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2002-08-22: Developer Chat: Can a MMOG Charge $25+ per month and survive?

Developer Chat: Can a MMOG Charge $25+ per month and survive?

Participants:

[UnknownPlayer]
Diamonds from UnknownPlayer.com
Mark Jacobs, Mythic Entertainment
[Gaiden_Nexon]
Paul Philleo, Nexon
[Lum_Mythic]
Scott Jennings, Mythic Entertainment
[Melantus]
Dwight Spaulding, NC Soft
[Sannio]
Keith Quinn, Mythic Entertainment
[Scorch_NetDevil]
Scott Brown, NetDevil


* UnknownPlayer listens
UnknownPlayer Ahh its nice and quite now :)
UnknownPlayer Welcome to the UnknownPlayer.com Developer Chat
UnknownPlayer This week our topic is: Can a MMOG charge $25 dollars or more per month and survive.
Lum_Mythic No.
Lum_Mythic Bye! * Lum_Mythic waves.
Gaiden_Nexon LOL
Melantus Lum beat me to it
UnknownPlayer Ok luv ya bye bye!
Gaiden_Nexon Feel the love, people, feel the love....
UnknownPlayer So lets start with introductions, top to bottom
UnknownPlayer Name Rank and Serial Number... * UnknownPlayer looks at Gaiden
UnknownPlayer BTW nickchanging will get you smacked
Gaiden_Nexon Hi everyone, I'm Paul Philleo, of Nexon, Inc. I work as Marketing and PR Manager, covering communications with our players as well.
UnknownPlayer Nexon Makes?
Gaiden_Nexon Nexon is behind the massive online warfare title, Shattered Galaxy, and previously, Dark Ages: online Roleplaying and Nexus: the Kingdom of the Winds
Lum_Mythic Howdy, I'm Scott Jennings, of Mythic Entertainment. I'm the reason the Camelot Herald turned 12 shades of pretty colors yesterday. Ooooh, pretty colors.
Melantus I'm Dwight Spaulding, a.k.a. Melantus. I'm the Community Coordinator dude at NCsoft in Austin. Before that, I worked as the Comm guy at Origin for UO. Before that, I had a suit and tie job and hated it. Next?
Sannio My name is Keith Quinn, and I go by "Sannio." I'm part of Ultima Online's Community Relations group for Origin Systems.
Scorch_NetDevil Hi, last and most likely least, my name is Scott Brown, president of NetDevil, creators of the MMP space sim Jumggate.
Melantus and also Jumpgate :)
Lum_Mythic Hey, he outranks us.
Scorch_NetDevil I also can not spell... :(
UnknownPlayer hehe
Lum_Mythic So are we taking questions?
Lum_Mythic Arguing at random?
Lum_Mythic Trolling for dates?
UnknownPlayer Sounds good
UnknownPlayer BTW Lum will be taking Mark Jacobs place... Mark had something come up he couldnt reschedule
Lum_Mythic Hey, laaaaaadies! Single blue troll, 48, likes long walks in the moonlight, dislikes stun spells.
UnknownPlayer So how should we start...
UnknownPlayer Opening statements? * Lum_Mythic plays a nightshade, you can stop the Shade Luv demands, thanks
UnknownPlayer Shade... Where do you want to be banned today?
Melantus ok so I'll put it this way: at this time, $25 a month would be a bit steep. I think after a certain point, the company starts to lose revenue because people might not be willing to own multiple accounts at such a price. We aren't at the point where $25 would be worth it, in other words. Not with the current game models. Now add in bonuses, like membership to multiple games at once then maybe...
Lum_Mythic Well, Verant is already billing $40 for one of their products. EQ Stormhammer.
UnknownPlayer So something along the lines of Sony offering a flat fee for their MMOG's?
Scorch_NetDevil Is $25/month realistic. Yes! I do not believe the the price would be a barrier to entry. The only real problem is player expectations. As games keep raising the price a dollar or two a month eventually I think we will get there.
Melantus yeah but I mean as their main focus. Stormhammer isn't for most people
Lum_Mythic I don't think $40/month is for most people either.
