Payment Styles and Profitability

The subscription MMO is back for a new generation it seems. The Elder Scrolls has already been rumored to follow a PtP model and now the other hotness, Wildstar is climbing on board as well and I couldn’t be more relieved. I’ve tried a lot of apparently free MMO’s and I am always turned off by the inherent restrictions placed in them, the lack of that community feel, the development focus on whales instead of worlds, and at times the extreme cost to have a working title and experience you enjoy. Of course they need to make money but there are easy ways to do it and ways that are better for the consumer and publisher alike.

It’s interesting the opinions that have been raging on in the forums and websites about it at the moment as people’s opinions range so widely. The one opinion I just don’t get are people claiming they will never play Wildstar now that it is a PtP game. To me that says you really had no interest in it in the first place and being free was just your way of playing it for a week then bugger off to the next shiny. As a service that is aiming for long-term customers and not just players is that really a good demographic to aim for. It seems over the years now that free to play gaming has kind of been a corruptive force on mmo habits in general, and now it is getting a bit out of hand.

I hear that every mmo should be ftp now but that doesn’t seem right. Not every MMO or online game is suited to being FtP, just as everyone is not suited to being a PtP title either. It depends on the game and the audience to a certain degree and having everything as free for a while does get a bit limiting on the experience. It also kind of defeats the purpose of being free as a way of gaining players interest if every single one is free. I think time is a more important factor than that small amount of money a lot of the time but in the end it always comes down to quality, if you like the game your going to spend money on it that is pretty much a given. Knowing if your going to like a game can be an issue as we want value for money but usually you have some sort of idea if your going to like it beforehand. If not, well there is always Youtube and a plethora of opinions out there.

I don’t think free to play is the more profitable model either unless your game has already flopped after the initial rush and those few months of decline. Comparing the profits of a sub release to its FtP transition is usually in favour of the subscritption. Subscription MMO’s dying is often to do with quality, the quicker the decline the worse it is. This can apply to ftp MMO’s as well although due to not having the box sales to recoup an investment this is arguably the more dangerous model to choose as you are at the mercy of the players. Look at Defiance and how the entire studio was cannibalized after release, or even Neverwinter.

Speculation AHOY

Even looking at the buy to play model I don’t believe it is the better choice during that initial release period. Doing a bit of Speculation surrounding the GW2 release and NC soft earnings reports it seems while being a good way to recoup development costs it isn’t that good after that initial sales rush. There was a 58 million cost difference between the total NCsoft earnings and the parent company so I’m assuming this is the cost for both Arenanet and Carbine studios. I would assume for an in development MMO Wildstar may be incurring more of that cost, and I would also assume this total may be hiding certain other projects so maybe a 10million conservative estimate considering the operating costs of an mmo studio. This seems a likely number to start from although it is probably higher considering the size of Arenanets team (is it still 200+) and the amount of updates. Considering they made 28 million this quarter that doesn’t seem like a very high number and leaves them with around 18 million profit, a number which as time goes on is declining. NCsoft also received 20 million in royalties this quarter, I would have to guess some of this is coming from Arenanet and that shrinks the profit margin even further.

When you look at their earnings compared to say what you would earn from a sub the count is not very good either. During Q1 the gross profit equals up to around 800k subs, usually in those several months after release this number is much much higher. I think Star Wars had around 1.5 million for that first quarter. I even think Rift had around that and it was a smaller MMO from a smaller company. Coming into the second quarter of 2013 it’s down to 600k subs. For a Subscription MMO they would be thinking about a free to play transition by now but there is no where left to go for Guild Wars 2.

Going by the difference in expenses between the total and just for the parent company in 2011 to 2012 ( 300 million+ ), and also speculating on the overhead of a large studio in terms of wages I’m guessing GW2 wasn’t exactly a cheap project either… well not as cheap as people think anyway. While they definitely made the development costs back from the initial surge  I don’t think it was as much as they wanted. Then added to that the low quarterly profits and I don’t think Guild wars is as profitable to run as it would seem, especially when comparing it to the consistent funds of a subscription MMO after release. I would argue that Arenanet and Guild Wars 2 would be in a much better position now financially, and in terms of improvements if it had been a subscription MMO. I’m quite sure that rift would have never ended up as it is now if it had gone ftp from the onset, that payment model just doesn’t seem to have a high profit margin to make the amount of updates it received post release.

