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Bethesda bucks trend with subscription model for The Elder Scrolls Online

Bethesda bucks trend with subscription model for The Elder Scrolls Online

Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:03am GMT / 7:03am EDT / 4:03am PDT
Retail

Any other model would mean "sacrifices" for fantasy MMO, say Firor

Bethesda and Zenimax' forthcoming massively multiplayer online game The Elder Scrolls Online will buck the free-to-play trend and charge players for a subscription to the title.

After a thirty day free period, players will need to fork out $14.99/8.99 a month for a basic package to continue playing the game.

"We're building a game with the freedom to play - alone or with your friends - as much as you want," Matt Firor, game director of Zenimax Online Studios told Gamestar. "A game with meaningful and consistent content - one packed with hundreds of hours of gameplay that can be experienced right away and one that will be supported with premium customer support.

"Charging a flat monthly (or subscription) fee means that we will offer players the game we set out to make, and the one that fans want to play. Going with any other model meant that we would have to make sacrifices and changes we weren't willing to make."

The decision will be seen as outdated by some, following a trend that has seen major online games such as City of Heroes, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic and most recently Rift adopt a free-to-play model to great success.

But Firor isn't concerned about trends, and feels that a subscription model will work best for the upcoming MMO.

"It's important to state that our decision to go with subscriptions is not a referendum on online game revenue models. F2P, B2P, etc. are valid, proven business models - but subscription is the one that fits ESO the best, given our commitment to freedom of gameplay, quality and long-term content delivery.

"Plus, players will appreciate not having to worry about being 'monetized' in the middle of playing the game, which is definitely a problem that is cropping up more and more in online gaming these days. The fact that the word 'monetized' exists points to the heart of the issue for us: We don't want the player to worry about which parts of the game to pay for - with our system, they get it all."

41 Comments

Thomas Dolby
Project Manager / Lead Programmer

335 283 0.8
This means they've lost me as a potential customer, but I do have to give them credit for letting the game design lead the business model and not vice versa. Whether the game design stands tall enough to justify the business model in the end is another matter entirely though.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Brook Davidson
Artist / 3D design

64 95 1.5
Why is this model still even used? -.-
For every player they lose due to going P2P instead of B2P, means they need another player to pick up 4 extra months to make that money back. That means if you lose more then 1/2 your customers due to going P2P, you pretty much already failed. I am being generous too. To use this model you have to be extremely confident you will either keep those subs for at least 9 - 10 months straight or not lose many customers moving to a P2P model. To much of a gamble in my opinion. The IP alone would have guaranteed them at least 8 - 10 million sales probably. Losing more then half due to the P2P model could be disastrous for the game. If that happens, it means another F2P transition in the future.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Sam Brown
Programmer

235 164 0.7
I'm pretty curious to see how well an Elder Scrolls game does without modding. Given the vast amount applied to previous versions by the community (with many sites publishing "Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim is unplayable without these mods!" lists) and the (presumed) impossibility of modding the online version, will a vanilla Elder Scrolls game appeal to the series' fans?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 21st August 2013 2:08pm

Posted:A year ago

#3

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,250 405 0.3
Sam, the console sales of Skyrim/Oblivion, which are mod free, would suggest yes.

More concern is that the gameplay supposedly bears little resemblance to other ES games.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Caleb Hale
Journalist

154 230 1.5
Refreshingly simple and up front, but the game will have to be good enough in those first 30 days to really build a dedicated community around continued play.

