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Reader Comments (54)

Posted: Mar 21st 2011 9:48PM Keen and Graev said

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No one can do subscriptions anymore because WoW has them?

That has to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever read.

Posted: Mar 21st 2011 10:46PM Amaxe said

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@Keen and Graev
I think I understand what he means.

1) Most people playing MMO's won't be paying for more than one subscription
2) Most people playing MMO's already have a WoW subscription
3) So they most likely won't stay too long in another MMO using a subscription model.

Or at least thats the way it makes sense to me.
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Posted: Mar 21st 2011 10:47PM cray said

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@Keen and Graev

You obviously don't understand what he was implying when he said that. I suggest you read HokieKC's post as it explains the reasoning in very plain terms. Hopefully that helps you.
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 12:13AM ImperialPanda said

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@cray

Last time I checked world has more than 12 million people.

It's like saying making WoW is pointless because so many people play EverQuest.
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 1:04AM Protoavis said

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@ImperialPanda

Yeah the world has more than 12 million people but the vast majority of those people live in poverty and the ones that aren't probably aren't really up for anything more intense than a facebook game if they play games at all.
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 4:35AM BruceLeeglad said

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@ImperialPanda

I seriously doubt WoW still has 12 mill. subs since Rift has released :D
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 7:17AM BGExorcist said

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@BruceLeeglad
Bet you 90% of the wow players, that ride Rift's free month didn't unsubscribe wow and will be returning to it?
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 8:43AM Rindon said

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@BGExorcist
I bet 99% of the people who left WoW for Rift will go back after the free month. I heard it is a pretty stale game after the "ooo new shiny" wears off.
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 9:53AM AlienFanatic said

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@ImperialPanda

What you're not recognizing is that the adoption rate for MMO's has slowed to a crawl. Largely, MMO's are now cannibalizing one another. I have no figures that I can use, but I highly suspect that north of 95% of the RIFT subscribers are players from OTHER MMO's that are looking for a change. Very, very few of them are new to the MMO genre.

Face it, the Torchlight guy makes a good point. The market can only sustain so many subscription plans. At $15 a month, and requiring enormous amounts of time invested, few players have the time (or the inclination) to play one MMO at a time. And those that do often subscribe to one, but go F2P on the others. Which is why DDO, EQ2, etc., have gone the way they have. They recognize this fact. They want both a subscription model, hoping they can attract a core of dedicated players who make their game their "primary" while they offer F2P if players want to choose them as the "secondary" MMO.

The market is NOT growing. The only game, imo, that has a chance to expand the market is STO because it appeals outside the sword and board genre and has broad popular culture recognition.

The Torchlight guy is smart to realize that the best way to make profits for everyone else is to recognize this and build a profit model that avoids subscriptions. That means more DLC, microtransactions, and content packs. And that's almost certainly what we'll continue to see into the foreseeable future.
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 4:41PM ImperialPanda said

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@AlienFanatic

Growth is generated from game launches. All the "growth" perceived from 1999-2004 was nothing compared to after WoW's launch. Hence why I put in the EQ statement. As long as there are people out there. If you make a good game and market it well you will get people to pay for it.

Subscription may or may not be the way to go. But reasoning that you can't do subscription any more because WoW has 12m subs (or w/e) is ridiculous.
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Posted: Mar 21st 2011 9:53PM Averice said

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"Hey guys, I didn't make a game that qualifies for charging a subscription, so we're not gonna charge a subscription."

Thanks, good to know.

I'm guessing that his WoW comment was tongue in cheek based, but who knows with all these crazy things devs say these days. ... Yeah, just read some of the interview, will read the rest later but he sounds level headed from what I skimmed. Though is that a picture of him or Craig with the sunglasses on? Looks like a rich old California guy, so I'm guessing Schaefer.

Posted: Mar 21st 2011 11:41PM Transientmind said

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@Averice

Like Keen and Graev, I suggest looking at it from this angle (which I believe is the intended angle):

Max is saying he believes that the majority of folks who pay subscription fees are only going to pay subs for ONE game. Which means that if you force THOSE players to subscribe to your new game, you're forcing them to compare your offering to the gold-standard, world-leader and choose one or the other.

If you do that... You don't only have to be 'as good'... you don't even have to be better. You have to be SO MUCH BETTER that you drag players away from an online community in which they have invested time, emotion and friends.

Since there are alternatives out there, choosing the above route sounds kind of stupid, doesn't it.
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 1:12AM Averice said

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@Transientmind

I finished reading the interview and it still feels like a pretty tongue in cheek comment from Max to me. Especially if you still go by the rest of what he says in the interview. I think you're basically putting meaning where there is none. While I agree that in order to drag players away from WoW you need to make something potentially better than just better, I don't think that's what Max was saying.

That said, the rest of the interview is a Lot more interesting than just this little one sentence snippet, so I encourage everyone to go read the whole thing.
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 8:38AM (Unverified) said

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@Averice
You are incorrect. Forcing people to choose between two subscriptions is exactly what he meant. He has given numerous interviews since HG:L failed and Runic Games started. He and Travis Baldree have stated this as their reason many, many times.
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Posted: Mar 21st 2011 10:09PM HokieKC said

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"There’s another Blizzard game Runic can’t ignore – one with at least of 12 million subscribers and almost two-thirds of the MMO subscription market under its control. “You can’t really approach any MMO project without taking into account World of Warcraft,” said Schaefer. “It’s the elephant in the room of every MMO company.”

WoW is the primary reason Runic will avoid a subscription model for its Torchlight MMO. 'I don’t think really anyone can do [subscriptions] anymore because pretty much everyone that does subscriptions has one for WoW.'"

He's saying subscriptions aren't the way to go because WoW controls two-thirds of the subscription market.

He wasn't arguing the subscription business model itself was the problem.

Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 12:51PM Keen and Graev said

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@HokieKC The defeatist attitude has been the cause for some crazy turns in this industry. There are countless examples of industries being dominated by a big dog and a newcomer jumps right in and competes -- sometimes toppling the competition.

I believe it's a cop out to say that because WoW is so well like it's impossible to have a subscription model. If he said their game isn't good enough or on a large enough scale to have a subscription model then I would sit back and never comment. However, for a company (or man) to come out and say that because WoW does subscriptions they can't seems asinine to me.
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Posted: Mar 21st 2011 10:28PM Rindon said

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It is a viable answer. Almost every AAA game that has came out in recent years has been a flop because of the sub model. A lot of them are starting to turn to Freemium models which work extremely extremely well.

I am all for no box or monthly sub fee. Count me in.

Posted: Mar 21st 2011 10:48PM Keen and Graev said

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@Rindon You're blaming the sub model for their failures? You actually played them, right? The sub model is the furthest thing from the cause of their failure.
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 7:46AM Snichy said

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@Rindon. So you want no box charge and no subscription. You would probably complain if they offered any viable gameplay options in a cash shop so basically you want them to make a multi-milion game for free and not expect any revenue in return?!
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Posted: Mar 22nd 2011 9:18AM Utakata said

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Why are idiots downgrading Keen and Graev's comment? That was perfectly valid point. Seems to me this subject is getting inundated with F2P wanks who don't like anyone questioning their precious model. Just saying.
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