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

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172 posts found
  Vesavius

Old School

Joined: 3/08/04
Posts: 7493

Players come for the game, but they stay for the people- Most Devs have forgotten this.

11/01/12 1:29:44 PM#41
Originally posted by eyelolled
Originally posted by Vesavius
Originally posted by Lobotomist

How can a MMO justify subscription ?

 

An MMO justifies a sub *exactly* the same way it justifies a cash shop. For ongoing monetization.

Once you wake up to that, the only real conversation to be had is how do you like your money to be taken off you... via a transparent and easy to monitor sub that promotes PLAY to achieve, as well as being better for core design and social development, *or* via a cloaked stealth low value PAY to achieve cash shop that preys on the addicted and vulnerable and has terrible effects on core game design and produces a transient uncommited playerbase.

 

Games need to make profit, that's a given, but it's impossible (and stupid tbh) to criticise a sub for this and then support cash shops. You simply cannot question the sub and support the shop- they both exist to the same ends, it is just one delivers a more honest and open way of doing it. If you challenge one to justify itself then you need to challenge both.

 

You title really should have been 'How can a MMO justify ongoing monetisation?'

 

If you are proposing *just* buy to play (with no cash shop) then that's a different argument. I would love a true B2P play to achieve MMORPG with no cash shop that uses such exploitative tricks as RNG boxes and whatever to deliver content. Know any?

I find it funny that you consider a subscription as a more honest way while I consider a more dishonest way.  I think the latter is the most honest.  

 

That's cool, I obviously do not agree but you can see it whatever way you want, but it is kinda derailing the thread to pick up and focus on that one word though here. I would be happy to debate this in another thread :)

  strangiato2112

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 9/21/12
Posts: 1566

11/01/12 1:29:52 PM#42
Originally posted by Lobotomist

 

 

 

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 ?

 

 

[mod edit]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_video_games_to_develop

not sure how accurate that is, but lets look at the costliest game on that list, GTA4.  100 million budget.  It sold over 6 million units its first week and grossed over 500 mil in revenue.  In week 1.

 

Rockstar also didnt have to buy expensive servers to host everyone online, or hire a large CS team.  They dont have to deal with securing people's information or any of that.

 

bottom line = non MMOs *are* cheaper, and they sell much, much, much, much better.

(note:  I know only one MMO is on that list, but we know that MMO budgets can top 100 mil and I would say the average AAA budget is somewhere around 50 mil these days, whereas the average game budget is closer to 30 mil)

  Torvaldr

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 6110

11/01/12 1:32:26 PM#43
Originally posted by Aelious
Eyelolled

I think "more honest" means "more upfront" regarding just having subs. As someone that used to hate anything but sub I have seen the additional people F2P brings and think a freemium/sub option is the best of both worlds.

Except none of the subscription services offer the full meal deal just for the subscription.  The closest is EVE which sells ISK and that definitely affects the game.  All the rest charge a sub plus microtransactions of some sort to supplement the income.  They sell Collector Edition upgrades, mounts, fluff, leveling power packs (this is often as the pre-purchase bonus), and such.  They just don't sell as much that way as a full F2P or B2P game does.  So it's not more upfront and honest.  It's more double dipping to get the entire game experience.

If publishers used the Lineage model where you get it all for the sub then I might still sub.  But they don't and they double dip.  I find that less than upfront and honest.

After seeing the additional people that P2P brings I don't see much difference in the communities between different payment models.  Different games yes, different payment models? No.

Curse you AquaScum!

  User Deleted
11/01/12 1:33:02 PM#44
Originally posted by krage

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).

Plus its been statistically proven that unless you are WoW, subsciptions are a deterrent to increasing players.  An Triple A MMO that has 300K subscrptions has potential to  garner twice that many players if the game was F2P.  The issue is game studios who invest millions of dollars want guareteed return on their investment (subscriptions) even at the expense of profitablity that comes with a more lucrative but non specific payment model (F2P). 

 

Until studios are willing to forgo the paradigms of old, subscription services will remain the defacto payment model.

  Phry

Elite Member

Joined: 7/01/04
Posts: 5517

11/01/12 1:38:15 PM#45
Originally posted by Torvaldr
Originally posted by Phry
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...