I'd do a 90-day trial, get over the troublesome humps that can sometimes plague the launch window of titles like this, and give ample time for people to get invested in their character. Then again, I'm not looking at Bethesda's ledger book.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Caleb Hale on 21st August 2013 7:24pm

Posted:A year ago

#5

Jim Wood
Support Analyst

4 1 0.3
Oh greedy Bethesda, in the words of Duncan Bannatyne, 'I'm out'
That's two copies not sold to my house.
Sniff, farewell.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Edward Buffery
Pre-production Manager

149 96 0.6
$15 a month is a bit steep! I can reliably buy a different game every month that will keep me very entertained for less money than that. I honestly can't imagine a game that I'd pay $15 every month to keep playing, for anywhere more than 2-3 months at most.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Kevin Patterson
musician

187 103 0.6
I am fine with this.
I don't mind a monthly fee as long as the game is supported with continual updates and balancing.
I have played many FTP MMO's and I haven't stuck with any of them, all the MMO's I have played for any long period of time
have been monthly subs.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Andrew
Animator

148 158 1.1
I read this as, Elder Scrolls has a good chance of having quality content. Sign me up.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
It really sickens me how many developers are using this now tired scam. They release the game as subscription based, rake in fees from the early adopters for a few months, and then inevitably go F2P within the year to stave off plummeting subscription numbers, but of course they don't give back all that money they fleeced off the early adopters. I guess I'll be checking this game out in its second year.

Posted:A year ago

#10

James Berg
Games User Researcher

159 206 1.3
Ditto Alex. I actually really enjoy a lot of F2P stuff, but for an MMO, I don't want to be hitting pay gates that aren't done really well. A hybrid model -can- work well - I think Lord of the Rings Online does the model the best - a premium monthly subscription OR F2P. With the premium subscription, you also get an allowance of credits to spend on their freemium stuff, which is fun. They also successfully monetized me above the subscription price by providing legitimate value through the freemium stuff, with it never feeling 'needed' or even terribly important.

Every other MMO I've played that's had a F2P model has just felt crass to me. Star Wars was pretty good, but still felt intrusive.

Now, whether Bethesda can make an MMO worth playing at all is still to be determined ;)

Posted:A year ago

#11

JT
QA

26 17 0.7
Just can't see it working as a sub based model, even WoW is bleeding millions now.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Aaron Brown
BA Computer Science Student

56 21 0.4
@Thomas Dolby

You are letting a business model deter you from a Bethesda game? That logic makes no sense.

This could be the greatest MMO ever. Premium games like ESO cost an exorbitant amount of money. Let the quality of the product inform your decision to purchase or not...

Posted:A year ago

#13

Lee Hewes

11 10 0.9
It's not just ESO that has gone for this model, Wildstar has also announced a subscription based system that also comes with a "CREDD" system that allows you to effectively buy game time with in game money.

The bonus for ESO here is that it also has a well established franchise which will attract a large audience from the word go meaning that as long as the launch goes well and they retain there earlier subscribers, it looks to be very promising.

Payment models are always unpopular no matter how you go about it there will always be someone that doesn't like what ever model you've gone for. For me, a subscription means that they have to seen actively pushing content to a highly polished degree otherwise know one is going to pay for a subscription.

For me it'll be about the game play, I don't mind paying a subscription for a game if it's enjoyable and my perceived value matches the actual cost i'm paying per month.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Lee Hewes on 21st August 2013 7:53pm

Posted:A year ago

#14

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
You are letting a business model deter you from a Bethesda game? That logic makes no sense.
I will pay $60 to play a Bethesda MMO, gladly (keeping in mind that it is not the Skyrim guys behind this one), but I have no interest in paying them $180 over the first year alone, on a game I might want to play for several years.
Payment models are always unpopular no matter how you go about it there will always be someone that doesn't like what ever model you've gone for. For me, a subscription means that they have to seen actively pushing content to a highly polished degree otherwise know one is going to pay for a subscription.
This is a theory I've seen no evidence for. I've seen subscription games with very minimal content additions, and F2P games with constant updates. If they could guarantee that they could produce several times as much content per month as GW2 does, and offer rebates on their monthly fee for each month that misses one of these major releases, then I might be interested, but vague promises of "substantial" content updates do not justify a monthly fee to me.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Lee Hewes

11 10 0.9
A fair point you make, i guess the only way you can ensure that they pushed out content is to unsubscribe. This has happened plenty of time in WoW for example where patch releases were delayed or were simply a long way apart and people perceived new release as lack luster content. They unsubscribe, Blizzard listened and acted accordingly (most of the time...) There are plenty of people that cancel and then go back to a subscription once the game has content that they wish to use. As a consumer you have to put your money where your mouth is, if you don't believe a product is worth what they're asking, don't buy it!

