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MMO Fees: Justifiable?
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Are monthly pay-to-play service fees justifiable?
Yes
28% 28% 28%
 28%  [ 9 ]
Yes
28% 28% 28%
 28%  [ 9 ]
No
21% 21% 21%
 21%  [ 7 ]
No
21% 21% 21%
 21%  [ 7 ]
I don't know
0% 0% 0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
I don't know
0% 0% 0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 32
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Slix
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Post Post subject: MMO Fees: Justifiable?
Posted: Thu May 29, 2003 11:55 PM
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This is more or less a rant post, so beware. It isn't too bad, though, so don't be shy to voice opinions.

For many a year after the advent of the massively multiplayer online game (if it really has been that many a year), developers have been using many ways to get more money from consumers. One of the options that seems to be rapidly spreading is the pay-to-play online service. It involves a monthly fee to be paid by the consumer in order to sustain gameplay. The prices for each game are different, but on average, the bill floats around the American $10 mark.

Now. Here's the meat of the question. Is such a thing really justifiable? Sure, some games are really very good indeed, but to have to pay for them every month? It seems to me that by abolishing the monthly fees, developers could make much more, as a large chunk of the gaming community (including myself, as I have already implied) doesn't want to dish out such a royal price just to play a game that was paid for already at the store.

What does GCC think Question

On to the ballots... Twisted Evil


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Post Post subject: MMO Fees: Justifiable?
Posted: Fri May 30, 2003 03:14 AM
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I used to pay 13.95 a month for EQ. Yes you pay for the game at the store, but most MMO's give you the first month as a Trial. If you don't like it , cancel before they charge ya. The other advantage of this is that they are constantly adding new stuff and balancing the gameplay. You don't tend to get that much support from regular online games you play online for free. UT2003 still feels a bit incomplete to me, yet the devs to that game are already working on UT2004. But there are alot more options that should have been there and now I don't know if they will be. The good MMO games have forums and really want your feedback to help make it a better online gaming experiance. So in essence you are paying for support and on going improvements to the game and helping to improve it. That's if the Company in charge really cares and keeps up with it (you got to watch out for that as well). Gameplay got really imbalance in EQ due to alot of greedy groups of players and nothing was done to correct the problem. It really wasn't the games fault. I still like EQ, but it was the greedy players that killed the fun of the game for me. So I stopped the account. The emersion factor the game did have is really what I liked and have been looking for another MMO that will give me back that emersion factor. But I still want a good gameplay balance so that Greedy groups of players (or even greedy players in general) can't take the over all fun out of the game for me. So yeah it may feel like a waste at times to be paying anywhere from 30-50+ $ at the store for the game and then paying 10-14$ a month. But having that first month free at least gives me the chance to find out if the game is something I want to keep playing. I've wasted 30-50+ $'s on games that I could play free online and then end up not playing them beyound a month. So to me its a small price to pay for a game that may be very enjoyable for me Wink
Cloud - out


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Post Post subject: MMO Fees: Justifiable?
Posted: Fri May 30, 2003 05:42 AM
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I have mixed feelings about this issue.

Pros:

1. Prevents lost income to companies from pirates
2. Gives incentive for companies to improve gaming experience
3. Keeps some "creeps" out of the game by making them pay through the nose. If they do something to get themselves banned, the cost is prohibitive for the poorer ones

Cons:

1. People like me can't really afford it.

[whine mode]I realized last month that even buying three shirts and a few pieces of costume jewelry on my checking account can suck my account dry. I got charged massive amounts of money for being broke. OMG...I owe so much money I can't even think about it without crying. Luckily, I bought the snake on my credit card, but now the credit card is full of overdraft fees I may never be able to pay off. I'm not very good at this "being poor" thing.[/whine mode]

2. I irregularly play ten or more games. If I had to pay $10 a month for each game just to pop on occasionally, the cost would be prohibitive, indeed! I couldn't afford to "dabble" like I do. I like UT, Wolfenstein, D3, Battlefield 1942 and all the HL mods, but if I had to pay $10 apiece each month, no way could I afford it. No way would it be fair!

