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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » How can a MMO justify subscription ?

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172 posts found
  Ryukan

Novice Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 711

11/01/12 6:13:44 PM#121
Originally posted by asmkm22
Originally posted by Ryukan
Sub fees for MMO's should not be more than $5 or $6. The idea of paying 25% of the retail cost of the game per month to keep playing it when much of the content becomes grinding the same crap repeatedly between occasional content upgrades is ridiculous and one major reason why I have stopped playing most MMO's.

After factoring in the costs of licensing an IP and engine tech, hiring a company to handle online payments (or building your own setup), paying support and development staff, leasing a datacenter or two, purchasing and upgrading hardware as needed, paying for high-availability/high-bandwidth network access, paying back stakeholders and other financial backers, and marketing the game at least a little, you wouldn't even break even on 5-6 dollars a month in sub fees.

People seriously underestimate just how expensive it is to build and operate an MMO.

 Fine...$10 a month maybe, but lately I haven't felt like paying even that much to keep playing the current MMO's.

I think GW2 kind of proves you wrong though; they seem to be making enough money off the largely cosmetic game store. I have paid the box cost  of GW2 so far and feel no need to pay any more money right now through the ingame store. Also, I guess I ripped off Funcom by buying a lifetime sub for The Secret World as well because that is all the money they will get from me as far as sub fees is that $200 (well maybe some would feel they ripped me off hehe, but I'll play it for years on and off...most likely). Of course Funcom could go F2P with TSW at some point aand end up screwing over those who bought lifetime subs, could happen.

There is a $50-$60 box fee for any major MMO these days and you get a month of play for free which is fine; most single player games cost the same and one is lucky to get a month's worth of play out of many of them. I play pretty hard for the first month and after that the sub fee kicks ini. $15 a month is 25% of the cost of the original game. By 4 months I have paid for the cost of the game again and maybe there have been steady content updates in those 4 months and maybe not. If the freshness of the content lasts for a week or more I would call that about worth the money I paid them for the month; this would take into account that there were steady monthly content updates like this. This does not seem to be the case with many MMO's lately for me at least and there is a great content grind for months at a time which gets boring fast; so regardless of how much it costs them to keep the game running I end up feeling that the monthly cost is not worth it thus I cancel my sub and now they have lost that monthly money from me totally. Some games have parts of the game content I really dislike and thus don't bother with such as the PvP in SWTOR; I lose interest in continuing to pay full price when there is content that I can do without.

I guess I would like to see more sub fee options between the full $15 a month fee and the F2P option which can get nickle and dime-ish and end up costing a crapload. It would be nice to see some options with lower sub costs and less restrictions than F2P but say not as many options as a full sub.

  coretex666

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/03/12
Posts: 1831

"I shall take your position into consideration"

11/01/12 6:19:56 PM#122

As long as the game is good enough that it makes want to pay the subscription, it is justified, for me. 

I dont have any specific points the game needs to fulfil in order to justify it.

Currently playing: L2 Chronicle 4

  rygard49

Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/11
Posts: 987

11/01/12 6:27:29 PM#123
Originally posted by GeezerGamer
Originally posted by rygard49

Who the heck do you people think you are saying that subs are a ripoff? That's entitled thinking right there. Gaming is a pastime, not a required daily activity. You'd be ripped off if you were forced to pay a gouging sum for something that you need. This is entertainment, and the cost for enjoying entertainment varies based on what value YOU place upon it.

Someone already brought up movies. If you love action movies, then maybe spending $13 for 2 hours of Bruce Willis kicking alien ass as entertainment is valuable to you. If you hate action movies,  you'd be an idiot to sit in front of the theatre screaming that spending that $13 on the same movie is a ripoff.

Simple concept, guys: Pay for the shit that you want to play, and don't pay for the shit you see no value in. And stop acting like you're entitled to free or less expensive entertainment because you disagree with how much it costs them to provide.

I like the term "entitled" you used. I was trying to come up with that for the point I was trying to make and couldn't get the right word. It's that same sentiment that you said here that ties into what I was trying to say .

Likewise, I've agreed with everything you've said so far in the thread. The arguments really have little to do with overhead versus profit. For a non-essential service, that debate is irrelevent. IMO, OP and his supporters are people who are just looking for a handout.

  Kiljaedenas

Novice Member

Joined: 7/29/11
Posts: 467

To err is human, but to really f*ck things up you need a computer.

11/01/12 6:32:11 PM#124
Originally posted by Lobotomist
Originally posted by Kiljaedenas
Originally posted by Lobotomist

You asked about server cost, here it is :

I work in internet company - we have around 180 million users log in daily. Yet we have moved all our servers to Amazon cloud.

Plus we have a inhouse server cluster for content updates and main system (hardened)

This costs around 16 thousand dollars a month.

 

Lot of money ? For 180 million users - which is over 100 times more than WOW had in its hay day ?

 

 

Second. I never said development tools do not cost money. But its a same cost single player games have. Yet they are B2P.

How come ?

 

We are being milked.

