bypass AI development for computer-controlled opponents.  Neglecting R&D isn't the way to make a better game, at least in my opinion.




    Gdemamiblamo2000alkarionlog

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 5,420
    Interesting read.

    I liked his thought on PvP:
    "Con: Watch out for zero-sum play (one winner, one loser) causing players to be chased out." All combat is kind of zero-sum, though it's OK vs monsters :)

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR


    (And now Burger King has MEATLESS burgers!)

  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 11,767
    "a service-based game is not a dirty word, doesn’t mandate constant moneygrubbing, doesn’t mean it has to be free to play."


    F2P
    never mandated anything either and look where that got us. If you give a gaming company more was to charge and more ways to charge in dodgy ways they always end up taking and taking and taking... 
    GdemamiAmaranthar

     25 Agrees

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

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

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

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 5,420
    edited May 9
    Scot said:
    "a service-based game is not a dirty word, doesn’t mandate constant moneygrubbing, doesn’t mean it has to be free to play."


    F2P
    never mandated anything either and look where that got us. If you give a gaming company more was to charge and more ways to charge in dodgy ways they always end up taking and taking and taking... 
    For me, there is a big difference between "making money" and "paying great dividends to stockholders." I'm all for making money. I'm not good with putting NOT developers' kids, but Management's kids through college. The number one rule in business is "always make MORE."
    Scot

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR


    (And now Burger King has MEATLESS burgers!)

  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 11,767
    edited May 9
    AlBQuirky said:
    Scot said:
    "a service-based game is not a dirty word, doesn’t mandate constant moneygrubbing, doesn’t mean it has to be free to play."


    F2P
    never mandated anything either and look where that got us. If you give a gaming company more was to charge and more ways to charge in dodgy ways they always end up taking and taking and taking... 
    For me, there is a big difference between "making money" and "paying great dividends to stockholders." I'm all for making money. I'm not good with putting NOT developers' kids, but Management's kids through college. The number rule in business is "always make MORE."
    The thing is a F2P game with a cash shop can have stockholders. Subscription is more of a revenue model than F2P which is more or a revenue model than GaaS which is the most like a money making business plan. We were also seeing the 'always make more' concept in cash shops, it is just now so extreme.

    Not only that but when something is perceived has having negative connotations what do you do? You change the name. :)

    But in this example, GaaS got a bad reputation straight out of the starting blocks, so that did not work out well for them.
    GdemamiAlBQuirky

     25 Agrees

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

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

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

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 33,984
    edited May 9
    AlBQuirky said:
    Scot said:
    "a service-based game is not a dirty word, doesn’t mandate constant moneygrubbing, doesn’t mean it has to be free to play."


    F2P
    never mandated anything either and look where that got us. If you give a gaming company more was to charge and more ways to charge in dodgy ways they always end up taking and taking and taking... 
    For me, there is a big difference between "making money" and "paying great dividends to stockholders." I'm all for making money. I'm not good with putting NOT developers' kids, but Management's kids through college. The number one rule in business is "always make MORE."
    Well duh, pretty much for most of us the number one rule (or at least a high priority) is always make more.

    Who do you think stock holders are? Sure, big business conglomerates and...me. Guess what my job is, management and who do you suppose put my children through college? 

    I'm counting big time for retirement in the money my 401K makes from investing in companies that are profitable and pay solid returns to shareholders.

    Business is usually logical and not always evil, they just try to extract what the market will bear, a fundamental tenant of capitalism, especially when it comes to discretionary products such as games.

    To do less does a disservice to everyone.


    blamo2000AlBQuirky

    "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






  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,483
    Kyleran said:
    AlBQuirky said:
    Scot said:
    "a service-based game is not a dirty word, doesn’t mandate constant moneygrubbing, doesn’t mean it has to be free to play."


    F2P
    never mandated anything either and look where that got us. If you give a gaming company more was to charge and more ways to charge in dodgy ways they always end up taking and taking and taking... 
    For me, there is a big difference between "making money" and "paying great dividends to stockholders." I'm all for making money. I'm not good with putting NOT developers' kids, but Management's kids through college. The number one rule in business is "always make MORE."
    Well duh, pretty much for most of us the number one rule (or at least a high priority) is always make more.

    Who do you think stock holders are? Sure, big business conglomerates and...me. Guess what my job is, management and who do you suppose put my children through college? 

    I'm counting big time for retirement in the money my 401K makes from investing in companies that are profitable and pay solid returns to shareholders.

    Business is usually logical and not always evil, they just try to extract what the market will bear, a fundamental tenant of capitalism, especially when it comes to discretionary products such as games.

    To do less does a disservice to everyone.


    It's a little more complex than that, though.

    Their aim is always to make more, and no reason to fault them for it.  How they do so, however, is definitely something that can, should, and does include restrictions and ethics.