 

no offense mate, but i wouldnt touch a company that did that, the reduction in game quality would be horrendous, not to mention the decreased security inherent in cloud applications which you appear to have 'ignored' never mind that such things are not suitable for MMO's, in fact i question whether you are as you represent yourself to be, as you appear to have very little knowledge of what the 'cloud' actually is. so, i challenge you to name the game company you claim is doing this.

He never explicitly said game company.  He was using an internet company example where they get 180 million + hits per day using their bandwidth.  The point is to illustrate that bandwidth costs and hardware costs are not where a majority of expense is at.

The whole "cloud has poorer security" is laughable at best.  They're all internet facing servers.  The security of any of that depends on who is running it.  Are you really going to posit that SoE, NCSoft, Turbine, Funcom, and others really have better security than Microsoft, Google, or Amazon among other major cloud players?  Please do support that argument with some facts.

Are you also trying to claim that game companies don't ever use hosted solutions?  Are you also going to say that those who do run their own servers do so with better uptime, less latency, and better performance?  Because all those are walking into a minefield.  You can't paint any of that with a broad stroked brush.

One of the few things we can assert as fact is that more powerful hardware and bandwidth costs are cheaper than they have ever been.  The most expensive cost in providing bandwidth would likely be the game download which is often outsourced to download providers and services like Steam, Pando, etc.

cloud servers also charge by the gb in terms of useage too, i'd love to see how having 180 million users only costs 16k a month..  as for cloud apps etc being secure, its well known that their not, which is why business' keep the core of their resources etc, on their own servers, 'farming out'  or 'outsourcing' things to the cloud is usually relegated to 'none mission critical' applications or resources, purely for that reason. But thats purely from a business point of view.. gamers of course are far less critical of security issues in the games that they play

  Phry

Elite Member

Joined: 7/01/04
Posts: 5517

11/01/12 1:40:59 PM#46
Originally posted by Torvaldr
Originally posted by Aelious
Eyelolled

I think "more honest" means "more upfront" regarding just having subs. As someone that used to hate anything but sub I have seen the additional people F2P brings and think a freemium/sub option is the best of both worlds.

Except none of the subscription services offer the full meal deal just for the subscription.  The closest is EVE which sells ISK and that definitely affects the game.  All the rest charge a sub plus microtransactions of some sort to supplement the income.  They sell Collector Edition upgrades, mounts, fluff, leveling power packs (this is often as the pre-purchase bonus), and such.  They just don't sell as much that way as a full F2P or B2P game does.  So it's not more upfront and honest.  It's more double dipping to get the entire game experience.

If publishers used the Lineage model where you get it all for the sub then I might still sub.  But they don't and they double dip.  I find that less than upfront and honest.

After seeing the additional people that P2P brings I don't see much difference in the communities between different payment models.  Different games yes, different payment models? No.

Just to point something out btw, Eve does not sell ISK, they sell plex's for real money, the player then has to negotiate with other players to buy that plex for isk, which is why the market for plex's fluctuates so wildly, but the point is, is that CCP only sell game time, what players do with that game time, is a seperate issue entirely.

  Torvaldr

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 6110

11/01/12 1:41:29 PM#47
Originally posted by Zylaxx
Originally posted by krage

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).

Plus its been statistically proven that unless you are WoW, subsciptions are a deterrent to increasing players.  An Triple A MMO that has 300K subscrptions has potential to  garner twice that many players if the game was F2P.  The issue is game studios who invest millions of dollars want guareteed return on their investment (subscriptions) even at the expense of profitablity that comes with a more lucrative but non specific payment model (F2P). 

Until studios are willing to forgo the paradigms of old, subscription services will remain the defacto payment model.

I'm curious how this will work itself out because I feel the same way.  If RIFT had been $60 as a B2P game I would purchase it in a heartbeat.  The same is true for some other P2P games.

They have the potential to increase their active player base but it seems they're shooting themselves in the foot.  But maybe not.  If they only care about how much they make off of box sales and the subs are just more revenue cushion then they might only be calculating off of their box revenue hoping to catch those who buy the box and sub for a month and then move on.  In essence they've captured about $75 per player in revenue ($60 box + $15 for one month) with minimal loss.

I think it won't work out that way for them in the long run, but right now they can work that angle.

