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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » F2P is the Future!

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  Wayshuba

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/07/08
Posts: 71

11/26/12 2:33:33 AM#121

I have to laugh because the timing of this thread is superb for me. I recently came from a business conference where online monetization models were discussed. The discussion focused on which models were 1.) sustainable, 2.) grew customers over a period of time, and 3.) provided high levels of customer satisfaction and value. It was about online monetization in general (not just the MMO industry), yet the MMO F2P cash shop model (i.e., micro-transactions) was discussed. Guess what - it was noted to be the WORST business model any company could adopt (The speaker, a well-known successful entrepreneur turned VC, says that the second they hear a monetiztion model involving miro-transactions they end the meeting because they know it is NOT a sustainable model).

 

The main reasons for this being the tremendous decline in customer satisfaction (i.e., it leaves people feeling exploited rather than getting value for their money). It was noted as worse than the cell phone providers (which are pretty bad) and cable companies (which are also bad). An example used was how EA was noted as the worst company because of this decline in customer satisfaction, yet it is known on a myriad of other factors there are worse companies than EA. The speaker made a joke about how the MMO industry lacked good business people as the whole industry was like sheep being lead to slaughter. Then he mentioned how Zynga saw early success with micro-transactions and that the business model went off a cliff. In other words, it was stated that micro-transactions are NOT a sustainable model.

 

As an aside, he also noted how they would love to invest in the space, but after four years of hearing pitches they have come to the conclusion that the industry has some of the most passionate developers of any industry ( a huge plus), yet is lead by the dumbest f***s for business people, who knew NOTHING about their customers, of any industry (a huge triple negative). He also noted that the people that lead these design teams, have bigger undeserved egos than all of Hollywood combined, and that most of these people are terrible at their jobs but think they are gods gift to the gaming world (which elicited quite a few laughs). He also noted that if there were any entreprenuers from OUTSIDE the industry that enjoyed gaming, it was a space RIPE for major disruption because it was too insular in it's thinking - just like other industries that have been disrupted.

 

Secondly, a stat I found interesting, that across many online industries, MMO gaming companies (followed closely by those that utilize heavy DLC) overall have the WORST reputations and suffer from long-term sustainablity in customer retention (nice place to be associated with). I found it funny that Turbine was used as the example as a company that once had a stellar reputation that in the space of two years, completely trashed that rep and has become known as a pariah. He noted how the effect of this was that, no matter the future product, the company has already put themselves "in the hole" with succeeding with any future endeavors.

 

Lastly, micro-transactions actually DECREASE customers over time on average. (Yes, there are a few examples the other way, but they are rare) and DECREASE the available customer base to companies as their reputations (like Zynga's) suffer and therefore future products fail to take-off (like EAs), and meet expectations.

 

The speaker concluded that "freemium" was the best model to meet the criteria moted above. The downside was that freemium actually requires a company to produce real value for customers (rather than "rip-them off", which were the words used in the conference when referring to micro-transactions) in order to get them to pay. He alsso concluded on how valuable BRAND reputation was in both adding value to a company as well as destroying it (again noting both EA and Zynga).

 

So, to the subject of the post, I think F2P is the future of the genre, but not micro-transactions which I believe is going to give the entire industry a very hard crash much like Zynga has suffered.

 

TL;DR F2P is future, but not in current iteration. Micro-transactions cash shops (especially with RNG) need to go. F2P needs to stay and companies need to focus on actually providing value for the money.

  DSWBeef

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/11/09
Posts: 758

11/26/12 2:35:55 AM#122

I dont know why I have to say this again because its the utter truth.

 

F2P is not the future. The reason recent sub games have failed is because they are either buggy or WoW clones. If GW2 was the messiah people would sub to it. If Swtor was truly amazing people wouldnt have a problem paying a sub. The model isnt the issue its the games.

