We’re Willing to Pay for Value

Why are MMO gamers perceived as inherently stupid? Before you say, “Because they ARE stupid…” let me explain. MMO gamers are consumers just like everyone else. Consumers want value. The word value is often mistaken for “cheap”.  Value propositions come in all sorts of varieties: more for less, more for more, less for more, etc.

You can charge money for good products. People are willing to pay for something awesome. There’s a reason why Apple is able to charge $600+ for a PHONE and people are lining up and hurting each other just to get their hands on one. They’ve identified what people want, they make it, then they sell it for a premium. Due to their product actually being pretty good, Apple turns their customers into brand champions who then recruit more people to buy Apple products. This isn’t unique to Apple or to any company or industry.

Why do we have to pretend games are free or better yet that they have to be free in order for people to want to play them? MMO gamers are capable of identifying whether a product is worth being paid for or not. A good product will sell. A poor one will not.

When I see a “free” game I immediately wonder what they are trying to hide or what they are trying to accomplish. Are they hiding the fact that they aren’t a good game? Are they trying to hide something nefarious like a pay-to-win cash shop? Are they focusing on simply hooking whales and not on making good game design choices? There’s a reason why that product doesn’t have a price tag. Find it, and you’ll find the flaw.

People are happy to offer money to pay for beta testing a game or getting “Early Access” on Steam. Crowdfunding raised millions for games in 2014.

My lesson for today is that games do not have to be free. Charging for a game is absolutely acceptable, and it won’t dissuade people from playing. What dissuades people from playing is a failure to provide or convey value.

  • So true. “[…]or convey value.” – doubly so.

    …and then we are drawn to a new shiny, because maybe, just maybe, this one is different.

  • Beta testing has turned into a money stream. They may as well call it what it is, paying for a game that is broken and we are not going to fix it.

  • There are some games I wish would move away from their current pay models. D3 comes to mind. I feel that there are a lot of players who would be happy to see D3 go into a free to play model not to open up its player based but to increase its development team. I feel like blizzard has allocated so many resources away from them that their patches and idea are weak and lackluster.

    Some games are cash grabs. Double Fine has been cashing in on its good name for quite a while now and I’m very disappointed in them. With their Kickstarters and Early Access games.

    Overall good products tend to sell themselves look at mine-craft.

  • I definitely agree here. I have no problem spending lots of money on games, but they have to be worth it.

    That’s why I think so many companies fail to succeed with the subscription model. It’s not that people aren’t willing to pay a subscription, they definitely are. But when you’re charging much more for your game than your competitors, you really must justify that with excellent quality.

  • I think part of it, a big part, is this: MMO companies are largely Product oriented but the product they have ended up with is largely Service oriented. They spend 2-5 years working on A Product and then when they finally release it, if it’s successful, it turns into A Service that they have to support for 5, 10, 15, who knows how many years.

    I don’t believe many of the companies making online games ever wanted to transition into service companies. They just fell into it through the necessities of the form. By moving to a process whereby they sell access to an unfinished (in some cases barely started) product that is “in testing” they lower expectations and requirements for customer service substantially; by moving to a F2P model after launch they similarly lower service requirements and expectations.

    In this way the industry is gradually moving to a position that is much more biased in favor of the game-makers. If game-players aren’t happy with that they need to stop participating in the process. All the evidence so far, however, suggests players are willing to pay for both a lower quality product and a lesser quality of service. While that situation persists why would the companies change their approach?

  • Awesome post and I totally agree.

    Lol this is true in almost every industry except MMO’s, wonder why?

    “There’s a reason why that product doesn’t have a price tag. Find it, and you’ll find the flaw.”

  • Charging for a game is absolutely acceptable, and it won’t dissuade people from playing.

    Of course it dissuades people from playing. Do you think League of Legends would have 67 million people playing every month if they had to pay? Even a token, mandatory one-time payment of $5 or whatever would wipe out a huge portion of the playerbase. LoL could probably still get away with it and survive at this point, but you sure as hell can’t release a B2P or subscription MOBA competitor in an environment where F2P LoL exists.

    And that’s the fundamental issue at this point. If you’re charging money, it’s not enough to be a good game, it has to be better than what players could play instead. Games don’t exist in a vacuum.

    This point is especially important in MMOs, considering they collapse if they do not achieve a certain player population. DDO, LotRO, SWTOR, RIFT, EQ1&2, etc etc etc, would no longer exist in a subscription-only field. Are they all terrible games? Maybe. Or maybe they are perfectly fine if not for the alternatives available.

  • Yeah these F2P convey less value.

    When I see f2p tag I wonder whats wrong with it. F2p also doesnt gate out hackers and gold spammer since accounts can be made without costing them anything.

    There’s a reason why starcitizen has people paying $100 or even $1000+

  • I think you’re showing a huge misunderstanding of economic models here.

    The point of free is to draw in players, it lowers the barriers of entry and allows a larger subset of people to try your game out. This is why betas are more like marketing experiences than any real “beta” where they actually try and fix things.

    Additionally the market is riddled with great games that failed to sell, whether through lack of knowledge, new IPs, or other reasons, “60 dollars to try this new thing? I dunnooo…” and it flops. In fact customers are more wary now than ever, what with being burned all the time by these big marketing blitzes that only continue to deliver sub-par products (hi Wildstar).

    F2P is a way to draw in a market without alienating them through a high price initial buy in. For instance, for me, WoD, every time I look at it…. and I see the price tag, I don’t want to play. I will gladly resub and drop my 12 bucks a month but I wont drop 40-60 dollars to actually buy the game in the first place, because I know thats just not WORTH it for me.

    A big problem with many F2P games is its developed around gouging whales, rather than designing with sensible prices for the average consumer. Others though are developed fairly well… even if its a genre you don’t particularly enjoy. In fact, many triple A games are basically being made in F2P fashion, although it seems the forefront of this particular market is korea, probably due to their ability to sucker in alot of people with pretty graphics and high customizability before stumbling over themselves once you get a couple dozen levels in.

    Theres hosts of economic reasons for all this of course. But such is life. You need to take off the rose tinted specs a bit more, you’ve been falling back on them much harder lately than before.

  • @Azuriel: Number of people playing vs. Number of people paying. A one time payment would wipe out millions upon millions of players. That’s fine because millions upon millions aren’t spending a dime.

    @Danath:

    The point of free is to draw in players, it lowers the barriers of entry and allows a larger subset of people to try your game out.

    Drawing in players with F2P isn’t the point of the topic. The number of people playing a game is completely irrelevant to any part of the fact that players are willing to pay for value. How many players a game has means nothing unless the game costs money. It’s like Azuriel’s comment about about LoL having 67 million players and if they charged money they wouldn’t have 67 million players anymore. True, but that’s irrelevant to LoL being a good game or making money. Volume only matters when you have to bank on statistics for your cash flow.

    Additionally the market is riddled with great games that failed to sell, whether through lack of knowledge, new IPs, or other reasons, “60 dollars to try this new thing? I dunnooo…” and it flops.

    Correct. They failed to convey the value of their product.

    F2P is a way to draw in a market without alienating them through a high price initial buy in.