 

And as for claim that B2P games do not invest in user  because they gat their money up front ? P2P games get all the money upfront too !

Ok, so why not have only subscription without box price ? Fair is fair ?

 

No they want Box price + sub (19$ for TSW) + cash shop !!!

Some nerve...

 

You forgot to mention a very key factor here: what are those users doing with the bandwidth? Browsing a few webpages, discussion forums or transferring the odd datafile or two  is extremely different than playing a modern MMO with 3D graphics, physics engines and perhaps twitch mechanics. If all your company is providing is a host for webpages and forums that statement of its cost and that it had more users than WoW is 100% invalid for a cost discussion on MMO server clusters.

 

Chatting and sharing files ( pictures ... not gigabyte large files ). Multiply this by 180 million - or 100X something WOW user base. I guess it equals (and largely surpasses) anything 500.000 players MMO uses in terms of bandwith.

 

So chatting and sporadic datafile uploads. No advanced graphics engines, no interpretive physics engines...that needs so much less than what a 3D MMO uses it's not even funny. I'm very sure that even though you have a user base supposedly 100x that of the WoW user base in terms of number of people, that the raw bandwidth and processing power required to support the WoW user base while they do what they normally do in their profoundly more complex program is many, many times what your server cluster could ever handle.

Where's the any key?

  Pratt2112

Elite Member

Joined: 2/12/12
Posts: 1282

11/01/12 7:03:35 PM#125
Originally posted by Lobotomist

You asked about server cost, here it is :

I work in internet company - we have around 180 million users log in daily. Yet we have moved all our servers to Amazon cloud.

Plus we have a inhouse server cluster for content updates and main system (hardened)

This costs around 16 thousand dollars a month.

... more irrelevant stuff ...

 

You're spinning wheels and getting no traction, Lobomist.

In both your OP and this one, your entire "case" is one big argument from incredulity, drowning in conjecture, cherry-picked details and assumptions crafted specifically to suit your pre-determined narrative.

For starters, how much your company allegedly pays a month on server costs (we have only your word to go on, after all) is completely irrelevant. You don't know what the requirements or demands are for running and maintaining a MMORPG and, hence, have no idea what the costs are. That's not even accounting for how large the MMO is, how many concurrent players across how many "shards", and so on. Server/Network setups aren't cookie-cutter, "one size fits all" ordeals. You simply don't know what the costs are, you have nothing to compare against and hence, your $16,000 figure means absolutely nothing.

But let's play along, just for the heck of it. Let's say your $16,000/mth figure accurately represents the server costs alone for a MMORPG to run. If that MMORPG has a $15/mth sub fee, that means you need 1066 recurring subscribers every month, just to cover server costs.

But here's where it gets interesting,and your entire argument falls flat on its short-sighted face.

Not even counting expenses during development, post launch, to maintain a MMORPG requirest any, all, or even more than the following:

1) Ongoing salaries for:

Game Programmers, Tools Programmers, Artists (2d and 3D), Designers, Writers, Internal QA, Management, Secretarial staff, Marketing/PR staff, Musicians, Sound effects staff, Producer(s), Game/Creative Director, Off-line Customer Support Staff, Database programmers, In-Game GMs/support, Networking people, General IT, Accountants, Office maintenance staff, Custodial staff, Legal staff. In some cases, the company will have hired cooks to prepare breakfast and/or lunch for the office staff. And I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting.

That's just the warm bodies of which a development company can employ well over a hundred.

2) Ongoing Costs of Business:

Office rent, Electric Bill, Bandwidth Bill (for both company use and the MMO service), Server Bill, Phone Bills, Health/Medical Coverage, Software Purchasing/Licensing, Hardware Purchasing/Upgrading, Office Supplies, Food and Beverage services (vending machines, water coolers, etc), Advertising fees, miscellaneous business expenses like traveling, etc.

Let's not forget that in a typical situation, a portion of the revenue earned has to go back to the investors who made the development of the game possible in the first place.

Let's not forget that there are taxes to be filed every year, so a portion of the revenue has to be kept aside and not used for business purposes.

Certainly more things I'm not even aware of that are integral to running any business, MMORPG or otherwise.

So as you can see, if you're willing to, that $15 a month is going toward a whole lot more than server and bandwidth fees.

Your alleged $16,000 is just one of many expenses a MMORPG development company has to cover. Many of the on-going expenses are just to keep the business afloat - nevermind keeping a MMORPG up and running.

 

As for Subscriptions themselves...

You pay a sub fee because MMORPGs are a service; not just a game. You are paying $15 to be provided a service that allows you to log in and play any time you want, 24/7, day or night - excluding down-times, for up to 30 days at a time.

As has been mentioned by others elsewhere in this thread, subscriptions are just a long-standing, proven and perfectly effective model for providing an ongoing paid service. Just like cell phone service, magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, online music services, cable service and so many other things you could name, you pay them to provide you a service that - presumably - has a value that you find worth the recurring cost.