Sannio I think for a game to be worth $25 a month, players would demand a feeling of getting a brand new games worth of entertainment every other month (if we figure the initial cost of a PC game is about 50 bucks).
Gaiden_Nexon I think memebership, offering exclusivity like a club has potential. Otherwise, it's hard to conceive of a game concept right now that would appeal to anyone willing to pay to that extent -- unless something truly unique and special is offered.
Melantus well we sure arent really going to be able to take it to $25 from here without steps. At teh same time, are we giving the players $25 worth? I personally like owning more then one account on am MMOG. I use two computers, you see. For $25 per account, I'll go to another game.
Scorch_NetDevil Compared to the cost of a phone or cable bill, $25 is still reasonable. Especially when you consider how much someone plays a MMP vs watching TV these days.
Lum_Mythic For $25/month we'd have to really have MUCH more customer service than our players currently expect. We'd also need something to the effect of monthly new content patches (zones, quests, what have you, depending on the game).
Sannio The problem there is, Scorch, is that people are also already paying that phone or cable bill
Sannio It's unlikely they'd want to pay as much for a game as they do to connect to the internet. I know I wouldn't be happy with that.
Melantus it may not be much, compared to that stuff. But it'll have to be reached in steps. Cant go from $10 or so to $25
Lum_Mythic I can see this happening, but the costs of driving that new content and extra CS .... you'd have to see some pretty significant economy of scale for it to pay off.
Melantus nice banning :) its like watching fireworks * Lum_Mythic hums Queen songs
Gaiden_Nexon Increased cost would require increased value to the player, and then the question is, what would a player need to be willing to pay $25 or more?
UnknownPlayer Send questions to me!
UnknownPlayer lol
Scorch_NetDevil I also think most MMPs would rather have fewer players paying more as adding even a few dollars per month adds so much to profit.
UnknownPlayer ***Send Questions to me***
Melantus also remember, that if every other game is at $10 or $15, then $25 gets real unattractive. A price diff of a few dollars isnt so bad. A price difference of over 10 dollars? ouch.
Gaiden_Nexon Scorch, then that becomes a question of game dynamics. Do you want fewer players and less community interactivity, even if you have higher revenue?
UnknownPlayer (LucktonArch) Would one aspect of higher rates include better dev. feedback and bug squashing?
Lum_Mythic If AC2 costs $15 and SWG costs $15 and DAOC costs $15, I might afford all 3. If they all cost $25 or $40.... nu uh.
Melantus like Lum said, some will be willing to pay it. Most wont tho. Hardcore dedicated and invested players would.
Sannio I would say fewer players does not necessarily equal less community interactivity.
Lum_Mythic Better bug squashing? Um, that should come with basic cable.
Scorch_NetDevil I agree with Melantus, player expectation is the problem. The actual cost is not as important as assumed cost of MMPs in the market.
Sannio We've seen in the past smaller communities with very tight community bonds
Lum_Mythic You should never pay extra for a bare minimum of service. Bug repair qualifies.
Melantus yes I wouldnt include bug repair in there. content perhaps with dedicated content designers or something...but not bugs
Gaiden_Nexon Then the question becomes: What qualifies as extra service or value to the player?
Melantus bug fixes = to all
Lum_Mythic More stuff. More cool stuff.
Sannio Less bugs.
UnknownPlayer ***Submit questions by typing /msg UnknownPlayer blahblahblah
SamuraiCat A game would have to offer quite a bit more content and quite a few less bugs in relation to the rise in price... inflation notwithstanding
Sannio More individual attention,.
Scorch_NetDevil I think more changing stuff.
Lum_Mythic More content, more personalized service... maybe extra services from the company... I know Verant is offering message boards and the like for Stormhammer users.
Gaiden_Nexon User-provided content, more interactivity and customization options for players.
SamuraiCat Changing stuff = content :)
Sannio More control over the game world
Gaiden_Nexon Exactly.
