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Reader Comments (33)

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 11:28AM (Unverified) said

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Sorry to have to stoop to this level, but:
HUR DUR

Anyways. Back to intelligent discussion.
I am completely aware of everything you have stated. Everything. You get that, right? If you're talking about people like me, and people who believe what I believe.

The problem I see is that they ARE just in it for the money, not because they don't care about the game, not because they're monsters (though some may be). But because they HAVE to. They NEED to suck the money from us in order to make their games. That's the depressing part of the way we live our lives.

So it's really just an attack on our system, or capitalism in general, not a particular attack on the industry or the people in it. Art across the board is being ruined by the need or hunger for money. You should hear me go off about what it's doing to the literary world, something I REALLY care about.

So, to summarize and repeat myself
HURR DURRR.
:p

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 11:38AM (Unverified) said

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There are flaws with this article, and an exception that ruins your argument 110%: EVE Online. That game has had expansion after expansion, and content update after content update, all at no increased expense to the player. Those developers care more about their customers than they do about the money, that even shows with the EVE Council of Stellar and other player ran, developer back things.

Now, I will agree that there are companies that are in it for the cash, and one particular one is Cryptic. They rush their products for the bonus cash they get from investors/publisher for meeting a certain money intake number before the end of ..I think Q1 2011. They're even selling Lifetime Subscriptions with a limited sale of before the game launches, that way they can make quick cash AND take away a player's right to vote with their wallets down the line in the game's life.

And the micro-transactions, those are a joke. Sure, they're adding content to the game,....but instead of just putting it in the game, justifying continued supporting payment of $15 a month for what's supposed to be access to the game's world and content, they want to charge more to add in what's expected for what we're already paying for.


They're in it for the money, good for them, ultimately bad for us. Eventually once we start accepting MT's as a norm, developers will instead start adding in more complex versions at a premium that we used to get for free: Just think about it for a minute, if Zul'Aman (a free raid added towards the end of WoW:TBC) cost $10 to every player to access it and the armor sets and items that came with it, how many would pay for it and how many would be utterly pissed off?

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 1:21PM Dblade said

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Just because they don't charge for expansions doesn't mean they care about their customers, or are following some vision. PLEX is a huge money grab, and is legitimized RMT, bringing all the problems that RMT can bring to an economy. It just gives CCP a huge piece of the pie.

Hell, they actively encourage multiboxing, another harmful aspect to gameplay, and design their skill system so you need to spend years training up to be competitive at higher levels. Lots of money rolling in.

All MMO companies want profit, and all shape their game around obtaining it, CCP included.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2010 1:31PM LaughingTarget said

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CCP makes more money on regular subscriptions than boxed sales (hence why you can buy EVE for $5). Regular expansions are their way of keeping players subscribed. They don't produce expansions for
no additional charge out of charity.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2010 11:51AM (Unverified) said

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Sorry for double post if it happens, commenting seems to be a bit messed up right now.

What a load of rubbish, any intelligent person knows they are out to make money. What player are complaining about is when it gets to be too much. Example - Blizzard is gating Icecrown citidel for months because they don't want players to get through it too quickly, get bored, and cancel their sub until 4.0 comes out. Guess what blizzard implements the difficulty and if they decide to nerf their whole game to the point where we can beat it in two weeks then we should be able to do that. IF they wanna gate progress through means of difficulty fine by me, but don't artificially gate it by time so you can suck a few extra months out of my sub. Thats what is meant by in it for the money.

Posted: Jan 28th 2010 8:53AM (Unverified) said

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Yep, a-yep. The value is not there when this "gating" shit happens, or similar. You did not sign up for that trick. The risk/reward factor is obviously stripped away so that the company can force players to pay more money. No. No way. Please, die. Of course, when you are monolithic Blizzard/WoW you can get away with that but suffer only minimal alienation. Smaller games have to pretend to care about what players want or risk going bankrupt if a swell of rebellion among players is caused by a greed decree from on high.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2010 12:03PM GenericPerson said

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While I do understand that there is a business behind the games that needs to be fed so we can enjoy the product there is also an acceptable limit on what companies should charge for post-launch material. I'm not against paying another $20-30 for an expansion, but what I am against is all the $5-10 items from post-launch storefronts.

Blizzard said at launch they would not introduce a storefront for in-game items, and once they saw the market take a liking to free to play games with storefronts they wanted to capitalize. From pets to character transfers they are charging far more than I would ever pay for anything I should be able to get in the game itself. I'll admit I have transferred characters but when it comes down to $10 for a name change or a complete character overhaul for $15 (?) that's when its apparent they are just trying to make money.

Now, one thing I do like and would like to see more of is $20-25/mo for a subscription but get access to multiple games. Sony Online Entertainment has a great idea going and I wish more companies would adopt it.

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 12:09PM (Unverified) said

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Anyone who thinks any Corporation is making anything for any reason other then money clearly has no idea what capitalism is about. Seriously, you are a deluded, idealistic individual that life is going to devour alive.

If you do not like a business model you don't use it and support it. If enough people do support a particular business model, it will flourish because the consumer votes with his/her wallet.

