This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Why is $15 So Much?” by Melieza. Melieza is perplexed by the gamers out there who balk at the $15 price-tag for monthly service charged by most MMO developers making games for Western audiences. Here’s what Melieza has to say on the subject:
“All over these forums I see people saying different P2P MMOs 'aren't worth the sub'. Subs are $15 a month.
A decent job will make you $15 in one hour.
Even if you play the game for only five hours in that entire month, I'd say it was money well spent.
Now, I understand MMOs also have an initial box fee. $50 is standard when the game first comes out. I completely understand $50 is a lot of money to drop on something you might not play long.
But no one ever complains about the initial box fee.
I get that some kids dont have jobs, but honestly, I bet you could go up to your parents or neighbors and say I'll hand wash your car for $15 and they'd say ok. $15 for a hand car wash is about average.
So, why is $15 so much? Shouldn't people be complaining about the box fee? How come no one rages when they buy a console game for $60 that only entertains them for ten hours?
IMO, as long as you play the game a few hours in a month, MMOs are good deals. But maybe I'm in the minority.”
What is the rest of the community saying? Let’s find out!
Burntvet explains it has to do with “relative value”:
“On top of what the others have said, there is also relative value. It isn't just that game x is $15/mo, but many/most other P2Ps are in that range, too.
So when a game is seriously lacking, content or quality wise (STO or FFXIV for instance) AND they are charging the same as other games that do not suck as bad, that gives players a feeling that they are not getting a good value.
And/or when developers take that $15/mo and continue to not fix bugs, improve rough spots, etc. etc., that also makes the player ask "Is this worth $15, if the devs don't care enough to fix the broken stuff?"
So it is several factors....”
Twstdchange feels he’s got it figured out:
“People who complain about the monthly fee are either:
1) Kids who don't have jobs/parents won't let them use their credit cards
2) People who have crappy, low paying jobs and can't/shouldn't be spending money on online games
3) Cheap people who don't like to spend money, though this isn't usually the case as much as 1 & 2
And then there's category X, and if anyone's going to debate me, then they're category X.
As in unkown.
Because I'm not omniscient.
My advice to those who don't want to pay: Then go look elsewhere. If you want a premium experience, you're going to have to pay. Why? Because it costs money to keep an online game going.”
Tatum seems to be as perplexed by the complaints as Melieza:
“People were complaining about $15 subs even before the economy was terrible. Fact is, most of us have a skewed perspective when it comes to spending. Example:
People complain that $15 per month is too much for gaming yet,
They'll spend $20 at the movies watching a crappy summer flick, munching on popcorn and chugging coke (two hours of entertainment, at most)
They'll spend $7 per meal for crappy fast food...and do this at least a few times per week
$15 per month is VERY cheap for a hobby. Mostly, it's just an issue of the games not really being worthy of charging a monthly fee, regardless of price. If you spend a good amount of time playing a specific MMO, $15 is a steal. Far far cheaper than the console gamer who buys a new, $60, beatable-in-one-weekend, console game every other week.”
I’ve personally found this issue confusing as well. I know that when I was younger it would have been impossible for me to convince my mother that shelling out $15/month for an online game was a good idea, but like many others in the community have said, it really doesn’t make much sense for those of us that are adults and appreciate this genre of games. There are hobbies that are incredibly more expensive, and even gaming itself is more expensive when you can drop $60 on a game you can beat in a single sitting (as Tatum mentioned), though there is multi-player to consider, not all games offer it, or do it well. When I discuss this topic with other gamers or friends, I always bring up the movie argument. I took my girlfriend out to the movies last weekend and I dropped $27.50 just on tickets. It’s pretty reasonable to expect that most people probably see a movie once a month, maybe once every two months, and so $15/month really just seems like a drop in the bucket if it’s a game I enjoy playing. You can play for as long as you like and you don’t have to drop that $15 for your first month of playing a new MMO, so I really don’t see what the hub-bub is about.
Share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below!