3. If you already paid for the game, it seems unfair to charge more for playing it. If you're going to charge a monthly fee, make the game FREE to download. Modem users could get a free CD and pay a nominal shipping and handling fee.

Yes, the unfair part is making people PAY after they've already paid. It's like some of the more unfair government taxes.

I wouldn't mind a monthly fee, IF:

1. A company charged a small flat fee for all of its games. Suppose EA had three hot games. You could play all of them for $12.95 a month.

2. The company either drastically reduced the cost of buying the game or made it free.

3. The company stayed on top of bugs, issues and features wanted by a majority of the players.

That said, I voted NO. I just don't think it's fair for a company to make you shell out $50 then charge you every month just to play their game.


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Post Post subject: MMO Fees: Justifiable?
Posted: Fri May 30, 2003 06:51 AM
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I think it is justifiable, they do need to keep the servers running, keep the patches flowing, keep people helped etc.

The company you're sugesting is Sony Online Entertainment, this company has a small flat fee for all it's games, $21.99 for 5 premium and 3 free downloadable games (I think for these free games it means more features etc.). Also they are drasticly reducing the fee for games like EverQuest, which is $9.99 in store and free downloadable from the internet if I'm correct (They could've put that down already tho).


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Post Post subject: MMO Fees: Justifiable?
Posted: Fri May 30, 2003 09:47 AM
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Ask a question like this and you can expect to hear from me Twisted Evil


IMHO, I think the fee is justified. Following SG''s track, the money necessary for keeping the servers running, the bandwith needed, the staff for maintainence, and every other little thing to keep the game smooth (like content!) then you need a monthly fee.

Now my question is, which I made on some other post in the past, is with the way the fees are rising in price, is the end product we are charged more for merit the price increase? I started playing MMO back in the UO days when it was 10 dollars (and now they are raising their price!). 3 iterations of MMO games later, they are now $13-$14. What has changed? Graphics for the most part. But has everything else? RPG systems are nothing innovative. I've seen 'content added' done on older engines for lower price. Inflation?

I think another question we should ask is what is our $40+ dolllars and $13 subscription fee is paying for. But that's a whole other thread.

D


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Post Post subject: MMO Fees: Justifiable?
Posted: Fri May 30, 2003 11:28 AM
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my turn:

I voted yes --

cost

first point before I go onto further details - many of the new games coming out cost the 49.99 but with a month or two they drop to the 29.99. Gaming companies know that they have the huge crowd of people waiting to buy the game so they will pay the 49.99 the day it comes out, if not pre-order it at the full price. It is a matter of economics - the demand is there, the supply is limited therefore the cost will be higher.

After the initial onslaught, the demand goes down and the supply goes up therefore the cost lowers and then the games are sitting on the shelf for 9.99 to 29.99 to help bring in more customers.

Therefore, if people don't want to pay the 50.00 to get the game initially, wait a little while because the price is bound to drop.

/rant on
Frankly, I have decided that for most games that I buy anymore, I will wait till it is out a month at least because there are so many issues at the beginning that you pay a full price to sit in a log in screen and can't really do anything because of lag issues.
/rant off

Of course, with SWG I have already pre-purchased my first copy. Once the price lowers, I will more than likely buy a second account because of the Single character server setup. SOE has been talking about a discount for the second account so I am waiting for word on that.

Cheaters

The number one thing I had about free online games is cheaters. Look at counter-strike, quake, elite force, and many of the other popular games that hold free online play. Without the cheaters, there would be no punk brewster (spelling?). Slixx will know what I am talking about in NASCAR racings with intentional wreckers. People that just love to log on and make other people's life a living hell takes the fun out of most games.

By paying a monthly subscription fee, you have more a right to complain about the cheaters/griefers/exploiters/etc because if the company doesn't do something about them - you and others will stop paying and playing, therefore they lose income. Most if not all online subscription companies have policies against cheating, griefing, etc and those that break the rules can have their account suspended or banned.

Also, by paying a monthly, it will deter those type of players because they have to pay to be @-holes.