Melantus hard to say about value. To me if game X and game Y are about teh same and I enjoy both, I'll go withthe one that's $10 a month less. $5 wouldnt matter....$10 probably would
Sannio More player guided control, that is
Melantus of course, if the game is designed well enough then perhaps I might not feel the need to own two accounts :) sometimes I put "soloability" in that
UnknownPlayer (Jii) As more MMOGS come the more furious the competition gets between them. So instead of pricing going higher, might it go down? How do you see the future, as we all know, there's tons of MMORPG's coming and there isn't enough players for all. The issue of pricing has to be one keypoint in marketing and catching those important players.
Lum_Mythic I don't think we can really go below the current price point... there's not a great deal of profit at $10-15 a month per user
Gaiden_Nexon Casual MMOGs and Hardcore MMOGs may offer two different price points -- and of course, game style and content -- for players in the future, as the market continues to diversify.
Melantus price going down...no I doubt it. the infrastructure is costly. Servers cost a lot. Bandwidth. Support. The original model of $10 was based upon a guess, before MMOGs even really started on such a scale. There wasnt something to compare to.
Sannio I don't see prices going down. I see instead multi-tiered pricing systems in the future.
Sannio I think if a company does want a $25 subscription fee, the way to approach it is by tiered payment plans, such as a certain higher price per month (ex. $25/month), with a lower price per month if bought in a 3 month block (ex. $15/month), and an even lower prices per month if bought in a 6 months block. (ex. $10/month). In this way long-term playing would bee seen as an incentive, and existing players wouldn't feel any harsh change.
Lum_Mythic We already see that... DAOC has a similar pricing plan, I think UO does as well?
Melantus and Lineage
Sannio No, UO is still one price per month.
Gaiden_Nexon ...and Shattered Galaxy and all of Nexon's other games as well.
Melantus ok so DAoC adn Lineage :) and EQ
Scorch_NetDevil The only way I see prices going down is by the player buying multiple game packs...
Lum_Mythic I suspect you'll see some creativity in the future as we and other companies try to find more things to sell you.
Sannio I think once that multi-tiered system is in play, you might see more fluid manipulation of the higher tier prices, but the low end will probably not change much
Lum_Mythic Verant actually did something interesting, they issued their own player atlas, for example, instead of having Prima or a similar publishing house create one.
Sannio I also think companies, as they begin producing more games, will have special rates to players who play both of their games.
Sannio But, again, the base prices probably will stay the same
SamuraiCat What do you guys think on the idea of what EQ is doing, i.e. pay more to get more?
UnknownPlayer (Natural) I believe that no matter what services a company offers, the price of a game should reflect the quality of the game itself. However, what ever happened to the concept of different billing options? I believe if you gave the option of $10/month for limited time, a $20/month unlimited plan might be better accepted
Gaiden_Nexon there needs to be an entry-level price point, so most likely these prices cannot change to appeal to a wider audience
Lum_Mythic As a player it kicks me in the gut. As a businessman, well, refer back to the need to get income creatively.
Lum_Mythic Right now the player-kick-to-the-gut is winning, I think.
Scorch_NetDevil I think the idea of increasing perceived value = increasing costs is a good one. :)
SamuraiCat I wonder if Natural is talking about limited-hours-per-month for one price, and unlimited-hours-per-month for another price?
Lum_Mythic My kick to the gut comment was re Samurai's "pay more for more content' idea, btw. Re: Natural's comment - Meridian 59 tried that. It didn't work out well for them at all... the player base was confused, and a lot of people blame that for 3DO ditching the game.
Melantus oh jeez. that's a can of worms, limited hours per month. I hope to never see that. Better to design the game where you dont have to be on for hours to get stuff done.
Sannio The thing about the price reflecting the quality, that kind of scale is always a relative one, most often based upon the peer games of the game/game service in question
SamuraiCat And another problem with metering hours is dealing with the infrastructure, the billing, etc.
Scorch_NetDevil I think that any sort of limited hours play will not work as most people worry that they will go over their minimum, this has been proven over and over with fancy ISP fees vs. flat fees. Even if the consumer could save money buying a 10 hour plan (as they only us 2-4 a month) they will still buy the more expensive unlimited plan.
Melantus reduce bandwidth usage through design, if possible.