Another point is that subscription based models make you feel like you have to play in order to get your moneys worth where as a B2P like GW2 you can jump in and out of as you please. Subscription based models are more designed to make you play one game where as GW2 allows you to jump in, do your dailies or what ever you fancy and then log off as you please and play something else, you don't have that inherit need to play every moment of the day so that you've got every pennies worth. This means that typically people feel more invested in their character and it (hopefully) will make for a longer subscription time. The dangerous part is when they don't feel invested or they are simply bored with the content. Then you see the transfer from subscription to free to play which in tern ruins your ex subscribers trust in you and causes all sorts of chaos and the perception that you ripped them off with a quick cash cow scheme.

In the end I think that we assume that it's the business model that's the issue rather then looking at the business itself. There are examples of free to play and subscription based games that have worked well and that have failed miserably. Often the model was a contributing factor but wasn't necessarily the thing that killed it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Lee Hewes on 21st August 2013 9:09pm

Posted:A year ago

#16

Douglas Beck
Lead Software Engineer

1 10 10.0
Popular Comment
I would expect a little more support on this site given we're all supposed to be industry professionals. Those whining about it not being free sound more like poor jobless gamers.

Any true MMO lover knows that the F2P business model ruins an MMO no matter how well it's done, not to mention other genres as well. Obviously I'm going to give it a go, and have already in fact, regardless of what business model they choose but I am hoping to see the subscription based model come to fruition. There is a plethora of F2P MMO games out there currently so go enjoy those if you're broke. Having a fresh subscription based game that doesn't have distorted microtransaction gameplay is a real draw for players like myself looking for a premium experience.

Mind you, money spent to play this game goes back into our own industry. Some of you are not thinking like game industry professionals today.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Douglas Beck on 21st August 2013 9:47pm

Posted:A year ago

#17

Roman Margold
Rendering Software Engineer

24 34 1.4
I applaud to their bold decision, certainly makes sense to me, and surely it will resonate well with the core audience. However, $15 is a lot to ask I think. $15 per month means you should only be playing this game, and if you find yourself poking into other games too, you are very likely to drop the subscription. It's an equivalent of three full priced games a year, and I believe that's difficult to justify. If they can set the price so that an average guy doesn't feel guilty when he's not playing, they may have a better success with that (unless of course they are really targeting only a small hardcore audience). But then again, I may be just misjudging the audience.

Posted:A year ago

#18

Jeffrey Kesselman
Professor - Game Development

30 52 1.7
This just convinced me I WILL try this game.

Good by and good riddance to the "I want something for nothing" crowd. They can go play gamevertisements on Foolbook. Id rather pay an honest fee for honest entertainment, and I'd rather play *with* people who feel the same.

This is the kind of crap "F2P" introduces into game design...
http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/RaminShokrizade/20130626/194933/The_Top_F2P_Monetization_Tricks.php

Posted:A year ago

#19

Andreia Quinta
Creative & People Photographer

218 579 2.7
Popular Comment

And if you really enjoy the game you want to spend hours and hours on it, not even caring about other games. I know for the 7 or so years I was dedicated to WoW my wallet was oh-so-very-happy since I barely spent money on anything else, I ended up saving a lot more money just by paying that subscription and loving that one single game.

Despite this, ESO might have a huge fan base, but they need to truly innovate something (not a lot of room there) and focus on quality and constant flow of content to justify a monthly payment.
The MMO market is already saturated with WoW copycats, making it F2P won't help their cause since there are already too many doing so and in the same genre, high fantasy settings in a medieval era, and having a huge existent player base doesn't help as we can see by examples like Dungeons & Dragons: Stormreach, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars: The Old Republic, or even Conan Hyborian Adventures.
All of them not really bringing anything amazing to the table. WoW picked up the good things from predecessors and improved them while getting rid of the boring and annoying stuff, the timing was also just perfect, before all this F2P market, MMO saturation, mobile gaming, so Blizzard managed to get their hands on a freak of an MMO with a 12M player peak. They were somewhat lucky, but they weren't successful by being stupid, they put out a very high-quality MMO at that time. Now it's about time someone else does something similar.