Just like any other on-going, fee-based service, when you feel that service is no longer worth what you're paying, you cancel your service and move on - assuming you're not locked into a contract.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with subscriptions. They're a perfectly legitimate, valid, time and road tested revenue model that are as relevant today as they've ever been - the claims of F2P/B2P proponents notwithstanding.

If you're interested in learning more about what actually goes into creating and maintaining a MMORPG, I suggest reading this book. I own it, have read through it a few times now and find it to be very informative and insightful on the topic, covering a lot of things people wouldn't even necessarily realize go into it.

Or, of course, you can continue talking nonsense and pulling things out of thin air.

 

 

 

 

  Kiljaedenas

Novice Member

Joined: 7/29/11
Posts: 467

To err is human, but to really f*ck things up you need a computer.

11/01/12 7:05:38 PM#126
Originally posted by Torvaldr
Originally posted by Kiljaedena

You forgot to mention a very key factor here: what are those users doing with the bandwidth? Browsing a few webpages, discussion forums or transferring the odd datafile or two  is extremely different than playing a modern MMO with 3D graphics, physics engines and perhaps twitch mechanics. If all your company is providing is a host for webpages and forums that statement of its cost and that it had more users than WoW is 100% invalid for a cost discussion on MMO server clusters.

Except we know that in game bandwidth usage is minimal.  I have a little 10Mbps DSL connection and can stream Netflix while my wife, son, daughter, and myself are gaming online in one form or another.

The major bandwidth costs are more likely associated with the client and asset downloads.  Some mmos use download services or some form of peer to peer.

It is very likely that a media heavy website could have a heavier bandwidth cost compared to the trickle that most mmos use.

I think you may be confusing something here. I am not talking about the Internet connection which communicates between the server cluster and a user's home computer. MMO hosting companies design their software so that the amount of data that has to travel over an internet connection is minimal. That's why for the vast majority of MMOs you have to download a client software; the client and the server communicate to each other through highly compressed and simple data packets being sent back and forth over the network. It's all the calculations that the server or client has to do in order to interpret one of those data packets and transform it into a 3D visual representation of where a character is and what they are doing which is where the hard work comes in. The server cluster has to process the data packets from all of the users on at one time, checking their coordinates and directional vectors and comparing it to its 3D terrain map, so that for example it can feed back to a client's file "Your character just bonked into a tree, stop his movement in that direction" etc, create that compressed data packet and send it to the client.

It's all the behind-the-scenes math that is the slow part. A server that's just hosting basic chatrooms and the odd file upload doesn't need to do even a fraction of the calculations that an MMO one does.

Where's the any key?

  xzyax

Novice Member

Joined: 10/02/08
Posts: 2492

11/01/12 7:55:34 PM#127
Originally posted by TangentPoint
Originally posted by Lobotomist

You asked about server cost, here it is :

I work in internet company - we have around 180 million users log in daily. Yet we have moved all our servers to Amazon cloud.

Plus we have a inhouse server cluster for content updates and main system (hardened)

This costs around 16 thousand dollars a month.

... more irrelevant stuff ...

 

You're spinning wheels and getting no traction, Lobomist.

In both your OP and this one, your entire "case" is one big argument from incredulity, drowning in conjecture, cherry-picked details and assumptions crafted specifically to suit your pre-determined narrative.

For starters, how much your company allegedly pays a month on server costs (we have only your word to go on, after all) is completely irrelevant. You don't know what the requirements or demands are for running and maintaining a MMORPG and, hence, have no idea what the costs are. That's not even accounting for how large the MMO is, how many concurrent players across how many "shards", and so on. Server/Network setups aren't cookie-cutter, "one size fits all" ordeals. You simply don't know what the costs are, you have nothing to compare against and hence, your $16,000 figure means absolutely nothing.

But let's play along, just for the heck of it. Let's say your $16,000/mth figure accurately represents the server costs alone for a MMORPG to run. If that MMORPG has a $15/mth sub fee, that means you need 1066 recurring subscribers every month, just to cover server costs.

But here's where it gets interesting,and your entire argument falls flat on its short-sighted face.

Not even counting expenses during development, post launch, to maintain a MMORPG requirest any, all, or even more than the following:

1) Ongoing salaries for:

Game Programmers, Tools Programmers, Artists (2d and 3D), Designers, Writers, Internal QA, Management, Secretarial staff, Marketing/PR staff, Musicians, Sound effects staff, Producer(s), Game/Creative Director, Off-line Customer Support Staff, Database programmers, In-Game GMs/support, Networking people, General IT, Accountants, Office maintenance staff, Custodial staff, Legal staff. In some cases, the company will have hired cooks to prepare breakfast and/or lunch for the office staff. And I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting.

That's just the warm bodies of which a development company can employ well over a hundred.

2) Ongoing Costs of Business:

Office rent, Electric Bill, Bandwidth Bill (for both company use and the MMO service), Server Bill, Phone Bills, Health/Medical Coverage, Software Purchasing/Licensing, Hardware Purchasing/Upgrading, Office Supplies, Food and Beverage services (vending machines, water coolers, etc), Advertising fees, miscellaneous business expenses like traveling, etc.

