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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » How long do you think the subscription model will last?

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130 posts found
  Pratt2112

Elite Member

Joined: 2/12/12
Posts: 1394

12/27/12 7:04:44 PM#41

Part of the reason people don't find sub-based MMOs worth it in many cases is simply because the game isn't good enough to them to warrant paying one.

Part of the problem, however, also lies in the way MMOs are developed these days. Once upon a time, they were developed in a way that players could be kept occupied and entertained over a long period of time. Months, or even years could be put into a MMO with players still not having seen or done everything the game offered.

Content had to be worked at. Levels weren't "earned" at break-neck speeds, and no one - or at least very few people believed "level cap is where the real game starts", or that "end game is all that matters".

The problem is you have two conflicting things at work here.

On one hand, you have people who demand content to come quickly, levels to pass by swiftly and for end-game to be achievable within a very short amount of time - as little as a couple weeks, even days in some cases.

In getting to level cap/end game as fast as possible, people tend to pass up a majority of the content available to them, because  per their "end game is all that matters" mindset, everything prior to "the end" is just "useless filler".

This leaves them with the "end-game content", which accounts for maybe 10-20% of the entire game, but is the only part many consider "most important" or "meaningful".

Because people demand gear, xp and progression to come quickly, they burn through that 10-20% of content that constitutes the end-game, and before long, find themselves sitting around wondering why there isn't more to do, waiting on "those lame developers" to get them new content, so they can burn through that and end up right back in the same situation.

What you end up with is a lot of people getting to end-game, and completing all the content the game offers within a month, maybe a little more... and finding there's nothing more to do (ignoring or dismissing the 80-90% of content they ignored on the way up).

Then they complain about subscriptions not being worth it.

The problem is a cyclical one. One problem feeds back into the other, continuously.

As long as gamers demand everything come "fast fast fast, now now now", insist on basing their entire experience on the small part that comes at "the end", and refuse to slow down and partake in more of what the game offers... no MMO will ever be worth a sub to those people, because they will have done everything they're interested in before the first month is even up.

 

It has to be a two part solution...

1. Developers have got to stop catering to the "I want end-game NOW!" crowd. They have to stop being afraid to require people to earn that progress, instead of handing it out on a silver platter.

2. Players have to change the way they approach these games, as well as what they expect from them. They have to stop putting all their focus on "getting to end-game" at the expense of all else, and start to regard Level Cap as something they'll get to "eventually". They have to start participating in MMORPGs as a long-term hobby, not a short term "race to the finish line".

There's a reason why no MMO can keep many players entertained for long, why they hop from one new game to the next, from one month to the next. It's because so many MMOs now are designed to rush the player through "to the end", and it's because the players insist on playing them that way.

Conversely, there's a reason many older MMOs keep people playing as long as they do, and sustain subscriptions even over a decade into their service in some cases... It's because they're designed as long-term hobbies, not as short-term races to the end.

In my opinion, we can get back to a point where MMOs are considered worth a nominal monthly fee to more people. However, it's going to require parties on both sides of the fence to make some changes in the how these games are designed, and in how they're played. As long as both remain the same, nothing will change.

 

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17876

12/27/12 7:06:23 PM#42
Originally posted by Cecropia
Originally posted by Sovrath

Well that's not exactly true is it? Aion, with it's "totally free" f2p model wasn't able to make the money that the company wanted. I think companies are going to realize that this model isn't going to generate a sustained income and will start throwing in anything and evertyhing to make a buck. At what point will the Pay to win items make an entrance? Real pay to win items that is.

My thought is that there is going to come a time when companies are going to require more money than "whales" can deliver.

 

Oh I think you're absolutely correct.

These "whales" are not going to be enough to keep these games alive in the long run. As they move on, they're going to leave one hell of a mess of dead titles in their wakes.

The next few years are going to be quite interesting to observe as things level out and evolve.

I even think that at some point, someone in some company is going to look at all the "others" in these games and realize that more people are there completley for free game time. They are then going to see money left on the table and might even enact some sort of additional fee(s). Small perhaps but this is just the start of it.

