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News & Features Discussion  » [Dev Journal] General: Pathfinder Online’s Ryan Dancey Defends Elder Scrolls Online and Subscriptions

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Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/04
Posts: 2220

"So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb." Dark Helmet

1/08/14 4:34:05 PM#41
Originally posted by saker

You should say out in "right" field as they are a very well known right-wing publication...

Which is an extremely relevant observation, since this is such a political topic...

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
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The Force shall free me.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/20/10
Posts: 1707

1/08/14 7:41:16 PM#42

ps4 and Xbox1 both require you to pay each month to play games online; nothing new for Xbox, but it is for playstation. 


From the way Sony was talking about the change from free online gaming to requiring a Playstation plus subscription to play online, and all of their PS4 MMO not requiring a subscription fee (they don't want us to have to pay twice to play one of their games online) it sounds very much like PS4 and XB1 gamers will have to pay twice to play ESO. 


Unless Sony and Microsoft are both going to forgo the required subscriptions to PSplus and XBlive, ESO is going to have to be one hell of a game to justify spending money on a sub to play a game online on the PS4 or XB1. 


I have to agree with the Forbes article, kind of, a subscription model is fine for PC MMO's, but it's asking to much for people who want to play on a PS4 or XB1 when they already have to pay to play online before they even pony up the money for the game box. 


Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10959

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/08/14 9:26:35 PM#43

Originally posted by Loktofeit

Originally posted by lizardbones  

Originally posted by Loktofeit

Originally posted by Rinna I'm not sure why so many players say "most players don't want a sub". I think that statement is wrong. I'd MUCH rather pay a sub and hold a game company accountable for content expansions and bug fixes. Too many companies use the "well it's a free game" to dodge quality. Give me a sub and a cosmetic cash shop for over and above items. I believe you should pay for the game too. These devs worked their @sses off in a project, not only should they be compensated for a job well done but they should have some job security when their companies make money every month. I logged into Neverwinter the other night and didn't see a single 200 dollar spider mount. I think that idiocy from game devs (and mostly players) has got to stop. Non sub games are also often pay to win. I think there should be a level playing field for all players. GW2 and Rift are the only two companies that have succeeded at any F2P model that I agree with for long term play.
Rinna, I think there are a lot like you, and I think one of the things that fueled the move to F2P over the past five years was the abysmal offerings in AAA MMOs from 2008 to last year or so. People don't want to get Vanguarded again. They don't want to get SWTORed again, especially when the people most likely to invest significant time and money often do so up from with VIP, Founders and Collectors Edition purchases.    I think a string of quality subscription-based releases would go a long way toward making "subscription means better quality" a thing again. Right now, that's simply not a guarantee when a new game comes out. 
I would like to add more to this, but I'm afraid I can't add too much. The article said ESO might fail, but it won't be because of the financial model. Makes sense to me. Write a good game and price it right and it'll sell like crazy, subscription or not. The article said that subscriptions alone do not capture all of the possible revenue that a game can capture. This makes sense too. It's a basic economic idea that if a producer can use a high degree of price discrimination, they will extract the maximum amount of money possible from consumers. The article also said that F2P doesn't mean subscriptions go away, just that subscriptions become one of several options within the F2P plan. Well, yeah. Makes sense. Plus, it's actually happening. The one thing the article didn't address is making "smaller, more focused games" and "MMORPGs". These two things don't seem to intersect at all. A small MMORPG dwarfs a large single player game in development costs. It seems like the only possible solution is "write a good game", no matter how much it costs.  
I'm now curious what it cost to make ATITD and Puzzle Pirates. 

Ok. A billion dollars was a silly answer.

Since PP was written sometime around 2003, and doesn't seem to have a lot of high end 3D graphics, or possibly any 3D graphics, a lot less than a 3D MMORPG would cost today. ATiTD is the same answer, except they have 3D graphics. Adding 3D graphics, or using a modern engine would increase the cost significantly.

