Susbcription Costs: When is it enough?

mmocostsFirst we were paying $10 and people were freaking out asking how anyone could possibly spend that much money per month of a video game. Then the price went up again, and again, and now we’re sitting at around $14.99 as the “normal” fair for a subscription based MMORPG. To me and probably most people that’s nothing to scoff at in today’s economy. While it’s still arguably the cheapest form of entertainment out there over a long period of time, it’s still decent money. What would happen if the prices went up again? From the TenTonHammer Warhammer Online FAQ:

Q: Will the game require a monthly fee to play WAR?

A: Yes, and EA Mythic’s President Mark Jacobs has stated that the subscription fee will quite possibly be more than the standard $14.99 that most MMOG’s charge.

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m not ready to start paying more money. Maybe I can afford another couple dollars a month but let’s look at the big picture here. Where is this money going? I’m not seeing any drastic change for the better in how MMORPGs are developed and I’m certainly not finding that the customer service is any better. Server downtime is about the same if not more than it was a few years ago. Heck, server technology and the means for managing the maintenance of MMO ‘stuff’ is getting cheaper! There is more technology available today, for a cheaper price, than there was 5 years ago. Where is all our money going?

I’ll consider this a rumor until I see Mark Jacobs or someone from EA Mythic say it for themselves. I might be willing to pay $15.99 or $16.99 at the most but I doubt if it raises that it will only go up by that much. We’ll probably hear the sob story of inflation or some other political excuse. The players aren’t getting any richer and neither should you. That’s my message to anyone who would raise the price. BUT, show us that the money is being well spent and then we can reopen negotiations.

How much is too much? When is it enough? How much would you be willing to spend on the next “big” MMORPG? We might find out real soon…

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  • I’d be very angry at any MMO that tried to charge more than $14.99, it’s the industry standard at this point and for the reasons you listed there doesn’t seem to be any excuse to raise it. At the same time, I don’t know that it would cause me to boycott the game. I really want to play WAR, and if I liked it after the “free” month I’d probably grit my teeth and play.

    Now, if they did something stupid like cut out the “free” month I wouldn’t even buy the game, even WAR.

  • I suppose I am a cynic but I think its only a matter of time. Sooner or later, an MMO will come out that offers something above and beyond that of the current, competing games. With their shiny, new game in tow, they will of course believe that intitles them to charge more. We saw that when MMO’s began to take the next big step into a mainstream and we’ll that again once they take the next big step, wherever and whenever that may be.

    /rant off

  • $14.99 is enough. If any game charges more than that, I will not be playing it. Not because I am a cheapskate, but because I refuse to be taken advantage of.

  • Charging more than $14.99 for a single-month subscription be some bullllllllllllshit, yo. I believe both Tobold and you already commented on PotBS charging the same monthly fee as WoW without delivering even half the content or polish.

    How could someone justify charging MORE!?

    MMORPGs are profitable enough if you can get a solid 150k+ subscribers, IMO. Any more than that is icing on the cake. Heck, Josh Drescher even comments that DAOC is still earning EA Mythic income, and that game has been declining for years.

    I’m not going to get all uppity over a rumour, and I could afford $29.98 per month if I found the game to be worth it, but it really comes down to morals and business sense. When your primary competition is charging a flat, sustainable monthly fee, why would you even give a wisp of a thought to the notion of charging more than them? If you charge a premium fee, you’re targeting a premium audience.

    Please tell me MMOs aren’t going the way of Old Navy / The Gap / Banana Republic because I couldn’t bear another 3-tiered subculture…

  • Are monthly MMO fees going up?…

    ‘From the TenTonHammer Warhammer Online FAQ:

    Q: Will the game require a monthly fee to play WAR?

    A: Yes, and EA Mythic’s President Mark Jacobs has stated that the subscription fee will quite possibly be more than the standard $14.99 tha…

  • I’d pay more, if the game is worth it. Frankly, I used to fret about my MMO monthly fee, but over time I have moved from paying one fee to now having six monthly fees due to the whole family getting involved in what used to be just my obsession. Now I really don’t care so much about the dollar amount. If we are getting our money’s worth, we pay. If we aren’t, we don’t pay.