  FARGIN_WAR

Novice Member

Joined: 12/19/12
Posts: 169

12/27/12 7:10:36 PM#43
Originally posted by niceguy3978
As far as I know only SWTOR, TOR and DCUO abandoned their sub model "within months."  This is a bit of hyperbole.

And did so by being launched as incredibly linear, instance filled shit fests. If you sell a poor product for more than customers feel it is worth, they simply will not continue to pay. This has no bearing on the quality of the pricing plan but of the property being sold.

 

If you don’t do stupid things while you’re young, you’ll have nothing to smile about when you’re old.

  Pratt2112

Elite Member

Joined: 2/12/12
Posts: 1394

12/27/12 7:10:38 PM#44
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by Cecropia
Originally posted by Sovrath

Well that's not exactly true is it? Aion, with it's "totally free" f2p model wasn't able to make the money that the company wanted. I think companies are going to realize that this model isn't going to generate a sustained income and will start throwing in anything and evertyhing to make a buck. At what point will the Pay to win items make an entrance? Real pay to win items that is.

My thought is that there is going to come a time when companies are going to require more money than "whales" can deliver.

 

Oh I think you're absolutely correct.

These "whales" are not going to be enough to keep these games alive in the long run. As they move on, they're going to leave one hell of a mess of dead titles in their wakes.

The next few years are going to be quite interesting to observe as things level out and evolve.

I even think that at some point, someone in some company is going to look at all the "others" in these games and realize that more people are there completley for free game time. They are then going to see money left on the table and might even enact some sort of additional fee(s). Small perhaps but this is just the start of it.

Lineage 2 has already passed that point. Their cash shop now is such a blatant cash grab, it's ridiculous. It's like NCSoft isn't even trying to hide it anymore.

Turbine has actively been experimenting in that regard, too, with things like the $50 "hobby horse" they listed on the test server... to "test the waters", as they put it. They're clearly looking to see how much people are wlling to pay, so they can start increasing the cost of cash shop items accordingly. To their credit, most players lashed back at Turbine for even considering it.

  RedJorge

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/07/11
Posts: 106

Sheldon Cooper: Leonard, be serious. We're playing a game here. (Big Bang Theory)

12/27/12 7:14:38 PM#45
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by Renton81

 

 

I personally think MMO's should work the way Guild Wars 2 did. One time payment and that gives you access to the game.

you forgot to add "with cash shop"

And with extra payment to buy the access to extra expansions.

Leonard: Penny, you are on fire.
Penny: Yes, so is Sheldon.
[laughs]
Sheldon: Okay, that's it. I don't know how, but she is cheating. No-one can be that attractive and this skilled at a video game.
[walks away]
Penny: Wait, wait. Sheldon. Come back, you forgot something.
Sheldon: What?
Penny: This plasma grenade.
[explosion]
Penny: [laughs] Look! It's raining you.
Sheldon: You laugh now. You just wait until you need tech support. (Big Bang Theory)

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17876

12/27/12 7:16:07 PM#46
Originally posted by TangentPoint
 

Lineage 2 has already passed that point. Their cash shop now is such a blatant cash grab, it's ridiculous. It's like NCSoft isn't even trying to hide it anymore.

Turbine has actively been experimenting in that regard, too, with things like the $50 "hobby horse" they listed on the test server... to "test the waters", as they put it. They're clearly looking to see how much people are wlling to pay, so they can start increasing the cost of cash shop items accordingly. To their credit, most players lashed back at Turbine for even considering it.

so sad.

  Pratt2112

Elite Member

Joined: 2/12/12
Posts: 1394

12/27/12 7:18:07 PM#47
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by TangentPoint
 

Lineage 2 has already passed that point. Their cash shop now is such a blatant cash grab, it's ridiculous. It's like NCSoft isn't even trying to hide it anymore.

Turbine has actively been experimenting in that regard, too, with things like the $50 "hobby horse" they listed on the test server... to "test the waters", as they put it. They're clearly looking to see how much people are wlling to pay, so they can start increasing the cost of cash shop items accordingly. To their credit, most players lashed back at Turbine for even considering it.

so sad.