Is this an issue for the company, and why many of the services like bandwidth and services are cut so thin and stretched to far. Is it why we only ever really see a focus on one aspect of the game to the detriment of all others during each major updates (speaking as a wvw player there).In the wake of this report Wildstar, and Carbines announcement as a subsidiary company of NCsoft doesn’t surprise me then after considering they’re one huge money-maker is a 10 year old subscription MMO, it’s arguably their most profitable mmo. It’s a given that companies opions have changed a little in recent times regarding FtP but I’m guessing even they see the transient nature of the playerbase in a ftp title compared to the consistent profits of a sub.

Future of Wildstar

I believe in the MMO subscription more so than I do any sort of hybrid payment scheme that isn’t in a moba. If the quality and content is there then I know Wildstar will do fine during it’s initial honeymoon season and for about a year after, then get a nice big kick when they go ftp – that’s a smart business plan in this day and age. The part of this announcement that has me worried though is that Wildstar will now be releasing around the same time as both Everquest Next, Elder Scrolls online and possibly Archeage. Subscriptions do seem to be a barrier to entry but if there is nothing else of interest competing with it players will dip in regardless…and then mostly stay for longer and the company earns more. Now with the lack of any big titles it would have been a pretty big success, in a crowded marketplace it does become a tougher choice and the free title might win out in the short run (or longer if it is a better product).

I think that could be avoided though and keep the subscription if Wildstar has a proper trial period as mostly a ftp is about letting players see and play the game enough that they want to play more and spend money. Most times a subscription and box price are only limiting because players don’t want to take the risk of wasting their money. If they get to try it fully first and like it well you’ve got a sale. A week of play would be good to have, this could be an extended open beta of sorts or  more like EvE where you get a week for registering an account. It could be hour based, or a wild suggestion would be to give trial players s a max level character later on to play with friends a bit later after release.

Here’s hoping for a future with more diverse payment models than the everything must go bargain basement carpet sale it’s been lately.

22 thoughts on “Payment Styles and Profitability

  1. As a long-time player and speaking as a customer I strongly prefer F2P. I have never seen any evidence whatsoever in-game of a better culture in Sub games; the culture in many sub games I played before F2P became common was toxic. I’ve generally found F2P titles to be more relaxed and easy-going places to hang out, with less intense, less aggressive general chat. The MMOs I’ve subbed to that have subsequently gone F2P have generally seen an improved atmosphere and culture, at least in the context in which I play them.

    Of course, my playstyle benefits enormously from F2P. I can almost always play exactly the way I would have played under a Sub, the restrictions, if any, either don’t affect me or actively enhance my play (I love bag restrictions, for example – it helps me keep my hoarding under control). I have no interest in spending money in most cash shops – they very rarely have anything I want. Other than maybe a few small quality of life purchases once in a while, equating to maybe the equivalent of one-month’s subscription over the entire time I play the game, which could be years, F2P for me really is free.

    Whether it’s a good model for businesses is another matter. I completely fail to understand why the Gold-for-Gems option exists, for a start. Put stuff people actually want in the cash shop and make them pay real money for it would be my suggestion, and don’t have a Sub because you are now running a retail business and you don’t want to charge people a fee to come into your store to spend money.

    As for WildStar, I don’t really care. I’ve pretty much lost interest in it. If it launches against EQN I won’t even look at it.

    • be gasp, say it isn’t so. Genrally speaking I have found ftp communities to be weaker and a greater number of undesirables. Every mmo has them it just seems there are more when it is free. It’s funny that we’ve had rather opposite experiences, i guess it depends on the game and which part of it you were engaged in to start off with. I usually haven’t stuck around long enough for a free to play transition so I can’t speak for changes then.

      I know some people prefer the ftp approach, i just prefer the other. I’m the sort of person that loves the whole dress up and customisation part of mmo’s so it really does break into my play pretty often. Personally payment model really doesn’t factor into my choice of games, if it looks interesting I’ll grab it.

      I don’t believe that gold to gems was a good idea either. I can understand the principle behind plex in the way your cutting out a certain percentage of gold sellers but not the transfer of in game currency to cash shop goods. I think it kind of inflated the price a little in GW2 to compensate, might also be why they aren’t making as much considering how large there playerbase is, i’m interested to see next quarters profit margin to see how the influx of gold has affected cash shop purchases.