Let's not forget that in a typical situation, a portion of the revenue earned has to go back to the investors who made the development of the game possible in the first place.

Let's not forget that there are taxes to be filed every year, so a portion of the revenue has to be kept aside and not used for business purposes.

Certainly more things I'm not even aware of that are integral to running any business, MMORPG or otherwise.

So as you can see, if you're willing to, that $15 a month is going toward a whole lot more than server and bandwidth fees.

Your alleged $16,000 is just one of many expenses a MMORPG development company has to cover. Many of the on-going expenses are just to keep the business afloat - nevermind keeping a MMORPG up and running.

 

As for Subscriptions themselves...

You pay a sub fee because MMORPGs are a service; not just a game. You are paying $15 to be provided a service that allows you to log in and play any time you want, 24/7, day or night - excluding down-times, for up to 30 days at a time.

As has been mentioned by others elsewhere in this thread, subscriptions are just a long-standing, proven and perfectly effective model for providing an ongoing paid service. Just like cell phone service, magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, online music services, cable service and so many other things you could name, you pay them to provide you a service that - presumably - has a value that you find worth the recurring cost.

Just like any other on-going, fee-based service, when you feel that service is no longer worth what you're paying, you cancel your service and move on - assuming you're not locked into a contract.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with subscriptions. They're a perfectly legitimate, valid, time and road tested revenue model that are as relevant today as they've ever been - the claims of F2P/B2P proponents notwithstanding.

If you're interested in learning more about what actually goes into creating and maintaining a MMORPG, I suggest reading this book. I own it, have read through it a few times now and find it to be very informative and insightful on the topic, covering a lot of things people wouldn't even necessarily realize go into it.

Or, of course, you can continue talking nonsense and pulling things out of thin air.

 

 

 

 

Well said!

I think it has been proven that the OP is either lying or doesn't know what he is talking about in regards to number of users and/or cost of the "company he works for".

 

As an example here is this link: https://www.facebook.com/FBWizard/app_10442206389

 

LATEST FACEBOOK STATS

Company Figures
  • More than 500 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • More than 35 million users update their status each day
  • More than 60 million status updates posted each day
  • More than 3 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week
  • More than 3.5 million events created each month
  • More than 3 million active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 1.5 million local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 20 million people become fans of Pages each day
  • Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans
 
I think most of us have heard of Facebook.... so how many have heard of a company that is 72% of the size of Facebook that meets the criteria the OP told us?
(Since 180 million users per day vs. Facebook's 250 million users per day = 72%)
 
I'm even skeptical of Facebooks claim... but we will assume they are speaking the truth, as a few lemmings did with the OP.
 
So anyway, how many can come up with a couple possible companies that are about 3/4 the size of Facebook in terms of daily users.  I am just curious.  Can anyone even come up with 1 that meets the criteria that the OP gave us?
 
Here are the Top 10 sites by users according to Alexa:
  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. Yahoo!
  5. Baidu.com
  6. Wikipedia
  7. Windows Live
  8. Twitter
  9. QQ.COM
  10. Amazon.com
 
So if we say that it takes down to the #10 spot to reach about 3/4 the size of Facebook (at the number 2 spot)... Does anyone think that Amazon.com only spends 16k per month on their servers and bandwidth?  Heh... o.k.
 
So unless the OP is willing to come clean on the company he works for... I think we can put this scharade to bed.  :)
 
The 180 million users and the 16k monthly figure are fantasy.  It was fun though.
  Torvaldr

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 6023

11/01/12 7:56:24 PM#128
Originally posted by Kiljaedenas
Originally posted by Torvaldr
Originally posted by Kiljaedena

You forgot to mention a very key factor here: what are those users doing with the bandwidth? Browsing a few webpages, discussion forums or transferring the odd datafile or two  is extremely different than playing a modern MMO with 3D graphics, physics engines and perhaps twitch mechanics. If all your company is providing is a host for webpages and forums that statement of its cost and that it had more users than WoW is 100% invalid for a cost discussion on MMO server clusters.

Except we know that in game bandwidth usage is minimal.  I have a little 10Mbps DSL connection and can stream Netflix while my wife, son, daughter, and myself are gaming online in one form or another.

The major bandwidth costs are more likely associated with the client and asset downloads.  Some mmos use download services or some form of peer to peer.

It is very likely that a media heavy website could have a heavier bandwidth cost compared to the trickle that most mmos use.

I think you may be confusing something here. I am not talking about the Internet connection which communicates between the server cluster and a user's home computer. MMO hosting companies design their software so that the amount of data that has to travel over an internet connection is minimal. That's why for the vast majority of MMOs you have to download a client software; the client and the server communicate to each other through highly compressed and simple data packets being sent back and forth over the network. It's all the calculations that the server or client has to do in order to interpret one of those data packets and transform it into a 3D visual representation of where a character is and what they are doing which is where the hard work comes in. The server cluster has to process the data packets from all of the users on at one time, checking their coordinates and directional vectors and comparing it to its 3D terrain map, so that for example it can feed back to a client's file "Your character just bonked into a tree, stop his movement in that direction" etc, create that compressed data packet and send it to the client.