    You started by telling me that I showed a huge misunderstanding of economic models. Can you explain to me why the iPhone isn’t free?

    You need to take off the rose tinted specs a bit more, you’ve been falling back on them much harder lately than before.

    Argumentum ad hominem.

  • I agree with Azuriel (I almost always do 😉 ) and Danath on this topic.

    I believe there is a sometimes overlooked, but critically important, difference between how a AAA developer and a gamer defines a successful game.

    The former defines success in profitability, where the latter in terms of if the game was fun, or sometimes was it fun enough to justify the cost. In this light, how games services like STEAM undermine the B2P box fee model is an interesting argument, as I am significantly less inclined these days to pay $60 for a new release, and instead just wait until the platinum all DLC included Season Pass enhanced version goes on sale for $20 a year later.

    To a developer intrinsic funness of their product is just one variable to consider in the design of a profitable product and not necessarily the primary concern.

    The F2P model best epitomize this philosophy, as obviously games must be designed to be enjoyable for their consumers, but then they are often purposefully broken to add stress that can be overcome through cash shop purchases; even in the best F2P, non-P2W, games maximum fun is set at a premium cost due to gating of exclusive content behind vending machine glass.

    So why do developers do F2P? Not being a gaming economist, I am working from the a priori point of argument that it must offer a higher degree of profitability during the time line they plan to commit to continued support of the product, and as such from their perspective the model isn’t broken, and why fix that which is working as intended?

    So as the other guys were implying, it likely is more profitable to increase your game’s player base 10 fold even if a large number of players aren’t paying anything given that the numbers of those who do pay over time outnumber those that would have paid $60 for an all-inclusive product; to restate, it still can be more profitable to have a minority of players making purchases over time if your overall player base is substantially larger.

    People on gaming blogs are not the AAA target audience, we are the minority, so while we might all agree to pay more for a complete game, most people won’t and it might even be the case that these less dedicated/more casual players’ expectations are significantly lower than ours, so a semi-broken gaming product is perfectly acceptable when it carries a $0 price tag.

  • “You started by telling me that I showed a huge misunderstanding of economic models. Can you explain to me why the iPhone isn’t free?”

    While I am in favor of subscription games here, I think that you example is flawed. There is not phone that is similar to iphone and is free… For example, if the Samsung Galaxy S4, is similar but not as good. If the Samsung Galaxy S4 was free, don’t you think that this would result in a huge drop in sales for iphone and other similar phones?

    The problem with MMOs is that there are too many of them and a big chunk of them offer the illusion that they are “free”. There are many hippies out there that play on f2p MMOs and in fact they don’t spend a dimme. At least I know some of them. They don’t seek value and they will not pay for quality…

    The average MMO customers are not the regular customer of the general economy…this is the sad true

  • Actually I got my iPhone 5 stolen without any insurance to cover the loss. Somehow when I got off the phone with Apple they gave me a new one (granted an i5 version that retailed for a bit less) for free so long as I signed up for another contract. We even found a way to lower my monthly fees.

    I suppose they figured it was better to encourage long term users to stick with Apple than to potentially lose a customer by them shopping around.

  • @John: The point isn’t to find a similar phone to the iPhone that’s free. There are phones that will make calls, use the internet, add contacts, take pictures, etc., and they are just as “free” as any F2P MMO. They aren’t anywhere near the quality of the iPhone, though. And that’s the whole point. Before we take this much further, I don’t want to lose sight of the point. It’s not about comparing MMOs to phones. It’s to convey that a MMO player will spend money on something they believe is worth the money, and they don’t need to be told something is free for them to consider purchasing it.

    @Gankatron: People are wanting to turn this into economics about what defines success and what makes a F2P game as good as a Sub, etc. That’s not the point. The point is that gamers WILL PAY for value. Value does not have to be free. I don’t think anyone out there can or should make the generalization that “people in general aren’t willing to pay for a complete game.” That simply isn’t the case. There are too many games shattering records that cost money: Call of Duty, Destiny, Halo, World of Warcraft, etc. The same people who are willing to buy games will buy phones, gaming rigs, and other luxury goods.

  • Pretending that every, or even most, MMOs that has gone F2P have made more money with that model than another is like pretending that every dev who made a WoW-clone made more money than making a different MMO. Not very sound logic, especially today when there is a list a mile long of shut down F2P MMOs and cloning WoW has been proven to more often than not lead to failure (sometimes on a massively expensive scale).

  • Keen, in a mutliplayer game it absolutely *does* matter a lot if free players leave. In F2P games the people who don`t pay anything are still really, really valuable. They are basically content for the paying customers. In a multiplayer only game the more bodies around the better the experience for everyone. More people to play with, shorter queues, etc.

    If LoL put up a paywall and half its players left it would be bad for Riot. They might not lose revenue directly, but they definitely would lose it indirectly. Queue times for matches go up, and importantly word of mouth goes down. Fewer people talking about the game, writing about it, streaming, etc.

  • Fid: That’s only true if the game’s quality remains unchanged when it goes from F2P to something better. LoL is a bad example here because its one of the very few games that does F2P right, but take a F2P trashheap like LotRO for example. If LotRO suddenly stopped selling the One Ring, and instead returned to what they did in 2007 in terms of content and business model (sub), they would certainly have fewer initial players as the freeloaders would be gone. But in a few months, when those who are paying report that the game is once again worthwhile?

    Plus for just about any MMO not called EVE, who cares how many people in total are playing, so long as your server has ‘enough’? If the company is making more money, and your server has ‘enough’, that’s win/win, even if the total active playerbase goes from 1m to 250k or whatever.

  • @Fidjit: That’s all probably true, and I agree with SynCaine’s stipulation. What I’m saying is that they aren’t important to the topic at hand. The real subject here is that games (specifically MMOs) do not have to be free for people to buy them, play them, and stay with them. There’s this huge growing trend (as we have seen people even say here) that people aren’t willing to pay for games. I’m dumbfounded why people this this way — especially as it pertains to MMOs.

    @SynCaine: I agree. I’m not sure why people ignore the big picture when it comes to F2P failures and successes. It’s silly to me. It’s happening, though. People can’t see past the last failure. I can’t name a single MMO that has done F2P well. I can name one or two non-MMOs. Yet here we are in the thick of people saying no one wants to pay for games. I’m baffled.

  • Keen, I believe we are asking two different questions; yours is more theoretical regarding AAA development, namely could a sub still be a profitable model, versus mine, do AAA’s believe F2P will be a more financially desirable model for a new release.

    Economics cannot be avoided in a practical versus theoretical argument as profitability is primarily what drives the AAA’s. No one is saying that a sub can’t be profitable in theory; that would be an untenable position.

    What is being said is regardless of what people on gaming blogs think, AAA developers certainly believe that the F2P model is more in line with their financial expectations in the long run, and that is what drives their financial model.

    What is illogical is to presume that as armchair game marketers we know more about the financial factors that will make a game a “success” in the long run in the minds of AAA devs, actually more than their corporate marketing and legal departments do, and all theoretical arguments aside, it is solely their perception that is our AAA gaming reality.