 

Name me one extremely good F2P game that was F2P out of the gate. WoT? Grind fest and not really an mmo, Lol? Moba not an mmo, GW2? B2P, finally Path of Exile, can be argued that its an mmo but its really a coop action game. Thats right there isnt one. All those converted F2P games went that way to save it because of poor design choices. Warhammer was buggy and unfinished, AoC buggy and no endgame, VG buggy as all hell, AION grindy, SWTOR no endgame and the endgame it has was buggy. Then only ones left are RIft which trion themselves have said they are no where near close to f2p expecially after an extremely successful launch of SL, TSW which is on a prescipice atm, it has poor sub rates but a enthusiatic community and dev team which is pushing out new content every 1-2 months, and finally WoW which is IMO the BEST themepark mmo made so it doesnt need F2p. If people wanted to play a wow clone they would just play wow.

Ill say it again if for example SWTOR was the best mmo ever made and was truly revolutionary then you would see sub numbers in the millions. The model isnt the problem its the games.

And as it stands the only true F2P game is Aion which gives the whole game to you and allows you to buy cosmetic and xp boosts in its shop. F2P right now is nothing more then a glorified trial trying to bait you into subbing or spending MORE then 15$ in the cash shop. 

Playing: Archeage Alpha, War Thunder, World of Tanks
Waiting on: Archeage, Wild Star, Everquest Next and The Black Desert

  MikeJezZ

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/08/04
Posts: 1198

Only in death, does duty end.

11/26/12 2:46:13 AM#123
Originally posted by DSWBeef
F2P is not the future. The reason recent sub games have failed is because they are either buggy or WoW clones. If GW2 had a sub people would still flock to it. If Swtor was truly amazing people wouldnt have a problem paying a sub. The model isnt the issue its the games.

Sorry, but if GW2 had sub many wouldn't have bought it. People who bought it were tired of Gear grind and subscription fee.

I was one of those seeing GW2 as the new Messiah of MMOs. After a month I CBA to log in again, too boring.

Playing ATM: Elder Scrolls Online, Diablo 3
MMO's shelted: Check my mmorpg profile
KICKSTARTED: Camelot Unchained. (250 USD)

  DSWBeef

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/11/09
Posts: 758

11/26/12 2:49:31 AM#124
Originally posted by MikeJezZ
Originally posted by DSWBeef
F2P is not the future. The reason recent sub games have failed is because they are either buggy or WoW clones. If GW2 had a sub people would still flock to it. If Swtor was truly amazing people wouldnt have a problem paying a sub. The model isnt the issue its the games.

Sorry, but if GW2 had sub many wouldn't have bought it. People who bought it were tired of Gear grind and subscription fee.

I was one of those seeing GW2 as the new Messiah of MMOs. After a month I CBA to log in again, too boring.

I guess your right about GW2, But if it was the messiah would you have subbed?

Playing: Archeage Alpha, War Thunder, World of Tanks
Waiting on: Archeage, Wild Star, Everquest Next and The Black Desert

  ice-vortex

Novice Member

Joined: 5/21/10
Posts: 901

11/26/12 7:19:51 AM#125
Originally posted by DSWBeef
Originally posted by MikeJezZ
Originally posted by DSWBeef
F2P is not the future. The reason recent sub games have failed is because they are either buggy or WoW clones. If GW2 had a sub people would still flock to it. If Swtor was truly amazing people wouldnt have a problem paying a sub. The model isnt the issue its the games.

Sorry, but if GW2 had sub many wouldn't have bought it. People who bought it were tired of Gear grind and subscription fee.

I was one of those seeing GW2 as the new Messiah of MMOs. After a month I CBA to log in again, too boring.

I guess your right about GW2, But if it was the messiah would you have subbed?

I wouldn't have subbed. I won't pay a monthly fee to play any game. Yet I have been spending money in their cash shop.

  Idgi

Novice Member

Joined: 4/03/08
Posts: 11

11/26/12 8:37:51 AM#126

It’s simple really, the companies that back these games make more money providing F2P games then they do on subscription games. That should tell you something.

Free to Play games have a visible life cycle. At first they lure people in with low prices & a fairly even playing field. As popularity rises so do prices, while the ability to compete without paying drops. This continues until pretty much all that’s left are the Pay to Win players who eventually figure out that the playing field has once again evened out, but at a very high price. LOL 

So if I’m going to spend my money on a game, I’ll always choose a subscription game. It’s absolutely going to be cheaper & I prefer an even playing field where my skill & talent mean something. I'm always amused by the people who spend more money on "Free to Play" games then they would on a subscription. 

  dave6660

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/26/08
Posts: 2320

"Next time I see you, remind me not to talk to you."