Sad indeed.

Sadder still is that it's not even surprising, at least to me. Plenty of people foresaw that kind of thing happening back when Cash Shops first hit the Western market in a notable way.

To believe a company would embrace a revenue model that gives them ceiling-unlimited access to people's wallets, and not attempt to increase that revenue stream over time is, in my opinion, naive.

  Kaneth

Elite Member

Joined: 8/19/07
Posts: 1770

12/27/12 7:19:31 PM#48
Originally posted by TangentPoint
SNIP

 

It has to be a two part solution...

1. Developers have got to stop catering to the "I want end-game NOW!" crowd. They have to stop being afraid to require people to earn that progress, instead of handing it out on a silver platter.

2. Players have to change the way they approach these games, as well as what they expect from them. They have to stop putting all their focus on "getting to end-game" at the expense of all else, and start to regard Level Cap as something they'll get to "eventually". They have to start participating in MMORPGs as a long-term hobby, not a short term "race to the finish line".

There's a reason why no MMO can keep many players entertained for long, why they hop from one new game to the next, from one month to the next. It's because so many MMOs now are designed to rush the player through "to the end", and it's because the players insist on playing them that way.

Conversely, there's a reason many older MMOs keep people playing as long as they do, and sustain subscriptions even over a decade into their service in some cases... It's because they're designed as long-term hobbies, not as short-term races to the end.

In my opinion, we can get back to a point where MMOs are considered worth a nominal monthly fee to more people. However, it's going to require parties on both sides of the fence to make some changes in the how these games are designed, and in how they're played. As long as both remain the same, nothing will change.

 

Had to cut the quote down, but I agree with everything you said, especially the solutions part. If MMOs want to remain long-term gaming options, then they need to create long term gaming goals. WoW has been on top because what it does it does well, and has a rabid fanbase. UO fans are rabid about the game, same with EQ1, Asheron's Call, etc.

One of the things that Asheron's Call 1 (and 2 eventually) did well was effectively create a near endless character development system. Level cap in AC is like 276, which has taken some people years to obtain (although it's easier now). You weren't just challenged at top level, but there was challenging and fun content the entire way, with plateaus of power as well. "Endgame" in a mmo is a fairly ridiculous concept. Developers need to be more intelligent with their design decisions in order to make the game fun at all levels.

One of the things GW2 did well was that you could have an instant 80 with all skills unlocked for SPvP, and in their version of "world" pvp, you were max leveled, but were still lacking in overall power. You didn't need to slog through PvE to enjoy top tier pvp. Their pve system had a great concept, but lacked in execution.

I feel that the character development stage of any mmo should be the star of the whole show.

Of course, this is about the viablity of the sub model. Sub games will continue to go B2P or F2P as long as the level of content they deliver is subpar. Any TRUE mmo worth it's salt will have a loyal playerbase who will be willing to pay. This era of multiplayer online games being passed off as MMOs needs to come to and end, or be advertised for what they are.

  RedJorge

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/07/11
Posts: 106

Sheldon Cooper: Leonard, be serious. We're playing a game here. (Big Bang Theory)

12/27/12 7:24:53 PM#49
Originally posted by TangentPoint

Part of the reason people don't find sub-based MMOs worth it in many cases is simply because the game isn't good enough to them to warrant paying one.

Part of the problem, however, also lies in the way MMOs are developed these days. Once upon a time, they were developed in a way that players could be kept occupied and entertained over a long period of time. Months, or even years could be put into a MMO with players still not having seen or done everything the game offered.

Content had to be worked at. Levels weren't "earned" at break-neck speeds, and no one - or at least very few people believed "level cap is where the real game starts", or that "end game is all that matters".

The problem is you have two conflicting things at work here.

On one hand, you have people who demand content to come quickly, levels to pass by swiftly and for end-game to be achievable within a very short amount of time - as little as a couple weeks, even days in some cases.

In getting to level cap/end game as fast as possible, people tend to pass up a majority of the content available to them, because  per their "end game is all that matters" mindset, everything prior to "the end" is just "useless filler".