That said, I'm definitely trying out ESO, but I'm afraid it might be another clone.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
But Lee, "unsubscribing" is a poor solution, because if you unsubscribe you can't play anymore. Just because you no longer feel that the game is worth $15 per month doesn't mean that you don't want to keep playing it for free. It also doesn't take into account that many people subscribe for multi-month blocks, or that people tend to get lazy about subscribing and unsubscribing. The monthly sub really is a great racket when you can convince people to buy into it, which is why so much of the audience has wised up and are no longer buying it.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Jeffrey Kesselman
Professor - Game Development

30 52 1.7
Well if you don't think the price is fair then don't play.

Its really that simple.

Everyone has their own limit on price point. Bethesda has to decide where the sweet spot is for the market they want, and you may not be part of that market.

Even GW2 indulges in marketing and arm twisting to drop extra cash. I'd rather not have that in my game experience, thank you.

As for $180 in a year, people pay a heck of a lot more then that for something like cable TV.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Jeffrey Kesselman on 22nd August 2013 3:05am

Posted:A year ago

#22

Jeffrey Kesselman
Professor - Game Development

30 52 1.7
THis, by the way, is nonsense propaganda

"The decision will be seen as outdated by some, following a trend that has seen major online games such as City of Heroes, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic and most recently Rift adopt a free-to-play model to great success."

Most of these have not been great successes, but rather desperate attempts to pull some money out of failed products. They have not been profit making strategies, only loss limiting ones. The ONLY MMORPG to release complete numbers on such a conversion, in fact, showed no improvement in their bottom line, only increased costs in supporting more users.

http://evilasahobby.com/2012/05/19/city-of-heroes-villains-a-limited-bounce/

No one else, has released any *real* financial information.

(It is *possible* the DDO is generating alright money, but it isn't really "free to play" in the sense that you can access very little of the game without paying additional per content fees OR being a monthly subscriber. It also has a user base that has already been conditioned to paying per adventure and for new character classes in the form of D&D supplements and modules.)

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Jeffrey Kesselman on 22nd August 2013 3:34am

Posted:A year ago

#23

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,178 1,127 0.5
I no longer play MMO's but I can see this one doing well provided the content is there and not burned through quickly by overeager fans (SWTOR, anyone?) . Comparisons to WoW are odd because TESO isn't yet out and WoW's decline comes after what, over half a decade of a good run? That game is long in the tooth and has pandas (yuk!), so even I wouldn't touch it now.

That said... I think general interest in the TES series from longtime players and MMO fans looking for a new fix will propel this forward (provided a small, loyal chunk of the user base is familiar with the single player games and willing to try this one out with open minds). Word of mouth will help as well (from those hopefully happy fans and any positive press) and that will translate to more sales. At least for the short run.

Now, how long will this last? Hard to say. But Bethsoft seems to believe that they can do a pay by month MMO based on the strength of the TES license. So let's see what happens once it ships before giving them the finger and foot for not going FTP/PTW from day one, I say...

Posted:A year ago

#24

James Boulton
Tools & Tech Coder

133 170 1.3
Perhaps this will keep the screaming kiddies off the game? Plus, come on, this is TES Online. People will be willing to give pints of blood every month to continue playing, if it lives up to expectation.

For me, having a premium price point makes me want to play it more, not less. The more the hardcore element play the game, the better for me. They already have an absolutely massive userbase inline from the lineage of TES titles so I don't think they're going to have a problem getting users.

