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Reader Comments (64)

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:03PM Birk said

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My hope is that the trend swings more towards a Guildwars style system. I have no problem paying for expansions/content updates...if there was no monthly fee, then there would be more incentive for developers to push good content out at a steadier rate.

It seems a bit wishful, but it would be fantastic. For now, freemium systems like LOTRO (which are not without their faults, mind you) do the job.

-Birk

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:15PM (Unverified) said

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Totally agree with you man. The subscription model asks too much out of all parties involved. It requires too much trust from the player base...something which I will never grant a publisher of anything, It requires slavish dedication on the part of the development team and it requires continual years-long support from the IP holder/publisher.
If it were just a paid expansion thing, with cash shop type options to cover in-game support and server maintenance costs, that would be a far better deal.
Some games seem to make more money this way.
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 8:16PM Yoh said

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I agree, and I also hope for the same.

This all really comes down to psychology.
With a subscription, you constantly on some level have to justify the expense to yourself, 'Is it worth it now?', 'Is is worth it six months from now?', 'Is this game going to still interest me a year from now?', etc.
The burden you have to overcome in order to justify the sub expense is much greater then with traditional single player/one off payments.
(this is all assuming that your the one paying)

For up front, one time payments, this includes micro transaction by in large, that you only have to justify the expense to yourself once.
After that you just stop thinking about it. It no longer matters weather or not the game has anything to offer your in the future, as long as it's fun now.


This also has a dual effect of making the game more accessible and giving the player as sense of ownership. Two topics I won't get into here.

But needless to say, but it really is only a matter of time before we scrap the idea of subscriptions, as people are become more and more unwilling to do it, in the light of so many alternatives.


~Yoh
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 8:29PM drakon said

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I'm with Tempes. The current freemium games like LotRO etc are way too restrictive for the free accounts.

I prefer subscriptions because it gives me power (insignificant as it may be) to vote on a games success with my dollars. Look at the classic story of WAR. They had over a million box copies sold and only 300k subs after the free month? That's called voting with your wallet. They've made a lot of changes recently to try and turn that around. For me it's too little too late, but for others it's exactly what they wanted out of WAR and have resubbed.

I just bought Guild Wars (after starting to get excited about GW2) at Walmart a few weeks ago and have really enjoyed the game. That is another subscription model I have always disliked (fearing quality issue's for a 'free' game). However my opinion has shifted in the last two weeks.

F2P has a long way to go to win my loyalty, but I haven't closed my mind to it yet.
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Posted: Nov 11th 2010 9:00PM Valdamar said

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I think (and hope) that the one thing most pro-P2P and pro-F2P gamers could agree on is that we'd all prefer the Guild Wars model.

I just hope it becomes more popular in the MMO industry - hopefully before either the "double dipping" of P2P+cash-shop becomes the norm, or all F2Ps end up with pay-to-win cash shops - those are my two fears - they both taint the payment models they are so often being attached to.

I think if more MMOs went with the Guild Wars model then two very good things would happen:

1) we would get new zone/quest content much more frequently than we do in most MMOs (regardless of their payment model), because paid-for content would be the main way MMOs would make money. And the more money they made from content the more people they could hire to make content.

2) the quality of new zone/quest content would drastically improve, and keep improving over the life of the game, because if it dipped then a lot of people would stop buying the content and profits would suffer.

When I play an MMO the main thing I want is just more (and better) content to keep me busy.
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:08PM Sunlover said

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No, not yet. They are however currently on the endangered species list.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:10PM Solp said

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I'm trying to think up something constructive to say, or some kind of a remark that I don't even know who these "parks" people are... but all that's coming to mind is that... I don't really care?

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:16PM KDolo said

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Hey, if they can make a good game where players aren't forced to buy stuff to compete, more power to em. If we still get nickel and dimed in order to play, subscriptions will always be the preferred choice for a lot of people. AAA games will always have a subscription option. Thus, subscriptions will never die.

I don't put much stock in reports like this. After all, they said PC gaming was dead too.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:58PM (Unverified) said

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"Hey, if they can make a good game where players aren't forced to buy stuff to compete, more power to em."

For so long people were forced to spend huge amounts of Free time to advance. I see no reason a switch to cash is wrong.

" If we still get nickel and dimed in order to play, "

Alot of casual play styles find a much better financial fit in F2P than in Subscription games.

Unless you putting in large amounts of time to the game, subscriptions are effectively nickel and diming people.
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 2:33PM Irem said

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@Naug
"For so long people were forced to spend huge amounts of Free time to advance. I see no reason a switch to cash is wrong."

Because it's a game. Because part of the attraction of MMOs is escapism, and a lot of that dies when you know the guy making more money than you IRL can afford to have more fun or be more successful. It kills immersion (and frankly, a lot of the fun) to know that you can hand over money and get what you need. Making the games more accessible is one thing, but the very thing that's so offputting about microtransactions to people like me is the worry that MMOs will stop being games and virtual worlds altogether and become chat rooms with a combat system attached.

