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Reader Comments (17)

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 8:18AM Rialle said

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I'm fond of games with a subscription model and no cash shop at all. Wild idea, I know.

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 8:35AM gannman said

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Either:

(1) Free to download with an option to play the basics or subscribe for the full experience.

(2) Pay once for the game and expansions, no payments thereafter (i.e. Guild Wars)

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 8:48AM Skyydragonn said

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Of all the MMO markets Mobile MMO games could bethe most lucrative for F2p cash shop driven profits.

That being said I really wish that the market would steer away from the whole F2P model. I've said it for years now, F2P is bad for the consumer in many ways. Its absolutely great for big business and profit margins but at a cost to the consumer that eventually ends in the proverbial snake eating its own tail....
Mobile MMO+ micro transactions are a gold mine waiting to happen. more traditional MMO platforms are beginnign to show the flaws with the F2P model more blatantly now...and I think its good that the community at large is finally taking notice tht F2P conversions of traditional MMO games does not mean anything good for the players.

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 9:17AM Teviko604 said

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I tend to disagree with Skyydragonn.

I think the hybrid Pay Optional (more accurate than F2P) model where a large chunk of the game is offered for free at first with a cash shop supplementing gameplay, but then subscription tiers available for players who want more but don't want to be "nickel and dimed" to death, is working great. For the developers it has rejuvenated some sagging triple-A titles and helped boost titles titles that were doing well to begin with. For the players, especially those like me who would probably never pay a subscription, it has opened up several games that were previously unavailable. To me it seems like a win-win and why I believe more games are adopting the model or planning to releasing with the model already in place.

As a Guild Wars player, I also like their buy-to-play model, but even that can be a little restrictive in that you can only afford to buy a certain number of game, and then you are stuck with it if you don't like it. With the multi-tiered model you can pick and choose at will and not feel locked-in because you want to get your money's worth.

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 9:53AM (Unverified) said

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I think every MMO should adopt both business models. I really hate the F2P model because 99% of the time you end up paying a lot more for stuff you would have paying only the monthly fee. Even if the items on the cash shop are just cosmetic, that's stuff that would be available to you if it was a P2P game. But I understand the appeal and value of the F2P model, so I know it makes sense to have it. It's great for busines and a lot of players like it.

But as I said, there should always be an option to subscribe and get access to all that extra stuff from the item shop, or at least some form of premium content that doesn't make you feel gimped or whatever for not buying things on the shop.

I don't think this changes for mobile. And Order and Chaos online has a very small sub fee. I don't know how ambitious the game is, but it seems like a very cool game for an iPad, and looks like 6.99 for the game + 3 months is an awesome deal. The monthly fee is 1 dollar. That's less than a cup of coffee. Loos like a lot of bang for the buck.

But back on topic, I really think every game should have both models. It's more flexible this way and you can let the consumer choose how he wants to play and pay. You could attract a lot of people being free and getting them to buy from the shop, but those customers could eventually evolve into a subscriber. It's a win-win.

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 10:17AM Nerdy said

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I like the Guild Wars payment model, pay once, play as much as you want free, and the microtransactions don't give some players advantages over others (In other words, buying skill isn't allowed), they are simply vanity items such as extra character slots and costumes.

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 10:17AM DarkWalker said

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In my case, I would take one of:

- A subscription option, cheaper than the conventional $15 per month desktop MMO price, without charging for the game itself (or, as the industry loves to do, charge for the game roughly the price of a monthly subscription, and give a free month with the game purchase); with games that require a subscription I completely ignore cash shops and will absolutely refrain from purchasing anything extra on principle, though, so if there is anything on the store that I would classify as essential I will avoid the game like the plague. Little extra detail, without a trial, I would most likely not try it.

- A hybrid F2P/Subscription model, as long as there was no "pay to win" option (apart from potentially requiring a subscription to fully develop the character)

- Advertisement funded, with or without micro-transactions (also without any "pay to win" option in the store), if actually feasible (not sure if advertisement would generate enough revenue to fund the game). Perhaps with an option to subscribe and remove the advertisement.

- GW-like paid game without subscription charges, with or without micro-transactions (again, no "pay to win", please).

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 10:23AM Pingles said

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Order & Chaos is VERY close to being a full fledged MMO. They seem to be just a few tweaks and features away from the quality of most of the lower tier of current PC MMOs.

Their monthly fee system is appropriate in my opinion even as a very vocal fan of F2Ps.

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 11:20AM KvanCetre said

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@Pingles

The thing holding me back is the initial price tag. I'd be willing to go with a monthly fee if I could test the game out for a few days first.

I don't know if I can justify playing a handheld MMO when it requires WiFi... because that 99% of the time means I'm at home... where I can play an MMO on a PC.
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Posted: Jun 27th 2011 9:21PM Pingles said

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@KvanCetre

I have enjoyed the game but will not be subscribing until the game matures a bit.

When I *was* playing I found myself using the free WiFi at fast food restaurants to play a lot.

The game needs some time to figure itself out (it's one of those games that is a bit TOO hardcore for its target audience) and add some features (travel is painful in the game) it may actually replace some people's PC MMOs. It did for me for a bit.
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Posted: Jun 27th 2011 2:15PM smg77 said

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This is easy. In subscription games the developer has to make the game fun so you'll continue to subscribe. In cash shop games the developer has to make the game horrible unless you spend money in the cash shop.

I'd rather play a game where the developer was focused on making the game fun.

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 2:54PM ImperialPanda said

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"What would you be comfortable paying for a reasonably good game, assuming that you'd play a mobile title?"

