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Reader Comments (24)

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 2:38PM (Unverified) said

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Abso-freaking-loutly.

The only issue would be if they didn't have a sub based option as well.

While I like the idea for games I play sporadically, my "main" sub would end up becoming to expensive for me w/out the monthly 'all-you-can-eat' sub.

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 2:46PM BaronJuJu said

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"Offer that as an alternative means of payment, perhaps even at a slightly higher price point, for people like myself."

So he's asking to have MMO companies charge him more for his game time?

This idea would effectively put a pay-per-day/hour/minute scheme into place. How much time does he propose $15 a month should cover? I don't see how both models could coexist, They couldn't. If folks see the "time spent" model costing less that will just mean less money in the Dev's pocket and they will either: raise the price of "time spent" model or eliminate it all together.

"Time Spent" is basically another form of RMT, and one that doesn't favor the developers this time. Thats fine for us but would a no-go for them.

I would suggest teh author find a good F2P or item mall MMO.

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 2:54PM Holgranth said

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I see no reason a prepurchase X number of hours system and a subcribe by month subcription COULDEN'T coexist.............. some people are going to get greater value out of just paying $15 a month and other will get greater value out of $15 for say 120 hours of gameplay.......
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Posted: Feb 9th 2009 2:57PM (Unverified) said

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some MMOs already offer stuff like this. Ragnarok Online lets you buy hours instead of monthly. Like you can just pay for 30 hours and use them whenever you want.

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 3:02PM foomchee said

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Completely agree. Should be a win win or about as close as we can get with these 2 options.

$15 = unlimited per month
$15 = 100 in game hours or whatever formula works.

this might actually get some of my console gaming friends to give it a shot too.

do it!

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 3:53PM (Unverified) said

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agreed when can we see it =P

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 3:28PM Pingles said

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I get very little time to play MMOs and squeak in maybe 30 minutes a day on average.

So I'd be very happy with a per-hour payment plan.

Perhaps:

$5/month minimum.
$0.5 an hour
for a maximum of $20/month to encourage folks to switch to $15/month flat fee.

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 3:36PM (Unverified) said

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This isn't a new twist. This is the way online games were billed for a decade. Until 1996 when AOL went flat-rate, many online games on AOL, Compuserve as well as direct-dial games (like some commercial MUDs) etc charged for time (usually by the minute).

--matt

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 4:23PM (Unverified) said

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Yeah, I was going to bring this up too. It's like we've went full-circle.
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Posted: Feb 9th 2009 4:25PM Pyrii said

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I certainly agree, but pricing models are going on their heads at the moment.

The main reason I stopped playing WoW was when they took payment for 3 months and I asked them to freeze my account while I got started and settled at Uni, but they said they couldn't do that (WTF?) and because I had used a day or 2 they couldn't refund me. So £20 down the pan and I never got round to using almost any of it.

I can't see companies using this model to be honest. But this does mash up nicely with the single lifetime charge model that Guild Wars uses. It doesn't push you to use it all the time and as such, the servers see less load and costs for the company are less, thus the model nicely balances out.

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 4:32PM Deusdictum said

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I

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 4:34PM Deusdictum said

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Not sure why it didn't get my entire comment...

I love my LOTRO lifetime subscription.

I'd much rather pay $199 upfront than have to worry about pumping more money into the game ever again.

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 5:08PM (Unverified) said

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The only way I see this as working, is if it was sort of Automatic. And tiered.

One possible:
* Game subscription is $5 a month. No play time. This keeps your account active.
* For each day in a month you log into to your account, an additional $1 is charged until you have played 15 days in that month. Then it caps at $20, which is $5 more than choosing the Monthly option.

The above makes more money for the company, if you've chosen it, and always play the game on 15 or more days every month.

But if you only occasionally play the game and don't always sign in on any calendar month, you are only spending $5 for those months you don't actually play the game.

Of course, I see it a LOT more likely that the baseline will be $10... as that's about the bottom price that the companies get when people use the Annual plans that various games offer. And V.E.T. would be on top of it for those places that have V.E.T.

Remember, while the people that design these games do want you to have fun, and do want to make it easier and less painful for you in hard economic times... they ARE in the business to earn money. So anything like this sort of option has to still make the bottom line work out.

However, that having been said, its likely only a company trying to pull in business that it wouldn't otherwise have, or one that feels very, very safe with its huge player base would likely go to this sort of subscription model.

Most micro-transaction based games already sort of have this model built in, as you only pay real-world money for something when you are actively playing the game and need more of whatever you are buying in the micro-transaction.

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 6:29PM Zantom said

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Good idea. I am surprised it hasn't been done already by a major title. Especially those that are hurting for biz.

I would do it like this:

Your account is always "open". Just log in and you will be charged for the time you play up to a CAP of the $15 monthly fee.

This would be perfect for many titles and allow them to re-capture interest without devaluing their products with "free" game time that many have had to do of late.

Posted: Feb 9th 2009 6:44PM (Unverified) said

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The pay-per-hour doesn't address the fundamental problem of the blogger though...

Basically, he doesn't have 20 hours/week to play.

Consequence #1 is that he doesn't think he's getting his money's worth... so he recommends pay-per-hour.

Consequence #2, that he hasn't realized yet, is that he doesn't want to play a MMO with 500+ hours of content, because he'll never-ever get past hour 100.

Consequence #3 is that his chances of forming strong social ties with such short and sporatic gameplay are nil. Any game he plays will need ways to encourage people to meet, play for awhile, and then (probably) never meet again. A consequence of this is that the game needs to do its best to pair up compatible people right away, not leaving "meeting the right person" up to chance.

I can list more consequences, but to put it simply: If there are enough people that want to play MMOs, but only once in awhile, then MMOs will have to evolve into completely new beasts, or go extinct. (Personally, I think there are huge numbers of people wanting a more casual MMO.)

Posted: Feb 10th 2009 7:28AM (Unverified) said

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I thought the point was that he'd use his 20 hours of play time over the course of a few weeks or whatever.

So he could buy a pre-pay card/allocate 20 hours of play time and then play whenever he wanted, be it that it took him three days or three months to burn-through that time. The card would never expire and so long as he had credit, he could play.

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Posted: Feb 9th 2009 7:53PM karnisov said

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if they had a pay as you play plan, i would have more than one active mmo sub. hope some companies implement this.

Posted: Feb 10th 2009 10:40AM xeku said

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instead of just charging an amount per hour while it may end up being too costly they should shape the hourly model by where if you spent under 10 hours a month you would pay 5 dollars then 10 for 20 hrs a month 15 for 30 hours a month and so on and so forth

Posted: Feb 10th 2009 12:12PM (Unverified) said

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I don't see why there has to be a scale-able plan. It's like mobile phone charges.

With my phone I only pay for the calls I make, be it that I use it every single day of the week or never make a call for a month. The calling credit I put there remains there until I use it up.

Or I could pay a contract fee and have more calls at a flat rate of £X a month.
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Posted: Feb 10th 2009 1:08PM Budukahn said

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Come to think of it, I'm surprised many MMO's don't offer more flexible subscription packages like pre-paid game time in live access chunks. I don't have time really to commit to more than one MMO, with perhaps another one as a bit of a side hobby.

I do however get the craving now and again to play other past games of mine - Planetside, Everquest, DoAC, Neocron heck even Star Wars Galaxies.

How much more tempting it would be for me to pay by the hour for such games, knowing that even though I only got around to playing it once or twice a month, my sub wouldn't be completely wasted. How much more opportunity for these companies to earn money from me and others, money they won't see otherwise because I can not justify an ongoing subscription to a game I would rarely play.

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