They need to strike a balance. If they alienate the casual gamer by requiring massive time investments for everything, a game won't grow. If they alienate the hardcore gamers (or even the casual gamers who aren't interested in a pay-to-win atmosphere) by moving the grinding aspect to the much less entertaining arena of Real Life, the game won't grow. There's plenty of money to be made off fun cosmetic items if companies really want to go with a non-subscription model.
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 4:03PM cic said

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"For so long people were forced to spend huge amounts of Free time to advance. I see no reason a switch to cash is wrong."

The thing is, the grind in the majority of f2p games are considerably longer/heavier than in p2p games. So when you buy xp potions or other items to enhance advancement in these games it balances out you are actually still playing the same amount of time it would take in a p2p game. You have to spend 2x as you think to overcome the heavier presence of grind in these games.

The grind is always there, it's a major source of income to keep a player playing and further purchasing advancement items.
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Posted: Nov 11th 2010 9:05PM Valdamar said

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I agree with Kdolo, Irem and Cic. Honestly Naug if you want to pay to skip whole swathes of a game then why even bother playing that game? That kind of cash shop just invites grind to make you get your wallet out.
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Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:17PM rhorle said

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I don't think game subscriptions will go away, infact most games that are labeled as Free to Play have subscription options to them. It is just that some games need to entice people to play them by offering Free Content because the game can't draw in people otherwise.

What we will see is more mediocre games developed and cash stores attached instead of attempts at well polished and great games. Every developer wants a WoW overnight and doesn't want to develop a game and nuture it into becoming a WoW.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:25PM eyeball2452 said

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This is really just the internet topic of the week with no facts to back up the conclusion. It's a perception issue.

The problem boils down to the fact that companies can not compete on WoW's level without large capital expenditures to get off the ground, therefore they conclude that ALL subscription models are dead. However, CoH and EVE continue to be profitable without needing 10 million subscribers.

It's so ridiculous. Saying that MMO subscription are dead is like saying newspaper are dead. They may currently be in a down period, but they'll evolve their business model and succeed in the future for the very reason that we're discussing this research report. There's value in legitimate reporting vs speculative research and internet blogs that are biased at best and speculative (lack any research/factual information) at worst.

The same goes for MMOs. There's value in subscription models vs the free for all/less regulated game worlds that you more likely to in a F2P game. They'll continue to exist.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:32PM Nef said

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I don't think they'll be going anywhere, but they won't be the 'standard' anymore. We'll see MMOs from smaller studios taking non-subscription options more often and subscriptions will still be the prime choice of the large company, big-budget, big-name MMOs.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:35PM Verus said

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So the biggest gaming success ever is a subscription based one and soon we possibly have another one on the way. And from this we are to understand that subscription based gaming is dying ?

seriously wtf

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:39PM (Unverified) said

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I hope subscriptions don't go away. I like knowing how much I have to spend to do what I want to do in a MMO. The microtransactions can end up getting out of hand and it is harder to keep track of what you are spending on the game (which, I suppose, is the point).

The way I look at it, the subscription model offers me one heck of a deal. $10 or $15 a month and $50 every couple years is a bargain compared to cable TV, the price of a concert or ballgame, movie theatres, etc.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:40PM TOYBOXX said

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Here is an excerpt from my blog, The Minstrels of Middle-Earth, that best explains why F2P will over shadow subscriptions.

"With millions of dollars being spent to fund these projects, wouldn't the obvious choice be is to adopt a subscription model to ensure profits? Not necessarily. The F2P model, in question, would alleviate pressure on both the consumer and developer while maintaining a revenue stream. Think about it. The developers open their product to the masses for free, while charging players for extra content. Over time the difference between F2P and subscriptions are light-years apart being F2P the most profitable. Which is best? Charging the typical monthly subscription fee of $15 for an MMO, or adopt a microtransaction model where players are spending $10 every other week, doubling, or possibly, tripling profits?"

Giving the consumer "options" on how they want to play is always the best choice when profitability is at stake. Forcing someone to subscribe to a product is no longer needed. Thus newspapers and magazines, to name a few that require subscriptions, are dying out. Because people can view the same content for free elsewhere.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 1:48PM Darkstryke said

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The only games going F2P are the ones that can't compete because they are not up to the quality that subscription is - plain and simple.

All the spin about 'user choice' etc can be thrown out, but at the end of the day the studios going this route are doing so because their games suck, and F2P is all they have left.

Posted: Nov 10th 2010 5:21PM Birk said

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One man's "plain and simple" is another man's "bunch of crap". You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but throwing a blanket statement over several communities that have dedicated and contented playerbases is just ignorance. Turbine -doubled- their revenue by going F2P with LOTR. The game is as lively as ever.

It's not because it sucks. It is because it is more accessible.

Hell, drug dealers have been doing the "freemium" thing for years. Last I checked, they're still in business.

-Birk

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