    So the point of my argument is absolutely a practical one, specifically if you want to avoid the F2P model and find a team of devs that might have a philosophy other than pure profit motivation you will likely be better off trusting in an indie; if not you may just find yourself in a repetitive cycle of trusting AAA mouthpieces’ promises on how your cash influx in an eventual F2P game’s development will shape the game mechanics, only to find they end up doing whatever they please in the face of your supposed valued input (guns in airdrops for station cash anyone?).

    Syn as always please drop the Straw man arguments. Did anyone here contend, let alone pretend, that “every, or even most, MMOs that [have] gone F2P have made more money with that model than another”, nope; this is due to the fact that none of us have access to alternative universes where we can directly compare the relative financial successes of different financial models for identical releases. Please be rest assured (if only on the basis of the conveniently extreme verbiage) I do not believe “every” MMO that has gone F2P has made more money than it could have with other models, but why in the world would I? So one Straw man down we are in its stead left with the patently obvious problem for old-school gamers such as ourselves that AAA developers currently believe it is more worth their while to go F2P, and this is the only relevant point in determining what these companies will offer us.

    One must be careful to not misinterpret what is “logical” within the context of a corporate mentality, especially when none of us have access to their analyses on how much money a new game is projected to make on a F2P or sub basis; moreover it doesn’t make sense to use WoW as a comparative example of a successful sub model given that it was released in a very different competitive environment and has had over a decade to build its large and devoted MMO sub base relative to a new release.

    With regards to the word “failure”, you keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means, at least from a AAA developer’s perspective. I believe you should turn around your question and ponder why it is that corporate game outlets repeatedly keep producing F2P games ‘when there is a list a mile long of shut down F2P MMOs’? Perhaps they are so inept that they cannot see your “logic” although it they have made careers in the field as opposed to just blogging about it? Perhaps from their perspective up front intensively marketed cash grabbing games that eventually putt along with a skeleton crew with a steady cash stream are worth actually their while? Or perhaps executives are caught in an irresistible current of public demand for F2P and there is a culture of F2P worshipping that is being catered to in stockholder meetings?

    While you may have a dogmatically absolute answer, I will at least admit I do not know, and all I can do is observe cycle after cycle of F2P releases with no obvious end in sight and thereby assume some part of the F2P model is actually working for these corporations.

    Still feel free to write their marketing departments and educate them why they are doing it all wrong, but until you wow them with the indisputable superior profitability of your sidelines economics expertise, expect more of the same F2P models with the same shady early access cash grabbing followed by bait and switch broken promises à la SOE.

    Perhaps we might agree on one thing though, repeated broken promises and exploitive practices at the expense of their consumers may eventually cause the model to collapse as people wise up and stop supporting the F2P model. Perhaps an eventual catastrophic failure of the F2P system is necessary to finally get corporate executive to stop viewing F2P as a potentially more profitable model. The only problem in this admittedly theoretical scenario is that it relies upon the gamer population at large to learn from their prior mistakes, and not jump at a perceived “free” game offering, to which all I can say is good luck with that.

    How many more times will people have to listen to exploitive lies and just say no to companies like SOE?

    “We will NOT be selling Guns, Ammo, Food, Water… i.e. That’s kind of the whole game and it would suck in our opinion if we did that.”

    “We have made the decision to allow paid for airdrops into the game with things like guns and other things being randomly selected as part of the airdrop.

    …got to love Smedley’s sense of integrity. 😛

  • “a MMO player will spend money on something they believe is worth the money, and they don’t need to be told something is free for them to consider purchasing it.”

    Absolutely true, …for the majority of people on this blog.

    As far as the gaming population in general, one that has been dominated by casual players over the last decade, I am not as sure, and it seem that AAA devs aren’t convinced either.

    It is my assumption that they equate higher numbers of players as potential dollar signs many who can be milked out of a buck or two here or there over a long period of time, one where there is no threshold to enter or return. So while I am sure you could convince them that an all inclusive box plus sub model would likely make them money, you wouldn’t be addressing their actual concern, which model had the potential to tap into the vastly larger casual market and make even more money?

    Fidjet’s point of indirect value of a large player base cannot be overestimated in my opinion. I imagine we both share the experience of checking out a lesser known multiplayer game, thinking it has a cool concept behind it, and prior to hitting “Purchase” read a few of the STEAM reviews, only to find people describing ghost town servers that make any creative game mechanics moot in a practical sense.

  • @Keen
    I think the way you presented the iPhone analogy is a bit flawed. Apple presents itselfs an upper-end brand, almost as luxury brand. They have to keep their price at certain level for this image to stay put. The price of one item can represent its economic rarity, but there’s also a psychological value associated to it. The average economic agent believes paying more for something means you’re buying improved quality even though it may not be true. Paying 100$ for chopsticks doesn’t make them inherently better than chopsticks from Walmart, but it conveys the illusion. Sticking to the phone business, I would take the Xiaomi brand as the opposite example. Their goal is to sell a maximum of units, they want to be dominating market force and believes volumes will take care of profit. Hence they are selling their phones cheap in home turf (China) and other markets (India mainly, I think they are in Russia too).

    Your main argument remains valid, I just think you chose the wrong example to strentghen it. 😉

  • FYI to anyone who bought H1Z1 and is dissatisfied with Smedley’s broken promise about not making the game P2W by monetizing weapon acquisition, …for the moment they are offering refunds, but don’t dawdle:

    “John Smedley @j_smedley · 4h 4 hours ago
    we’ve asked Valve to allow self-refunds this weekend. They are awesome to work with. We’ll let you know more as we do.”

    “j_smedley[S]
    we’re making adjustments to the airdrops that are appropriate. So yes, we believe in the feature. We also agree it needs work so it’s not P2W because I saw the same streams you guys did last night and without these changes i think it’s fair to call it P2W.”

  • @Gank: I wouldn’t hold people who work in gaming on some high pedestal. It’s a terrible industry to work in, so many who could would rather not. It doesn’t draw in or hold the best and brightest. Could I work in it right now at a high level? Yes (turned down more than a few offers over the years thanks in part to blogging), but I’d rather do what I do now, making far more money while having a far higher level of job security and quality of life overall. We aren’t talking about the best doctors or scientists in the world here; we are talking about people in an industry most would never want to get into. Ditch diggers aren’t better at digging a ditch than I am; they just do it because they either love moving dirt, or don’t have other options.

    “AAA developers certainly believe that the F2P model is more in line with their financial expectations in the long run, and that is what drives their financial model.”

    Blizzard, SquareEnix, and CCP (owners of the 3 most successful MMOs in recent years) would all disagree with what you wrote regarding financials and business models. Owners of LoTRO, EQ2, SW:TOR, AoC, and a long list of under-performing or outright shut down MMOs would agree. I’d rather match up with the first group, which I’d call owners of AAA MMOs. I’d call the second group minor league F2P MMOs, not AAA. Do you consider EQ2 and EVE in the same class? What about SW:TOR and FFXIV?

    “I believe you should turn around your question and ponder why it is that corporate game outlets repeatedly keep producing F2P games ‘when there is a list a mile long of shut down F2P MMOs’?”