Melantus while not killing teh fun ;)
Melantus the rather
Scorch_NetDevil peer to peer MMPs Melantus? ;)
Lum_Mythic Neverwinter Nights!
Lum_Mythic potentially a peer to peer MMP if some issues get worked out with persistence
Gaiden_Nexon This sort of tiered billing works for ISPs, but as a matter of scale, it would not be the most economical for MMOG devlopers.
Melantus no. just dont design the fun to take 4-6+ hours. give the player a break in there. So if they really want to play 6 hours, then ok. Otherwise, they can log out adn take care of the kids.
Lum_Mythic It doesn't work with ISPs, either.
Gaiden_Nexon True, lately...no. It used to work for AOL. :-)
Lum_Mythic The trick is to not make the reward for playing 6 hours so great that people feel obligated to do it, even if the designer thinks it's "extra"
Melantus yeah definitely
SamuraiCat Six hours in a row, you mean?
Lum_Mythic yes
Lum_Mythic Playing six hours of ANYTHING in a row is unhealthy
Melantus yes, in a row. and it's done now. that's encouraging players to use bandwidth quite a bit.
SamuraiCat And one of the things that Wolfpack is talking about Shadowbane is "24-hour city sieges" :)
Sannio I think these days people want an unlimited use of a given service. They may acept price changes, but they won't stand for needing to track their time per day or per month.
SamuraiCat Metering is SO 1990s.
Sannio The $25 fee, or whatever the fee becomes, needs to be a blanket fee across the board for the level of service.
Gaiden_Nexon One of the reason people like MMOGs is for the unlimited play time, and having a curb on their time won't work for most.
Lum_Mythic I think what we'll see is a base fee, and then creative tacked-on extras.
Sannio I agree., Gaiden
Gaiden_Nexon It limits their connection to community and to the game world, practically speaking.
Lum_Mythic The trick is not making those "creative extras" actually necessary from a competitive standpoint, because then the player base resents being nickled and dimed to death.
Melantus yeah I dont like nickle and diming
SamuraiCat Then you run the risk of "I'm paying $5 extra for this crap??" reactions
Lum_Mythic Exactly. And the temptation is to charge that for CS functions, because it's easy for the company to quantify how much a CS service costs.
Sannio I think, after the 10 or 15 buck per month range, people really start examing why they're paying for something.
Lum_Mythic But players expect good CS period, they don't want to pay extra for it.
Gaiden_Nexon Yes, there would be an unnatural division between the unlimited time community and the part-time community... I suspect it would not improve the overall atmosphere of a game.
Sannio With a $25 cost, people will note they could have seen maybe 4 movies, and ask themselves if the game gave an equivilant amount of entertainment.
Sannio (and not just movies, that's only one example ;)
SamuraiCat Even at $25/month, you're paying an insanely small amount of money per hour on average
Melantus the interpretation of good CS is sort of difficult in a persistant world, because the company doesnt want to get into issues that could "taint" the gameworld just to possibly satisfy one person, that could even be tricking the company to reclaim a supposedly lost item or stat.
Sannio I rarely track my expenses per hour. I, and most players, will track them per month.
Scorch_NetDevil I think that MMP = the best $/hour of almost any entertainment today.
UnknownPlayer (Eltanin) Actually, this one's a bit off topic..but how do you feel that MMOG communities would change from their relative games charging more?
Lum_Mythic Another thing to bear in mind: a significant portion of the market is under 18. You're asking people who are dependents to pay up significant income. That means they have to convince their parents to pay for it. You don't want to make that a hard sell.
SamuraiCat And on that note...
SamuraiCat (ICantMsgUnkown) How do you expect a kid to get his parents to fork out 25$?
Gaiden_Nexon Yes, the cost/month = cost of other entertainment argument works well in principle, but how will players see it since they have today's pricing as point of reference?
Lum_Mythic Exactly. They won't. "You want us to pay $25 a month for WHAT? You're playing WHAT? You're a FEMALE ELF? (cancel account button hit)
Scorch_NetDevil Which is why we need MMPs to keep increasing the costs at a rate of $2/month or so each game... slowly get the price and expectations up.