Curse you AquaScum!

  strangiato2112

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 9/21/12
Posts: 1566

11/01/12 1:42:12 PM#48
Originally posted by Zylaxx

Plus its been statistically proven that unless you are WoW, subsciptions are a deterrent to increasing players.  An Triple A MMO that has 300K subscrptions has potential to  garner twice that many players if the game was F2P.  The issue is game studios who invest millions of dollars want guareteed return on their investment (subscriptions) even at the expense of profitablity that comes with a more lucrative but non specific payment model (F2P). 

 

Until studios are willing to forgo the paradigms of old, subscription services will remain the defacto payment model.

I have yet to see a quality game wthout a sub option..  GW2 is too new to tell if their model has long term viability.  Everything else either has a sub option or is of poor quality.  I do not think this is coincidence.

 

  Reas43

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/27/11
Posts: 308

11/01/12 1:43:20 PM#49

I HAPPILY pay a monthly sub for good ongoing customer support.  Live Support, GMs in game, rapid resolution of problems on top of the usuals. 

 

I've played F2P and B2P (LOL) titles and - you get what you pay for.

  krage

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/22/11
Posts: 416

11/01/12 1:44:56 PM#50

Some responses in this thread are implying the OP wants games to be AAA quality and free. I dont get that conclusion from the OP...rather the OP (from my interpretation of it) questions if subs at their current rate ($15) PLUS initial box sale, PLUS expansion sales, PLUS Cash shop are fair to us as the consumer.

I think subs can be a great thing, but are currently not being put to good use for us as consumers (imo). This is understandable from the company point of view since they will try to get as much as they can to maximizing profits.

With that said we as educated consumers shouldn't settle for this business model since the subscription that we pay isnt for all the services. Instead they stack on all the other BS charges.

IMO if I buy the game, and pay 15 a month or more I shouldnt have to pay for name changes, server transfers, cash shop items that should be in game, apperance changes, or anything else these companies try to tack. If I do have to pay for those services what else does my subscription go to?

Bad trend in these sub games are the treadmills to justify subscriptions, it kills gameplay to build a hamster wheel. Wouldnt you much rather have a game company use your subs to develop new content consistently rather than fake it by gating content through gear grinds, or "dailies/Rep" grinds?

  Phry

Elite Member

Joined: 7/01/04
Posts: 5517

11/01/12 1:45:58 PM#51
Originally posted by strangiato2112
Originally posted by Zylaxx

Plus its been statistically proven that unless you are WoW, subsciptions are a deterrent to increasing players.  An Triple A MMO that has 300K subscrptions has potential to  garner twice that many players if the game was F2P.  The issue is game studios who invest millions of dollars want guareteed return on their investment (subscriptions) even at the expense of profitablity that comes with a more lucrative but non specific payment model (F2P). 

 

Until studios are willing to forgo the paradigms of old, subscription services will remain the defacto payment model.

I have yet to see a quality game wthout a sub option..  GW2 is too new to tell if their model has long term viability.  Everything else either has a sub option or is of poor quality.  I do not think this is coincidence.

 

While Arenanets B2P model is admirable, it remains to be see if its viable, when the game has been running for a year, then we'll get a far better idea of how well its working out for them, a measure of which will probably be what items appear in the cash shop, how much they cost, and when they appear in the cash shop.

  eyelolled

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/13/10
Posts: 3101

I am more than some of my parts

11/01/12 1:48:51 PM#52
Originally posted by killion81
Originally posted by eyelolled
Originally posted by Vesavius
Originally posted by Lobotomist

How can a MMO justify subscription ?

 

An MMO justifies a sub *exactly* the same way it justifies a cash shop. For ongoing monetization.

Once you wake up to that, the only real conversation to be had is how do you like your money to be taken off you... via a transparent and easy to monitor sub that promotes PLAY to achieve, as well as being better for core design and social development, *or* via a cloaked stealth low value PAY to achieve cash shop that preys on the addicted and vulnerable and has terrible effects on core game design and produces a transient uncommited playerbase.

 

Games need to make profit, that's a given, but it's impossible (and stupid tbh) to criticise a sub for this and then support cash shops. You simply cannot question the sub and support the shop- they both exist to the same ends, it is just one delivers a more honest and open way of doing it. If you challenge one to justify itself then you need to challenge both.

 

You title really should have been 'How can a MMO justify ongoing monetisation?'

 

If you are proposing *just* buy to play (with no cash shop) then that's a different argument. I would love a true B2P play to achieve MMORPG with no cash shop that uses such exploitative tricks as RNG boxes and whatever to deliver content. Know any?