    Why did EA fund SW:TOR and it’s fourth pillar and bank on having 1m, then later 500k, subs? Why did EA fund WAR? Why does SOE keep buying asian import MMOs? Why did NCSoft go with B2P with GW2? Why did SOE NGE SWG? Why did Smed promise H1Z1 will never sell you guns? Why was Superman64 ever released? Derek Smart?

    Because again, the industry is full of people who aren’t good at what they do, just like a lot of other industries. You putting these people on some pedestal and thinking they know more than ‘some bloggers’ is the problem, while seemingly ignoring the track record of not just individuals or companies, but the industry as a whole. It’s a freaking dummy factory man, which is why something like WoW can sit at the top for so long despite releasing mistakes like Cata and MoP.

    Speaking of straw men, can we drop the whole “none of us have the financial numbers” crap? Game that makes more money; FFXIV or EQ2? “Gee but we don’t have the financials, so we can’t tell” Right Gank? If you want to only talk in absolutely, you won’t have much to add in these kind of conversations (other than a wall of text based of a nonsense statement).

  • “I wouldn’t hold people who work in gaming on some high pedestal.”

    It isn’t a pedestal, but recognition that a bunch of bloggers on a gaming site don’t know as much about the specific details surrounding financial modeling surrounding game development as people who actually have worked for years in the industry, but I also recognize humility isn’t your strong suit.

    I get the same thing in medicine, people who read something on the internet and now feel they can forgo years of training and experience and hold an equally valid opinion.

    I speculate there is a reason why the industry has turned to F2P and it likely is based upon financial projections of a more lucrative plan for the time period they are willing to support the project, which may entail more factors than just raw dollars earned.

    Considering the F2P model has significantly evolved since the early Allods entries, I assume these projections are likely based upon experience as opposed to rampant mismanagement, and I wouldn’t be too quick to speak for companies such as Blizzard, SquareEnix, and CCP regarding their opinions regarding the profitability of the F2P model. Just because these companies have established successful MMO’s prior to the emergence of the F2P model in no way assumes their administrative staff do not recognize that it also can’t be a profitable model. Also let’s keep an eye out for future releases from these companies and see if they end up offering F2P games; certainly in contrast to your assumptions Blizzard has recently been releasing F2P games as part of their portfolio.

    My referencing that we don’t have the specific “numbers” is meant to recognize that detailed analysis will go on prior to a release of a corporate backed title by those trained in financial modeling. While such an approach isn’t a guarantee of profitability it is a sound measure to avoid bad outcomes. F2P is the current trend for recent releases, and to offhandedly dismiss the model as having poor profitability is unwarranted, which is probably why you tend to rely on arguments based upon vague statements of system wide mismanagement.

    Again we are not just talking about a single corporate executive who manages to repeatedly make bad financial decisions and yet against all logic defies the odds to hang onto their position; we are talking about an industry trend where it is likely a safe assumption people are making money overall or they would stop; you actually don’t agree with this? Even universally vilified Smedley likely has been making money for SOE in spite of (or perhaps more disturbingly due to) his disreputable behaviors as CEO.

    It is not about making the game Syncaine or myself would most like to play, but whether the people at the top of the corporate financial food chain are making money, and corporations and their shareholders are notoriously intolerant of ventures that don’t fulfil the Rules of Acquisition.

    I believe the actual reason you hold such dogmatic viewpoints is simply because you don’t like to play F2P games and need to conjure up reasons why the gaming industry is wrong for creating them, which is fine when you are addressing how the model negatively impacts the subjective fun factor for us old school gamers. Where you fall off the precipice of logic into a mire of subjective mudslinging is when you try to counter specific issues of corporate profitability on the basis of widespread incompetence, which, may just boil down to Syncaine having a different opinion than the numerous developers producing F2P games today.

    Notice that nowhere have I claimed that F2P games are more fun to play than other monetization schemes; in actuality I believe the F2P model undermines my personal enjoyment in a variety of ways that I have previously and continue to express in this blog. I also haven’t assumed the counterpoint to your inflexibly mutually exclusive contentions regarding the lack of profitability of F2P games, and stated that developers can’t profit from model other than F2P ones. My opinion can largely be summed up as I believe that multiple monetization models can be profitable options for a developer including F2P (even though I intensely dislike the latter).

    I encourage you to better define your usage of “success” in future discussions, especially when producers of F2P games seem to be satisfied with their releases as judged by their continued release of said titles, keeping in mind that overall number of players is less of a factors than net profit relative to continued financial support of an ongoing project.

    Also please recognize when a F2P title goes offline it can be difficult to separate which factors were responsible for its demise; to restate, don’t be too quick to assume that any given release might not end up going in a similar direction regardless of monetization scheme, and it might just be possible a F2P approach actually kept the game chugging along profitably for longer than a subscription approach might have.

    “Ditch diggers aren’t better at digging a ditch than I am.”

    This pretty well illustrates an important difference between us, as I would think a person who has dug ditches for most of their life probably does have some valuable experience in the earth moving field, and probably would have some useful tips to share with someone if they were able to get past their own arrogance and insecurity over not being an expert in all things.

  • “I get the same thing in medicine, people who read something on the internet and now feel they can forgo years of training and experience and hold an equally valid opinion. ”

    Except game devs are far closer to ditch diggers then they are to doctors, and society’s score card (pay) reflects that. But unlike society, you place a much higher value on simple tasks (digging), so I can at least understand the difference in opinion. Just understand society doesn’t agree with you here, especially not in the US.

    I’m guessing you also don’t read my blog, because if you did you would know my two favorite games right now are both F2P (LoL, CoC), but those games do F2P right. My opinion is that F2P doesn’t work for MMOs (all F2P MMOs are garbage IMO), and to this day we haven’t seen a breakout F2P MMO. The most successful MMO is sub (WoW), the most stable and longest growing MMO is sub (EVE), and the most recent major success is sub (FFXIV). Meanwhile the biggest F2P games are a footnote (SW:TOR), or a total disaster (AA). Again, what F2P MMO would you put next to WoW/EVE/FFXIV and say “That game is in the same league as those games”? Or better yet, what F2P MMO wouldn’t trade what it has with FFXIV in the last few years? Or with EVE (forget WoW) in the last decade? Now sure, maybe someday some F2P MMO is going to come out and do really well, but that wasn’t yesterday, nor was it today, and I doubt it’s tomorrow.

    Also do note that you’re whole “lots of MMOs are F2P, so that means F2P is making money” logic sounds a whole lot like 2007/9 “Make WoW clones” logic. Lots and lots of studios were making WoW-clones back then, so would you have argued back then it was because WoW-clones was where the money is, like you are doing today with F2P? Lots of people are cloning LoL today, is it because making LoL-clones is bringing in a ton of money, or are we repeating the WoW-clone failure cycle all over again?

    So yea, this really has nothing to do with what I want to play, it’s about taking a real look at not just the state of gaming today, but putting some historical context behind it, and realizing that just because a bunch of dummy devs are making F2P or LoL-clones today, like the same bunch of dummies making WoW-clones a few years ago, doesn’t mean anything more than dummy devs will be dummies.