SamuraiCat Keep it somewhat in line with inflation
Sannio And then, to Eltanin's question, with young players being removed by their parents you'd see communities drop off pretty quickly
SamuraiCat and, hopefully, minimum wage and/or allowances :P
Lum_Mythic I think our players mostly agree that MMPs are a ridiculous bargain.
Melantus I thnk the remaining MMOGS that havent gone to $12 or $15 a month will do so, and then that will be the standard for a while. maybe a couple of years at least
Lum_Mythic I mean, come on, I spent $15 on lunch today.
SamuraiCat Liquid?
Lum_Mythic hic
Melantus if you do sushi, then that's like $25 ;)
UnknownPlayer hehe
Sannio I paid $5.14 for lunch at the deli downstairs. I had the special. ;D
Scorch_NetDevil Also, keep in mind that $15 vs $10 usually means more than 2x profit for a company so even if they lost 50% customers it would still be worth it.
Gaiden_Nexon $10 for me at a buffet...all you can eat
Melantus hmm....I'm sort of wondering about that.
SamuraiCat And less expenses overall as well, Scorch... bandwidth at least
Lum_Mythic Let's take another example - a "boutique MUD". Say, an MMO that caters to the hardcore PvP market. (whistles innocently)
Gaiden_Nexon Scorch, agreed, but would it change the in-game dynamics when the game world is less populated?
Lum_Mythic that theoretical MMO could probably get away with charging $25 a month... they know they have a limited market, and know they need to make a profit off fewer customers.
Melantus that's hard to predict. a lot of people that own multiple accounts would quit or close one.
Scorch_NetDevil I dont think its less populated, just fewer shards...
SamuraiCat That's what I was going to say... fewer servers/worlds
Lum_Mythic Less populated overall, though.
Lum_Mythic Fewer subscribers = less economy of scale.
Gaiden_Nexon It does have an impact in the game itself, but granted, it would lower the cost of doing business overall.
Melantus the numbers dont always flow like they appear on prediction charts :) I'd steer against charging much more and be willing to lose customers from it. At least for any increase over like +7 dollars.
Lum_Mythic If the game was esoteric enough, you could actually make that a selling point - "We charge more, because we're aiming at the top 1%. Are you one of those?"
Scorch_NetDevil Lum, you are right of course. Losing customers is never good but profits could be similar.
SamuraiCat Got to find the happy medium between profits and customer-gushiness.
Melantus could be, being the key. Hard to reverse such a prediction
Melantus decision rather
Gaiden_Nexon I'd say it's a difficult balance between profit and mainitaining a contented customer base.
Melantus Lum has something to say
Melantus dont ya
Lum_Mythic Usually
SamuraiCat No one wants to get the "we're paying to beta this game" line tossed at them :P
Lum_Mythic Shh... all MMPs are in perpetual beta. Don't tell anyone.
SamuraiCat Another question from the peanut gallery
SamuraiCat (ICantMsgUnkown) Why not make 2 types of servers. Hardcore(25$) gets more content and what not. Then a Limp(10$) server for the average gamer.
Lum_Mythic Oh, I SO want to be classified as "Limp"
SamuraiCat Well Sanya said...um...*koff*
UnknownPlayer LOL
Scorch_NetDevil I think 2 payment types is difficult to understand as well
Melantus I'd just be careful charging too much. I cringe when I see the playerbase reduced to numbers in columns compared against dollar signs. True that I agree that raising to $15 makes sense...but there is a safe limit I think. At least at this time.
Lum_Mythic We're entertainers first, businesspeople second. At least most of the people in this room (glares at the token CEO)
Melantus and $25 isnt it :)
Scorch_NetDevil you dont want to confuse a customer when they are about to click on the buy button
Gaiden_Nexon Not yet, anyway
UnknownPlayer Dont gaming companies already do this though... Look at expantion packs... If you dont buy it you are then seperated by price...
Lum_Mythic I suspect that most of us want more to deliver a fun experience, and make a good profit in the process.
Melantus true, not yet. I bet it will be though
Melantus no usually the monthly charge remains the same even if you buy the expansion
SamuraiCat It's a one-time purchase
Sannio Although there IS the cost of the expansion itself.