Quality deserves to be paid for. The whole "give stuff away for free" trend irks me something bad.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Brook Davidson
Artist / 3D design

64 95 1.5
I personally will never play a P2P game again. I spent so much money on TERA when it was first released just for them to turn around and go F2P.

I really think most companies should adopt the B2P model like GW2.
F2P, if done right, is fine with me as well.

Posted:A year ago

#26

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
Well if you don't think the price is fair then don't play.

Its really that simple.
Noted, but I would still rather like to play anyway, and history has shown that MMOs make MORE money as F2P than they do as pure subs, at least if your name isn't "Warcraft."
Even GW2 indulges in marketing and arm twisting to drop extra cash. I'd rather not have that in my game experience, thank you.
Not really. I've spent less on GW2 over the year than I would have with a $10 monthly sub, and the things I bought I could have done without if it were a problem, but I WANTED to spend that money because I was enjoying myself and the new things I would be getting for that money seemed worth it to me. That's the problem that I have with subscriptions, they are asking me to pay just to continue to be allowed to keep playing the game I paid for.
As for $180 in a year, people pay a heck of a lot more then that for something like cable TV.
Yes, they do, and many people pay that much over a month or two in car payments, or for a week of rent, and all of those examples are completely irrelevant to the point that $180 in a year is a ridiculous amount for a single video game.
Perhaps this will keep the screaming kiddies off the game? Plus, come on, this is TES Online. People will be willing to give pints of blood every month to continue playing, if it lives up to expectation.
I don't know, how much are Bethsoft players used to paying per month to keep playing Skyrim? Or Fallout? Or Oblivion? We know that they have the cache to move boxes, a B2P ESO would easily pass 4-5m boxes sold, but we have no basis to determine whether they can move subscriptions.

Posted:A year ago

#27

Andrew Watson
Programmer

92 200 2.2
Good to hear! The player community is the most important part of any MMO, and I've always found P2P communities to be better than F2P ones. In P2P ones, people tend to stick around and want to communicate more, whereas F2P's are more volatile with people constantly joining and leaving, because hey, they aren't paying anything.

Posted:A year ago

#28

Lee Hewes

11 10 0.9
@ Tim It's true that unsubscribing is not a perfect solution but if you really don't think you're getting your moneys worth then that's why I did, I can only go by myself and people I have played MMO's with. I also don't believe that being lazy with your subscriptions running on is a companies fault but rather something the consumer should keep check of, yes it can be preyed upon but I learnt through playing subscription MMO's that they can't prey on my laziness if i stop being lazy!

I'm glad to see subscription models returning as are a lot of people as long as you do get full access and there suddenly isn't a cash shop with "buy to win" items in it. This is what put me off some F2P games that restricted your access to the game unless your paid for those sections and it's why GW2 is still going strong.

One thing to note though is the demographic your appealing to, if you take GW2 for example, most of its earnings came from Korea rather then Europe which is the view point the majority of us are seeing it from. How many people here that played GW2 actively brought something from the gift shop any month that they chose to play? I bet you it's a lot less then an average GW2 player in Korea! The point I'm trying to make is that the model your using has to be perceived as decent value to the demographic you're appealing too. People are tired of being conned or disappointed by some F2P games and there is a growing consensus that F2P means inferior game play where as subscription is a more "premium" experience and therefore worth the higher price.

I will be definitely be playing this when it comes out, even if it means a similar experience happens to when I was playing Skyrim and abandoned any social interaction because it's hard work being dragon born.

Posted:A year ago

#29

Isaac Kirby
Studying Computer Games Development

40 37 0.9
"$180 in a year is a ridiculous amount for a single video game".
A lot of shooters manage this. Call of Duty and Battlefield both have DLC that total in the region of $50-$80.
I think if you feel you get your worth from a product you are happy. When you do not, you are unhappy. Unhappy gamres cancel subscriptions, Happy ones keep paying.

"I would still rather like to play anwyway",
Everyone wants something for nothing, its human nature. But they have to make money somehow, and if you dont want to pay, why should they try to make you Happy and therefore pay? People not wanting to pay leads to a miserable ecosystem.