This leaves them with the "end-game content", which accounts for maybe 10-20% of the entire game, but is the only part many consider "most important" or "meaningful".

Because people demand gear, xp and progression to come quickly, they burn through that 10-20% of content that constitutes the end-game, and before long, find themselves sitting around wondering why there isn't more to do, waiting on "those lame developers" to get them new content, so they can burn through that and end up right back in the same situation.

What you end up with is a lot of people getting to end-game, and completing all the content the game offers within a month, maybe a little more... and finding there's nothing more to do (ignoring or dismissing the 80-90% of content they ignored on the way up).

Then they complain about subscriptions not being worth it.

The problem is a cyclical one. One problem feeds back into the other, continuously.

As long as gamers demand everything come "fast fast fast, now now now", insist on basing their entire experience on the small part that comes at "the end", and refuse to slow down and partake in more of what the game offers... no MMO will ever be worth a sub to those people, because they will have done everything they're interested in before the first month is even up.

 

It has to be a two part solution...

1. Developers have got to stop catering to the "I want end-game NOW!" crowd. They have to stop being afraid to require people to earn that progress, instead of handing it out on a silver platter.

2. Players have to change the way they approach these games, as well as what they expect from them. They have to stop putting all their focus on "getting to end-game" at the expense of all else, and start to regard Level Cap as something they'll get to "eventually". They have to start participating in MMORPGs as a long-term hobby, not a short term "race to the finish line".

There's a reason why no MMO can keep many players entertained for long, why they hop from one new game to the next, from one month to the next. It's because so many MMOs now are designed to rush the player through "to the end", and it's because the players insist on playing them that way.

Conversely, there's a reason many older MMOs keep people playing as long as they do, and sustain subscriptions even over a decade into their service in some cases... It's because they're designed as long-term hobbies, not as short-term races to the end.

In my opinion, we can get back to a point where MMOs are considered worth a nominal monthly fee to more people. However, it's going to require parties on both sides of the fence to make some changes in the how these games are designed, and in how they're played. As long as both remain the same, nothing will change.

 

Fully agree with you.

Actually I think the best model will be subscription + cash shop.

And the content should be designed so everyone must go through all or most  of it while leveling.

 

Leonard: Penny, you are on fire.
Penny: Yes, so is Sheldon.
[laughs]
Sheldon: Okay, that's it. I don't know how, but she is cheating. No-one can be that attractive and this skilled at a video game.
[walks away]
Penny: Wait, wait. Sheldon. Come back, you forgot something.
Sheldon: What?
Penny: This plasma grenade.
[explosion]
Penny: [laughs] Look! It's raining you.
Sheldon: You laugh now. You just wait until you need tech support. (Big Bang Theory)

  Pratt2112

Elite Member

Joined: 2/12/12
Posts: 1394

12/27/12 7:40:14 PM#50
Originally posted by RedJorge
 

Fully agree with you.

Actually I think the best model will be subscription + cash shop.

And the content should be designed so everyone must go through all or most  of it while leveling.

 

Thanks!

I will say, though, that I personally don't like the idea of cash shops at all with regard to purchasing in-game items. If you want to sell me an account service, or an actual physical item for my money? By all means. That's fine.

But to me - and you can call me old-fashioned; I consider it fair - every pixel, polygon and byte of content that's created and included with a game should be content to be acquired by playing the game. Not through buying it.

That goes for "mere fluff items" as well, because what's "just fluff" to one person could be really fun and desirable content to another. The difference is, while one person can enjoy the game as they like without buying that item, the other  person now has to either spend more money to enjoy the game as they'd like, or do without. To me, that's unfair.

They're playing the same game, yet one person's enjoyment is coming at a higher cost than someone else's. It should not be that way, in my opinion.

It also occurs to me - and I've noticed this a lot - that many times the same people who are fine with cash shops, "as long as it's only fluff items", have the complete opposite reaction when something they do want suddenly has a price tag slapped on it. Then they're outraged over it.

