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Reader Comments (197)

Posted: Aug 30th 2011 10:51AM SnarlingWolf said

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@Lenn

By charging a subscription or charging a box fee? That is how I expect them to get the money they need to operate.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2011 12:39PM Space Cobra said

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@Fabius Bile

I don't blame F2P MMOs/Companies for putting the concept of MTs out there...

...but I see the concept of greed at work with P2P companies adopting that. Just because P2P companies noticed it and adopted it, you can't blame F2P companies for the P2P's company's greed.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2011 12:55PM StClair said

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@Space Cobra
"you can't blame F2P companies for the P2P's company's greed."

Because, of course, the F2P companies were charities dedicated to bringing a gaming experience to the widest possible audience free of charge, out of the pure goodness of their hearts. Greed is a P2P exclusive.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2011 1:00PM smg77 said

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@Fabius Bile
You're right. In simplest terms cash shop game developers have to make their game less fun to play in order to get you to fork out at the item mall. It's led to crappy gameplay in every game that uses the model.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2011 2:35PM rockman0 said

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@Fabius Bile

" That people will spend money on virtual items even in the worst, most terrible, lackluster of games."

That's a bit subjective, don't you think? Just because you hate those games, surely, everyone else should. Right? Not really.

The reason those F2P games are able to profit is because there are people who like them. I've even enjoyed some of those games.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2011 3:42PM Space Cobra said

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@StClair

Hah! You got me there! :D

Although I didn't want to bring up this analogy, because it's an admittedly BAD analogy, but ... well, here it is:

So you have this gun. One person can use the gun for killing for food/hunting, another would use the gun simply for target-practice, another might use it for revenge on a particular person(s).

Greed is kinda like that gun. A company can be mildly greedy or wildly greedy. They don't have to use it, use it sparingly, or overuse it.

Actually, maybe "bad cholesterol" is a better analogy! :p Too much and you get fat and dependent on it. Not enough and you starve. (Okay, that sounds better!)
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Posted: Aug 30th 2011 4:03PM Lenn said

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@SnarlingWolf At which point they cease to be f2p games.
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Posted: Aug 31st 2011 1:08PM HiroProtagonist7 said

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@Lenn

But it is related and the statement is correct. First came the elimination of the modding community, then DLC, then F2P with item shops now Sub games + item shops.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2011 9:53AM nomoredroids said

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I wanted to play TSW really bad. Now I'm not, simply because I will refuse to pay money every month, plus buying the client, plus paying for items, in order to play a game. There are better single player games out there that only charge me once, thanks.

Posted: Aug 30th 2011 9:53AM Sephirah said

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"The point, though, is that for some gamers it is required."

If there would not have been a cashshop, some items would not even had been implemented, so nobody would have "required" them as they would have been non existent.
There is no guarantee that a monocle on the cashshop for 70$ would have been made obtainable simply by playing: designers could have instead spent their time making some new mob.

But is seems that a lot of players are like kids whose mom repeat to them "You cannot have everything you want" everytime they see another kid with a toy they don't have and srart crying to have it.





Posted: Aug 30th 2011 1:14PM Irem said

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@Sephirah
The way I decide whether or not to buy DLC for singleplayer games is by asking myself, "Is this something they ever would have included in the game without charging extra for it?" If the answer is no, I don't mind buying. That, though, is a singleplayer, stand-alone game, where the developers have a limited amount of time and disc space to allot to what might be considered fluff.

The "is it extra" argument when applied to online worlds is pretending that an MMO has the same limitations. I'm paying a sub fee presumably to support the development team in their ongoing epic quest to make stuff that makes me want to keep paying a sub fee. The promise of extra money on top of that fee didn't magically inspire them to come up with something to use their imaginations and artistic talent on aside from more mobs to fight--rather, it's a case of them knowing they can designate anything that isn't another mob to fight as "extra" and people will accept it. They're already getting paid to think of new and interesting content, and most major studios would have to be under rocks to not know that plenty of players are overjoyed to see them create things that aren't just another mob, or hear suggestions for what types of things those players want to see, but $15 a month just isn't enough to make it worth their while, you know? Maybe if a little extra something came their way they'd see what they could do for us.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2011 9:55AM DeadlyAccurate said

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@Ren54 The same with Runes of Magic. It doesn't have a subscription either (or a box fee), so the only way to make money on the game is through the cash shop. And from what I can tell from within the game, they're doing just fine that way.