    Now, if Sid Mieir tomorrow tells us F2P in an MMO will work, I’ll listen, but when its Smed or Smart doing the talking? They can keep on shoveling.

    “Even universally vilified Smedley likely has been making money for SOE ”

    Considering PS2 just broke even on a day-to-day operating level (note that the statement wasn’t that it was profitable overall, wonder why Smed didn’t state that…), two years after release, and the most recent items out of the studio are the shutting down of a few MMOs and the no-news about EQN, I’m not convinced Smed/SOE are making money, and are instead being kept afloat by Sony, just like the Xbox is kept afloat by MS. It would explain the hasty cash grabs they have been on, and releasing junk like H1Z1 in an alpha state with the cash shop open. Studios that care about long-term value and reputation don’t do stuff like that. At least not somewhat competent ones, which I guess excuses SOE.

  • “Except game devs are far closer to ditch diggers then they are to doctors, and society’s score card (pay) reflects that.”

    Why are you so keen to insult everyone who has a differing opinion than yours? I’ll tell you why because without the ad hominem angle your weak style over substance illogical opinions do not hold their own weight.

    Why would you imply that game developers are intellectually more similar to manual laborers rather than to colleagues in other computer-related fields? This is nothing short of playground name-calling nonsense, and yet it is a primary foundation of your arguments.

    I see that you were quick to seek external validation by claiming you make far more money than game developers, which means absolutely nothing in terms of intellectual capability or societal contribution, even if you feel writing your thoughts down about video games in blog form serves some greater purpose than someone digging ditches.

    Do you know who may make less money than you, most teachers, and who makes more money than you, pop music stars. As I recognize your need to find validation in how large your paycheck is, I begin to understand your need to insult others.

    No, I don’t read your blog, and why would I considering how you present yourself on Keen’s? I have no need to seek another random guy on the internet with strongly held, but poorly supported opinions that he confuses with facts. You are a living caricature of the self-obsessed ill-socialized blogger stereotype.

    I fully recognize and have admitted from the start the opinions I expressed in this thread are largely a priori given the burgeoning corporate F2P trends over the years, whether at release or in attempt to salvage failing subscription models, and an underlying assumption that corporate models that repeatedly fail to make money over traditional models are likely to be abandoned. This is why I tend to use terms such as might, could, and in theory; I freely admit that as an outsider I can’t know all of the intricacies that go into development AAA games, from marketing, legal, coding, customer support, accounting, art asset development, and other aspects.

    Contrast this to you who believes he unequivocally knows more than the “ditch-diggers” whose careers are actually developing the games that you can only hope to blog about, and the fact that you don’t see that the vast majority of your absolute statements are not based upon any concrete facts is an amazing display of self-delusion.

    So while you don’t see any successful F2P MMORPG’s of recent date, I don’t see any successful MMORPG’s of recent date. See the subtle, but important difference in reasoning?

    Your assumption that the non-emergence of any recent rising stars to challenge WoW or EVE is primarily due to F2P monetization is fallacious, based solely on the arbitrary feeling you don’t like this model when applied to MMORPG’s (and yet conversely love MMO’s that do use it such as LoL). You chose to blame a F2P model as the primary reason no MMORPG’s have been able to challenge WoW or EVE in profitability, while ignoring the multitude of other factors players might have stopped playing.

    Moreover it hasn’t escaped my attention how you have criticized WoW due to falling sub numbers in other threads and yet hypocritically champion it as the poster child for sub models.

    Additionally the irony is not lost how you give SW:TOR as an example of a failed MMORPG and yet conveniently ignore that it started as a sub model, and even more evasively ignore that it was saved from going offline by adopting a F2P model.

    Trying to pull out FFXIV as your single MMORPG sub based “success” is meaningless. Let’s travel back in time to 2010 when it was initially released and assess what happened. It tanked on release as a subscription model; now if I held a dogmatically strong illogical opinion against sub based games I could give it as yet another example of a failed sub based MMORPG, but let’s face it is was unplayable regardless of monetization model. Now flash forward to 2013 with a re-release of revamped game that received favorable reception. At what point can anyone logically ascribe the game’s new relative profitability (at least as reported by SE) being primarily due to a sub model, …don’t think too hard, you can’t. As a matter of fact FFXIV is a great example (functionally something as close to an internal standard that one can evoke in the gaming industry) of how a game can fail or succeed on factors independent of monetization model.

    As far as Smedley is concerned let’s work on the assumption that given what I have expressed on this and other threads that I am also not a fan of the human being, but the idea that he is “kept afloat by SONY” is absolute speculation that is bordering on conspiratorial. Why would SONY do this if they recognize him as a financial liability? Let me guess, because everyone at SONY are also “ditch diggers”?

    Furthermore is H1Z1 “junk”? As much as I don’t like Smedley lying about monetizing guns and ammo, as well as his poor treatment of the customer base, people seem to like the game since the airdrop patch and I have no reason to think that it won’t succeed in making SOE money. There is no need to disparage the financial earning potential of H1Z1 on the basis of you not liking Smedley’s character. As a matter of fact I dislike the character of most multimillion dollar valued CEO’s that I have read about; the absence of scruples is not necessarily a detriment in corporate business practices.

    You have a blog, fantastic, welcome to the internet, you type out your opinions about games that are fun, but please don’t confuse this with being any sort of expert in the gaming industry, you clearly are not, and your insulting opinions should not be misconstrued as facts.

  • “ad hominem angle your weak style over substance illogical opinions”

    You went on repeating this for another few paragraphs, and then proceeded to not only not answer many of the questions directed at you, but did go on to make a bunch of simple mistakes and write a whole bunch of nonsense. Why don’t you focus more on the discussion and less on how it makes you feel going forward?

    “Why would you imply that game developers are intellectually more similar to manual laborers rather than to colleagues in other computer-related fields?”

    For one, have you looked at the job listing for a standard dev position? Now compare it to a BA, TL, Eng, etc listing. Then compare pay (because as much as you wish pay didn’t matter, its a supply/demand indicator. And yes, there are more teachers who can teach than there are pop-stars who can sell. Sorry?). There is a reason for that, just like there is a reason the gaming industry is known to be one of the absolute worst career paths to follow. And that’s not mean old SynCaine saying that, that’s a ton of people both in and out of the industry saying that. So if someone has great ability, and values getting the most out of that ability, they don’t generally go into gaming. Those that have less ability and fewer options do. Sound familiar?

    “No, I don’t read your blog”

    And yet you are the one making incorrect statements about me (don’t play F2P, haven’t worked in gaming) without doing even the slightest bit of research, yet I’m the one with poorly supported opinions and not bringing substance? What was it you were rambling on about with insults and such?

    “actually developing the games that you can only hope to blog about, and the fact that you don’t see that the vast majority of your absolute statements are not based upon any concrete facts is an amazing display of self-delusion.”

    Are you sure about the above? Maybe you should have included a few more ‘might, maybe, don’t know’ statements to weaken it down a bit so you don’t actually have to say anything but ramble?

