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News & Features Discussion  » The Agency: SOE Aims for Free-to-Play Business Model

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42 posts found
  Szark

News Manager

Joined: 5/02/06
Posts: 4423

 
OP  8/24/07 1:37:54 PM#1

Sony Online Entertainment has announced at the Leipzig Games Convention that they are looking at a free to play business model for their upcoming action-espionage MMO, The Agency.

At this week's Leipzig Games Convention, the president of Sony Online Entertainment John Smedley held a talk on "Subscriptions vs Micro-transactions" in regards to MMO games. During the briefing, he indicated that Sony was looking at making their upcoming pc/ps3 spy-themed MMO a free play title, meaning there would be no subscription fee (unlike World of Warcraft). Instead, SOE would fund the title via micro-transactions and a 'velvet-rope policy' where certain area are only available if people pay for access.

Smedley acknowledged that consumers are used to the subscription based model (as is SOE, considering their long history of subscription based MMOs), but said that they "believe very strongly that this is the future of MMO gaming, but we also know that it is something that players have an issue with... There's going to be an aftermarket, and we want to control it so that players don't get duped into having something switched out from them."

Read more here.

  Ammon777

Novice Member

Joined: 12/16/03
Posts: 327

8/24/07 2:39:32 PM#2

No thanks. I am crossing this game out from my list.

 

Good job, Smed, you lost another customer.

 

Also, you should not call it "free to play" when you have to pay to get into a certain area and use micro-transactions to advance. Micro-transactions are small by definition, but add up to exceed the usual subscription price, if you arent careful.

 

THAT IS NOT FREE.

 

Imagine if you had to pay $.05 dollars every time you went into a battlegrounds in WoW. Thats what Smed is asking.

 

That might work in China, but not in the west.

 

Also, if the future in western MMO market is micro-transactions, I will not be interested in playing MMOs anymore...

 

PAY ONCE FOR EVERYTHING, NOT UNLIMITED TIMES FOR SMALL FRACTIONS.

 

/golf clap

  psyconius

Novice Member

Joined: 1/28/04
Posts: 275

Cthulhu tells me I''m not crazy.. (and he hates the double apostrophe bug)

8/24/07 3:23:15 PM#3

While I am not a supporter of microtransactions in general, there is a bright side. It is a way for players to get a chance to try the game for free and see if they want to go further.

More importantly, it opens the way for a better business model down the line. I hope that eventually the microtransaction model evolves into something where the purchases are purely aesthetic and have no affect on gameplay. I am certain there are enough people out there that would pay extra to have flashy gear and pets, etc rather than the generic stuff that everyone else has access to. Maybe also use the microtransaction system to purchase extra potions or something if you just don't feel like grinding for something. There are plenty of uses without hurting the people who don't want to micropay.

 

--
psyconius Cthulhu
Gothika Studios

  archer75

Novice Member

Joined: 1/16/06
Posts: 156

8/24/07 3:28:05 PM#4
He's not saying that every time you enter an area you pay. He's just saying it would be a small fee , once, for permanent access to that area. Not much different than an expansion really. And not for all areas. You don't have to pay the $15/month so spending that same amount on fees to unlock new content would be fine. You only have to unlock it once and only if you choose to. It would likely save money. I like the idea.
Originally posted by Ammon777

No thanks. I am crossing this game out from my list.

 

Good job, Smed, you lost another customer.

 

Also, you should not call it "free to play" when you have to pay to get into a certain area and use micro-transactions to advance. Micro-transactions are small by definition, but add up to exceed the usual subscription price, if you arent careful.

 

THAT IS NOT FREE.

 

Imagine if you had to pay $.05 dollars every time you went into a battlegrounds in WoW. Thats what Smed is asking.

 

 

Tribes 2 is back!!!! http://www.tribesnext.com/
And from the makers of tribes: Fallen Empire: Legions http://www.instantaction.com/

  TwwIX

Novice Member

Joined: 8/18/05
Posts: 213

8/24/07 3:31:33 PM#5

Looks like a another winner for SOE.

*add a hint of sarcasm here

 

John Smedley needs to step down from this CEO throne and crawl back to the shit hole he came from.

After the SWG fuckup, this jackass still thinks that he's contributing something new and innovative to the gaming world.

 

 

  BeowulfAgate

Novice Member

Joined: 3/18/04
Posts: 40

8/24/07 3:47:06 PM#6

I have no problem with F2Play models if they are well thought out, if SOE can manage a well thought F2P model will have to be seen. 