      And yeh I’m not really interested in Wildstar that much either. If it had released now I would have had a go but compared to those other titles it really doesn’t stand a chance.

      • “Genrally speaking I have found ftp communities to be weaker and a greater number of undesirables.”

        That only ever goes for the very beginning though and makes sense. a lot more players, especially more uncommitted grazers, will jump on any F2P around and stay for a few weeks or months at best. that’s why the dedicated community really only shows after a few months which was absolutely true for GW2 also.
        This happens to sub games to some degree but much less so from my experience.

      • That’s very true. It does take time to set up communities. I will say that gw2 seemed to have one relatively quickly because of WvW. Not many mmo communities will set up such large websites and teamspeak servers. It also creates quite a few server events.

    • I’m with ya, Bhag. Of course, we have to first define what we mean. IMO, the “undesirables” of a community are the hardcore of the hardcore. Those posting that in order to group with them, you must need a Gearscore of 2 bajillion and if you don’t play the game exactly the way they want it played, then you can’t play with them. If you haven’t watched every single video of a dungeon before setting foot in it, then you’re playing it wrong and you don’t deserve to play. In other words, if you don’t cheat, you’re playing the game wrong. This is my definition of an undesirable player… and they exist whether a game is FTP or not.

      On possible idiots and trolls, well, they are always around, too. The trolls location on the player-type bellcurve doesn’t change, but a greater or smaller population will shift to always increase or decrease their numbers. So saying that FTP increased the number of troll players is true, but it also increases the number of awesome players as well. It increases the number of roleplaying characters, it increases the number of hardcore players.

      So yeah, I agree with Bhag in that I have seen no evidence of a “worse community” by a transition to FTP, just bigger communities.

      Also, If these games release with full-blown subs and box fees and microtransactions on top of that, the amount of “fun” I’d have to get out of it would have to be astronomical to make it worth it, when comparatively I could get the same amount of fun from a cheaper product. There’s the rub, is can you quantify how much MORE fun you have when playing a sub game over a FTP title? And then how much of that extra fun is your mind telling you it HAS to be fun to justify paying more for it? Cognitive dissonance is never easy to overcome.

      • I would say it’s plain disingenuous to cast hardcore players in that light. In my experience the real bleeding edge of the hardcore will have their own little communities of people to run with. They won’t bother themselves with randoms because they know it’s a futile effort.

        The people who make asinine and outrageous demands of pugs are usually one of two sorts of people: also-rans, who want to be part of the bleeding edge without having to put in the time and effort to become part of the community, or people who are fed up with the duplicitous nature of some pugs.

        Note that not all demands are asinine nor outrageous. When I ran fractal groups I always demanded that people be frank with me regarding their level of experience with the content and had a commensurate amount of agony resistance. I did this purely as a way of saving the entire group time and frustration. And I still had people LIE TO MY FACE about both things as well. Which always lead to lots of aggravation, hostility, and wasted time and effort.

        It’s easy to see why people would want to vet their prospective group members, given that there is a significant amount of people who want to leech off everything. The problems are that the ways the game gives them to do so are not very good indicators of actual ability and that the people who have been pushed into using that process tend to expect too much as a way of raising the bar.

      • That is true. Not all hardcore players demand that every other player be the best of the best. Usually they do stay within their own sects. However, they are not the asshats the overall community sees, demanding ridiculous hurdles of others. These are the people that make a community look bad. I personally don’t run many dungeons, as I find I run into these fine individuals constantly. When I do, though, I always give fair warning that I have never run the dungeon before (note: not elite, hardcore, etc… this is usually just on a “normal” dungeon setting), and always receive either an immediate boot, or scolding the entire run (usually for having a “bad build” or “bad gear”, they’re normally angry I’m not playing the way they want me to). This comes from personal experience.

        The way I see it, if you’re running a Normal level dungeon, through a pickup group, having the attitude of an elitist prick isn’t helping anybody and making those who run the gear hampster-wheel look bad. What… is the chance of somebody running a dungeon for the first time so unheard of? Is the community that unwelcoming of new players, it would automatically spew vitriol at them? This is the mark of a bad community.

        They may not be the same individuals who keep their hardcore to themselves, but they do represent them, and show newcomers what they have to look forward to.