 

I find it funny that you consider a subscription as a more honest way while I consider a more dishonest way.  Let me give you an example from a different context.

A "land" needs money to operate. There are roads to be built, and garbage to be removed and wages for people that do the work keeping the infrastructure going. The way they receive money to pay for this is through taxes, and there are two main ways to collect.

The first way is to impose a standard tax on each individual at a set rate. This seems fair however the person that has lots of money hardly notices while the person that has little notices heavily. There are more people that have little money then there are people that have lots, so a majority of people are burdened while a few don't even notice.

The other way is to impose a sales tax. This tax can be positioned to only be applied to non-vital goods and services. The people that have little money purchase little and therefore are taxed little, where as the people that are rich can purchase alot and therefore are taxed alot. Nobody has to spend money they don't want to, and nobody is burdened beyond their means.

Either system can be corrupted by how the revenue is handled, so you can't say that one system is actually more corrupt than the other, but in the income tax system the poor carry the weight, while in the sales tax system the rich carry the wieght. I think the latter is the most honest.

 

Subscription models is very similar to an income tax system, Everybody pays, the poor carry the burden or can't play.  In the F2P w CS model, the rich pay and the poor can still enjoy the game. Once again, I think the latter is the most honest.  

 

Are you really suggesting that a game studio would or should be concerned with the total household income of their subscribers?  $15 for an entire month of potential entertainment is one of the best deals out there, as far as entertainment expenses go.  If anything, they are doing a favor for the "poor".  If these "poor" people can afford a computer adequate to run the MMORPG and the monthly costs of an internet connection, they can handle the $15 per month sub cost.  Even if they can't, no one is forcing them to pay.  People with guns force you to pay taxes.

Actually a game studio or any business needs to pay attention to the total household income of all of it's clients, but that's not the point I'm trying to get across.

The cash shop operates like a sales tax system where the revenue to maintain the game is provided by people that can afford to spend money on frivilous things. Everybody can play, the people that can afford to are the ones that support it.

The subscription model makes everybody pay the costs of maintaining the game. Only the people that can justify the expense can play.

And you have no right to determine what someone else should consider a sizeable amount of money, so your perception of what is a good deal is really only a perception of what is a good deal for you.  

 

@ Aelious

I guess I was looking at "honest" more along the lines of "fair", I didn't mean to imply that subscriptions were dishonest as such.

 

@ Vesavius

"That's cool, I obviously do not agree but you can see it whatever way you want, but it is kinda derailing the thread to pick up and focus on that one word though here. I would be happy to debate this in another thread :) "

I apologize, I didn't mean to focus on "honest" and I misrepresented that.  As I stated above, I was using the term "honest" as fair and shouldn't have put it in the context that I did.

All of my posts are either intelligent, thought provoking, funny, satirical, sarcastic or intentionally disrespectful. Take your pick.

I enjoy the serenity of not caring what your opinion is.

  Kyleran

Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 19496

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

11/01/12 1:51:20 PM#53
Originally posted by Zylaxx
Originally posted by krage

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).

Plus its been statistically proven that unless you are WoW, subsciptions are a deterrent to increasing players.  An Triple A MMO that has 300K subscrptions has potential to  garner twice that many players if the game was F2P.  The issue is game studios who invest millions of dollars want guareteed return on their investment (subscriptions) even at the expense of profitablity that comes with a more lucrative but non specific payment model (F2P)

 

Until studios are willing to forgo the paradigms of old, subscription services will remain the defacto payment model.

Are we really sure F2P models are  more lucrative?  Under what circumstances, does it matter?  Perhaps if one makes a bad MMORPG, then they are more lucrative, but if one were to make a good (or at least popular) MMORPG then subs would make sense?

I've found almost without exception most F2P titles (that start out that way) have design characteristics that I strongly dislike, therefore I challenge the notion that F2P is the best way to build a game, unless of course perhaps if money is the only consideration.

And what about a person like me?  I'm willing to pay not only a single sub fee, but 3, 4 or even 5, should companies totally disregard my preferred payment mpdel in order to chase the dream of the "big rocks" spenders that F2P games sometimes rope in?

Perhaps the OP's question should be rephrased, can a company afford to release a quality MMORPG with only a single payment model ) or should they offer alternatives right from the start  to service all customer's preferences.