Gaiden_Nexon But it does change the look of the bottom-line.
Lum_Mythic Expansions are almost always done to (a) deliver a lot of content that you don't want the user to download and (b) most importantly, keep your game on the shelf
Sannio The exapnsion will be equal in cost to a couple of months or more of subscription time.
Melantus yeah. The US market is used to and likes buying from the shelf. I do. I like buying games like that.
Lum_Mythic Thanks to the way distributors work, the MMO company's profit is MUCH more from subscription fees than box sales
SamuraiCat Master plan: 1) Make expansion 2) ??? 3) Profit
Scorch_NetDevil We are giving our expansion away for free! :)
SamuraiCat (South park reference if anyone doesn't get it :))
Lum_Mythic We
Lum_Mythic are not
Lum_Mythic :)
Gaiden_Nexon We do too...Nexon gives away expansion-pack loads of freee content with our game updates
Eltanin You're all neglecting a point. EQ legends hasn't released numbers...yet. But you'd wager 1/1000 subscribers are in the legends program.
Lum_Mythic In fact they're threatening to put a Lum the Mad figure in the gold box edition
SamuraiCat Ok another (long) question here
SamuraiCat (Natural) What if a game was designed that was more geared towards creative manipulation? While EQ and SG have attempted to create 'GM/world events' to modify the playing enviornment, they have been relatively artificial. How could a game be developed to allow realistic, important, entertaining interventions by creative world designers to entice players to play?... that is the kind of 'Quality' that will encourage more than 'high-class'
Gaiden_Nexon Count me among the first in line to buy that!
Sannio UO has a combination of yearly expansions and periodically supplied content.
Melantus I'vbe heard conflicting news about that program, so I'll hold off any comment.
Lum_Mythic Actually what you're describing is the Sims Online
Sannio It's extra content that would make the $25 any sort of viable
Scorch_NetDevil And notice who has more customers, the free expansions or the people who charge for them. ;) Obviously, charging for expansions is not a barrier to entry or keeping customers.
Lum_Mythic one reason why I'm VERY interested in how TSO will turn out is that its content will be exclusively player driven
SamuraiCat TSO?
Lum_Mythic The Sims Online
SamuraiCat Ahh ok.
Sannio Regarding developer intervention, I'd rather not see that.
SamuraiCat (-- acronym-challenged
Sannio I'd rather see the players be able to manipulate their own environment.
Sannio The more manual interaction you need, the more the game itself will continually cost to make
Sannio Better to have as much automation as possible, while also allowing players to control their world
Eltanin What I'm interested is how people will pay more for a set of pretty graphics and the similar combat system (I.E. Click and wait to see who wins) when there's a new generation of persistent MOGs that play like first person shooters.
Gaiden_Nexon The more the players can safely and enjoyable change the nature of the world, the better.
Lum_Mythic The kicker is making automatic processes that don't look like Daggerfall's randomly created dungeons
Melantus you have to have design control however. even the most open player controlled aspects are done so on purpose via design.
SamuraiCat That's one thing Shadowbane's got that's interesting - full-on city building, including the terrain around the town adjusting accordingly.
Eltanin For the same price.
Sannio Eltanin, that's a good point.
Melantus there is no real total "open player control", just well made design that allows such an experience. The design is still in control :)
Sannio The first game to jump to $25 a month needs to be a game far above and beyond its peers
Lum_Mythic or the game that doesn't care about having fewer subscribers
SamuraiCat Question incoming
SamuraiCat (LucktonArch) Blizzard has said that WoW will be designed for the casual gamer. People can log on, play for like 15 mon., and log, and be able to accomplish something in that time. Would this suggest that a "hourly" or limited-pay rate is feasable?
Lum_Mythic No, because people don't want to pay hourly rates for a game, no matter how casual
SamuraiCat this in response to the earlier metering discussion
Lum_Mythic the feel that "the meter is running" sucks. It's why I never played the first iteration of Neverwinter Nights on AOL.
Melantus no, I still wouldnt charge limited time on that. They will save money on that player via reduced bandwidth usage.