      • Speaking as a hardcore at times I think the opposite of that can be just as bad too. The ones that make no attempt to Learn, demand everything handed to them and expect to be carried through. I honestly do t see what’s bad with asking people to at least read up a little or at least watch a youtube. No one, even those elitists don’t ask for perfection, just to respect their time. If you do that I’m sure they’ll offer respect in return.

        That’s not to say I condone how they go about this with rather foul language, I would never and have never done that. Just giving the opposite side to that debate

        Each has a role in creating the atmosphere you describe. Like most things there are always extremes to the normality curve that make it look worse then it is.

      • There are many other types of undesirables. Map chat morons, boys spewing vitriol, Botters, and hackers. There are probably more I can think of. In dome cases I do believe there are more of dome types in ftp games. The effect of a low initial investment and lack of accountability. Planetside 2 and it’s plague of hackers and aim bits comes to mind but there are other experiences.

        I don’t so much mind the hardcore… I can be a little like that myself. I think it’s more a personal thing as the which bothers you more. It’s definitely a matter of bias and perception at times, my growing discontent with certain microtransaction systems is probably filing that.

        The thing is I find free to play games to often be more expensive in that initial period. Removing all those restrictions to know if the game is going to be fun will usually cost more than the box price. Sure it’s cheaper to trial but you can’t really compare the lesser experience to the full package. In the long run it is a bit harder to tell as it depends on the cash shop items. Really saying  “more” fun is a bit of a bias too, why does a box price have to be more fun.. The sub is only there in the end if you actually like the game and shouldn’t really factor into that initial assessment. Cash shop plus sub is much harder to justify though.. Didn’t mind TSW when it was released.

        I should also preface by saying I’m not against ftp, I’ve enjoyed quite a few and spent a bit of money in them because of that. I would just rather play isn’t to gave to worry about my wallet while doing so.

  2. The amount of vitriol and anger about Wildstar’s announcement amuses me. Hell the amount of trolling and bitching in the massively comments alone was absolutely hilarious.

    Personally, I don’t have really care too much about such things anymore. Once upon a time I too had a strong preference for sub games, but now that has waned to only a marginal one.

    For consumers, what are the primary gains from having a sub only game? Not being subject to a cash grab of an in-game store is often the primary benefit I see touted, but with even WoW finally fully casting in its lot with the cash shop fad after dancing about the issue for years with paid server transfers, pets, sparkle ponies, and the like while still retaining it’s full subscription cost I can’t say that that position holds much water any more.

    Subscriptions are no longer a sure fire bulwark against studios trying to increase their profit margins, not that they ever were in the first place. Now that studios understand that a significant amount of players WILL PAY MORE than they have to if you ask them to they will keep asking. For AAA games with huge teams and even bigger costs there is almost no reason not to ask. I believe that going forward only smaller studios who are afraid of scaring away a significant number of their customers won’t ask for some form of additional payment from their players. Wildstar’s faux-PLEX is only a reflection of that reality.

    Is that wholly a bad thing for us consumers? I don’t know, but I don’t believe so. Certainly it’s a bad thing for some consumers, like Bhagpuss, but I also believe that utilized properly it can be a boon for others.

    For an example I use myself and Planetside 2. I’ve spent somewhere north of $250 on PS2 thus far. Why have I done that? Because I believed that I would, and continue to believe that I do, get a good value for my money. What value have I gained? Largely convenience, cosmetics, and with a good amount of increased ability to specialize my gameplay. All things I could have chosen to either do without or gain in some other fashion. And yet I don’t regret a single purchase, even the ones I don’t use too much because I’m largely happy with the game.

    And also because I have NEVER paid sticker price on ANYTHING in PS2 apart from the original Alpha Squad promotion. All of my months of subscriptions have been bought at discounted prices, all of my Smedbuck$ have been purchased during double/triple SC sales and promotions, and a large percentage of the weapons and cosmetics I’ve gotten via the game store have been further discounted by rotating daily sales.

    The helmet I bought just yesterday had a sticker price of 1000 Station Cash, i.e. $10. But because of the convergence of the cheap SC I buy and the further discount of the daily sale I, relatively, spent far less. Which makes me happy.