  • Well I think they are stepping on some dangerous territory here because it certainly will make me think twice about buying it if they do. I am a fan of lifetime subscriptions because they not only help the company pay for its development of the game and some server time thereafter but they are not a constant nagging commitment in the back of your mind from then on. Even if Warhammer does end up costing more than wow to develop and gains slightly less of an audience (two big ‘if’s) I still see it being quite a money maker even if it had no subscription fees. Personally I’m in favor of them ebing able to put it at any price they darn well please and then suffering the consequences. The free market will learn them a thing or three perhaps.

  • I’m already concerned that I can’t afford to spend the time on WAR… if they jack the price up over $15/month I will probably decide I can’t spend the money, either. Considering I’m only spending $10/month on LOTRO right now, it would be especially distasteful.

  • I think MMO’s are a victim of WoW’s success here. MMO’s are now a commodity. WoW has pretty well brought MMO’s down to a consumer level, and that means people expect things to get cheaper, not more expensive.

    Think of it this way. $9.99 is a “sweet spot” of retail which is why you see it so often in sales and such. It’s not quite ten bucks and almost everyone, even in today’s card based society, has ten bucks in loose change in their pocket. Soon as you start going over that, you’re going to start loosing folks.

    It took a while for MMO’s to get people used to $14.99, but even so, there are a lot of people I personally know that wont pay $14.99, let alone more, for a “game” (I often argue that that isn’t even the price they’d pay to see to new release movies, but they just have something in them that doesn’t equate “game” entertainment to “movie” entertainment…seems like they are different “entertainment” some how).

    I think releasing at more than $14.99 would hurt them more than releasing with a few bugs or lack of polish IMHO. I also think the inverse is true and a release at $9.99 would pick them up a lot of the folks that wont pay $14.99 for a “game”…

  • to begin with, i play guild wars so i don’t pay anything to begin with. i keep my 180/yr(somewhere close to double of what a xbox live gold account costs, mind you)and play whenever i want to. sure i don’t find as many people who play it, but i still enjoy it(like any good game)

    meh

  • you know iam almost tempted to say that maybe war is going to do the hybrid model of subscription fees with microtransactions, it would be possible if they have designed the game with this in mind from the word go much like they have designed the game with pvp in mind.

    however if they are just increasing the sub fee, it would all depend on how good the game is and how much enjoyment i am getting from it. there are other games out there cheaper that offer as much enjoyment and a high sub fee would certainly put me off war and move me on to other games

  • A price increase in MMOs is inevitable, and likely to be the subject of many flame wars. (Remember back in the day when the standard was 9.99?)

    There are people that will loudly and angrily oppose any attempt to raise prices beyond the $14.99 standard, and will boycott any attempt to do so.

    There are people that will loudly and agrily oppose any increase, but will grudgingly pay it and play anyway.

    There are people that will easily pay more than $14.99 if they feel the experience and content are worth it.

    In fact, there are people that will pay WAY more than $14.99 for the right game, and the game companies know this. (They just don’t have right content yet.)

    Ultimately market forces will determine where the new price ends up landing. We will continue to have the option of voting with our feet.

    Content is king, and people will flock to the games with the right content, even if the price is a bit uncomfortable. Content also costs money to create and maintain, and the company that finds the right balance will start to set the new standards.

    My prediction is that most games will cost $17.99 to 19.99 within two years.

  • The evil part of me wants Mythic to price higher, just to hear people wail, moan, and get all indignant. Good times.

    My fear would be that they might actually pull it off. And then you could hardly expect CCP, Sony, Blizzard, or NCSoft to admit that their games are worth LESS than WAR! Never!

    So a price increases all around and we can wail, moan, and get all indignant together.

    Let’s go throw eggs at Mark Jacobs’ house.

  • I like WAR, but I don’t think it will be able to compete with the current crop of MMOs if they raise the subscription price.

  • To be honest, this game will have so many of us Warhammer tabletop geeks trying to get a private server emulator going. First off we already pay like 200$ a month for our miniatures and I dont think we want to pay $15-$20 a month for a PC game so… PLEASE! IF ANYONE AT EA MYTHIC CAN HEAR ME! PLEASE LEAK SOME SOURCE CODE OR SERVER FILES FOR US TO START WITH SO WE DONT HAVE TO ATTEMPT TO HACK YOU!

  • At $15 a month = 50 cents a day. I would pay as high as $1 a day if the game is dynamic, interesting and smooth. Unless u work in the gaming industry and know how ppl design a game, u will never know the effort and energy that was being put in making a great game. If u like the game, pay a little more to support them. If u dont like it, move on to something else. Game is Art. What is the worth of Art to you?