That's how it works.

UO was made because some people thought they could make money off of charging a monthly fee to play a video game and they were right...an avalanche of games followed. There is no higher ideal behind this.They are video games, they contribute nothing to society at large but entertainment. We would survive just fine without them. The potential to make Money is the only reason they exist.

Today the monthly fee is sputtering out compared to micro-transactions but the industry saw this coming years ago.
Western games opted for monthly fees AND micro transactions and it worked and they made money. Now if you want that "little extra" you pay. Enough people have in many game to justify it. Now its just the way things are. There is a billion dollar a year third party gold farming industry that completely validates this.
That's what happens when people have more money then sense.


Posted: Jan 21st 2010 12:35PM (Unverified) said

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A company out to make money is fine and normal I don't think anyone thinks a company makes a game not caring if they make a return on their work and investment.But in order to make the money they should have to put out a good game and in an MMORPG give you a good service and reasons to continue using that service.

Also in the past game developers have had passion about making games and making them great and entertaining.In making games liek so they hope consumers will appreciate it and give thme moeny for it.Like movies and songs developers in the past have wanted to feel their was some artistry in their business.It's articles like this that make me think may they were wrong and Roger Ebert was right in that video games will never be recognized as an art form.

Now there is another problem in our section of the market to,so called smart consumers who sympathize with companies and feel they can do whatever they want to make money and it's fine.What a consumer is supposed to do is not sympathize with the producers of products and worry about getting the most value for their money and also to keep companies honest ethically by withholding said money if they feel the company is not putting out a good product or is behaving in a rapacious manner.

Instead we have people who believe they know everything about business and say "Greed is good" despite what such attitude and consumer complacency has done to the economy of the world in general.Who will put up with anything to get a new product or a favorite IP and are partly responsible for screwing how a free market is supposed to work.



Posted: Jan 21st 2010 12:37PM (Unverified) said

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this country is in such fucking trouble

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 12:40PM (Unverified) said

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There's one way to make money off your customers, by producing a product that people are excited about, interested in playing and will continue to play because it's a quality piece of software.

There's another way to make money off your customers, by creating an online shop and populating it with costume pieces and must-haves while endgame content is virtually non-existent.

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 12:41PM macallen said

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I think the concern about the devs "being in it for the money" is that they've changed what money they're in it for.

Back in "the old days", subscription revenues were enough. They make the game better and are rewarded by subscriptions.

Nowadays, they've shifted to "how can we squeeze every penny out of them". It's a short term solution for poorly implemented games. Look at CoH, for example. All the costume packs and paid expansions are simply ways to get cash from an already diminished population.

It wasn't until recently that Blizz jumped on that bandwagon, realizing that other devs were setting that expectation and how much cash they were sitting on.

I realize that it's the American Way to milk your customers for all they are worth until the price you're asking exceeds the value we're getting and we leave, but that's a rather mercenary approach to use.

Look at the American theatre industry. They kept raising their prices to the point where the "theatre experience" isn't worth $15 anymore. I've a 52" plasma at 7.1 at home, that doesn't have screaming kids and talking people ruining my enjoyment....consequently, I never go to the movies anymore, I buy DvD's. I use an alternative method of entertainment because the theatre industry got too greedy.

This is the same thing. Eventually I'll see an MMO with a price tag of $60 and realize that it's just the tip of the iceberg. Once I offer up my wallet-teat, they'll milk it for every penny they can, because they can, and that becomes tiresome quickly.

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 2:05PM (Unverified) said

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Except with the City of Heroes MTs, they have provided an additional development budget beyond the standard game enhancements, like perks and flair and quality-of-life enhancements they didn't have the resources to create before.

For example, they were able to afford to develop the frivolous feature of 'costume change animations'. And since enough people bought the boosters to pay for that development cost, they were able to roll the feature out to the rest of the game, including people who didn't buy the MTs.

The devs talk extensively about these side projects in their blogs and interviews, and as long as they continue to add these nice perks to the game, I say keep rolling out the boosters.

MMOs on the whole are a fairly inexpensive hobby, especially in a time-to-dollar ratio. When people cry about their fifteen dollar subscriptions, and then they have to pay ten dollars more? It's ten dollars. You can save that each month by not leaving the back porch light on.
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Posted: Jan 24th 2010 1:31PM (Unverified) said

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Actually, back in the old days you paid by the minute, sometimes running up bills of thousands of dollars a month.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2010 12:50PM Dumac said

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I think I'll vote with my browser.

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 12:56PM Speedmonkay said

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Every business is in it for the money. Thats business.
The difference is in how the business shows that it isnt only about money and how much they show they love their customers and dotn just see them as $$$$.
Blizz has its times. Sometimes they seem to care about their players but other times it seems like we are just $$$. And since it became Activision-Blizzard, it seems to be the latter alot more often.

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 1:06PM wufiavelli said

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I think the most important thing is "How" they are in it for the money. Many companies are funded by venture capitalist and others who want insane returns on there investment fast. (sometimes 3 times what they put in). These are the companies you do not want to put your money behind.