    The pursuit of wealth cannot be allowed to be pursued freely without any guiding principles towards how such a pursuit affects the larger society.  It's shown time and again to lead to exploitation and fraud.
    gervaise1GdemamiAlBQuirky

    image
  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,663
    GaaS (which include MMOs) will stop being a dirty word to me when I have viable options to keep playing those games once the studio/publisher decides to stop supporting them. GaaS don't have to be predatory milk machines, but that's the direction the industry has taken them because, like F2P, they always take the low road. They've blown all the chances and burnt up all the good will they had banked.
    SovrathVermillion_RaventhalKyleranGdemamiAlBQuirky
    take back the hobby: https://www.reddit.com/r/patientgamers/

    traveller, interloper, anomaly
    ༼ つ ◕◕ ༽つ

    It only took 3 people 8 words to rock Blizzard to its core.
  • GutlardGutlard Member RarePosts: 841
    edited May 9
    Less nerdy business nomenclature and more nerdy game play/fun/entertainment please. That's all I'm worried about. All the other stuff if fluff. Where do I vote?

    Even whales will only spend money on games that look interesting or provide entertainment to them. They're too important, and their time is too valuable, to waste otherwise.

    So even they agree with me that good game play/fun/entertainment is most important, IMnotsoHO.  o:) 

    Gut Out!
    TorvalAlBQuirky

    What, me worry?

  • blamo2000blamo2000 Member RarePosts: 933
    This gaas acronym related to games is new to me.  I don't like it or accept it.  For twenty plus years of my life it has been a very common acronym meaning generally accepted accounting standards.  

    This is cultural appropriation at its ugliest and worst.  May I suggest SFG for service funded games?  No one cares about the Giants, SF gate, or special forces group.  
  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 3,937
    Torval said:
    GaaS (which include MMOs) will stop being a dirty word to me when I have viable options to keep playing those games once the studio/publisher decides to stop supporting them. GaaS don't have to be predatory milk machines, but that's the direction the industry has taken them because, like F2P, they always take the low road. They've blown all the chances and burnt up all the good will they had banked.
    I think that is my biggest problem with the industry right now.  I tire of games applying pressure to buy crap to not play the game. I tire of game play being negatively affected or cut out to be sold in a full priced game. 

    I mean, imagine playing monopoly and some friend says he doesn't have time to play so he drops $100 real money and takes Boardwalk.  

    Yes developers can sell what will be bought.  I guess my 60 dollar purchase compares little to a guy who is spending in the thousands each month.  But sooner or later exploitive tactics in an industry with kids as a large audience will only bring trouble. 
    TorvalAlBQuirkyScot
  • MisterZebubMisterZebub Member LegendaryPosts: 3,584
    Games as a service only seems to extend the longevity and therefore profitability of games, sadly it doesn't seem to add much to a game's quality. And in cases where the game was pretty slipshod on release, such as Fallout 76 or Anthem, it can spell disaster for both game studios and gamers alike.

    TorvalAlBQuirkyGdemami

    "You have kept me at your beck and call for fifteen years. I shall never again do what you demand of me. By every rule of single combat, from this moment your life belongs to me. Is that not correct? Then I shall simply declare you dead. In all of your dealings with me, you'll do me the courtesy to conduct yourself as a dead man. I have submitted to your notions of honor long enough. You will now submit to mine."

  • GutlardGutlard Member RarePosts: 841
    I wonder if the devs will ever come to the conclusion that their games would've released better without that stuff?

    If they left it out they could focus on all the good things about a game that make it successful instead of splitting half their time on figuring out ways to make that shit work.

    Idk...

    Gut Out!
    Gdemami

    What, me worry?

  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,292
    blamo2000 said:
    This gaas acronym related to games is new to me.  I don't like it or accept it.  For twenty plus years of my life it has been a very common acronym meaning generally accepted accounting standards.  

    This is cultural appropriation at its ugliest and worst.  May I suggest SFG for service funded games?  No one cares about the Giants, SF gate, or special forces group.  
    I always heard it as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).  But who really understands accountants anyway?  There may be numerous breeds of them with different regional terminology.

    The GaaS acronym applied to games is relatively new to me, too.  It smacks as someone abstracting a higher level object to define a similarity between objects (MMO).  GaaS works at that level, and pretty accurately defines how hosted multiplayer games actually work.  The client gets a set of code, and the server gets a different set of code, creating a whole.



    Gdemami

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • LimnicLimnic Member RarePosts: 1,116
    edited May 9
    Games as a service only seems to extend the longevity and therefore profitability of games, sadly it doesn't seem to add much to a game's quality. And in cases where the game was pretty slipshod on release, such as Fallout 76 or Anthem, it can spell disaster for both game studios and gamers alike.