Maybe this will work and we can get some older games that were canceled re-released as F2P.  Hey EA, how about giving Earth and Beyond a real chance this time?  Hmmm, I feel another thread about to be deleted by EA on their forums.....

beowulfagate Xfire Miniprofile
  BaronJuJu

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/04
Posts: 1827

"Just because it happens to you doesn''t make it interesting"

8/24/07 5:12:08 PM#7

So you are wanting folks paying the Station Pass, in addition to shell out money for the "velvet rope" access? 

 

"If we don't attack them, they will attack us first. So we'd better retaliate before they have a chance to strike"

  Fion

Novice Member

Joined: 7/25/03
Posts: 2356

forums.3305local.com

We are recruiting.

8/24/07 6:28:18 PM#8

This game looks really unique and sweet. I dislike microtransactions myself, ESPECIALLY in a competitive environment. Like, I don't know how Xbox360 and PS3 fans deal with it. They pay $65 a game as it is, and then $30~ for all the mini-packs of crap to get the stuff that the developers made for the game already, but removed so they could charge a little extra. $2 for this armor upgrade, $5 for the rocket launcher & laser cannon upgrade, it's bogus.

 

But, the plus side, at least with MMOGs or near-MMOGs (Hellgate: London) is that it lets people enjoy the game for free, which brings in subscribers (Anarchy Online's 3 odd year old froob program is proof of this,) and you it lets you select the content you want. Instead of paying $40 for an expansion, you can pay $20 for the new weapons and cool new class, but leave the new areas and what not out, cause you don't care about them. This is again something that Anarchy Online is going to be doing. Offering parts of their expansions at a reduce price for those that don't really care about the whole thing. It's a bold and innovative move. But if Funcom is known for anything, it's their innovative games.

 

But yea, like Hellgate: London, I'll be buying this. Even if it's only to enjoy the free stuff for a few months.

  Fion

Novice Member

Joined: 7/25/03
Posts: 2356

forums.3305local.com

We are recruiting.

8/24/07 6:30:11 PM#9

Originally posted by BeowulfAgate


 Hey EA, how about giving Earth and Beyond a real chance this time?  Hmmm, I feel another thread about to be deleted by EA on their forums.....

QFT!

I would love to see a F2P/Microtransaction based E&B come back. I really enjoyed that game. But it's EA, and they screw up everything (killing that game when it could really have easily been saved. Lesser companies with WAY less budget have saved other MMOGs that were even MORE on the ropes. Look at HORIZONS!) So it'll never happen.

  Distaste

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/03/06
Posts: 668

8/24/07 7:03:12 PM#10

Personally I am going to wait until it is further down the line to make a decision on this game. The game itself has promise but SOE can destroy what promise it had in a heartbeat.

As for F2P. It has many issues that come along with it and I hope SOE can iron these out. I doubt that if you are paying for station pass you will have to make any of the microtransactions. You will probably given all the extra goodies upfront. Others however will have to pay to gain access. If you don't know how this type of F2P model works then go look at MUonline that I believe K2 is running. They have certain events and areas that only members can access.

Also a big problem with F2P is that anyone can make an account and any number of accounts. Gold farmers, hackers, exploiters, and the like can play get banned, then make another account. It creates an environment that allows hacks and such to be developed with almost no penalty.

  RedwoodSap

Novice Member

Joined: 3/09/07
Posts: 1249

Not a retired MMORPG.com mod

8/24/07 10:11:24 PM#11

I hate the concept of micro transactions aka item shops and paying for added value content. A flat subscription rate is the best way to pay for a MMOG both because it keeps the playing field level which is essential in a MMOG and it ends up being less expensive than being nickel an dimed with additional fees. The point is kinda mute though since I refuse to play any SOE games.

  psyconius

Novice Member

Joined: 1/28/04
Posts: 275

Cthulhu tells me I''m not crazy.. (and he hates the double apostrophe bug)

8/24/07 11:10:35 PM#12

I must also express my disliking of SOE haters.. I am not a fanboi or hater of any company. Each game is different from the previous games put out. If people weren't so close minded about gaming, things would be a lot easier on these forums =P

 

It also occurs to me that it is funny that people are hating on SOE for the subscription plan and also hating on them for the F2P business model in the same thread. SOE could cure cancer and there'd still be haters

--
psyconius Cthulhu
Gothika Studios

  BaronJuJu

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/04
Posts: 1827

"Just because it happens to you doesn''t make it interesting"

8/25/07 3:32:57 AM#13
Originally posted by Distaste

As for F2P. It has many issues that come along with it and I hope SOE can iron these out. I doubt that if you are paying for station pass you will have to make any of the microtransactions. You will probably given all the extra goodies upfront. Others however will have to pay to gain access.


I sure hope you are right. When I read the article, there was no comment of the Station Pass so it had me wondering.  I am going to keep an eye on this game, it looks really interesting. 