Other companies though are more sober and do not mind a return on their investment and good profit over time. These people normally foster the game and do the best in the long run. These are the companies you want to put your money behind.

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 1:17PM clevetheripper said

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I am reading some of these comments and shaking my head. MOST of these micro-transactions are not necessary to play the game. They just enhance the experience.
Playing Guild Wars? Great, buy the game and you are good to go. Oh you want to collect every item in the game? That's not really necessary to play the game but if you really want to do it, NCSoft needs to pay the engineers to get the code for that together, they need extra servers, new UI art, etc so you will need to spend money on extra character slots.
Started a character in WoW but want to move to another server? That's not really necessary to play the game but if you really want to do it...
If these game companies don't make $$ servers shut down, customers start bailing and the whole game grinds to a halt.
Most everyone that works in the games industry love games. These people could make better salaries working somewhere else like a marketing firm for the artists or business software developers for the engineers but they stay in games b/c they love the environment. They want to make a great product and know they have to figure in a way to make a living while doing it.

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 1:20PM Zensun said

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"We should be happy that most of these companies are there to get our money by any means necessary."

I think you do most of your readers a disservice with the assumptions you make in this article. I don't think any sane player expects companies to produce MMOs out of the goodness of their hearts. We all know that they need to be *profitable* to continue. But profitable doesn't mean an MMO has to be a WoW killer or clone, which is the mistake some companies have made to the detriment of their players.

You cite SOE, which is a prime example of a company that was more interested in increasing their SWG profit by any means necessary rather than keeping the existing players happy. Was SWG unprofitable then? I doubt it. But SOE, in an effort to bring the numbers that WoW had, not only made the mistake of assuming their customers would take whatever they gave them, but also had the audacity to eventually admit the fiasco but refused to reverse the change. They gave their players a huge slap in the face and said they were more interested in the possibility of catering the game to new players.

So, yeah, all companies are in it to make money. But they should understand that a 100k player base MMO can still be profitable enough to be not only worthwhile but successful.

Posted: Jan 21st 2010 1:43PM Cinnamoon said

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endquote -- Nobody ever smiles and says "boy, I'm sure glad Sony Online Entertainment is in this for the money." -- endquote

Well here you go then: *smiles* I'm glad they're in it for the money! You're right, most people wrongly equate profit with greed, market forces with evil, mostly because they don't know the first thing about economics. Here's some examples from the comments:

@Taco-Eater -- EVE is not a counter-example to this article. EVE operates much like Google -- they use loss-leaders and "free" content to rope in more users (the old "I'll make it up in volume" trick). They have run their numbers and determined that they make more money by giving away free content and increasing their userbase, than they would with a smaller userbase and classic paid expansions. In Google's case, they give away the product to entice so many people to use it, that the ad revenue and goodwill more than make up for it.

@maika -- "Art across the board is being ruined by the need or hunger for money"? Aside from dabbling aristocrats, art has ALWAYS been compromised by our desire for survival, and in fact it's useless from a survival standpoint altogether (it is only useful from an enrichment or advancement standpoint, and that's debatable too). This isn't some new thing, some victim of capitalism. Michaelangelo didn't work for free either, just as didn't the best neolithic artisans -- whether paid for by currency, status, or bartered goods, art always has a cost (even if it's just an opportunity cost), and that cost always influences the outcome of the art.

@JP -- This is also not a counter-argument to the article, because the article doesn't actually say that just because someone's in it for the money, he is therefore competent at it. A lot of game companies will be in it for the money and suck, delivering crap products that people don't want to pay for. If enough people think it's crap and stop buying it, it will fail, and that IS what the article suggested. If you think it's crap but lots of other people don't, it won't fail, and nor should it. The good of the game and the happiness of the playerbase is only relevant to the company's interests insomuch as it affects their bottom line -- no more, no less -- bleeding-heart devs with no significant financial stake in the company aside.

@Abriona -- If you believe that in some mystical, rosy-hued past the music and gaming industries loved their products and tried to deliver the best possible art with no eye to profit, and that these industries have only recently begun to fall to avarice, or that consumers are only just now subject to complacency, then you are not paying attention.

@Kdolo -- No, there is no functional difference between delivering and making money off of a product you personally like (insert your game of choice here) and delivering and making money off of a micro-transaction game you personally do not like. Your opinion on the relative goodness of a product has no bearing on its profitability let alone its actual moral value.

@MacAllen -- Really, we're going to cry about microtrasactions now? "Back in the old days" as you put it, the West didn't think microtransactions would work, period, and they might have been right at the time, but they'd be fools to keep thinking it now and stick to outdated sub-only systems. You realize microtransactions are a way to buy only the content you want, right? Rather than paying full price for expansions stuffed with crap you'll never wear or visit (cough *EQ2*), you get to pick and choose. For someone who loves "the old days" you ought to cheer for a system that makes sure that games like UO, SWG, CoH, and so on, can stay online and functioning. And while we're decrying the greedy capitalists at Blizz (*snark*) let's also note that large chunks of their profits from their microtransactions are going to CHARITY.

*sigh*

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