    Compare this to a game that doesn’t make me happy, like GW2. I’ve never spent a dime on GW2s shop for reasons I’ve outlined before. Very little I want coupled with prices I’m unwilling to pay for those few items. But there are other considerations as well. Maybe I would have given them my money if their gems ever went on sale, or if their Gems2Gold ratio wasn’t fucking insultingly low that it was ALWAYS more cost effective to buy gold directly from the grey market instead, or if they didn’t try to sell me things that I expect to be implemented into the base game like the ability to change my armor skins.

    In GW2 I NEVER feel like I’m getting a good deal. ANet always wants me to pay full price for everything and that chafes tremendously. I can get better deals from the damn gold sellers than I can from Arenanet. What sort of logic is that? And just to make matters worse, it seems like they are totally unwilling to change that fact any time soon.

    Given all that, is it any wonder why I’ve given more than 3 times as much money to PS2 than to GW2? Even though I’ve been playing them for roughly the same amount of time?

    I think that Wildstar’s faux-PLEX could work out very well for them, it could be a good way of providing and profiting from additional value to customers without having to spent capital on producing shop goods. Allowing them to save such costs for more traditional things like developing expansions. But they’ll have to manage their in-game economy very, very well to ensure that the PLEX maintains its relative value without making it so that players feel that they NEED to invest in PLEXes in order to play the game to their satisfaction.

    I wonder how they’ll try to manage that?

    • It amuses me as well, both payment models have their pros and cons to think one is always better than another is a little silly. And yeh I’m kind of like that too, just a bit of a preference for sub over ftp but then it depends on how aggressive and manipulative the ftp is.

      Also what do you expect from massively comments, it is nearly akin to youtube at this stage.

      Yeh subscriptions haven’t been a sure thing for years now although neither is ftp anymore the thing is I don’t think it is the more profitable payment model initially. Like I said with GW2 their income over this year hasn’t been that high so it seems while a good portion are spending big it’s still the majority that spend a very minimal amount. It’s definitely the better option for smaller titles to get attention or those on the brink of failure but for a popular AAA title it seems better to ask for more at the start.

      They will get less in this market as a good portion seem content to wait for an inevitable ftp transition but I still think it’s the better approach financially. I could be wrong as I’m only going by the NCsoft reports but that does seem like a system that’s been praised more than others. What you say is what I’ve felt as well although I have bought things occasionally.. Still I think I’ve spent just as much in Firefall already sooo. Maybe those issues are what have hindered their cash shop income. It’s all speculation though.

      I’m not sure how the CREDD system will work out as we don’t have a subscription game to compare it too. Rift and Tera maybe but then its not sub, soe I’m not sure, the closest is eve but then it’s a completely different circumstance because of the economy. I’m sure it will make then some money by those people who want to avoid the gold grind and because it’s more free in the way it’s traded I’m guessing players will get more value for money.

      It will start off only being worth a minimal amount but as the medium amount of gold on the server becomes steady after several months it will be better. Probably enough that hardcore players can afford it easily enough but always out of reach of the casual masses. They will definitely manage it quite regularly by putting in new items but I don’t think it will need some sort of constant attention as the CREDD offers a decent gold sink for the wealthy as is. It’s a system that works well enough to combat gold sellers and the hardcore players will stay around longer as a result.

      • And now there’s a similar, if not louder, uproar about TESuvius announcing it’s sub only plan. How droll. I wonder where ZeniMax is hiding the extra hooks. ‘Cause I don’t believe for a second that they’re going to ONLY charge for subs and boxes.

        Regardless, I believe you’re wrong about that last point for a few reasons.

        Firstly, we don’t know the mechanisms of in-game CREDD trading. Will you be able to trade them like a normal non-soulbound item? Are the in-game currency prices for CREDD pre-set like the Gems2Gold option in GW2 or is there an auction/exchange interface like say, Puzzle Pirates has for it’s premium currency? Will you be able to buy CREDD for a set price from an NPC if no player purchased CREDD is available at, effectively enacting a price cap?

        Honestly, we just don’t know enough about the details of the system.

        However, we do know that Wildstar has taken pains to be very WoW-like in many ways. My gut tells me that Carbine will make Wildstars economy very much the same as WoWs, i.e. almost entirely optional. If that’s the case, I can’t help but wonder at how the CREDD system will work. For most players in WoW I would hazard to say that gold is almost worthless. If that’s how Wildstar intends to operate I wonder what the big ticket items will be. Housing stuff? Warplots? And will they also expect that that the people who are really into those things to shell out for multiple CREDDs frequently? Or just the occasional one here and there?