11/26/12 9:07:44 AM#127
You tell 'em.  Paying for your entertainment is so passe.  We demand free stuff!

"Why so serious?"
-- The Joker

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19124

11/26/12 11:15:40 AM#128
Originally posted by dave6660
You tell 'em.  Paying for your entertainment is so passe.  We demand free stuff!

We don't have to demand. There is plenty of dev want to compete for our attention with free stuff. I don't see why we shouldn't take advantage of it.

  Rusque

Elite Member

Joined: 6/08/10
Posts: 1648

11/26/12 2:35:59 PM#129

Micro transactions can work as long as you business model isn't predicated upon "ripping people off".

League of Legends is one of the most successful F2P micro transaction based games. BUT, they allow you to play for free and to grind out points very slowly to earn champs instead of buying them with money. That's why it succeeds, there is no solid wall that you hit and can't continue for free. Champions rotate so you get a taste of different ones and aren't stuck with the same ones for 3 years.

A horrible example of microtransactions is D3 which was built upon screwing the players in terms of itemization to drive them to the RMAH. Had the RMAH been a bonus option for those who weren't willing to grind out gear, then it would have been fine. But blizz really botched it when they chose to have horrible gear (aka gear that isn't good enough to help you through the content that is dropping said gear) then you get the hate and the quick mass exodus.

Freemium can be done poorly, usually by locking certain things away that should never be locked away . . . like hotbars or skill slots or by locking content by requiring purchases instead of allowing a slow gring to unlock it.

  dotdotdash

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/01/11
Posts: 343

11/26/12 2:49:07 PM#130

Personally I don't think that either the subscription model or the "free to play" model are the future at all.

I'm guessing that ZeniMax Online will release TESO with a subscription fee, thinking that the game is "different" enough from WoW to justify a return to that model. Many believe that sub games are failing because they are "too alike WoW", but I don't think that's true. What we have to consider is that - outside of WoW - there are no major subscription titles in the west, and there never have been. Eve is the closest thing to a "competitor" to WoW, and even it is having trouble breaking the 1,000,000 mark. If/When ZMO release TESO under a sub model, it will fail, and then hopefully there will be a realisation that subscription fees - in their current form, at least - are not a viable model to follow.

Does this mean that "Free to Play" is the model of choice for the future of the genre? No. The problem the "Free to Play" model has is that it is wildly varied in its representation. Where one developer may fund itself using a relatively fair and transparent model (League of Legends), another will pursue a wholely more exploitative approach (SWTOR). That isn't to say the F2P model in and of itself is bad, just that it is open to exploitation more so than any other model of payment. You just have to look at this site, and other sites, to see what the general consensus is on the F2P model. Even though there are great games out there applying the model intelligently, such as LoL, TF2, TA, etc, we are more inclined to remember the fact that there are games employing the model to wantonly exploit us.

So if P2P and F2P are not going to work, what will? Quite simply: traditional "Buy to Play" is the model we're probably going to see more of in the coming years. ArenaNet proved a point with Guild Wars 2: box sales can fuel a games life cycle and return significant margins. If we look at the single player market, we can see that developers such as Bethesda, CD Projeckt RED, DICE and other such names are favouring long content life cycles through DLC. This can easily be translated to the MMO space: release a boxed game at a premium price, and then follow a traditional "expansion" life cycle with 6-monthly or yearly releases charged at typical "expansion" prices, perhaps with DLC content thrown around along the way.

The problem we have right now is that the management executives at big studios - management teams that have no understanding of the market they operate in, as has previously been pointed out - are nickle and diming gamers in order to see "what they can get away with". Developers are passionate about making games, but invariably not passionate about running a business. This role is deferred to people who are passionate about business, but invariably not passionate about games.

As has been stated, someone needs to stir up some trouble in the industry.

  madazz

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/07/03
Posts: 1299

11/26/12 4:05:47 PM#131

I think microtransactions are evil! Unless they are for silly things like customizing your characters looks. But when they impede my enjoyment of a game I just feel ripped off and quit. I don't like feeling like I am being nickel and dimed. F2P in it's current form across the majority of games is just not acceptable to me. And sub games with cash shops that give you a one up on others its just disgusting.