However, if we could write those games today at a reasonable cost, the number of players served would be pretty small. We'd need something like 5,000 or 10,000 MMORPGs to satisfy the market demand for MMORPGs. This doesn't seem feasible. Beyond that, there would be a lot of issues getting people to play the games without modern game engines. It wouldn't do any good to write a bunch of smaller, targeted games if nobody is interested in playing them. I think this is why there aren't more smaller, targeted MMORPGs now. They're expensive to write, and writing a game that a developer wants people to play, and the people want to play is hard. That doesn't really change just because we scale down the production.

Unless there's a shift away from full on MMORPGs. That makes the production less expensive, and less time consuming. 5,000 of them is a bit much, but it might be easier to serve a larger number of people with games that are geared to serving a smaller number of people at a time rather than everyone at once.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/13
Posts: 114

1/09/14 7:47:56 AM#44
Never in my entire existence would i believe that SWTOR has more than 2 million active players. More like 200-400k. The other games that says 20 millions can not be true either. This is bullshit.

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/02/04
Posts: 4543

1/09/14 7:49:09 AM#45

For me at the end of the day if the game is good and it provides entertainment for me then I have no issues at all putting money towards it.

I also dont have an issue paying an up front cost for a game and then a sub... whatever as long as its a good game.

I put about £8 or whatever into world of tanks each month for a premium account.. I am happy to do this because I enjoy playing it.


The main issue with ESO is that I am pretty sure its going to end up being another themepark mmo that we have all seen before... the main issue with that is that WOW has that covered I mean why move away from a well esablished game that millions of people play to a new game that no so many people play.. people will stick with wow..


The big mmo companies need to realise they cant keep turning out themepark clones and expect to make money... SOE has realised this with Everquest Next and I am pretty sure that is going to e really popular when released because it will be something new that people are going to enjoy.

My 3D models


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/01/06
Posts: 160

1/09/14 8:02:01 AM#46
Originally posted by DMKano

Subs are going the way of Blockbuster stores - some dev studios are still holding on to their Blockbuster membership cards that is all.

Only a matter of time before they realize that it's dead Jim.

The obvious question why are we still seeing major upcoming games with sub models - because it's easy to do, building a platform that can support MTX is *very expensive* and time consuming, also you need to hire platform devs which is an entirely different skillset from a game dev.

MTX is about 100x more complicated to pull off successfully than simply charging your players with several packages (monthly, 3month, 6month, year)


I'd say 99% of players don't realize how complex the MTX platform is (a system that can handle 10s of 1000s real time transactions) in comparison to sub with less than 5 payment options done on a monthly (or longer) basis.

Night and day.'s so complicated there arent websites dedicated to small business sellers with multples of 1000's of "microtransactions"....ever hear of Ebay?  Then, when you consider NWN....ripped off the store from STO, seems like they even forgot to rename a couple things or some such....not quite so convinced of's, the only thing it is, is a scummy way to do business in most cases.


Elite Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 2346

1/09/14 8:09:04 AM#47
Originally posted by collekt
Originally posted by CrazKanuk

I tend to agree that the Forbes article is completely out in left field. I, also, don't completely disagree with you on your numbers. It doesn't seem entirely unfair. In particular, SWTOR is relatively open about their subscription numbers, if the numbers given are accurate. 


What I disagree with is the idea that a games MTX revenues are less than their subscription revenue. I think that a popular misconception is that game companies are going to an MTX system because they don't feel people will pay a subscription for their game. In reality, the F2P/MTX model is MUCH more profitable and scalable. Plus, people feel much more comfortable with these types of purchase, even if they do surpass what they'd pay as a subscription. It's monetizing your game with tangible items. I'm going to Unlock a bag slot for you, give you access to the auction house, give you this sweet smoking jacket, or this house! What do you get with a subscription? The right to play their game? HA! In actuality, you get everything, even the smoking jacket. 


There are mobile games a thousand times more mind-numbing than any MMO grind that are making more on a DAILY basis than nearly every single Subscription MMO (Clash of Clans and Candy Crush are prime examples). So the idea that microtransactions are less profitable than a subscription system is completely out to lunch. Sorry. 