    Seems by extension, GaaS only really prolongs a game's longevity if it has a stable base to grow upon. As a concept alone, it doesn't support a title because it instead gives the sense of "We took time away from making a solid product to try and componentize half of it to drip feed you later."

    I can see what Koster means in the sense of GaaS being a strategy, in that it's fundamentally just the evolution of expansions to dlc to a rolling stream of game content over time. Problem is when that rolling stream puts monetization as first priority over further enhancing a title, especially if the core of that title is itself, incomplete.
    AlBQuirky
  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 5,420
    edited May 9
    Kyleran said:
    AlBQuirky said:
    Scot said:
    "a service-based game is not a dirty word, doesn’t mandate constant moneygrubbing, doesn’t mean it has to be free to play."


    F2P
    never mandated anything either and look where that got us. If you give a gaming company more was to charge and more ways to charge in dodgy ways they always end up taking and taking and taking... 
    For me, there is a big difference between "making money" and "paying great dividends to stockholders." I'm all for making money. I'm not good with putting NOT developers' kids, but Management's kids through college. The number one rule in business is "always make MORE."
    Well duh, pretty much for most of us the number one rule (or at least a high priority) is always make more.

    Who do you think stock holders are? Sure, big business conglomerates and...me. Guess what my job is, management and who do you suppose put my children through college? 

    I'm counting big time for retirement in the money my 401K makes from investing in companies that are profitable and pay solid returns to shareholders.

    Business is usually logical and not always evil, they just try to extract what the market will bear, a fundamental tenant of capitalism, especially when it comes to discretionary products such as games.

    To do less does a disservice to everyone.


    You're welcome? I guess?

    Supply and demand don't even figure in anymore. It is a rarity for me to see prices ever come down. Wanting "more" is the number one cause for inflation. It matters not anymore whether a crop was good or bad. Prices will go up. Almost always. Housing costs go up because everyone wants more.

    I see a lot of people talk about "paying the developers", but most work on salary, and unless they have some kind of company stock options, they see no more than their salary. Paying more for a game does NOT go to developers. It goes to management and stockholders.

    As I said, I'm not against making money. It is the incessant greed I abhor.
    GdemamiScot

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR


    (And now Burger King has MEATLESS burgers!)

  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member RarePosts: 3,421
    edited May 10
    No matter what the revenue model, the key to it all is what the article is about. Retention.

    For me, I don't want cash shops. No matter what is sold, it's not earned through game play. And that's a huge negative for me. And it inevitably expands.
    However, I'm not against players selling things to other players, if they've earned said "things" through legitimate game play.
    That offers a way to turn "cash shop revenues" into "Pay-To-Play" revenues.

    Of course the game has to be a great game for that to work.
    Which is a desirable thing, I think.

    This brings me to a subject close to my heart. Rarity.
    Every aspect of the game can have a lot of rarity added. So much so that every player, no matter what they like to do in-game, can have repeated finds of semi-rare things, and once in a while "more rare" things, and always a chance for something unique. And everything in between.

    Then there's construction. If it takes time, costs, additions, and much expertise to build a Castle, then that Castle has a value to sell to other players.

    I'm sure there's a lot of ways to add real world cash making opportunities to players, without actually selling things in Cash Shops. And making paying a subscription quite acceptable to players who want a great game without the cheapness of Cash Shops.

    Edit 1, That adds a big incentive to retention.

    Edit 2, Rarity can come in two form.
    - Rare drops
    - time intensive effort.
    (- Edit, see my next post on rare skills, to make 3. Sort of a rare drop, but different.)
    An example of the last, taken from real world history.
    Small shells that can be used to make a unique and beautiful color. But collecting enough of these took a lot of time. So you have a semi-rare color that players would desire for their cloaks, tunics, etc.
    Now combine both of these forms of rarity.
    Add a unique spawn, a single giant shellfish of that type, and when it's crushed and used to create said color, it's noticeably different, and unique.
    Post edited by Amaranthar on
    GdemamiScotAmathe

    Once upon a time....

  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member RarePosts: 3,421
    Ahh, thought of another form of "Rarity."
    Unique, or semi-rare, skill abilities.
    As in, a Blacksmith finds or buys an ancient one of a kind Tome, where he learns how to make a uniquely shaped sword. The Tome is destroyed in the reading, but forevermore the Blacksmith is the only one in the game who can make that particular style of sword effectively.

    That idea can be modified, according to game designer goals. Maybe the player can write another Tome to sell, but loses his own knowledge in the process.
    Or maybe he's not totally unique, just vary rare if a few more of this particular Tome turns up in the ancient dungeons and ruins of the world.
    Amathe

    Once upon a time....