Also, I wish people wouldn't compare LoL to all these F2P games. LoL does not restrict you. By the time you can even do ranked games, or should I say by the time you can actually compete in ranked games you have already earned enough free IP to purchase a couple rune pages, multiple characters, and all the runes you need. The only thing you really would want to pay for if you are hooked are the skins! I've never felt ripped off by LoL because they don't sell anything I NEED to enjoy the game. Just things I WANT. IE; in some mmo's to keep up they want you to pay for enhanced experience bonuses, or they want you to pay so something is completed quicker. In LoL you can get experience faster, but whoopee dooooo. If anything that only hurts you as now you are at a higher level, and have LESS than those at the same level as you. Therefore, the XP bonus hurts you. 

Now to Wayshuba, I see no reason why you wouldn't share the speakers name from a conference. It makes no sense and only leads me to believe that you are making a story up. For one, he held a conference to educate and get a message out. You really believe he wants his message spread but does not want his name associated with it? What is this some sort of underground neo-nazi leader who is actually a politician and needs to hide his relation? Sorry, I have seen too many movies. Regardless, I call BS on your "conference". No one holds a public or private conference that hundreds of people can attend on such a typical topic only to want their names held back. For those wondering, in his thread he refused to share the name.

  CalmOceans

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/06/11
Posts: 1803

11/26/12 4:34:54 PM#132

Someone posted this on another forum, but I had to laugh.

This is F2P, the boxes they sell in most F2P cash shop games are now just lucky boxes, many games are basically nothing more than casino with some content around it, it's no longer about the game, the game revolves around teh cash shop.

  Aelious

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/27/11
Posts: 2294

World > Quest Progression

11/26/12 4:42:09 PM#133
Unless the company is non profit you will always get what you pay for. If you are enjoying a game that is truly free to play then great, games ate meant for fun.

Saying that all MMOs should become or be F2P is hopefully not going to happen. The quality will go down. There's no denying that. With no or unreliable income companies will do what they need to in order to stay in business.
  Wizardry

Elite Member

Joined: 8/27/04
Posts: 6541

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

11/26/12 4:45:45 PM#134

Yes f2p is so grand,i love seeing chat spammed with kina sales every 5 seconds and stalls setup to sell game currency.How about go try Eve and enter the noob chat,the ISk selling posam is so bad,you won't have a god's prayer of seeing anything in the chat window,except scrolling spam.

F2p -=piss poor sup[port and GM,might as well say Gm's don't exist.Players can bot and setup rmt stalls right in the open for everyone to see,it is because nobody cares.

NCSOFT always has been a huge reason why f2p is a complete joke.They are a bad influence for all developers.When i see a level 10 item in Aion selling for millions of Kina,i just shake my head in disbelief at how careless a developer can get.If a developer does not care one bit about their games environment,why shoud lanyone care about their game?

That is why i quit supporting the COD franchise,when cheating got so bad and there was not one avenue to reprt cheating,i knew they did not care.This is happening far too often now and it is because without a monthly sub fee,these devs have nothing to lose at all,if you bought the game,they already have that.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Napolianboo#p/u/15/rCYLLQCNc1w
Samoan Diamond

  VengeSunsoar

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4688

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

11/26/12 4:48:23 PM#135
Originally posted by Wizardry

Yes f2p is so grand,i love seeing chat spammed with kina sales every 5 seconds and stalls setup to sell game currency.How about go try Eve and enter the noob chat,the ISk selling posam is so bad,you won't have a god's prayer of seeing anything in the chat window,except scrolling spam.

F2p -=piss poor sup[port and GM,might as well say Gm's don't exist.Players can bot and setup rmt stalls right in the open for everyone to see,it is because nobody cares.

NCSOFT always has been a huge reason why f2p is a complete joke.They are a bad influence for all developers.When i see a level 10 item in Aion selling for millions of Kina,i just shake my head in disbelief at how careless a developer can get.If a developer does not care one bit about their games environment,why shoud lanyone care about their game?