SamuraiCat To a degree
Eltanin It's long been known that the first person shooter is/was the pinnacle of gaming before the sims and MMOGs. With games like Planetside (and Neocron, to a lesser extent) coming out with new features, the same persistence, better graphics, more involvement, and the same price as regular games, why would people want another EQ? This is a melding of the "Jump on for a second casual gaming" and the "Hardcore control-the-empire" chairjockey
Gaiden_Nexon They want their payment as transparent as possible. Having to monitor your online time would become irritating.
Sannio I don't think players will consider time spent per day along the same scale as money spent per month, although it's not an unreasonable suggestion
Lum_Mythic The
Lum_Mythic The "pinnacle of gaming"? Oh, I SO disagree.
Eltanin gaming sales, excuse me.
Lum_Mythic Still disagree, I'm pretty sure the best selling game of all time isn't an FPS
UnknownPlayer Wasnt TSO the best selling game out there?
Lum_Mythic But that's nitpicking.
SamuraiCat He said 'before MMOG' :)
Melantus maybe, when it comes out :)
Eltanin I said before the sims and MMOGs.
Sannio I tink "better graphics" at this point is a matter of taste. It'll be some time before we see a company break the curve and make something that looks and feels better than the other games coming out at the same time.
Scorch_NetDevil One thing to keep in mind about cost of game play is to look at the Korean market. The avg. salary is 1/2 the US avg yet players pay over $20 a month to play games. The problem is not the cost but rather the expectation.
Lum_Mythic The actual question... some people just don't LIKE shooters.
Lum_Mythic Thus they won't want to play one. Much like some people just don't like fantasy RPGs.
SamuraiCat You can't question the utter success of the id titles, though.
Lum_Mythic As the market matures, people will actually be able to choose what game to play based on, ya know, what they wanna play.
UnknownPlayer Shooters... Everyone loves shooters!
SamuraiCat Ok another question from the peanut gallery
SamuraiCat (Timothy) "If profit is such a big deal in the price per month factor then why are the companys you developers represent report annually that your tripling your profits?"
Lum_Mythic Well I love shots, but that's a different story
Melantus that's because their engines set the stage. Vanguard engines.
Lum_Mythic Um, tripling our profits from what?
Eltanin I actually think graphics play a large part of sales to the casual gamer.
SamuraiCat More profits = more staff can be hired = more goodies coming out
UnknownPlayer Ignore Timothy... he was trolling earlier...
Scorch_NetDevil My company did not triple its profits...
Lum_Mythic I think the question really is, if I can speak for the guy, is "how can you guys charge more since you already make tons of money"
Gaiden_Nexon You can not dismiss the influence and value of lots of polygons and pretty colors...
Eltanin That's true. Look at halo. I think what neocron is doing (strippers) is a little excessive though..although not generally unpleasant. * Eltanin laughs
Lum_Mythic We do not make tons of money. We run a profitable business. It's a good thing, especially in the current market, but no one I know is vacationing in sunny Aruba.
Melantus Sorry to bow out but I must be going now. Just remember, I'm right and you are all wrong :) Just kidding. This has been a good chat. Good night all!
Scorch_NetDevil Any profit * lots of users = "tons of money".
UnknownPlayer Night Mel
Lum_Mythic And one thing businesspeople do is figure out how to grow their profit. It's what makes successful businesspeople successful.
Sannio Like any industry, MMOG companies need to ensure that their businesses remain profitable. That sometimes requires higher costs over time.
Sannio (even for the same level of service)
Lum_Mythic Night Mel
SamuraiCat As those companies have their own expenses from other companies
Eltanin Well, the best thing to do is expand your market, and that's what the next gen of MMOGs are doing.
SamuraiCat and THOSE companies raise THEIR rates now and then
Eltanin Wait, no, that's what sony is doing.
Eltanin Look at SWG and Planetside.
Gaiden_Nexon Diversifying the market is the future of the MMO game industry...
Gaiden_Nexon ...and in so doing, they can charge rates for an exclusive experience.
Gaiden_Nexon Higher rates, that is.