It's all the behind-the-scenes math that is the slow part. A server that's just hosting basic chatrooms and the odd file upload doesn't need to do even a fraction of the calculations that an MMO one does.

This post is an entirely different issue than your last post.

The last post is about the cost of bandwidth.  MMOs have a very low bandwidth requirement, outside of the client download, compared to some common internet activities like streaming videos, movies, music, and surfing media rich websites.  Compared to the costs associated with download terabytes of client files to your customers, operational bandwidth is cheap.  That is why some companies contract with a download service to provide the client download.

While your second post has some truth in it (linear algebra and physics calculations are complicated) the bandwidth costs to send that data is not costly.

The engine and third party tool licensing don't cost more for doing what they do.  That's a static cost that seems to be one of the things covered in the box fee.  By and far the most expensive cost are paying people to develop the game not bandwidth overhead.

Curse you AquaScum!

  snapfusion

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/17/11
Posts: 976

11/01/12 8:04:57 PM#129
Originally posted by Lobotomist

Here is a question for you -

How can a modern themepark MMO justify box price + ongoing 15$ subscription ?

Are we being ripped of ?

 

Lets analyse here :

1. Server cost : Today cloud servers are dime and dozen , its actually much much cheaper than even couple years ago. Asking players to chip in for server cost - false

2. Engine development cost : Let assume that MMO engines are more complicated than your regular game engines. And so they cost more to develop. But today there are several licenced engines that are so good even the biggest companies use them - Players chipping in for engine cost - false

3. Game development cost : What makes MMO more expensive than single player RPG ? Amount of content ? Judging from todays trends I seen single player RPGs with same or more content than many MMO games at release. Yet they dont ask for subscription. And even if amount of content is a question. Why not make less content , and than charge for aditional content as DLC ? - Platyers chipping in for content - false

4. Constant updates : Yea. I heared that myth. Most of MMOs fire 80% of work force month after release. And all those "Monthly new content!" turns out to be just PR bull.. Even if new content comes after all , it happens once or twice - than it turns into payed mini expansions. So paying for developers developing something that we get to pay for again. - Players paying for constant updates - false

 

So what we are paying 15$ for ? 180$ yearly ? Plus 60$ on box price ... thats 240$ a year from each player.

Not bad. No wonder the market is full with MMO wannabies that planned to cash in on this golden goose !

 

I give credit to games like EVE that are sandbox , and PVP based. With amazing "all players on same server" technology and actual free updates all the time. Even they could live with B2P+F2P model - if there was no PVP balance to keep in mind.

 

But themepark PVE games ?

No excuse !

 

Discuss

 

 

 

Your not very good at math are you.
  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

11/01/12 8:08:32 PM#130
Well worn topic, not much chance of new insights, moving on.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  kilun

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/25/07
Posts: 691

11/01/12 8:12:12 PM#131
I can justify it. Its called I want to play the game that charges that $15.00 a month. Thats all they need to justify it to me. Do I ask my tv provider to justify their price? Nope, I look through all the "offers and pricing" of all providers and pick the one I want. Same thing with an MMO. They don't need to justify the price if I'm willing to pay it. A business, believe it or not...is allowed to make money. They don't have to give their shit away for free(or enjoyment). How does a drive-in movie theatre justify having patrons pay $5.00 a carload if you bring in your own food in your own car while others do not charge that same fee? Because they want to. Not sure why we go through this subscription fee issue all the time on these boards. Some people want to pay $15.00 a month to keep the free people out. That alone justifies it for some, while others want to support the game company itself.
  grimal

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 9/11/05
Posts: 2643

11/01/12 8:12:52 PM#132
Yes they can justify it because people like us are willing to pay for it. And you forgot, or at least fail to mention, the MMORPG genre is hands down the best video game genre there is. And that is why we pay $15 or more a month to play these. It's also why we come to this website so religiously.

"I'm sorry, if you were right, I'd agree with you." - Robin Williams

  Helleri

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/26/08
Posts: 829

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”- Henry Ford

11/01/12 8:18:27 PM#133

@OP...You need perspective.

 

So, here is my short list for what it might take to develop (this is to say nothing about publishing it and managing it once it is released) an MMORPG. And, what that may cost on the personal level of the time and effort people have put in and on the level of initial startup costs (in a legal/professional sense). Also, understand that (at least in my view) this is minimalistic. I want to do this from the perspective of you starting up a company and what you would need to get it done (in America):

 

- A Ficticous Business Name/License/Tax ID Number -

The government (weather it be county/state/district/federal etc. ) needs to know who you are and what you are doing (and especially what you are making) for Tax purposes and to help insure that no one steps on any ones toes with copyright infringment or any other sort of confusion.