Posted:A year ago

#30

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,020 1,467 1.4
The Guild Wars 2 B2P model ended my interest in any other MMO model other than that. F2P and monthly fee are both nasty systems that make me feel abused. No thanks, Bethesda.

Posted:A year ago

#31

Michael Bennett
Senior Designer

39 12 0.3
I love Bethesda, but I work at Zynga in part because I want to learn as much as possible about free to play (well, free to win really).

The poor fools. Oh, the tragedy! Why didn't they follow WoW's lead and just make the end-game subscription? Or even better, World Of Tanks' free to win model?

Posted:A year ago

#32

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Well, that was a quick way to kill any interest I had for the game. Im ok with a subscribtion model. Much better than F2P, but $15 is pretty steep. If your going to pay $15 a month for every game you play then it gets expensive. Something like $4 - 8$ dollars is a bit more reasonable. Id rather MMO's were part of a larger service, in which I subscribe to that service and I play multiple games. But at $15 dollars, i would only pay if it was the only game I played, which is not the case. And with stroong contenders, like Final Fantasy 14 and EverQuest next I dont think it will be likely.

Posted:A year ago

#33

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
One thing to note though is the demographic your appealing to, if you take GW2 for example, most of its earnings came from Korea rather then Europe which is the view point the majority of us are seeing it from.
I'm pretty sure GW2 hasn't launched in Asia yet, so I'm not sure how they would be getting a ton of money from Korea.
A lot of shooters manage this. Call of Duty and Battlefield both have DLC that total in the region of $50-$80.
Maybe so, I don't play those games either, but at least with DLC you have the choice to buy it or not, and if not you can continue playing the game you've been playing. If an MMO is released (and I believe some have) that allows you to play the launch title indefinitely, for free, but that as they add new zones/dungeons/etc. to the game you have to pay a reasonable price to access those things, then that's fine by me. I'll either buy those things or not. Of course, the grand dames of the MMO industry would double dip, both charging a monthly sub just to keep playing the same old products AND charging another retail price to be able to play the new content.
Everyone wants something for nothing, its human nature. But they have to make money somehow, and if you dont want to pay, why should they try to make you Happy and therefore pay? People not wanting to pay leads to a miserable ecosystem.
Not according to those devs that run F2P MMOs. The added players make it easier to find groups, customers and sellers for ingame items, make for more vibrant game worlds, etc. F2P players make the game more fun for everyone else. On top of that, while a player might be unwilling to pay $15 per month just to keep doing what he's doing, he might be willing to pay for the occasional new feature on the cash shop. For example, I've spent dozens of dollars over the past year on GW2, even though none of it was strictly necessary, but if they had even a $5 monthly fee I might have quit months ago, and once I did, never come back. The subscription is just a psychological barrier. It's like having a department store with a cover charge. If you have, say, a million players that each only pay in $10 every six months, it makes more money than a subscription game where you have only 100K players. Factor in that with a F2P game you have the odd "whale" that spends hundreds of dollars over that six month period, and it easilly becomes a better revenue stream.

Posted:A year ago

#34

Charles Ellis
CEO & Lead Developer

9 4 0.4
I'd do a 90-day trial, get over the troublesome humps that can sometimes plague the launch window of titles like this, and give ample time for people to get invested in their character.
One issue with that strategy might be that the average lifetime of a player for ESO could be targeted at little more than 90 days. I've certainly heard as far back as SWG that the average lifetime can be as low as three months, including the then-common 30 day free trial.

If you have, say, a million players that each only pay in $10 every six months, it makes more money than a subscription game where you have only 100K players.
I'm not sure I see the use in comparing revenues from a F2P game with a monthly ARPU of $1.67 (assuming that 1 million is the MAU) and a P2P game with an audience that's an order of magnitude smaller. If you had a F2P game with 10 million players that each paid $100 every 5 minutes, you'd surely be making a lot more money than a subscription-based game with 5 players, but one game isn't incredibly likely to turn into the other merely by switching business models.