Speak for yourself about people preferring MTX because it's "more tangible." I want to pay to play a game, not run around in a virtual world with a virtual shopping mall at my fingertips. If I need another bag, I want to purchase it from a vendor with ingame gold, or even better from a real player that crafted it. MTX games just put people on uneven footing based on real money. I'd MUCH prefer to pay a flat $15 fee per month (which is basically nothing to anyone with a source of income), because this way I can worry about playing the game and working toward my goals rather than having to worry about if I'll be viable if I don't spend money in the cash shop.

As far as profitability, I can see where MTX may or may not win out for the company and I know the ultimate goal for them is to make money. However, I've seen several polls around different forums and subscription seems to almost always win out. I know you can't exactly rely on forum polls, but it feels like a large portion of the F2P advocates are people that just don't want to spend any money and play for free or the least amount possible. This is a terrible attitude in my opinion, and I'd rather support the developers with a monthly fee if the game is worth it. If it isn't worth a monthly fee, you shouldn't be playing it anyway.


I never said people preferred micro-transactions, I said they were more comfortable with them. The big issue here is that subscription == commitment, free == FREE! Until you actually get into the game and realize what "free" really means.


I would tend to agree that people say they prefer subscriptions. The reality is, though, that talk is cheap and there are fewer than a handful of games still in existence which survive solely on this model. 


The idea that F2P gamers are cheap, though, isn't a new argument, but is also grossly misinformed. There is an article that indicates that core gamers in these "free" games spend, on average, up to $60 per month. You're right, there are casual gamers who play a lot of these free games, but they aren't really the target of anyone, even subscription models, because they're not going to be around long one way or another. So, you see, if anyone is "cheap" it's subscribers. Yup, that was maybe a bit of a dig (I'm a subscriber myself though, and I have friends who are subscribers, so it's ok). 


The "problem" when subscription games is that they leave too much money on the table. So unless you maintain a consistently high subscription base, you're dead in the water. With F2P models, your game has to be compelling enough to engage enough people who are actually willing to open their wallets. If not, then you're also dead. I think that's why games like SWTOR, with a hybrid model, are doing well. It still presents the problem of subscriptions "topping" out at $15 a month though. For instance, I subscribed to SWTOR for 6 months while I levelled because of the bonuses I got from doing so. Afterwards I went back down to F2P, but I feel like I could have been hosed more if they didn't have a subscription option. Not that I'm looking for that, but I can see where subs could be a problem for future titles which have larger budgets (beyond a few million).


I just pray every day that we don't see more aggressive monetization strategies like with mobile games, "Would you like to be placed at the front of the Raid Finder queue? $0.99" or "Would you like to unlock this Raid for another run this week? $1.99". Don't kid yourself, I just gave WoW a billion dollar idea right there :) It's coming. 


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Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/12/06
Posts: 586

1/09/14 8:10:03 AM#48
Originally posted by fantasyfreak112

People don't seem to understand that a games subscription model is parallel to how good the game is. WoW can do it with much success because it's still the smoothest, most polished game on the market. If TESO can manage this then a subscription model is 100% fine.


The problem is when companies with mediocre games try to have subscription models, aka why TESO is likely to flop. Basically you have to get what you pay for, pretty simple. 

and you are wrong here

ppl are just lazy or old to move to other games, thats why they stay there

for many of these ppl WoW was thier first mmo


its not like WoW is the best, if it was then the game would gain new players not lose them


Novice Member

Joined: 12/06/05
Posts: 310

1/09/14 8:14:13 AM#49

I dont think the fact that ESO is sub model will have anything to do with the game, whether it fails or is a hit. Sub models are just fine. Just look at FFXIV the reboot. They are doing pretty well with the sub model, even after the disaster that was 1.0. 


I personally think, that you have a massive split of the sub model vs. the f2p. You have one set of players, who would rather pay sub fee's and have no perks what so ever. I am one of these people. No you cant go and buy a potion that helps you level a little bit faster, or move faster, or anything. The only thing a cash shop should add, is strictly cosmetic stuff. Sure you might not see a problem with someone buying a exp potion to help level, because they dont get to play often. I do. 