 

So you will need a name and more importantly, to register that name as your ficticuos business name. This ficticous name accs as the name that is used for things such as payroll. There are of course signers on the account, but any one recieving a paycheck from your business or writing on to it will need to know this name and be able to pay to your business diractly (essentially).

 

So, Late say you are called 'EnterpriseX' . And, you have gone down to the local city hall or online and registered your name as well as sent off your notification to the state that you intend to begin business and when. If you are in a non municiple area the fee for this is a little under $200, and probably the only fee you will pay in such respects (as it is not only, not required but not possible to obtain a true business license in a non-municple area).

 

Of course most areas you might live in and be close to rescources you need to do something big in regards to doing something online will not be in a non-municiple area. Likely it will be on the first mile in a more developed area. So, your ficitous name will be issued with a Business License and Tax ID Number.

 

And, once you a couple of trademarking and conceptual copyrights to protect yourself in the future your looking at around $3000 to get the idea of you and yours as a business accepted by all those who matter in it.

 

- HeadQuaters -

This is where everything will be physically handled from, you need a brick and mortar location to get things done, a place people can cometogether at to do their work and have the fruits of their labor locally available to other members of the team, for their part in things. it doesn't make sense to do it all over skype and an ftp'er (not anymore anyways).

 

Each person working for you will be required to have no less then 11 cubic meters of space and given that it is hard to get by on less then 10 employees for such an endevour (that will be discussed next). Your going to need about 720 square feet for your employees to work in and about triple that for them to park in and use the restroom and other facilities (such as a coffee/break room which you will need permits for that will probably in total run around $300 and are not all inclusive in renting/leasing a spot).

 

And with a little space for storage your looking for at least 2500 square feet, zoned for business in an industrial area, and that will make your monthly upkeep on utilities and rent/payments about $5,000. And, you will need about $60 for insurance (1 mil slip and fall coverage).

 

And at this point we are right about at the $10,000 mark any person starting a small business should have as initial capital...and with that it's time to start looking into loans (hope you have good credit).

 

- Employees and their needs-

These people cannot be your buddies who want to start a gaming company with you. And, for all that is good and right in the world do not let it be family either. You need to get with people who have gone to college for 3D graphics and design. If you lucky as hell you get with a suga momma FIDIM grad who believes in your 'potential' and comes from an at least marginally wealthy family.

 

But, you not that lucky (most likely) and you probably have some ideas about who you want to bring on board already. which is going to be a hodge podge of people collected from  community college campuses who dorked around getting various certifications in things like 3DMax, PhotoShop, and Maya before washing out but still believing their minor declarations of expertise will get them somewhere in the world and in-so-much are willing to work under you for a meger salary compaired to what they would have gotten had they just gone for that welding certification or a 2 year degree that still has application in the real world once they get out of school.

 

So you will need some one to be a web master (to create and run the website) and at least 1 no life programmer who lives off mountain dew, saltines and jerky (to make you game work). and 3 graphics designers ...one must be early balding and wear sweats and one must have a pony tail and wear a trench coat...this is just how they come. Each of your graphical artists will have a main job of like, 1 being world/environment design, 1 being npc, creature, and character design, and 1 being for items (gear mats, quest items, drops, item spaws etc.)

 

You will need to pay them at least minimum wage and they will need to work at least 3-5 hours a day to get anything done withing the first 6 months (this works out to about $750 per month per employee).

 

You'll also need a creative director and to pay them the same. If this is you...well you still need to pay yourself so that you are not spinning your wheels.

 

and you will need at least 4 other people...1 person (at least) to act as security, a secretary to be your interface between the people who work for you and the world outside their cubicles. A janitor of course (it can't be everyones job to clean and work their needs to be someone assigned to this). And an intern...gopher boy...go for this go for that.

 

realisticly you will need to hgiher out a corrier service occaisonally and keep a lawyer on retainer... if your wondering all told you are looking at about $10,000 base employment and services costs (if your lucky).

 

But wait! your employess need comercial licensed software of MMO creation grade, and work stations to utilize them on. so lets say at least 7 thermaltakes each machine will likely need some editors like cabanova, a good IMp like photoshop, 3d modeling and animation/content creation software like Maya autocad/ autodesk/ 3ds max....this all gets very expensive very quickly...

 

- Overall -

If you don't want to be sued later down the line for using pirated software, copyright infringments etc. You need to do things by the book from the start....for your first 2 months of operation (your first 2-3 months will be getting setup) you are going to be in the hole for around 75k-100k all told. now look 2 years into the future when you have your first title released and you owe the banks your very soul or the equivelent in monetary value and your ability to do business with any one any where is riding on this singular success.

 

It can easily cost 350k-500k to get a small gaming company off the ground and release your first titles. Most of that is barrowed, a lot of it is past due, all of it has interests on it. this is probably about the point where selling 10,000 copies of your game at 60 bucks a pop sounds good (after every one gets their cut up and down the line you will beath easy if you net 50k and are not still in massive debt). So, immediately after this a 15 dollars a month subscription probably looks like an even better idea... so you can continue to pay your employees, your dues other wise. and once you get a cash shop set up you can both pay your own rent and utilities and know a taste in your mouth other then ramen as far as food goes.