    “I don’t see any successful MMORPG’s of recent date. See the subtle, but important difference in reasoning? ”

    Oh I certainly do see the difference. You haven’t done your research and don’t see that FFXIV is a huge success, while I have and do. Bit of a trend in our conversation wouldn’t you say? Or do you just think maybe, FFXIV might be a trending success, but you won’t be able to fully form that opinion until the SquareEnix annual report? Want to revisit when that happens and admit it then, or admit it now? Your call.

    “MMO’s that do use it such as LoL”

    Haha, Keen where do you find these people? You should go work for SuperData Gank, you would fit right in.

    “Moreover it hasn’t escaped my attention how you have criticized WoW due to falling sub numbers in other threads and yet hypocritically champion it as the poster child for sub models.”

    Which part isn’t accurate, the falling subs due to Blizzard design decisions or that WoW is the most successful MMO of all time? Maybe you might be able to answer that?

    “Why would SONY do this if they recognize him as a financial liability?”

    Why does MS continue to pay for Xbox? Why do companies who’s stock prices drop or who have a bad year not fire people right away? Also, who attributed all of SOEs woes to Smed? Did I write that, or did you maybe just try to put that straw man up because you don’t have anything of substance to add here and instead hope that rambling nonsense long enough will bore people into not reading everything and realizing how little you bring to the table outside a bunch of ‘maybe, might, I don’t know’ nothingness?

  • While I could say I am sorry for hitting a nerve, in reality I am not given your temperamental combative style with commenters on this blog. So get your emotions under control, focus, and remember like a fine sword, a sharp wit doesn’t lose its temper.

    The problem with entering into a discussion with someone who relies so heavily upon style over substance and personal attacks is that one needs to spend an inordinate amount of time separating out the wheat from the chaff before even being able to address the topic at hand, which I should remind you is, can we ascribe the lack of recent “successful” MMORPG’s as being primarily due to the marketing of F2P monetization models.

    …the answer is no by the way, but let’s start digging to get to the heart of the matter.

    “You haven’t done your research and don’t see that FFXIV is a huge success, while I have and do.”

    Not only did I not say FFXIV wasn’t a “success” (triple negative points for me), I actually specifically used the word “success” to describe their re-release, but rewording others’ statements to better fit your line of reasoning is what you feel you must do to try to “win” arguments (as opposed to civilly discussing topics).

    The advantage of digital media is that everything is recorded for us to easily refer back to, so let’s travel back to yesteryear and see how what I actually said compares to what “mean old Syncaine” transmogrified it into:

    “Now flash forward to 2013 with a re-release of revamped game that received favorable reception. At what point can anyone logically ascribe the game’s new relative profitability (at least as reported by SE) being primarily due to a sub model, …don’t think too hard, you can’t. As a matter of fact FFXIV is a great example (functionally something as close to an internal standard that one can evoke in the gaming industry) of how a game can fail or succeed on factors independent of monetization model.”

    This is a great example of your combatively evasive argumentative style. Here you purposely avoid the actual point of the paragraph and instead try to extract out something you can twist into a Straw Man argument, specifically that I supposedly am arguing against the “success” of FFXIV.

    But in reality I used the terms “favorable reception”, “new relative profitability”, and specifically use the term “success” to show how they turned things around; sounds like a positive assessment of FFXIV’s re-release to me, so why have you interpreted my statements negatively?

    The answer is that you can’t validly address the obvious point of the paragraph which is “At what point can anyone logically ascribe the game’s new relative profitability (at least as reported by SE) being primarily due to a sub model” and instead seek to conjure an untenable contention so you can find something to argue against.

    So let’s just stop your ill-conceived attempt at re-directing the conversation right here and restate that I believe the re-release of FFXIV received “favorable reception”, has achieved a “new relative profitability”, and turned its past failure into “success”.

    I understand that you don’t like to be shown to be patently incorrect, but avoiding the actual argument by providing a counterpoint to an issue that wasn’t even suggested, or worse, actually diametrically opposed to what was stated, only highlights your inability to articulately provide a valid counterpoint (and hence your dependence upon emotional ad hominem attacks as oppose to cool headed reasoning).

    Since the release of WoW we have seen a steady stream of MMORPG’s that likely fit into most people’s definitions of “failures”, and the majority of them have been sub models.

    I speculate that the rise of the F2P model may actually be in reaction to the failure of so many previous sub modelled MMORPG’s, whether they were designed as such at release or in an attempt to salvage a failed sub release, but that is open to debate (please without the ad hominem verbiage or irrelevant additiona of haha’s).

    So in the end the F2P model has turned MMORPG’s that were at risk of going offline into profitable ventures, and has been shown to be a profitable model for MMO’s in general such as LoL (I am hoping you know the difference in terminology between MMORPG and MMO so we can avoid a meaningless semantics based rebuttal).

    It is a logical fallacy to directly attribute the “failure” of F2P releases in general to a F2P model, in the same light as it is illogical to directly attribute the failure of games released as a sub model such as Warhammer Online, Tabula Rasa, Wildstar, or SW:TOR to a sub model.

    …maybe recent MMORPG’s just aren’t well designed to meet the expectations of old school gamers regardless of the model?

  • “so why have you interpreted my statements negatively? ”

    “I don’t see any successful MMORPG’s of recent date”

    “Not only did I not say FFXIV wasn’t a “success””

    Gank clarity everyone! Please, write us a book about how you stating no recent MMO release has been successful wasn’t directed at the recently released and successful FFXIV, can’t wait.

    But lets pretend you didn’t write that no recent MMO’s have been successful while at the same time calling the FFXIV a success, and move on to the strawman that just because the list of successful MMOs is heavily, heavily dominated by sub games, and MMOs that use the F2P model have yet to be anything close to successful on that scale (I’d ask for a link to that ‘turn them profitable’ statement you made, but…), you can’t be sure that those MMOs are successful in part because of their business model? Great, that’s a really solid, well-informed opinion you carry.

    Also basically everyone knows and accepts that LoL is a MOBA. Only you and superdata use the MMO tag to describe it. When only you use a certain term that everyone else understands means something else, you might want to adjust.

  • “…write us a book about how you stating no recent MMO release has been successful wasn’t directed at the recently released and successful FFXIV”

    There is absolutely no reason to believe I was specifically directing my comments at FFXIV, why do you even believe this?

    FFXIV has never been on my radar, so actually I hadn’t even considered it in the discussion, and when you went on to cite it I addressed it as a successful MMORPG, correct?

    I just highlighted the word “FFXIV” in my browser to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you are the one who kept bringing it up, specifically 5 times prior to me even addressing it, and when I finally did, did I disparage it? No, I used the terms “favorable reception”, “new relative profitability”, and specifically use the term “success” to show how they turned things around.

    You are so adamant at trying to combatively “win” an argument that you blind yourself to seeing when someone has acknowledged a point you made (of course admitting that FFXIV can be considered a “success”, is not in any way stating it was a success due to adopting a sub model).

    This horribly ugly attitude of yours really poisons the enjoyment of reading this gaming blog, which is why I have spent so much time pointing it out.

    So please stop trying to be cute, it isn’t very becoming of a person whose main claim to fame is being a blogger; unfortunately I don’t believe you can help yourself so I am forced to try to talk over it all.

    It all gets back to my insistence throughout this thread of you defining what “success” means.