One might argue that ANET are geniuses with their B2P model, but by not offering any sort of subscription model (some sort of extra services for a regular monthly fee) they're leaving money on the table and its not smart business normally to do so.

 

Arrogant, Condescending, Dismissive, Elitist, "Meany", you speak as if these are bad things?
"People can do with their money what they want. But... that doesn't make it smart" - COORS
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  radagast777

Novice Member

Joined: 8/15/11
Posts: 82

11/01/12 1:52:05 PM#54
profit
  strangiato2112

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 9/21/12
Posts: 1566

11/01/12 1:52:50 PM#55
Originally posted by krage

Some responses in this thread are implying the OP wants games to be AAA quality and free. 

Thats pretty much exactly what he is saying.  Well, maybe not free, but B2P.  Which has yet to be proven as something that is feasible.  

  deamian

Novice Member

Joined: 5/12/12
Posts: 66

11/01/12 2:00:45 PM#56

They can justify it because unlike most other genres when the game hits release the amount of customer service just compounds. I do not agree with the price however of most subs. They have a kung fu grip on the 15$ when it could easily be 7$ and would encourage a bit more healthy competition affording many more people to sub to a few "Triple A" games. I loosely use that term now a days :)

 

Not all games from other genres fit the description but you often see 1) game released 2) Dev team cut in half or less and those let go move on to other projects, and may or may not be called back for sequel or other content.

  i_evil_i

Novice Member

Joined: 11/08/10
Posts: 13

11/01/12 2:01:15 PM#57

How can a MMO justify subscription ?

 

If said MMO requires the customer to pay the following:

-box price for the game

 

And if said MMO:

-includes a cash shop.

 

It is simple in my opinion...they can't justify a subscription.

 

AND...

For those of you claiming the B2P model has not yet been proven with GW2, please take a look at GW1. Same basic sales model used all the way back then.

It was a succes for Anet then...and they have built GW2 on the same basic principals.

Anet has shown that an MMO gaming company doesn't need to be excessively greedy to come out ahead and be profitable with their sales model.

 

 

  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 5217

11/01/12 2:04:41 PM#58
 

There is a mentality that stems from GW2 that seems to be spreading. And that is something for nothing. It's true that in GW2, you can buy the game and log in and play and get everything you need from gold earned i nthe game. But those of you who post over and over that Sub fess are a rip off, are in fact trying to get something for nothing. I'm not saying you are wrong because GW2 is set up that way. But the reality is, someone has to pay it. And your mentality is "As long as someone else pays for it, I' happy" So, your ability to get what you want from GW2 comes from other people's money. From an individual point of view (Yours) it's a great deal, but it cannot reflect the whole playerbase. Someone's got to pay. So as a revenue model for an entire playerbase, It's up to a minority to cover the cost of the whole. In the same sense you claim the Subs are a rip off. GW2 is ripping off these people. Stop coming in here and sayiing Sub fees are a rip off because you found a method that works best for you as an individual. Because it doesn't work that way for the entire playerbase.

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.

  DeniZg

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/29/12
Posts: 586

11/01/12 2:09:11 PM#59

IMHO, the only MMO which had justifiable subscription was TBC WoW. It had huge playerbase, steady and moderately difficult progression of gear and content, good BG's, arena and world PVP in Nagrand....you name it, TBC WoW had it. Ah, the good times.

 

  krage

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/22/11
Posts: 416

11/01/12 2:16:53 PM#60
Originally posted by strangiato2112
Originally posted by krage

Some responses in this thread are implying the OP wants games to be AAA quality and free. 

Thats pretty much exactly what he is saying.  Well, maybe not free, but B2P.  Which has yet to be proven as something that is feasible.  

OPs question from the post itself:

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

Are we being ripped of (sic)?"

The answer to his question varies based on peoples personal opinion, however some are misinterpreting the question still.

As for B2P it has done fairly well with GW1, and so far GW2 is doing well...the biggest hope from B2P for us as the consumer is that it rewards responsible devs who have to create content faster with good quality in order to sell and sustain itself...like MMO ala carte you only pay for things you want and not just generalized garbage made for a broad audience.

Personally I think there should be a B2P standard with enhanced subcription options. B2P with cash shop gateways to content that rewards players and subscription players who get access to the content at a stable and discounted price. One size never fits all :D

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