I really don't know why people have this conception that the men and women crating MMO's are living high on the horse without a care in the world. every one has their dues and every one wants their cut. It is true that some genius minds out their, who are at the top of their games (no pun intended) have made a pretty penny off MMO's but is not every cent of it for the hundreds of thousands, to millions of people they are primarily responcible for bringing 100's of hours of entertainment  to something they have merited?

 

  strangiato2112

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 9/21/12
Posts: 1566

11/01/12 8:18:37 PM#134

<blockquote><i>Originally posted by asmkm22</i>
<br><b><p>.  Promising regular updates is a fairly new strategy with companies that started, like most things MMO, with World of Warcraft.  Previously, content updates came in the form of an official expansion, usually ever 12 to 18 months.  The only updates that happened in the mean time were related to bug fixes, and even then only if they *really* impacted the game.</p></b></blockquote>


<p>
Not true. Hate, Fear and Sky were all in between EQ Vanilla and Kunark. Jaggedpine forest is another example of a free update zone.

The major difference is that generally EQ didnt have to put out content between expansions, because there was no need for it. More people complained that new content came too fast than too slow.

  drDamage

Novice Member

Joined: 6/29/07
Posts: 72

11/01/12 10:46:59 PM#135
Originally posted by strangiato2112

 

Originally posted by asmkm22

.  Promising regular updates is a fairly new strategy with companies that started, like most things MMO, with World of Warcraft.  Previously, content updates came in the form of an official expansion, usually ever 12 to 18 months.  The only updates that happened in the mean time were related to bug fixes, and even then only if they *really* impacted the game.

 

 


Not true. Hate, Fear and Sky were all in between EQ Vanilla and Kunark. Jaggedpine forest is another example of a free update zone.

The major difference is that generally EQ didnt have to put out content between expansions, because there was no need for it. More people complained that new content came too fast than too slow.

 

 

Great points. But Sony didn't have to cater to todays ADD afflicted, instant gratification demanding, everyone gets a trophy, I deserve to be max level in a month crybabies.

Please Sony, re-skin everquest, stop twinking, and start another progression server and I'll sub for $30.00 a month paid annualy in advance TYVM.

Oh one other condition, friendly fire must be left ON.

  drDamage

Novice Member

Joined: 6/29/07
Posts: 72

11/01/12 11:05:54 PM#136

I think its pretty safe to assume that the OP is a younger, perhaps grade school person which has not even taken an introductory economics course or, perhaps just another troll. Heck just keeping a decent security staff sufficient to deal with hackers/botters and gold farmers is likely a significant expenditure. The actual cost of hardware is probably quite trivial to the recurring costs of server maintenance and hydro.

 

Anyway, companies are EXPECTED to make a profit. Frequently a company appears to be making a huge amount of money and sometimes they actually ARE. GOOD FOR THEM! It tell us the consumer that they are likely commited to keeping the product current and "valuable" to their customers. This contrary to the B2P model where it is probably in the companies best interest to have huge initial box sales and have MANY of the customers QUIT playing, less so with micro tranaction revenue based games but I wouldn't play one of those regardless of how few pennies per transaction they were.

  drDamage

Novice Member

Joined: 6/29/07
Posts: 72

11/01/12 11:30:33 PM#137
Originally posted by Ryukan
Originally posted by asmkm22
Originally posted by Ryukan
Sub fees for MMO's should not be more than $5 or $6. The idea of paying 25% of the retail cost of the game per month to keep playing it when much of the content becomes grinding the same crap repeatedly between occasional content upgrades is ridiculous and one major reason why I have stopped playing most MMO's.

After factoring in the costs of licensing an IP and engine tech, hiring a company to handle online payments (or building your own setup), paying support and development staff, leasing a datacenter or two, purchasing and upgrading hardware as needed, paying for high-availability/high-bandwidth network access, paying back stakeholders and other financial backers, and marketing the game at least a little, you wouldn't even break even on 5-6 dollars a month in sub fees.

People seriously underestimate just how expensive it is to build and operate an MMO.

 Fine...$10 a month maybe, but lately I haven't felt like paying even that much to keep playing the current MMO's.

I think GW2 kind of proves you wrong though; they seem to be making enough money off the largely cosmetic game store. I have paid the box cost  of GW2 so far and feel no need to pay any more money right now through the ingame store. Also, I guess I ripped off Funcom by buying a lifetime sub for The Secret World as well because that is all the money they will get from me as far as sub fees is that $200 (well maybe some would feel they ripped me off hehe, but I'll play it for years on and off...most likely). Of course Funcom could go F2P with TSW at some point aand end up screwing over those who bought lifetime subs, could happen.