Eltanin SWG is catering to the obvious..and planetside is catering to the large segment of the gaming community who is tired of "Camp. Sit. Wait. Press button. See who wins." * UnknownPlayer looks at the clock... Lets start winding this down :)
Lum_Mythic DAOC is catering to, um, people who like DAOC! :)
Sannio I'm interested in seeing how Planetside will deal with the common sniper domination situations that occur in many FPS.
Sannio But I digress. :]
Eltanin Sannio- indoor battles.
Eltanin Tanks =D.
Scorch_NetDevil The problem is that so far nothing that is not MMP fantasy has really taken off, so companies are inclined to do what works.
UnknownPlayer AWP=Bad...
Gaiden_Nexon Tanks? That's a Shattered galaxy thing :-)
Eltanin Vehicles and indoor battles will counter act snipers..hang on, let me get a link.
Eltanin no, wait, that's after the chat. * Eltanin laughs
UnknownPlayer Ok lets have some final thoughts
Eltanin Ok..I think that a game won't survive charging ridiculous amounts unless it offers something innovative.
Lum_Mythic I *promise* I'm not working on Imperator. I'm not even allowed to THINK about Romans.
UnknownPlayer lol
SamuraiCat As a player and not a developer type... I could see games starting to charge $25 within a couple of years
Eltanin SWG could definitely do it.
Gaiden_Nexon I think rates will inevitably be raised, as all costs will for anything else is. But along the way, the MMO gaming experience will be enhanced. I am pretty certain we'll parallel the gaming value and the cost of playing.
Lum_Mythic Oh, something relevant. Um, successful companies will inevitably find ways to mine more money (and yes, that's how they will view it) from their subscriber base. The REALLY successful ones will actually offer services you'll want to buy.
SamuraiCat Like a Lum action figure?
Sannio I think to charge $25 per month would be a premature jump, even if included in a multi-tiered payment plan. I'm pretty sure that if I played a game that cost $25, even if it started out that way and I knew the cost going in, it would be first in my list of what to drop when the next new game came along.
Lum_Mythic Like Happy Fun Balls!
Eltanin hrrmmm..
UnknownPlayer Lum I WANT A HAPPY FUN BALL!
Eltanin I think that they'll start charging more for the game itself. Box prices will start to shoot up as well.
Lum_Mythic See? Profit opportunity. * Eltanin refrains from the obvious sexual innuendo joke.
Sannio I don't think I'd pay $25 a month to own a happy fun ball. Sorry, Lum. :]
Gaiden_Nexon Happy happy, joy joy!
Sannio MAYBE $10. But no $25.
Lum_Mythic what if you got a different happy fun ball every month.
Lum_Mythic Oooh pretty colors!
Eltanin Argh, got to do it.
Sannio Woh! Now you're talking!
SamuraiCat Maybe two happy fun balls for $25.
Gaiden_Nexon If it comes in fuschia, you've got someone who will buy the ball.
Eltanin I've already got two happy fun balls, and they live in my pants. You're all free to experience them.
UnknownPlayer Uhh...
Gaiden_Nexon Oh man...LOL
Eltanin ...sorry, couldn't help it. * Eltanin grins
Sannio I'd like a plaid one.
Scorch_NetDevil Concluding... IMHO cost of MPPs are determined by what players think is a good costs compared to other games out there at the time, not the actual costs (at least up to $25). * Lum_Mythic groans.
SamuraiCat +b Eltanin-the-perv :P
UnknownPlayer Ok well now that we have all uhh been disgusted... Lets end the chat.
Eltanin Sorry Samurai, it couldn't be restrained.
Lum_Mythic RESTRAIN THY HAPPY FUN BALLS!
SamuraiCat It? (shudder)
Eltanin ..the innuendo, of course.
UnknownPlayer Thats it... Elvis has left the building!
Sannio Well, thanks for the invitation.
SamuraiCat Oh. Of... course.
Sannio I had a fun time. :] * SamuraiCat backs away, slowly
SamuraiCat :)
UnknownPlayer Thanks for coming :)
UnknownPlayer Going Unmoderated!!!


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