I trust that the ESO devs know their game design well enough to assess what payment models will work best, and I wish them the best of luck with this. I hope that they've at least considered opening up the money-for-time trade on the upper end, a la EVE Online. I have no real numbers but my strong suspicion is that PLEX sales to other players have been a major source of revenue for CCP. That exact model might not work with ESO's design, but I think Bethesda would be foolish to not provide some means of "paid advancement" for those players with more money than time.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Charles Ellis on 23rd August 2013 6:31am

Posted:A year ago

#35

Justin Trautmann
Studying Digital Media & Multimedia Technology

24 35 1.5
I would expect a little more support on this site given we're all supposed to be industry professionals. Those whining about it not being free sound more like poor jobless gamers.
That is a pretty good tagline for subscription-based MMOs. "Pay it and stop whining like a jobless gamer."

Posted:A year ago

#36

Tim Ogul
Illustrator

335 462 1.4
I'm not sure I see the use in comparing revenues from a F2P game with a monthly ARPU of $1.67 (assuming that 1 million is the MAU) and a P2P game with an audience that's an order of magnitude smaller. If you had a F2P game with 10 million players that each paid $100 every 5 minutes, you'd surely be making a lot more money than a subscription-based game with 5 players, but one game isn't incredibly likely to turn into the other merely by switching business models.
I believe it would. The barrier of entry that there will be a subscription fee is a very significant one. If you intend to charge a subscription fee for your game, in 2014, at least, you must assume that you're turning away a large number of potential players right out of the gate. I don't think that it's at all unreasonable to assume that most MMOs would command 5-10 times as large an audience as a F2P or B2P than as a P2P. This si not just "switching business models" in the sense of deciding whether to charge more for costume skins or for mini-pets, this is a massive shift in the psychology of the purchase.
That is a pretty good tagline for subscription-based MMOs. "Pay it and stop whining like a jobless gamer."
If that isn't on the front of the box then it should at least be on the back.

Posted:A year ago

#37

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

735 432 0.6

Posted:A year ago

#38

Rogier Voet
Editor / Content Manager

71 31 0.4
From a development perspective I understand the reasoning for a sub-based game. Because building a F2P-framework into a games is an enormous task and it does take you out of the game every time you hit a pay-gate. That said.

We have seen a lot of MMO's fail with subscription. They all followed the same pattern. Launch incomplete and after one month an enormous drop-off which continued because of lack of players and content. The only course left was to go F2P or just stop the game (both cases happened).

The question is can the development team come up with an amazing game that
A - will attract enough buyers
B - have enough engaging content/services that they will renew their subs or even encourage other people to try it.

It seems to me that Zenimax is trying to hard to recoup costs

Now they sell the game and you need to pay a subscription after one month. If you want to grow your base of subscribers it is smarter to lower the price of the game. The more people try it, chance is that more people keep playing it. Why not a friends-pack where you can play for a month (or X period) with someone else?



Just my fifty cents

I'm still in wait and see-Mode

I love playing games, I completed Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim but I also love playing other types of games.
Some people play a game and play only that for a year or even more. I'm not like that.
So to get into this game I really want to play it together with friends I know very well.

Posted:A year ago

#39

Micky Klugman
Writer/Concept Guy

8 14 1.8
if it was 15 dollars a month with a free client, or a signifiantly reduced price for the client (say 20 dollars for the client, including the first 30 days, and 15 a month thereafter) I would be more interested in it because I would feel, as a customer that I'm getting a fantastic value for my money. It would also entice me as a customer to stay subscribing because hey, after 3 months I've payed the price of a typical AAA game, and I've already invested so much time in my character to quit now would be a waste.

I do agree with others though that it seems that ZeniMax is trying very hard to recoup as much money as they can as quickly as possible (with the real money shop option as well as the subscription) possibly because they know that they cannot possibly keep the momentum going and they will eventually be forced into a free-to-play system. perhaps sooner rather than later.

Posted:A year ago

#40

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