Add-on, updates, and support

A few nice things about having pay services is that you can get bug-fixes, new content, updates, game balancing all of the time (or a set schedule like AC). The monthly fee you pay also helps pay salary to keep customer support around that can address bugs, characters or anythings.

Most other games, pay the developers - release the game, do one update or bug fix and then the development team is off working on another games. I may not play everquest any more but after close to 5 years, they are still pumping out new content and making game play changes.

Well that is most of what I am going to say, because I have to get back to work, but if I think of anything I'll chime in later.


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Post Post subject: MMO Fees: Justifiable?
Posted: Fri May 30, 2003 12:04 PM
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well in my view it depends what the game is, if its a MMO then YES it is, same reaons as SG and darke.

if its a normal FPS or RTS or sumthing then hell no, u pay for the single player and that inculdes to me a few patches to get the game workin rite, on and off line.
U pay for the SP, and get the MP, i have a rule when buyin my games, NO MP!! then they better release a demo so i can see the the SP is like, and if its .000001 of of beein worth it then i dont buy it. a game HAS to have MP for me, otherwise the 30 just isnt worth it.

so really payin 10 pm is worth it, if u can afford it, the game is good, and they are updating it monthly. otherwise NO


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Post Post subject: MMO Fees: Justifiable?
Posted: Fri May 30, 2003 02:24 PM
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Although the fees are necessary to keep the servers running, they are a pain in the arse. There are other ways that the MMO companies could go about running the whole thing. Making the game free to download (as LH mentioned I think) would be one way, and then once you've downloaded it you sign up, get say 7 days free to change your mind. Then if you don't like it, you can cancel, no biggie.

An other option could be to increase the amount of free playing time when you buy the game. The MMO's in the shops are the usually the same price as any other game aren't they? So if you're going to cough up a reasonable amount (like US$50), 5 or 6 months of free play would be fair enough. It gives you an oppertunity to develop yourself in the game, see what it's like, have a decent whack at whatever storyline(s) there are and change your mind - cause I mean let's face it, 1 month isn't really all that long when people have things like school, work, family, etc.

But IMHO, MMO's get pretty repetitive after a while. They all rip one another off, that strong sense of community isn't quite as strong as you thought it would be, and storyline? Well, I've yet to see an MMO with a good set of stoyrlines (specifically the MMORPG's). That's prolly why I stay away from them

Anyway, just my $0.02

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Post Post subject: MMO Fees: Justifiable?
Posted: Fri May 30, 2003 02:56 PM
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Because piracy is rampant, I think the way to go would be to allow free downloads (or drastically reduce the price), then give people a month or two of free play. After that, I wouldn't mind the fee if the game was worth it.

Fugi is right. Even a month isn't enough to decide if you really like a game when you have other commitments. I mean, I've only played a handful of games this month.

Also, monthly services feed into addiction. You feel you have to play in order to get your money's worth. I'm sure the companies that make and sell the games don't care. (Phillip Morris doesn't care if your lungs rot out; they just want to sell product.) But wives, husbands, children and parents of those addicted might care.

I have been addicted to gaming in the past. At the time, it was a way of coping with stress--probably less dangerous than drugs. But once you start playing a lot, you get really serious about the game and it ruins your attitude. Yeah, I know I'm speaking in the second person right now, but that's what it did to me. I'm trying to keep all of this in perspective. A person can get addicted to anything.

One more thing: do companies even care about our opinions and suggestions? The makes of Star Wars: Galaxies aren't going to come into the forum and read our posts, after all. They'll charge their $50 USD and then charge you to play. Most likely, I won't be getting the game for that reason. I'd much rather do some free FPS fragging.


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Post Post subject: MMO Fees: Justifiable?
Posted: Fri May 30, 2003 03:16 PM
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Ladyhawk wrote:
One more thing: do companies even care about our opinions and suggestions? The makes of Star Wars: Galaxies aren't going to come into the forum and read our posts, after all.

You might be surprised at how much they do actually read fan sites, not just the SWG but creaters of all the games. However, with hundreds of fan sites out there for any given game, the developers have hard time just searching through.

A good way to have your word read is post on the official sites the same information...or just a reference to the link. SWG developers IMO are doing a good job getting input as how to make the game better.


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