Then you have those who like f2p. They can play the game, dont have to worry about paying for anything at all, Unless they want to. I think this works great for people who dont have alot of time to invest in a game. If you can only play 15 hours a month, then i think that would be a waste of money if you were to sub.

In the case with a game like ESO, i think they are much better off with a sub model. The game looks like a time sink, vs other mmo's. Same with wildstar. 


Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/14/12
Posts: 410

1/09/14 8:17:50 AM#50

although this is mostly correct I think the numbers are sewed being he under minds the sub+micro a good chunk, If you are willing to pay $15 per month and still buy something off the market then those numbers would look much different. 


Pay to win modules only work on people with money for so long because people with money tend to have money because they know how to make it and are often not in the business in losing it. Once the person investing their time and money feel they are over paying they will back off big time and cause a large lose in funds to the game.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/09/04
Posts: 143

1/09/14 8:23:49 AM#51
ESO will last longer than Wild Star as a subscription based game on the sheer fact of the fan base that surrounds it.  Once the hype (or over-hype) of the game settles it will be a B2P title for both console and PC.

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Joined: 12/20/03
Posts: 93

1/09/14 8:24:55 AM#52
Great article!

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  User Deleted
1/09/14 8:28:57 AM#53
Sorry but that list is wrong, not only wrong by misleading. Most of those games have dropped half or more of the subs  you listed and are now FTP or FTP with a buy in option that almost no one takes. I know that this website really wants to hype TESO but this entire "article" is misleading to the point of propaganda. 

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Joined: 12/18/11
Posts: 1199

1/09/14 8:46:40 AM#54

First post back after my epic long ban, lesson learned (keep from posting when drunk)


This is an awesome article. Why ? Economics.


In super short: F2P MMOs are working of the idea that they can Perfectly Price Discriminate as a monopolist. If the subscription MMOs would adopt a more flexible approach to their subscription price (allow the market to determine the sub price)  both the consumers and the producers would be at a much more efficient result. In fact some consumers would actually get more than what they are willing to pay for a game experience. As opposed to the F2P monopolist getting all of surplus.


Too bad to get the education you need to understand economics you need to attend post-secondary education. Fail on the part of educators for not teaching more of it earlier.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/21/12
Posts: 335

1/09/14 8:47:33 AM#55

Subscription is simply a phase, once they exhaust it they swap to f2p.


It's a great way to get a bit of the same apple twice.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/17/07
Posts: 6701

"Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.” - Mordin Solus

1/09/14 8:48:59 AM#56
Well he can defend the game all he wants but from the current vibe we are getting ESO isn't even worthy of a subscription.

Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/12
Posts: 15

1/09/14 8:55:30 AM#57
He can defend the p2p all he want but when people get bored and dont want to play anymore mostly like unsub from the game. that why p2p game are failing right now because they have no one will leave game still sub. when not playing it anymore 

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5698

1/09/14 9:04:01 AM#58
It is great to hear a defence of Subs by an article on this site. It is a shame we only get such a defence when an up and coming hyped to the sword hilt MMO is due to come out in a few months.

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/24/06
Posts: 3336

1/09/14 9:09:32 AM#59
I will never play a F2P game.  I've tried it over and over, and they're all the same.  Instead of spending time and resources on making content, they all seem to spend this on making cosmetic items to have players to spend money on.  On a subscription title, all they have to do is make good content.
Edit: I'm also one of those people who will pay more than $15 a month on a "free" game for cosmetic items and boosters lol.  If you can't afford $15 a month, get a job :P

Novice Member

Joined: 10/22/06
Posts: 99

1/09/14 9:20:08 AM#60
If ESO goes F2P, then I wont be playing it, F2P model kills games for me. I dont have that much of extra money in hand, but I gladly pay 15 dollars/13 euros sub in order to get higher quality content that isnt ruined by ingame shops. There isnt a single Dev team out there that I trust to make content for F2P model that isnt ruining the way the game is designed., the 4chan of mmo forums.

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