They're more than happy with the idea of someone having to dish out more $$$ to buy from a Cash Shop... as long as it isn't them. It's completely hypocritical and is, to me, another example of why Cash Shops are a horrible idea that should never have been introduced to the genre.

  DoomsDay01

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/14/08
Posts: 792

12/27/12 7:46:34 PM#51
I think the sub model is still very much alive. The problem is that over the last few years, nothing that has come out has been worth actually subscribing to. At least that is my opinion. I have subbed to a few of the games and even bought some lifetime accounts and then have the games go free to play. In general though, I just haven't seen anything that has come out that really made me want to keep a sub to a game. If the mmo devs don't get out of this rut they are in with piping out cheap/quick clones that have no uniqueness to them, then free to play will be here to stay unfortunately.
  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 21640

12/27/12 7:48:36 PM#52
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by nariusseldon
The sub model already is death for me.

And out of curiostiy, how much do you spend per month in the current game of your choice?

Zero. Currently i am playing (MMOs, not listing the non-MMO) PS2, some STO, and i may go back to DCUO. I am going to play Marvel Heroes when it comes out. Oh, and may be a little DDO if i feel like AD&D.

Oh, and i haven't paid a single cent to these games either.

Ok great. But how do you expect these companies to make any money? your answer might be "others".

And to my thinking that's the whole crux of the problem right there because more people than not are going to rely upon "others" to pay for their game habits.

It's a ridiculous business model.

Yes. And those others are called "whales" in the industry. As long as they exist, i got to play for free.

And why would that be a "problem" if there are enough whales to sustain the games? Obviously there are enough since there are so many F2P games, and all seems to be doing fine and adding content.

Well that's not exactly true is it? Aion, with it's "totally free" f2p model wasn't able to make the money that the company wanted. I think companies are going to realize that this model isn't going to generate a sustained income and will start throwing in anything and evertyhing to make a buck. At what point will the Pay to win items make an entrance? Real pay to win items that is.

My thought is that there is going to come a time when companies are going to require more money than "whales" can deliver.

 

One company does not make up the market. If you look at the market, here is the data:

http://www.newzoo.com/press-releases/global-mmo-games-spending-exceeds-12bn/

"In the US, the share of revenues coming from free-to-play MMO games continues to rise, reaching 50% this year, up from 39% in 2010". And now F2P is making as much money in the US as p2p games... i would say there are quite a few whales ou tthere.

And don't you think p2w is only fair when others are paying for your games? Now no one can perfectly predict the future. So what if at some point in the future, this will go way? Right now, i don't see F2P going away any time soon, and there is no reason to enjoy the free games now (if they are fun).

 

  shawn01

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/26/08
Posts: 155

12/27/12 7:59:43 PM#53
Originally posted by RedJorge

 

Fully agree with you.

Actually I think the best model will be subscription + cash shop.

And the content should be designed so everyone must go through all or most  of it while leveling.

 

No. No. We should not be forced into content. I dont want my hand held, and making us do all the content leaves nothing for the second or third time. Every alt you make should be a seperate journey. A game that will keep people occupied for a long time will have many paths to travel.

  madazz

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/07/03
Posts: 1330

12/27/12 8:02:30 PM#54
Originally posted by nariusseldon
 

One company does not make up the market. If you look at the market, here is the data:

 

 

Yet you always find one source of information to back up whatever weird argument you are starting, and then demand that that source of information is representative of the entire market.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 21640

12/27/12 8:04:31 PM#55
Originally posted by madazz
Originally posted by nariusseldon
 

One company does not make up the market. If you look at the market, here is the data:

 

 

Yet you always find one source of information to back up whatever weird argument you are starting, and then demand that that source of information is representative of the entire market.

Well, this is the entire market data, if you read carefully. Feel free to find another source of market data to contradict it.

And yet you always cannot find any source of data, exccept your opinion to back up your arguments.

  GrayGhost79

Novice Member

Joined: 8/30/08
Posts: 4889

12/27/12 8:06:08 PM#56

The subscription model isn't going anywhere. All thats happening is that developers and publishers are realizing that to make the pay to play model work they need a means of keeping players. If you launch a game that lacks staying power then charging a monthly fee is suicide. You need a way to keep players playing so that they keep on paying. 

