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Pachter: 50% of online gamers would pay for multiplayer

"Black Ops, MoH, Halo Reach, GTA 5 all will contain the opportunity for gamers to pay more to the publishers"

Outspoken Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter has made a number of brave predictions about multiplayer gaming, claiming that he expects premium paid features to be added to a slew of major releases.

Pachter's latest round of projections follows Activision's firm rebuttal of suggestions that it might attach pay-to-play fees to current or in-development Call Of Duty titles.

His latest proclamation also maintains that, although he does not know exactly what form this new breed of monetisation will take, he expects it to bifurcate the online arena, with half of current players paying for premium versions and the rest sticking to limited free multiplayer.

"We expect somewhere around half of the current 15 million online game players to pay something for premium content, and expect the other half to play fewer hours online if the free experience is slightly less robust in the future," he said.

"Should the 7.5 million people who choose to pay generate only $5.00 per month (around 11.5¢ per hour), publisher revenues and operating profits would increase by $450 million," Pachter went on to appromixate.

"We think that premium online multiplayer content will be the event that turns the negative tide of industry sales around," he said, additionally claiming that those players who feel disenfranchised by charges would be likely to buy more games to make up the lost hours.

He cites multiplayer as primarily responsible for Modern Warfare 2's sales, claiming "Activision laments the missed opportunity to somehow monetise the incremental gameplay" and calculating that charging players the equivalent of $0.06 per hour would have raised an additional $120 million profit within six months.

Although Rockstar has yet to even announce its next game, Pachter has declared that the Red Dead Redemption developer/publisher's next title will include a new payment model - as would other impending big-hitters.

"We think that scheduled releases like Call of Duty Black Ops, Medal of Honor and Halo Reach, and unscheduled releases like Grand Theft Auto 5 all will contain the opportunity for gamers to pay more to the publishers," he surmised.

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Latest comments (21)

Richard Westmoreland Senior Game Designer, Codemasters Birmingham10 years ago
75% of all statistics are made up ;-)
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James Prendergast Process Specialist 10 years ago
It's a double-edged sword in my opinion.

Good for the big dogs... not so good for everyone else though. You only have to look at the MMO market to see that predictions of WoW-like figures for subsequent MMOs were just unrealistic. There's only so much space in each market or so much money in the pot. Changing how you charge for something means that the available money gets shifted around.

Just like how gaming is eating up DVD/movie revenues (or at least that's what they say).
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Sam Jordan Writer 10 years ago
"Pachter: 50% of online gamers would pay for multiplayer"

You haven't posted the full quote, but from what you put he says "if" half of the 15 million pay then they could make $450 million. That's different than "50% would pay $5 a month to play CoD."

If you've got the full quote where he says "they'd make $450 million and I have data that suggests half of them actually would" then please prove me wrong, but the headline is telling a different story than what he seems to have said.
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Show all comments (21)
Al Campbell Studying Computer Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee10 years ago
@Richard- I'm pretty sure that that number rises to about 90-95% when Pachter's involved. ;)
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Alec Meer Director, Rock, Paper, Shotgun Ltd10 years ago
Sam: "it is likely that the creation of premium content will limit the number of hours spent playing multiplayer games for free, thereby disaggregating a large number of consumers who will likely begin purchasing packaged products again. At the margin, we expect somewhere around half of the current 15 million online game players to pay something for premium content, and expect the other half to play fewer hours online if the free experience is slightly less robust in the future. Should the 7.5 million people who choose to pay generate only $5.00 per month (around 11.5 per hour), publisher revenues and operating profits would increase by $450 million; should the other 7.5 million people purchase only one additional game per year to make up for fewer hours spent online,
publisher revenues would grow by another $450 million."

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alec Meer on 2nd August 2010 6:33pm

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Ashley Tarver Indie 10 years ago
Activision need to stop talking about it and just go ahead and try it. It won't work. We'll all laugh.

Trying to con the gamers out of their hard earned cash for something we're all accustomed to already (self/clan/guild funded servers) is not a great idea, it's just a greedy idea.

EDIT: my bad, I thought it was another Acti blood sucker doing the talking. However, if anyone is sure to do it then it WILL be Acti, so what I said still stands ... in a way.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ashley Tarver on 2nd August 2010 6:50pm

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James Finlan Studying Information Systems, University of Manchester10 years ago
Pacther in more 'made up' 'complete guess' numbers shocker. Zero credibility.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Finlan on 2nd August 2010 9:50pm

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Sam Jordan Writer 10 years ago
Cheers for the full quote Alec :)

As for Pachter's reasoning though...
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Peter Aitchison Reviewer, TAGS10 years ago
The perception Mr Pachter has of online gaming begins with the word 'free'. In reality for the average punter there's a plethora of costs to get to the point of accessing the product 'for free'. Sure, I've heard the WOW argument, but WOW players are left with a choice and by using the 75 - 95% of stats are made up I'd suggest a large percentage of WOW players focus their gaming on WOW. There's always a trade off with hobbies. Many may invest money in multiplayer - as I would coz that's all I play - but there'd be a loss somewhere else.
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Patcher can pay for my half.
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Vitalii Moskalets Game Designer, GameLoft10 years ago
When such big games will start to charge money for multiplayer, there will be new competitors, who will make games completely free of charge. So I don't think this idea will help them to generate tons of money. Somebody will pay, the majority will not.

