Thursday, August 13, 2009

Microtransactions vs. Subscription

"I would never pay a subscription fee for a computer game."

This is a statement that a friend of mine recently made. In my little bubble it seems like he is living in the stone age, but this is an attitude that definitely still exists. It is strange to think about, but for most gamers, even in the era of WoW, paying a subscription fee is still a foreign and strange idea.

A recent Massively Speaking podcast (I'm sorry, I can't find the exact show) reminded me that every gamer at some point has made a statement like my friend recently did. I know about 10 years ago I probably thought the same thing as my friend.

Now business models are changing again and people in the MMO community are saying stuff like, "I would never pay $10 for a horse."

Five years ago, I might have said the same thing.

Never-the-less, even though RoM is free to download, free to play, and even purchasing a permanent mount is far from a necessity (you can rent mounts that last an entire play session for an extremely small amount of in-game gold) some people are going to resist the business model. This is a hurdle developers will have get over. I feel that F2P games have an advantage over subscription games in this area because they generally allow the play to play for free for as long as they want. Players can try the game, see if they like it, and slowly ease into spending money if they decide they want to invest in this game.

Most subscription games offer a 10 to 14 day free trial, but getting that player to actually commit to a subscription after two weeks is much harder that getting a player of a F2P game to say, "You know, I've been playing for a couple of weeks, and I'm going to be around for a would be nice to have that really cool mount."

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