In leu of that what other companies are going to do is release games of lesser quality and make them free to play. Look at PS2, it is a decent game and it is fun for short periods of time, but it's certainly not a game that would keep players playing and paying. 

 

F2P's will stick around, B2P will gain popularity, and true AAA titles will be able to charge a monthly fee. 

 

  shawn01

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/26/08
Posts: 155

12/27/12 8:14:22 PM#57
I dont mind paying 15 dollars a month for a game that i really like. I paid 30 dollars a month to play daoc for years. 30 dollars was cheap for the amount of fun and entertainment i had every month.
  TheScavenger

Elite Member

Joined: 7/05/12
Posts: 790

Those who ask a question, are stupid for 30 seconds. Those who never ask, are stupid for life.

12/27/12 8:15:14 PM#58

Within 10 years, sub models will be gone. Good riddance.

 

I would rather pay 15 dollars a month using station cash (SOE as an example)...than spend 15 dollars...and then exactly at 30 days never be able to play the MMO again unless subscribe again. On the other hand, I pay to unlock stuff with 15 dollars...and I OWN that for all of eternity (or however long the MMO lives)

I hope subscription MMOs die a fast and painful death.

 

WHY would someone want to spend a month in game, to be locked out of ALL content as soon as 30 days is over?

 

On the other hand, you can pay to unlock said content...might cost a tad more in the short term. BUT, you NEVER get locked out of that content.

 

We are very fast seeing subscription MMOs dying. And good riddance. More and more MMOs are going free or freemium...and they are doing AMAZING, population wise and in terms of the money they make. Very soon, subscription MMOs at the very least...will be a very very niche market, and no big MMO will follow that model. It will be cheap indie sandbox MMOs, that get very little people playing them.

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  quseio

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/18/07
Posts: 222

12/27/12 8:21:18 PM#59

if games go all ftp the game  quality and longevity will go down the tube fast  even if they do make more money  with  cash shop  the negetive effects of ftp and cash shops   make the community bad, from spammmers and who cares ill just make a new account mentality, to the slippery sloap of  buy to win.

 

Not to say  cash shop stuff doesnt have a place look at sonys cash shop in eq1  almost entirely fluff  i belive a combo of cash shop and a low subscription would be best. maybe with a option to answer surveys to pay your  sub, but one handled by the  mmo company  so many of those cash  shop  freeebie deals never  have given me  stuff

 

Same goes for expansions, but  i think a deal like this would  work well buy xxx amount of cash shop  goodies get next expansion for free say 30% over expansions price

  quseio

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/18/07
Posts: 222

12/27/12 8:27:57 PM#60
Originally posted by TheScavenger

Within 10 years, sub models will be gone. Good riddance.

 

I would rather pay 15 dollars a month using station cash (SOE as an example)...than spend 15 dollars...and then exactly at 30 days never be able to play the MMO again unless subscribe again. On the other hand, I pay to unlock stuff with 15 dollars...and I OWN that for all of eternity (or however long the MMO lives)

I hope subscription MMOs die a fast and painful death.

 

WHY would someone want to spend a month in game, to be locked out of ALL content as soon as 30 days is over?

 

On the other hand, you can pay to unlock said content...might cost a tad more in the short term. BUT, you NEVER get locked out of that content.  edit( pay alot  fixed)

 

We are very fast seeing subscription MMOs dying. And good riddance. More and more MMOs are going free or freemium...and they are doing AMAZING, population wise and in terms of the money they make. Very soon, subscription MMOs at the very least...will be a very very niche market, and no big MMO will follow that model. It will be cheap indie sandbox MMOs, that get very little people playing them.

 oh yes  sure you can keep playing forever but  all your gear is no longer useable if your a raider, unless you pay to unlock it and end up paying more than you would  with a sub

 

subscriptions  help keep a level playing field and No buy to win just say no to buy to win i would rather have a subscription so the company isnt so desperate to drain your wallet with leet stuff

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