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

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  Lobotomist

Elite Member

Joined: 5/20/07
Posts: 4841

I got so much trouble on my mind Refuse to lose.

 
OP  11/01/12 10:43:10 AM#1

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

 

 

  vgamer

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/27/11
Posts: 153

11/01/12 10:49:26 AM#2
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

 

 

You don't really need to ask. It's to keep the profit steady and the shareholders happy.

 

Oh, btw value is perceived differently. For example, I think to some people, burning money in the litteral sense can be of extreme value if you're freezing to death/extremely rich. It just depends on what people perceive to be worth their money. And it's a good way to help someone get rid of his cash...

 

  krage

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/22/11
Posts: 415

11/01/12 10:50:23 AM#3

Agree 100% that there really is little to no justification for subs now.

 

The only actual customer value that should come from subs is free expansions, patches, and no cash shop....plus solid customer support and active GMs enforcing community "laws" including the possibilityof frequent live GM/Dynamic events.

 

Instead people get served 60 dollar game purchase, sub fee, expansion purchases, and a cash shop to add insult to injury (of the wallet).

  rungard

Novice Member

Joined: 7/25/03
Posts: 1037

The Sandbox Foundation does not exist!

11/01/12 10:51:10 AM#4

while i dont think 15 bucks a month is a ripoff for any game you really like, if you factor in the hours of enjoyment, i do think that some subscriptions are more justified than others.

for inststance i see the SOE all access pass as starting to become a fantastic deal if you buy in for the year..

  • Bullet Run™ (PC)
  • Free Realms® (PC and Mac)
  • Star Wars®: Clone Wars Adventures™ Jedi™ Membership (PC and Mac)
  • DC Universe™ Online - Legendary Membership (PC)
  • EverQuest® (PC and Mac)
  • EverQuest® II - Gold Membership (PC)
  • Pirates of the Burning Sea® – Captain's Club Membership (PC)
  • Vanguard: Saga of Heroes®
  • PlanetSide®

and look whats coming out:

dragon Prophet

planetside 2

Everquest Next (eventually)

 

thats a good deal for 15 a month (if you buy the year pass).

 

 

  ragz45

Novice Member

Joined: 5/01/08
Posts: 482

11/01/12 10:51:54 AM#5

Your forgetting the monthly cost of bandwith (which is huge), cost of CSR, cost of IT & security guys, etc etc.

Also it depends on the studio.  Some studio's take that $15 a month and just bank it, while you as a player never see a return for it.  Some studio's like Trion actually view their game as a ongoing service, and you get quite a bit for your hard earned money.  You can't really generalize all studio's together in this instance.

  Zzad

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/14/11
Posts: 1296

11/01/12 10:53:40 AM#6

After GW2 a lot of PTP MMos are going to struggle to justify that payment.

Only recent MMO i trully believe they invest the money they get back into the game is RIFT.

  Myria

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/07/09
Posts: 547

11/01/12 10:55:58 AM#7
Originally posted by Lobotomist

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

Define "dime a dozen" in real-world monthly cost to rent a server farm terms. (Hint: It's non-trivial, no matter how much you want to pretend otherwise)

Since when is licensing an engine free?

Honestly, there's no point to going on. You haven't provided an ounce of analysis, just a bunch of hand waving that ignores anything that might dispute the point you wish to make.

  rygard49

Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/11
Posts: 985

11/01/12 11:02:54 AM#8

Games are elective entertainment. It's not a critical, everyday, must have object like gas or food, so there's no such thing as price gouging. They apply a value to it, and if you agree with that value and want access to their product, you pay. If not, you don't. If the customer is willing to pay a subscription fee on top of a box price, then that's justification enough for the sub.

Bottom line, if you don't want to pay the sub, don't play the game.

  CalmOceans

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/06/11
Posts: 1860

11/01/12 11:04:39 AM#9

P2P also stops gold farmers and hackers (often the same people) to some extent.

I don't like Guild War's model at all.

They live from the upfront cost of buying the game and then making fast money through the cash shop. People ask why GW2 servers are dying so fast...well...why wouldn't it, it's a game with the major profits upfront.

Guild Wars 2 has a fast leveling process, because the developer claim that's what they wanted? Really? As far as I'm concerned it's because of how the game monetizes, GW type games live from the upfront cost, they make all the money in the beginning from the game / collector's edition / and the few weeks after that when tons of people spending money on their cash shop.

 

 

Games in the past used to have to prove them over years with P2P.

Now the game carries a heavy upfront cost, has a heavy upfront revenue stream through the cash shop which exploits the leveling process, and after that..who knows..maybe the developer will still care about the game, but that's unlikely when the have 90% of their revenue already.

 

I hear this all the time with Guild Wars 2, people always said "I buy the game once and I don't have to worry about paying anything anymore". That's great, so why would the developer care about you after you have given them the money, I mean you're done paying so.....the content is over, go PVP a bit in some arena where they don't need to make content.

  Caldrin

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/02/04
Posts: 4213

11/01/12 11:20:54 AM#10
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

MMOS dont run on small servers than can host 30 people... they tend to be very powerfull servers and usually more than one per MMO server. So no they are not cheap to run and maintain. You then have bandwidth costs on top of that for somthing like an MMO this can cost a bit as well.

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

Well you still need to buy the rights to an engine if you want access to the source code so you can make big changes to the way the engine works. Without source code you basically have to stick with what you get and thatwould lead to a load of games playing very similar.. Getting a full license for the source code for some engines is very expensive.. Cryengine for example is rumored to be in the millions.