That is why i quit supporting the COD franchise,when cheating got so bad and there was not one avenue to reprt cheating,i knew they did not care.This is happening far too often now and it is because without a monthly sub fee,these devs have nothing to lose at all,if you bought the game,they already have that.

 Or WoW where there is a tell/shout for gold every 5 mintues, or EQ2 where someone advertises selling a gamecard every 10 minutes.  Oh wait, those are p2p and freemium. 

Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  Vunak23

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/27/10
Posts: 659

In your house Eatin' your Cookies!

11/26/12 4:51:11 PM#136
For terrible games that couldn't justify the sub price...well because they were terrible, yes F2P is the future for such games. But is F2P the future of the MMO genre?... I doubt it. All its gonna take is one game  to really put up a nice feature list (not Quest, Dungeon/Raid.. BG..Rinse/repeat with next expansion/content update) and be sub based and it will pick back up again. 

"In the immediate future, we have this one, and then we’ve got another one that is actually going to be – so we’re going to have, what we want to do, is in January, what we’re targeting to do, this may or may not happen, so you can’t hold me to it. But what we’re targeting to do, is have a fun anniversary to the Ilum shenanigans that happened. An alien race might invade, and they might crash into Ilum and there might be some new activities that happen on the planet." ~Gabe Amatangelo

  niceguy3978

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/06
Posts: 1975

11/26/12 4:51:46 PM#137
I don't get this whole F2P is the future either.  It is the present, we don't need prophets to tell us what is going on now.  I'm not saying this is a good thing or a bad thing.   Even worse we have the games where you have b2p with cash shops, and the worst of all milking methods: box + sub + cash shop.  F2P isn't even the worst of the monetizing methods in MMOs, and that is sad.
  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19124

11/26/12 4:52:34 PM#138
Originally posted by madazz

I think microtransactions are evil! Unless they are for silly things like customizing your characters looks. But when they impede my enjoyment of a game I just feel ripped off and quit. I don't like feeling like I am being nickel and dimed. F2P in it's current form across the majority of games is just not acceptable to me. And sub games with cash shops that give you a one up on others its just disgusting.

Also, I wish people wouldn't compare LoL to all these F2P games. LoL does not restrict you. By the time you can even do ranked games, or should I say by the time you can actually compete in ranked games you have already earned enough free IP to purchase a couple rune pages, multiple characters, and all the runes you need. The only thing you really would want to pay for if you are hooked are the skins! I've never felt ripped off by LoL because they don't sell anything I NEED to enjoy the game. Just things I WANT. IE; in some mmo's to keep up they want you to pay for enhanced experience bonuses, or they want you to pay so something is completed quicker. In LoL you can get experience faster, but whoopee dooooo. If anything that only hurts you as now you are at a higher level, and have LESS than those at the same level as you. Therefore, the XP bonus hurts you. 

Now to Wayshuba, I see no reason why you wouldn't share the speakers name from a conference. It makes no sense and only leads me to believe that you are making a story up. For one, he held a conference to educate and get a message out. You really believe he wants his message spread but does not want his name associated with it? What is this some sort of underground neo-nazi leader who is actually a politician and needs to hide his relation? Sorry, I have seen too many movies. Regardless, I call BS on your "conference". No one holds a public or private conference that hundreds of people can attend on such a typical topic only to want their names held back. For those wondering, in his thread he refused to share the name.

LOl .. i agree with madazz for once. Conferences are public events. Many are advertised. I don't see a scenario where even teh conference name should be hidden.

  Theocritus

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3605

11/26/12 5:02:55 PM#139
    Some people just arent happy unless they have to pay alot of money right of the bat for their MMO.......If they dont have to pay a box+sub+cash shop+lifetime then they feel they have been cheated and the game sucks......
  Comaf

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/13/10
Posts: 1124

I want an mmorpg where pvp matters, my enemies are not my race or class, and community matters.

11/26/12 5:06:33 PM#140
Originally posted by NorseGod

What happened?

 

I see lots of complaints about the "free" games here.

It's not good change - that's the problem.  My 2 cents.  I don't want to beat a dead horse and remind the other grownups as to why F2P games are just horribly represented.  I'll stick with companies that have faith in their product.  Granted - to argue against myself, I will admit that the DDO model isn't bad  - but I hate most others.

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