        I just keep thinking back to the fact that PLEX largely seems works in EVE because of reasons that are very specific to EVE, like getting pirated, blown up, etc. I can’t fathom how it would work in in an optional economy like I believe Wildstar will attempt to have.

      • Hahaha and I thought I was a cynic. No i don’t think there are an extra hooks in the Elder Scolls model. I would be an idiot though if I didn’t think they already had a backup plan drawn up and even partially developed. Yes Wow is going that way but that’s arguably for different reasons related to the recent Vivendi deal and the fact they now have a lot of debt to pay off.

        We do kind of know how it works. Auction house yes, player trading no. If there was player trading I could imagine outside sources selling them and the sub for cheaper than Wildstar were doing it and that would lead to all kinds of trouble. The gem to gold ratio isn’t preset in GW2 and has seen steady inflation since release with peaks around certain events and cash shop items, it is heavily taxed though which really limits it and ironically makes gold sellers the more attractive option.. not sure if Wildstar will do that.

        I think it will follow the same economical model of wow too but this time since gold does have a certain value solely because of this mechanic. Excess gold has a quick sink right here for those players. It will work, mark my word, just as well if not better than all the other iterations on Plex out there. Not equivalent to plex but it will be traded with a certain regularity and the price will slowly rise in game due to the usual inflation that happens. It will reach certain peaks and then rise more again for the new (probably more expensive) content.

        The problem I do see with the model is because of the gold sellers themselves. If they can sell gold a rate where you can buy credd and have it be cheaper overall then buying a sub.. Ie sub costs 15 buy 100 gold for 10$ credd in game costs 100 gold.

      • I fully believe TESuvius will have some additional method of income. That’s just the way AAA gaming is heading these days with it’s premium subs for Battlefield and CoD, DLC packs, etc. Maybe ZeniMax will try to put out an “expansion” every 6 months like EQ used to. Who knows?

        But the writing is on the wall, projects that are massive enough to become full fledged hobbies CAN ask for additional monies from players and a significant amount of people WILL pay. In that environment they would be mad for NOT try to get whatever they can. That’s not really a problem, so long as they take care to ensure that they’re actually creating value for the vast majority of the playerbase and not just creating drivel to farm people who are long on pocketbook and short on sense.

        But enough of that, when I said that the Gold2Gems rates are pre-set I mean that the conversion rate, both ways, is set by the server. Which they totally are. It might be according to some algorithm, but it’s certainly not an auction system or a consignment system.

        If it was a more open system, then maybe it would occasionally make economic sense to buy gems and convert them into gold rather than just buying the gold directly from some shady korean dude behind the hot water pipes. Wasn’t the reduction in 3rd party RMT sales billed as one of the benefits of being able to convert cash directly into gold for the common good of the players? Or am I merely thinking of every other corporate endorsed RMT scheme?

        As for the whole CREDD thing, I haven’t seen any word on the actual mechanics of it. But I still don’t believe it will work as well as they’re hoping without considerable effort.

        I mean, if the in-game currency is largely worthless then there is no reason for anyone to shell out $20 for CREDD, period. Following that line of though, presumably if nobody is buying CREDD with real money, then nobody can purchase it with in-game currency either. Because allowing that would be ludicrous.

        So the in-game currency MUST have a considerable value in order for the CREDD system to make any money for Carbine. How do they intend to provide that great value if the vast majority of their players feel that they can opt out of the economy? The only things I can think of are either incredibly rare housing/vanity items or items that are semi-easy to acquire but only have a limited availability.

        The former system is well traveled ground, but it gets on people goats. While the latter is less charted territory, but seems fairer. Of course, you’ll probably recognize the latter as being largely the same thing that’s been happening in GW2 these past few months with their bloody events they spew trinkets and shit everywhere for a short time, only to be replaced by different trinkets later on.

        That last paragraph is rampant speculation of course, but I can see the thought process that would lead to it so bloody clearly. I’m sure clever bugger over Carbine has already thought of it. And I think it sounds absolutely dreadful.

        But one more thing, you keep saying that CREDD is going to be a massive gold sink that will be a powerful downward force on inflation, but I don’t see your reasoning there. The whole point is that the in-game currency that is being paid lines the pockets of the people who are shelling out the $20 for the damn things in the first place. Unless the CREDD auction fees are truly (truly) outrageous. I don’t see where a hugely significant amount of the in-game currency is being destroyed in the system as I understand it. Mostly it would appear to just be changing hands.