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

Wages tend to be higher today than they did years ago so development can cost a lot, all those 3d artists you need, world designers, game designers programmers and so on do not come cheap. Also buying in all the software and hardware for the people to make the game on is not cheap either.. Then a company usually have to think about pensions and other worker benefits, building running costs yadda yadda.. you get the point.

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

Develops need to get paid as well, most MMOPGS i have played have had small updates now and then with paid for exp packs or in Eves and darkfalls case free exp packs.

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

Paying for all the above and of course the company is in existance to do one main thing.. yes thats right make money.

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

Thats why i tend not to play themepark games and only play sandbox type games.. i dont liek themeparks MMORPGs anyway.

 

My 3D models
http://dragon3d.webs.com/

  Phry

Elite Member

Joined: 7/01/04
Posts: 5342

11/01/12 11:22:59 AM#11
Originally posted by Myria
Originally posted by Lobotomist

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

Define "dime a dozen" in real-world monthly cost to rent a server farm terms. (Hint: It's non-trivial, no matter how much you want to pretend otherwise)

Since when is licensing an engine free?

Honestly, there's no point to going on. You haven't provided an ounce of analysis, just a bunch of hand waving that ignores anything that might dispute the point you wish to make.

Thats the problem really, people seem to want everything for free, and forget that just running a game, takes resources, which arent cheap, and frankly, any decrease in the server side resources will always result in a game that is easier to hack, and frequenty is.. 

  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 4896

11/01/12 11:24:03 AM#12
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

 

 

It may be true that individual servers the game world(s) reside on can be brought up and taken down on an as needed basis with little cost because they are Virtual Machines. Those VMs still need to be hosted somewhere. And VM farms have to reside on robust hardware. Setting up this type of system isn't cheap, it's just cost effective. It allows the publishers to add and remove the game's servers a lot more efficiently, but what makes you think it costs little to maintain?

Where did this idea that hosting remote software is cheap? I've seen everyone throw that statement around lately with no factual evidence. No sample pricing. no nothing to back it up. 

@OP, do you know what the cost is involved with running a data center? Even if it's leased out, someone's got to host it and still make money on top of it. There is no free lunch here. 

It's the sad state of the genre. The next big title has as many threads discussing issues with it's business model than issues with the game itself.

  Phry

Elite Member

Joined: 7/01/04
Posts: 5342

11/01/12 11:31:35 AM#13
Originally posted by GeezerGamer
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

 

 

It may be true that individual servers the game world(s) reside on can be brought up and taken down on an as needed basis with little cost because they are Virtual Machines. Those VMs still need to be hosted somewhere. And VM farms have to reside on robust hardware. Setting up this type of system isn't cheap, it's just cost effective. It allows the publishers to add and remove the game's servers a lot more efficiently, but what makes you think it costs little to maintain?

im still laughing about Eve, the guy seriously thinks that the only reason its not F2P is because of PVP balancing issues.. wut... obviously has no idea how much a server cluster costs, bearing in mind that CCP recently just upgraded their hardware, at no small expense but i can imagine it wasnt just a 'few quid' and when necessary, probably within the next year, will no doubt have to buy new servers etc yet again.. but thats okay, because their cheap right..  the guy seriously has no conception of what it takes to operate an MMO, even one with a 'relatively' small playerbase.. 

  Jaedor

Elite Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 963

11/01/12 11:32:05 AM#14

I have no problem paying $15/mo for a subscription to a good game.

People still have to get paid. Devs, CSRs, techs, suits. Salaries have remained the same or increased in the industry and some costs have increased as well. Yet the price of a sub hasn't changed in years, and often is discounted if you subscribe for a longer term.

There is nothing else in the world I can buy for $15 that provides as much entertainment.

  bcbully

Elite Member

Joined: 3/03/12
Posts: 7329

11/01/12 11:32:59 AM#15

OP, With great game play, great content, and services like, customer service, character restores, and bot/hack control. 

 

From what I've seen, I don't like the way cash shops are built into the fabric of subless games.

When I eat chocolate chip pie it just doesn't feel like chocolate chip cookies. The texture, the consistency, it's just not the same and this is disappointing.

  Yamota

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/05/03
Posts: 6521

"I fight so you don't have to."

11/01/12 11:36:11 AM#16

1 and 4. Servers do cost money to keep up at 24h/day and support staff in case of issues.

Also you are assuming that no content updates can be done on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. It can and has been done in many MMOs altough lately it seems not as much as you expect.

So assuming that content is constantly added to a game I can justify a monthly subscriptions for an MMO.

  FrodoFragins

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/29/10
Posts: 2775

11/01/12 11:37:07 AM#17

Because they can.

 

When you look at how much money WOW pulls in from subs and look at the amount of content updates, things don't really gel.  It's a license to print them money.  They've never increased their content production based on a massive increase in subs.

 

Games like Rift really need those subs in order to keep cranking out content.

  strangiato2112

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 9/21/12
Posts: 1566

11/01/12 11:39:31 AM#18
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

 

 

I think you severely underestimate developer salaries, it technician salaries, cs salaries, and the benefits for all those.

  revy66

Novice Member

Joined: 11/12/10
Posts: 470

11/01/12 11:41:20 AM#19
Because it happens and they can do it. But more importantly they also charge for expansions, for shame!! My favourite sub model will always be EVE.
  User Deleted
11/01/12 11:42:05 AM#20

On staff, real life GM's that are available to resolve issue.  F2P or B2P are forced to use automated systems to detect problems (i.e., bits - ahem, GW2...).  I'll pay a sub for GW2 if they can hire some live people to ban those chumps.

Or, in RIFT's case - they treat their subscribers as if it's a 'service' not just a game, and the content they put out is proof.  

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