That's the most important question, isn't it? Theoretically, F2P will make more money than P2P because people pay exactly how much they're willing to spend. Suppose one person is willing to pay $3/mo for your game and a second person is willing to pay $20/mo. If you charge a subscription of $10/mo then you're losing $3/mo from the first person and $10/mo from the second person. Whereas if you go F2P with shop you maximize revenue.

But, in reality, it seems most, if not all, developers are hesitant to make a high production value MMO F2P. And on top of that most F2P are horribly designed. Because of the existance of a cash shop, F2P has to be designed completely differently than P2Ps. But right now most devs are just lazy and/or dumb and pretty much make the same game except put vanity gear and consumables in shop. I'm not a game designer, but even I know that is NOT how you make a F2P.

But, eventually, someone will figure it out, and implement it in a well-made game. Once that happens virtually all major MMOs (and probably most minor MMOs) will be F2P. Because their income will dwarf what WoW makes. If it's a really good MMO and players are properly incentivized, most of them are willing to pay more than $13-15/mo. (and that's not opinion, that's fact)

Posted: Jun 28th 2011 9:00AM Teviko604 said

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@ImperialPanda

I think the reason we're not seeing new releases of high production F2P right out of the gate is more a matter of time and not necessarily laziness or stupidity. The phenomenon of Triple-A games converting to F2P is barely 2 years old. Even if a developer predicted the success of DDO right when it converted and started developing a F2P from the ground up, it would still be roughly 2 years before that game would be ready for release. All upcoming major releases probably began development as a sub-game and couldn't be completely converted without starting over from scratch.

All that being said, there are and have been games that were designed to be F2P and are good. I don't think they have gotten the recognition they deserve because they were released into an atmosphere where F2P was seen as second class, a label which would apply to some but certainly not all.
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Posted: Jun 27th 2011 3:55PM aberent said

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I have been playing Dungeons & Dragons Online in a F2P model for almost 2 years. I have head a great time and I would suggest it to anyone who wants to try a high quality F2P MMORPG.

Although many people won't agree, I personally like the game better than WOW (I have played both). I find you can get into a quest group much easier and faster than WOW, and the graphics and character design is as good if not better. DDO won't make you spent hours walking to some remote corner of the world before you can start questing. Most importantly experience is mostly gained by completing unique quests not repetitively killing 100s of monsters in wilderness areas.

I would have a hard time going back to a P2P model in a new MMO now that I have tried DDO.

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 4:06PM Lionhearted said

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I don't really think it's possible to make a good MMO on a cell phone yet. Maybe on something like the Xperia, with the slide out controller, but even then, MMO's are best with a keyboard and mouse.

I was listening to an interesting Engadget podcast today where one of the hosts talked about an interview he did with Joystiq about why Fruit Ninja was so good on a phone, and the answer perfectly described what is good and bad about smartphones as a mobile game option. Any "control" mechanism that a hand can do to a touchscreen that resembles what something can do in real life -- like using a hand as a sword that slashes fruit in Fruit Ninja -- works really well, whereas touchscreens are decidedly less fun to play on when it comes to games that require game control mechanisms that don't act like motions from real life.

At the end of the day, button mashing requires buttons, and if there's any genre that requires button mashing, it's the games we classically define as MMOs at this point.

If a MMO comes out on a smart phone that's any good, it's going to be one that controlled in radically different ways than traditional MMOs.

---

If I had to pick a payment model, and somehow a mobile MMO came out that was good and used touchscreen controls in a good way, then I guess I'd want a model with a small subscription fee, like $2-3 a month or $10 a year, etc. The game would have to be really deep for it to cost more than that, and I've yet to find a game that deep sold on phones.

Cash shops on a mobile phone is chasing good money after bad. They end up costing so much more in the end, and would cost an amount on cell phones that would never be worth it for cell phone games. I could only hope they'd flop, and maybe they would, because people just aren't used to paying big bugs on mobile phone games -- and even a dollar here and a dollar there in the cash shop is "big bucks" in comparison to the mobile phone game market.

Posted: Jun 27th 2011 6:31PM Broojo02 said

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If I was to make my own mobile mmo I would probably do it subscription based but a VERY low fee, like $1 a month but have a cash shop that sells items that won't give you any advantage in the game, just fancy wings and stuff to get in peoples way :P

Posted: Jun 28th 2011 1:03PM Bladerunner83 said

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" What payment model should mobile MMOs adopt? "

Buy once, play forever for free. Forget the item mall, forget a monthly sub.; These mobile games are so shallow, you're better off buying a single player one.

" If MMO studios are to make any money off the mobile market, how should they go about doing it? "

My first choice is subscription, but like I said earlier, most of these games are shallow and offer nothing that I haven't already seen, deeming it unworthy of a monthly fee. This only leaves F2P, which is the obvious ideal model for any mobile game.

" What would you be comfortable paying for a reasonably good game, assuming that you'd play a mobile title? "

This is a fair question and to give you a fair answer, I would pay the full $15 a month, plus an initial purchase fee of $50-$70; If and only if the game is equally comparable to World of Warcraft. In addition it has to have at least 10 million subscribers.

I enjoy the limitations that a PC MMO gives, mainly because games can be addictive and take up a lot of time in our lives. I would rather sit down in front of the computer and say, "Ok, I'll be off in a couple hours, I can get some real life work done and fix something to eat." People with gaming addiction, similar to porn addiction, can't say that, they are addicted like any drug; so now an addictive game can be in your hands all day long? Let's give all the crack-heads, crack and a crack pipe so they can do it all the time, oh and don't worry about them we are going to nickel and dime them to make a profit, they'll be fine.

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