    The games I was comparing recent releases to were WoW and EVE as clearly demonstrated by my comments:

    “Your assumption that the non-emergence of any recent rising stars to challenge WoW or EVE is primarily due to F2P monetization is fallacious”

    “You chose to blame a F2P model as the primary reason no MMORPG’s have been able to challenge WoW or EVE in profitability, while ignoring the multitude of other factors players might have stopped playing”

    Only you have lumped “WoW/EVE/FFXIV” together, but for the sake of avoiding a semantic argument and move the conversation along let’s put FFXIV as being in their earnings league, although I am skeptical given the only references I have been able to find have cited numbers of accounts and not active subscribers.

    In that case feel free to modify my statement to:

    “So while you don’t see any successful F2P MMORPG’s of recent date, I don’t see any successful MMORPG’s of recent date except perhaps FFXIV. See the subtle, but important difference in reasoning?”

    Can you live with this, or would you like to still carry on a semantic argument falsely predicated upon your belief that I attacked a video game you like?

    If so I will again try to focus you onto the topic at hand:

    “…can we ascribe the lack of recent “successful” MMORPG’s as being primarily due to the marketing of F2P monetization models.”

    Again the answer is no.

    Even with the inclusion of FFXIV into the WoW and EVE category, that in no way proves that a sub model had anything to do with it; to illustrate this point they failed upon initial release with a sub model. Although you won’t allow yourself to see it, there is no way to speculate if adoption of a sub model is a primary factor in the success of FFXIX.

    You seem to believe that I am taking up the antithesis of your extreme point, but I am not; my point is far more moderate than yours; I just don’t believe that the failure of recent MMORPG’s can be directly attributed to adoption of F2P models.

    In support of this most major Western MMORPG releases since WoW have “failed” by your standards and most of them have been sub models; before you try to twist this statement, no that doesn’t mean I believe that sub models were the primary reason the failed, as I don’t see things as black and white as you do.

    Additionally we have all witnessed the conversion of sub based MMORPG’s on the verge of going offline into long-term sustainable games.

    What you don’t allow yourself to see about your own character is where you stubbornly refuse to accept how endeavors you don’t like that manage to proceed on for years could possibly be profitable for those who continue to support them.

    As such you don’t believe that games like SW:TOR could finally be turning a monthly net profit even in the face of xpac release, you don’t think that Smedley is likely making a profit for SONY even though they have supported him for the last 13 years as head of SOE, you offhandedly dismiss data reporters that don’t support your preexisting beliefs, and additionally prejudicial believe that an entire segment of computer developers must have the intellectual capacity of “ditch diggers”, because if you didn’t adopt such broad conspiratorial generalizations your emotionally based theories would fall apart like a Glenn Beck segment.

    Here is a link to the sustainability of SW:TOR since adoption of a F2P model, and we all already know that you will unthinkingly discount it as a conspiracy against what you already believe, but just because you want to keep ramming your paranoid belief systems down the throats of people with other opinions doesn’t mean we’ll stop talking about it:

    “A surprise entry in that top five is EA’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, which made $165m worldwide in revenue over 2013. That figure is comprised of subscriptions, expansion packs and microtransactions. Overall, the Star Wars MMO has a 6% market share.”

    http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2014/07/22/star-wars-the-old-republic-makes-more-than/1

    As far as LoL being a MOBA, yes of course it is, do you think you are informing anyone on a gaming blog otherwise? A MOBA is a subcategory of MMO, which is not synonymous with MMORPG, yet another subcategory, but I know you already know this, and it yet again demonstrates how much value you place on combatively arguing as opposed to civilly discussing topics in hope of uncovering information and learning.

    Purposeful semantic arguments not geared to defining terminology only serve to incite pointless dissention.

  • H1Z1 junk: That game Smed had to offer refunds for immediately, and has admitted to at least 40 already (which coming from Smed, is likely closer to 400 if not 4000 based on his track record), or the game Massively recently had a “game is pretty crappy” post about that had, last I looked, 200+ comments more or less confirming so? That game right?

    Not going to go over SW:TOR with you again, but until EA themselves stops trying to distance themselves from it and it stops being a drain on their financial reports, no amount of “worldwide revenue” (of which, remember, a good chunk (30%?) goes to Lucas). reporting is going to change that, sorry. Revenue is near-meaningless when talking about a game with a pre-launch cost of over half a billion, to say nothing about costs going forward.

    “Although you won’t allow yourself to see it, there is no way to speculate if adoption of a sub model is a primary factor in the success of FFXIX.”

    Where did I say the sub model is the PRIMARY factor for success in any MMO? Because unless you find that quote, you wrote a whole lot about a strawman you put up.

    “A MOBA is a subcategory of MMO”

    You aren’t using the term MMO like most people use it, especially on an MMO blog, sorry.

    “FFXIV has never been on my radar, so actually I hadn’t even considered it in the discussion, and when you went on to cite it I addressed it as a successful MMORPG, correct? ”

    Everything else aside, here is the thing that the above statement shows; it’s hard to take someone serious when they make a statement like “there have been no successful MMOs recently” and leave out one of the biggest (2.5m+ subs, Google it a bit more) MMOs out. Especially when the tone of that person is that they have a very solid grasp of the topic.

    Going forward I’ll know you don’t follow the genre all that closely, and that what opinions you do share are coming from that point of view. I just wish you had stated that at the very beginning, would have saved us both a lot of typing.

  • H1Z1, the game that Smedley offered refunds for a weekend as damage control over his lying about selling guns, a game that now is extremely well received post airdrop patch as evidenced by recent STEAM user reviews, that game.

    The one you apparently haven’t played, but feel you are in an authoritative position to counter the overwhelming number of positive post-patch reviews, that game.

    “Where did I say the sub model is the PRIMARY factor for success in any MMO”

    I see how you tried to turn the actual question I asked around to one you feel you can better address, a nasty habit of yours especially for one who would like their writings to be taken seriously. The original question that I have repeatedly re-quoted was actually:

    “…can we ascribe the lack of recent “successful” MMORPG’s as being primarily due to the marketing of F2P monetization models?”

    …which was in turn brought about by your preceding statement:

    “My opinion is that F2P doesn’t work for MMOs (all F2P MMOs are garbage IMO), and to this day we haven’t seen a breakout F2P MMO.”

    Perhaps what you actually meant to say is ‘My opinion is that F2P doesn’t work for MMOs (all F2P MMOs are garbage IMO), and to this day we haven’t seen a breakout F2P MMO, but the F2P model likely isn’t a PRIMARY factor for their failures.’

    Yep, perhaps that.

    As for FFXIV not being on my radar it just means it slipped my mind as I haven’t had any inclination to play it, no purposeful slight intended, and I agree it can be considered a “successful” MMORPG, but nothing else aside, it still in no way supports any contention that FFXIV’s successful re-release was connected to utilizing a sub model.

    Unfortunately if you now claim that you didn’t mean to imply that FFXIV is a direct proof that sub models are a primary factor in the success of MMORPG’s then you might as well replace all of your writing about this game with “I like turtles” as it would have just as much relevance to our discussion of the relative likelihood for success of sub versus F2P monetization models.