There is a $50-$60 box fee for any major MMO these days and you get a month of play for free which is fine; most single player games cost the same and one is lucky to get a month's worth of play out of many of them. I play pretty hard for the first month and after that the sub fee kicks ini. $15 a month is 25% of the cost of the original game. By 4 months I have paid for the cost of the game again and maybe there have been steady content updates in those 4 months and maybe not. If the freshness of the content lasts for a week or more I would call that about worth the money I paid them for the month; this would take into account that there were steady monthly content updates like this. This does not seem to be the case with many MMO's lately for me at least and there is a great content grind for months at a time which gets boring fast; so regardless of how much it costs them to keep the game running I end up feeling that the monthly cost is not worth it thus I cancel my sub and now they have lost that monthly money from me totally. Some games have parts of the game content I really dislike and thus don't bother with such as the PvP in SWTOR; I lose interest in continuing to pay full price when there is content that I can do without.

I guess I would like to see more sub fee options between the full $15 a month fee and the F2P option which can get nickle and dime-ish and end up costing a crapload. It would be nice to see some options with lower sub costs and less restrictions than F2P but say not as many options as a full sub.

Well along these lines, before "easy mode" WoW came out, getting a character to max level in any of the prior MMOs was NOT a trivial task, taking 6 to 8 months on heavy grinds to get there would not be uncommon. Then you'd roll an alt for a bit(and I don't mean two days here) and soon enough the next expansion would be out.

Anyway, as the B2P model goes The most ripped off on a game I have EVER felt is GW2, I paid 60 bucks and I'm pretty much done with it after 4 weeks of play. THATS A STEEP MONTHLY FEE! Consider if I paid 60 bucks for a game, then subsequently paid 15/month for 6 months, I'd be at 25 dollars a month instead of 60 a month for GW2, or more to the old way of content lasting a year you'd have, (60/12) or (5 +15) = 20 dollars a month this is one third the cost of GW2(free to play? I think NOT).

 

I think many people are more tolerant of the CRAP when they don't have to pay a monthly fee. For free you can get people to take almost anything LITERALLY PEOPLE PICK THROUGH OUR GARBAGE BECAUSE ITS FREE! And because these garbage MMOs are FREE, people defend them as good value. Well just because something is cheap or even free doesn't make it good value, trust me I got herpes 15 years ago for free and I don't think it was a good thing.

  Dreamo84

Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 3113

I actually still like MMORPGs

11/02/12 2:00:17 AM#138

since when do costs need to be justified? They aren't not for profit organizations. You pay to play, they charge you money! If you stop paying, they stop charging. Its the world.

Why does the cable company need to charge $300 a month for a !@#$ty box and all the channels?

  Pilnkplonk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/02/10
Posts: 1566

11/02/12 4:14:42 AM#139

Imo, it all depends on what type the mmo is...

If it's story-based, aka "themepark" then subscription is not warranted. Stories end, by definition, and there is no reason to keep paying a monthly sub beyond the end of the story. It is like paying a rent for a book you read once and now you have on your bookshelf and maybe thumb through every week or so. Imo this is one of the prime reasons for all those themepark failures since WoW.

If it is not a story-based entertainment but a "service", "a persistent world that you can visit" then a subscription may be warranted. Sandbox games are more akin to a membership to a club or a gym than going out to cinema. In addition, the problems with balance are much more amplified in sandboxes so cash shops are not really working for them. SInce I haven't seen other internet services charge initial "purchase price" but only the subscription, imo the same should apply here.

IMO, there are two ideal revenue models for the two types of mmos:

Themeparks: B2P + cash shop + DLC

Sandbox: free box + monthly subscription, just like any other internet service

(a note: plz no argument over "themepark" and "sandbox" definitions... i use these terms to very broadly denote two main approaches to games.. one is time-limited and sees a game as a means of delivering a pre-written story (like any traditional entertainment product) and the other primarily gives players access to a shared virtual universe where they are free to interact)

  mcrippins

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/01/07
Posts: 1012

11/02/12 4:27:14 AM#140

The idea behind a themepark MMO just kind of blows my mind to begin with. I thought MMOs were supposed to be like a home away from home. At least that is what I grew up playing.  I would get off work and go play UO for the rest of the night and not even realize how much time had gone by because there were so many things to do. Now I did play vanilla WoW and I enjoyed it. I think it was mostly because of how much I really enjoyed the Warcraft games in the past. Plus they did a really great job on the game. Unfortunately they did it too well. So well that everyone else had to try and copy them just to make a few bucks. It's probably the most disgusting thing i've ever seen from so called 'developers'. For the last 8 years we have been given nothing but crap on top of crap from these teams that claim they are doing something new and refreshing. There are a few exceptions and most people know what they are. 

 

So do I think we should have to pay a subscription? For this crap we've been getting? No. In fact We shouldn't have to pay a dime. Games that were being developed pre-WoW - absolutely. 

DaoC - Would Pay

UO - Would Pay

AC - Would Pay

SWG - Would Pay

WoW - Would Pay

EvE - Would Pay

Archeage - I think I would pay if it works out well.

Everything else - Pretty much trash in my book. 

I'm sure i've left a few worthy games out. But those are the ones that made an impact to this genre as far as my experience goes..

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