      • so long as they take care to ensure that they’re actually creating value for the vast majority of the playerbase and not just creating drivel to farm people who are long on pocketbook and short on sense.

        haha..indeed

        Yeh, you are right there. It is driven by supply and demand but the actually algorithm behind that is under Anets control rather than in the players hands. People still do buy gems to convert to gold, there is always going to be a certain stigma to gold sellers that most players want to avoid. It was billed as that but I think the people who would have bought it from third party sites still would now. it’s very meh and I think if they had lessened the restrictions they might have gotten more sales from it.

        As for Credd; there are a few interview on it now and a page plus faq on the main site. From my understanding it’s purchased in the cash shop as the only item (for now) and sold in game on a specialty auction house. I’m not sure if this is the same auction house mechanic for other items but they just stated a kind of cheapest option is bought first. It will have value the same way most in game currencies do in this day and age. There will be a lot of shinies like armor, outfits, pets, mounts, housing items, etc., which of course cost money.

        The hardcore player or farmer types, player A will be able to afford these of course even after that they keep stockpiling currency. The vast majority of gamers, gamer B who has not as much time high on pocket change will never be able to afford all these shinies but desperately want them. B purchases Credd, A hands over currency to B, B spends currency in a mad fervor…thus currency is now gone. It’s something that works but also relies on a certain amount of updates. Kind of imagine if GW2 wasn’t a horrid cash shop incarnation and say those weapons were available for a decent amount of gold in game. With all those people farming there is an excess of money but many people, like myself who don’t care for that gameplay would pay for all that easy earned currency.

        Of course there will be a population of players that plod along at their own time gaining gold and items but this sort of system isn’t for them. Cashed up idiots who like purchasing shines (like myself) are. It’s a way to have a free to play item cash shop in a way while not having one at the same time.. WIN WIN for them. They might even make certain items insanely expensive just to extend this.

      • Let me just throw two monkey wrenches into your stated plan.

        First off, player type A is not as abundant as type B. That’s almost a given I feel. But what use do type A players have for more than 1 CREDD per account per month? Can they flip CREDD for even more money? ‘Cause if they can’t do so then what is there to absorb the excess CREDD? Will the difference really be made up by people who primarily earn in-game currency in order to buy CREDD and the people who only buy CREDD occasionally when they have spare change floating about?

        Secondly, what is there to entice player B’s to buy CREDD instead of getting the currency from a gold seller? Buying gold is established at this point. There are sites out that have developed reputations as being trustworthy. I’ve known a lot of people who buy gold in my time and in my experience, the vast majority of people who want something badly enough that they will shell out $20 for it don’t really give a shit about violating the EULA. So I can’t imagine that ‘legitimacy’ will be a huge equalizing factor.

        Instead they will have to compete on cold hard price points, and based on my experiences they will probably fair badly on that front. Unless Carbine is going to have significant CREDD sales or adjust the price of CREDD often. Which I have a hard time fathoming, since that would be a return to the same sort of wily discounted subs that SOE nixed from their games ages ago.

        Of course, they could also try to add non-price points to even the odds. Like if buying CREDD with real money entered you into a weekly lottery that had super attractive prizes for the winners. I’m sure that would help tip things back in their favor.

        And that reminds me that I should write up a list of wacky ideas for improvements to GW2s cash shop sometime. Hmm.

      • Haha ha… Lol. Just let me run this under water.

        The services part sounds like basic account management like name changes and such. Bit rich to still charge for those things but whatever.

        The fun items part, hmm getting into dangerous territory. Could mean a lot of things really.

        I’m guessing we’ll get clarification within a day

  3. I don’t really spend money on games (Mabinogi being an exception, and that’s a F2P game). The ones I have are always gifted to me – which means I obviously prefer F2P. However I do like it when games announce they are using the subscription model. This means I can instantly take them off my watch list and focus more on the ones that cater for me. :3

    • OMG a wild freeloader appears. I understand that sentiment, free stuff is awesome but I’m of the type of person that needs shiny stuff; it’s an unshakeable urge. So it’s much cheaper and less frustrating for me to pay monthly and play for it

  4. Pingback: Monetizing the Masses | Healing the masses

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