    It is here where we see your inability to accurately ascribe causality.

    So while FFXIV is a “successful” subscription based MMORPG in our opinion, and pretty much every other recent MMORPG, whether subscription, F2P, or B2P, has not been “successful” in your opinion (a point I agree with if “successful” is framed against WoW or EVE, or let’s assume even FFXIV profitability), one cannot conclude that a subscription based model was a primary factor responsible for FFXIV’s success, nor can one conclude that any of the financial models were a primary factor responsible for the lack of similar success for other recent MMORPG’s.

    If you agree with the previous paragraph then we are actually in agreement and the answer to my previously repeated question is “no”; in this case I have no idea why you have been so evasive all along repeatedly citing FFXIV’s success for no pertinent reason.

    This in fact is what would have saved us both a great deal of typing. 😉

    If you don’t agree with that paragraph then I suggest you review the term “causality” and rethink why you actually believe that “F2P doesn’t work for MMOs” especially with regards to your subsequent FFXIV examples.

    “You aren’t using the term MMO like most people use it, especially on an MMO blog, sorry.”

    No need to apologize. While I can see where the misunderstanding could in theory occur, I can’t help but believe that you were aware that the terminology wasn’t being misapplied (especially when I contrasted the terms MMORPG and MMO in the same sentence) and you chose to be purposefully argumentative as another form of personal attack intent to discredit my statements (i.e. the definition of ad hominem) .

    As adamant as you can be in your belief that there is only a singular way to look at things, the terms MMO, MMORPG, and MOBA are commonly utilized and each have a unique definition. No one should feel the need to get Syncaine’s permission prior to articulately utilizing them in sentences.

    Regarding your conspiratorial and often highly inflammatory accusations on how masses of people must be in cahoots to deceive you with false data, and are being supported behind the scenes in spite of being obvious financial liabilities, and how developers must be misrepresenting profitability of ongoing F2P models, and that entire sectors of computer programmers aren’t as intelligent as you, I suggest keeping that as an inner voice thing lest your blog end up sounding like a certain superhero’s private journal.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARDhJ2dpuYU

  • “didn’t mean to imply that FFXIV is a direct proof that sub models are a primary factor in the success of MMORPG’s”

    Ah, so you can’t provide a quote showing anything close to me stating the sub model is the primary factor I take it, since now you are using the word ‘implied’?

    “Perhaps what you actually meant to say is ‘My opinion is that F2P doesn’t work for MMOs (all F2P MMOs are garbage IMO), and to this day we haven’t seen a breakout F2P MMO, but the F2P model likely isn’t a PRIMARY factor for their failures.’

    Yep, perhaps that.”

    No, not that at all, but at least I know why you aren’t following along, and hopefully can clear this up for you.

    A sub model doesn’t make an MMO successful by default (it isn’t the PRIMARY reason, to use someones words), but it’s a key part of success. See WoW, EVE, FFXIV, and if we go back a bit further, UO/EQ1/AC/DAoC.

    The F2P model hasn’t allowed an MMO to be successful compared to successful sub MMOs, if at all (again, perhaps in the future someone will figure it out, but it wasn’t yesterday, wasn’t today, and isn’t looking good for tomorrow). See AA as the absolute best recent example (solid design dragged down by the mistake of using the F2P model), among dozens if not at this point hundreds of others. A question you still haven’t answered; what F2P MMO wouldn’t trade to be FFXIV in the last few years, or EVE over the last decade? Can you name one straight-to-F2P MMO that you would defend as a standout success even close to successful sub MMOs?

    Now do you understand those two statements, and how they differ? Do you see how what you wrote in the quote above is so horrible off?

    TL:DR version:

    Sub MMO = chance for great success
    F2P MMO = limited to mediocrity at best

  • First of all, thank you for the civil response; I’ll reciprocate in a similar manner.

    Assigning causality can difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t designed experiments or at least evaluated data for a living; that isn’t a slight, but a realization of the importance of training within such fields.

    In science one attempts to analyze differences between states through testing the null hypothesis, i.e. that no difference is assumed to exist between states until statistically proven otherwise within an accepted low margin of error; another way to phrase it is that the proposed phenomenon is assumed not to exist until statistical proven otherwise.

    To be able to determine if differences haven’t occurred due to chance alone one needs to analyze a significant number of cases, or “n” numbers.

    In our example FFXIV has been put forward as the single recent example of a “successful” MMORPG; in order to assess the impact of different monetization models on the “successful” release of an MMORPG I believe it is important to focus on recent releases as a variety of potentially important different factors have changed in the last 10 years (to name only 2, player demographics and the utilization of different monetization models).

    From a statistical point of view we have an “n” of 1 representing a “successful” MMORPG.

    In the population of “unsuccessful” MMORPG’s we have a mixture of F2P, B2P/hybrids, and subscription based games.

    Within each game there are numerous variables that may contribute to “success” or “failure” of a game (note that in an actual experiment we would have to explicitly define what a “success” represents, but let’s just work on your proposition that FFXIV is the only successful MMORPG of recent history), and no realistic method to control for them given that our study is a retrospective one.

    In short, there is absolutely no statistically valid way to differentiate whether the success of recent MMORPG’s is dependent upon a particular monetization model on the basis of a single successful game (e.g. FFXIV).

    Moreover, matters are further complicated if one includes the original release of FFXIV into the data set as an example of a failed subscription based game.

    As I alluded to previously, the switching of states from “failure” to “success” of FFXIV is theoretically an excellent way to compare the effects of variables as it acts as its own internal comparison in a repeated measures design.

    Unfortunately we still have an “n” problem; specifically we would need a fair number of MMORPG’s to initially “fail” and then undergo alteration of variables to “succeed” within a timeframe defined as “recent” to reach a high level statistical significance in this repeated measures design, which isn’t going to happen.

    Of course unfortunately for our specific conversation, the variable in question, i.e. monetization method, remained constant, and although it might have played a positive, neutral, or negative influence overall, it cannot be separated out as a factor responsible for the switch to a “success” state of FFXIV.

    So please don’t take any of this as patronizing or purposefully confounding, but conversely a realistic (read as: based upon statistical significance) assessment of whether one can in general determine if a monetization method predicts success, or specifically if a subscription model was a significant positive factor in FFXIV’s “success”.

    Everything else is just wild ass guessing, which is why I will not commit to either F2P, B2P/hybrid, or subscription based arguments, perhaps outside of overtly punitive ones of which Allods might arguably exhibit.

    Welcome to a typical lab meeting for myself. 😉

  • …I mean the original release of Allods; I have no idea what monetization methods they utilize these days.

  • Typing this on my phone so it will be short.

    Id argue N is all successful MMOs, which also happen to all be sub MMOs in the west.

    But more importantly, there doesn’t exist a single example of a successful MMO that was built around F2P.

    Is that enough to 100% confirm my point? No. But gun to your head, if you had to make a successful MMO for release tomorrow, which business model would you pick?

    Also the only example of F2P to sub that I’m aware of is Allods, and I believe the sub servers are wildly popular. If more MMOs went from sucking to being worthwhile, we would likely have more examples, but such is the state of the genre. Thanks Smed!

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