"If we don't attack them, they will attack us first. So we'd better retaliate before they have a chance to strike"

  Elda

Novice Member

Joined: 9/20/05
Posts: 343

8/25/07 5:46:54 AM#14

SOE would never introduce this system if they thought it would make less profit then the subscription based policy.

Why else would they change it, the system they have now works fine, right?

  Airspell

Novice Member

Joined: 3/05/07
Posts: 1405

8/25/07 5:52:21 AM#15

Originally posted by Elda

SOE would never introduce this system if they thought it would make less profit then the subscription based policy.

Why else would they change it, the system they have now works fine, right?

It does ? Vanguard, Matrix, Everquest, EQ 2, SWG, Planetside...... all-star round up of great p2p gaming :P   

 

  Mr.Wizard

Novice Member

Joined: 12/16/06
Posts: 245

8/25/07 9:02:38 AM#16

SOE should try this with SWG and VG, maybe than people can be convinced to give those crappy games a try lol

  BeowulfAgate

Novice Member

Joined: 3/18/04
Posts: 40

8/25/07 11:03:46 AM#17
Originally posted by BaronJuJu

So you are wanting folks paying the Station Pass, in addition to shell out money for the "velvet rope" access? 

 

You should really learn to read before you post, it's a F2P, no station pass will be required.

beowulfagate Xfire Miniprofile
  BeowulfAgate

Novice Member

Joined: 3/18/04
Posts: 40

8/25/07 11:10:53 AM#18

 

Originally posted by Fion

 

Originally posted by BeowulfAgate


 Hey EA, how about giving Earth and Beyond a real chance this time?  Hmmm, I feel another thread about to be deleted by EA on their forums.....

 

QFT!

I would love to see a F2P/Microtransaction based E&B come back. I really enjoyed that game. But it's EA, and they screw up everything (killing that game when it could really have easily been saved. Lesser companies with WAY less budget have saved other MMOGs that were even MORE on the ropes. Look at HORIZONS!) So it'll never happen.

It was well known that when EA acquired Westwood, they agreed to keep E&B running for 2 years.  Guess how long the game was up?  Almost exactly 2 years from the release.  EA had no interest in the game, they were after C&C.  This has been confirmed by both former WW employees and EA employees that I know.

 

 

If you miss E&B, there is a very active community behind developing an emulator.  Just google for it and you will find them.

 

EA has the worst forums, kept crashing and disconnecting me while I was making my post.  I think they knew what I was up to and were screwing with me.

beowulfagate Xfire Miniprofile
  BaronJuJu

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/04
Posts: 1827

"Just because it happens to you doesn''t make it interesting"

8/25/07 1:57:41 PM#19

 

Originally posted by BeowulfAgate
Originally posted by BaronJuJu

So you are wanting folks paying the Station Pass, in addition to shell out money for the "velvet rope" access? 

 

You should really learn to read before you post, it's a F2P, no station pass will be required.

 

/sigh ok, I'll make it simpler for you

Yes, I realize its F2p....however my comments were geared towards the microtransactions aspect of it.  I was commenting that it would be crazy to have a Station Pass along with having to pay on top of that for the "velvet rope" access. However a friend told me that Smedley commented late last year that Station Pass customers are considered part of the "Velvet rope" access. I'm going to try and track down the exact comment.*

Next time, make sure when you make corny remarks that you are at least timely about it. I wrote that yesterday and commented further on it.

PS - I would love to see E&B come back

 

*Edit found it here a CGW article from 2005 entitled "Online Evolution"

""In the meantime, Sony Online, is trying something slightly more radical. “We believe very strongly that the future of MMO gaming is not just subscription based. In fact,” says SOE president John Smedley, “we’re going to put our money where our mouth is when we release our next big game in the fall of 2006.” The idea behind the new mystery title is this: The game is free—no level restrictions, no retail release, no BS. Download it and you’re good to go. “However,” says Smedley, “there will be a velvet rope area. We’re toying with the idea of charging $4.99 a month for a few extra bank slots or places to hold things.” Lusting after that flashy new designer armor? SOE will provide the ability to purchase “cosmetic items,” and Station Exchange (SOE’s version of an MMO eBay) will be available on all game servers. Of course, those signing up for Station Access get behind that “velvet rope” as well.

"If we don't attack them, they will attack us first. So we'd better retaliate before they have a chance to strike"

  oman99

Novice Member

Joined: 10/29/06
Posts: 45

It is pitch dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

8/25/07 2:11:20 PM#20

Originally posted by Szark

 There's going to be an aftermarket, and we want to control it so that players don't get duped into having something switched out from them."

Read more here.

Smedley is going to control the aftermarket so that i don´t get duped???

This is the same guy that switched my SWG for the NGE, right? and HE is going to see to it that i don´t get duped.

I wonder what color the sky is in his world.

 

 

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