Posted: Aug 30th 2011 9:55AM shmegger said

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The cash shop would be less annoying to me if it wasn't the exact model in so many games. You jump into a shiny new mmo and a few months down the road, a gleaming new tab appears in your toolbar, sandwiched prominently between your inventory and stat buttons.

For some reason the new button is twice as large as its fellows and has an absurd color completely out of line with the rest of the UI. You investigate the tab because it must be important, but find a magic vendor that sells potions that help you skip through content more quickly and purple hyena pets.

Its not just a commercial. Its that commercial that comes on during your show that fills up the bottom portion of the screen and makes honking and bleating noises urging you to tune in to some other show.

Cash shops interrupt the continuity of a game, and destroy the ability to 'willingly suspend disbelief'. Now my character has a magic vendor that follows him everywhere, and he can buy anything as long as I give him a few US dollars or euros.

Go with an independent developer? Like who? There was a great one a few years ago named Verant Interactive, but Sony owns their game now.

Posted: Aug 30th 2011 9:58AM Averice said

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Yeah, I was really looking forward to GW2 until they announced their cash shop. Lost all interest.

Posted: Aug 30th 2011 10:06AM DeadlyAccurate said

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@Averice Huh? This is about subscriptions + cash shops. Guild Wars 2 doesn't have subscriptions.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2011 10:08AM Ashane said

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@DeadlyAccurate

To be fair, he rants about cash shops more then subs + cash shops.

...........

With that said, I was looking forward to TSW, despite it being developed by what I feel is a solid C- developer. With the announcement that its sub and cash shop, I've firmly said no.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2011 1:51PM Irem said

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@Averice
GW1 has a cash shop, and they've handled it very responsibly. I'm extremely wary of MTs, but I trust ArenaNet because they've been 100% explicit in defining their policy on cash shop items in ways that would make it very hard to go back on later without making liars of them.
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Posted: Aug 30th 2011 10:02AM Flicktion said

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Preach! This new sub+cash-shop trend is beyond ridiculous! In F2P games I'm completely fine with one, but for me it becomes a problem when I'm paying $15 a month and have to shell out even more for some vanity item to differentiate myself. Cash-shops have no place is subscription based games, whether that be vanity or 'convenience' items. Anyone that doesn't think convenience items are just another form of pay-to-win is beyond delusional. Sure you MIGHT end up at the same place eventually, but when your opponent (and everyone around you for that matter) is leveling 5x faster than you, you certainly aren't winning.

Until MMO gamers can let go of the anti-F2P sentiment we're going to see more and more sub+cash-shop.

Posted: Aug 30th 2011 10:10AM Sean D said

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Jef,

Good article. Here are some thoughts and impressions:

"The funny thing here is that the folks selling you the more convenient experience are the same ones who are purposefully making your current experience inconvenient in order to entice you to spend more money!"

Loved this statement because it's exactly right.

I disagree, however, "that companies should do everything they can to maximize profits." Your above statement represents one technique that businesses use to do this and it's a morally deplorable, mafia-like technique, just as you say. It's extortion. Balancing costs with income to create a reasonable profit is an acceptible alternative. What constitutes a reasonable profit is going to vary, but I think we can all agree that the profit obtained by the subscription plus cash shop model is not reasonable.

Ultimately, it is our responsibility to be conscientious consumers, I agree. For my part, I have not preordered SW:ToR (I canceled my EA account, and other associated accounts, some months ago) and will abstain from it and TSW unless they change their ways. I play LotRO as a VIP and have two active EvE accounts that I'm letting go of once the subscriptions expire. I play Guild Wars regularly and intend to play Guild Wars 2.

I'm not certain whether or not the decision to implement a subscription plus cash shop model is a developer decision or, as I presume, a publisher decision. EA is common to both games. I would be interested to know for sure which is true, or if it's a joint decision. Possible future article idea there?

Thanks, man. Good stuff.

Sean


Posted: Aug 31st 2011 1:02PM HiroProtagonist7 said

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@Sean D
""The funny thing here is that the folks selling you the more convenient experience are the same ones who are purposefully making your current experience inconvenient in order to entice you to spend more money!"

I've been saying this for months (check my post history, my sig/blog on MMORPG.com - Cyberdeck7)

Thank you very much for legitimizing that statement. It's one that never gets a response from anyone. I guess people have blinders on. To me, that they do this is common sense and if people actually soaked it in it would be the end of cash shops.
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