OR the idea can be successful if amount of content for such shooter will become comparable to MMO
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David Rider Publisher, Hustler UK10 years ago
Has Pachter ever played online multiplayer? On console?

If Activision can deliver an online experience free of 8-year-old racist homophobic children, a place where glitchers don't exist, where a 'see everywhere' hack doesn't work and where lag doesn't determine the outcome of a game, then hey, count me in.

Until then, I'll continue to cough up money to Microsoft for my Gold membership, and suffer the consequences of a game like MW2 and its over abundance of tiny, mouthy children whose parents ignore age ratings.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 10 years ago
Are you kidding me?

Most gamers I know refuse to pay for online subscription, both professionals and 'normal gamers' alike. Whilst I do know plenty who subscribe it's nowhere near half and half. Bloody statistics....
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Personally, I wouldnt pay a single cent/penny for premium multiplayer.

Goods should be provided as is on the tin. Whereas a middle ground option such as that advocated by Playstation for Premium content is more palatable. As it is, multiplayer is still glitchy/laggy (depending on yoru net connection) that the thought of forking out more for a less than perfect product....

How about this, if the product doesnt work as stated, perhaps they should really pay us to try out their products
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Mike Wells Writer 10 years ago
The problem with "premium" multiplayer is quality of service - a large part of which is outside the publisher's hands (slow broadband connection, latency, other people). A two-tier system also raises suspicion around deliberate poor QoS being applied to the lower tier. Conversely, I've heard quite a few CoD players say they would pay for less lag, less cheating, fewer mouthy/singing kids, better matchmaking and so on. In short - there is a market for a premium service, but it would be almost impossible for a publisher to deliver it successfully (certainly not without coming in for a lot of grief from customers and the media). Do publishers want to get more $ out of people who buy a game and play it for 12-18 months rather than the 1-2 it was in the old days? Yes, of course. But they can do that with DLC releases every couple of months and peer pressure. Maps today... upgraded weapons/perks tomorrow. Creating a digital arms race could be very profitable. It may sound unpalatable, but it will come and it's a lot easier to implement than many of the alternatives.
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Philip Wilson Project Manager/QA 10 years ago
...100% of Patcher's stats are full of crap :)
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Philip Wilson Project Manager/QA 10 years ago
...100% of Patcher's stats are full of crap :)
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Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer Larian Studios 10 years ago
Imagine the statistics being right, they'll end up making more money and nothing will change for the consumer or the game developer. Profits have been rising and the companies that survived the financial crisis made more because of the loss of other companies. But I tell you this, like every other blood sucking money hungry corporation more money will deteriorate the quality of the industry towards the consumer and its developers. Which one of you professionals except for the freelancers actually gets a part of the profit that's made by the game you worked your ass off on? They'll make more money and do all kinds of shit and we'll swallow it because we just can't stand up against corporations that rule the future of the games industry.
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James T. Johnson President/CEO, CowBell Games Bunch, Inc.10 years ago
A stat is only a stat when it's based in some sense on fact. This is nothing more than a guess and an incorrect one at that. I certainly wouldn't buy a console product for which I have to pay additionally to access multi-player features. I'd like to think that more than half of the market is smart enough to think similarly, but...I'd also like to think that the majority of people would be smart enough to not pay for things like farmville too...
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Michael Abraham game designer 10 years ago
there's two sides to this in my opinion, neither of which i think reflect well on the company that implements it.

there's a significant number of online players that have no real sense of the value of a pound/dollar/whatever. (if they're underage - well we all know of people who fund their kids online purchases without really a clue as what they're paying for.)
so yes that will definetly get more money out of that group, who want to just keep on playing.

the other thing to think of though is how this can turn people away from games. there are instances where i hear people turn down an otherwise good game in their opinion, because they don't like the unlevel playing field created by those who are willing to spend more money on the game. - these people may in fact have spent money on microtransactions/premium content if they played the game and got into it, but they're just not willing to do so because of how the landscape of the game is laid out to them.

in both cases the company kind of villifies itself, which isn't really something a company can get away with as easily these days. this just hurts image and may even negatively effect profits.


also to consider is that older gamers aren't used to this method of payment. how willing will they be to adapt to it over sticking to older titles?
it may be that this is the way things will eventually go, and be considered the norm, but the transition peroid to this will be very difficult to get through.
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Aidan Fitzpatrick Artist 10 years ago
erm, I already pay 40 a year to play Multiplayer.
Xbox Live Gold.

:/
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