  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Member UncommonPosts: 2,408
    GaaS was a victim of its own success.  The principle is good, but the execution had to run into a few problems publishers didn't want to accept.

    Players have to own something out of it all, if you want them to stay.  The problem is that publishers don't want players to own anything.  They see it as cutting into their platform, when players own and sell what they own.  But players have got to have a stake it the game.  Otherwise, they are just tourists who will try to sneak in on the cheap.

    What replaced GaaS was the private instance (Minecraft the best example).  It allows ownership plu gives you the social aspect.
    GdemamiAlBQuirkyKyleran

    __________________________
    "Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
    --Arcken

    "...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
    --Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

    "It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
    --Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  • ikcinikcin Member RarePosts: 2,205
    Ahh, thought of another form of "Rarity."
    Unique, or semi-rare, skill abilities.
    As in, a Blacksmith finds or buys an ancient one of a kind Tome, where he learns how to make a uniquely shaped sword. The Tome is destroyed in the reading, but forevermore the Blacksmith is the only one in the game who can make that particular style of sword effectively.

    That idea can be modified, according to game designer goals. Maybe the player can write another Tome to sell, but loses his own knowledge in the process.
    Or maybe he's not totally unique, just vary rare if a few more of this particular Tome turns up in the ancient dungeons and ruins of the world.
    This is actually a full loot PvP for blacksmiths.
  • RhoklawRhoklaw Member EpicPosts: 6,545
    You can label it however you want Raph. The fact of the matter is, Subscription versus F2P with microtransaction cash shops is the problem. Does labeling a game with that fancy new term change anything? No. It's either F2P with a cash shop or it's a subscription. No one cares about the gaas terminology.
    GdemamiAlBQuirky

  • AmarantharAmaranthar Member RarePosts: 3,421
    edited May 15
    ikcin said:
    Ahh, thought of another form of "Rarity."
    Unique, or semi-rare, skill abilities.
    As in, a Blacksmith finds or buys an ancient one of a kind Tome, where he learns how to make a uniquely shaped sword. The Tome is destroyed in the reading, but forevermore the Blacksmith is the only one in the game who can make that particular style of sword effectively.

    That idea can be modified, according to game designer goals. Maybe the player can write another Tome to sell, but loses his own knowledge in the process.
    Or maybe he's not totally unique, just vary rare if a few more of this particular Tome turns up in the ancient dungeons and ruins of the world.
    This is actually a full loot PvP for blacksmiths.
    It's PvP, sure. All competition is, even economic.
    But I don't get the full loot with this.
    Now if somehow another player can steal said knowledge or skill from another player, then I'd agree.
    Which, in a really deep, hardcore game could be pretty cool, if the game can be designed so the players aren't leaving in mass because of this and other PvP actions.

    Once upon a time....

  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 3,937
    GaaS prevents pirating as well.  I think it will become more common just to peddle cash shop items and prevent piracy.
    Gdemami
  • WargfootWargfoot Member UncommonPosts: 248
    edited May 16
    If you make a really solid product I don't think the payment model will make much of a difference provided the payment model doesn't sabotage the game design. (Pay to Win, etc)

    IMHO, the payment model shenanigans allows bad games to last longer but probably wouldn't get in the way of the success of a solid product.  That is to say, a good product would survive a bad payment model.

    I think the hand wringing over payment models is misplaced.
    Gdemami
  • Superman0XSuperman0X Member RarePosts: 2,185
    edited May 16
    Amathe said:
    Worth a read:  www.raphkoster.com/2019/01/30/what-drives-retention/#more-33564

    He argues that GaaS is a business strategy, and F2P is a revenue model.

    Don't shoot the messenger. I'm not advocating for this. Just felt he had some interesting thoughts.

    P.S.

    And if you see this Raph, no I have still not forgiven you for the lack of a path to Jedi at SWG launch, and the later hologrind. Grrrr.
    He is technically correct.

    GAAS is about the long revenue tail. It is about providing content over time, and monetizing that content as you go.

    F2P is about not charging anything upfront, and then monetizing at key intervals after that.

    GAAS can have an upfront charge (so it would not be F2P).
    F2P can have a fixed amount of content ( so it would not be a service) which is just monetized later.


    Having said this, a game can both be F2P, and GAAS... but it does not HAVE to be.

    Rhoklaw said:
    You can label it however you want Raph. The fact of the matter is, Subscription versus F2P with microtransaction cash shops is the problem. Does labeling a game with that fancy new term change anything? No. It's either F2P with a cash shop or it's a subscription. No one cares about the gaas terminology.
    It is P2P vs F2P (they are mutually exclusive).

    Subs, Micrtransactions, and Cash shops are all non exclusive, and can be done regardless of the P2P/F2P status.
    Gdemami
Sign In or Register to comment.