July 20, 2010

What is Wrong With $14.95?


For years I have played var­i­ous games — every­thing from sim­ple addic­tive “Pop­cap Games” to stan­dard MMO fare. Before try­ing MMOs, I had always dis­missed them as a waste of mon­ey, pro­claim­ing that “I shall nev­er play a game requir­ing a pay­ment sub­scrip­tion.” Fast­for­ward sev­en years into the future and I own 3 dif­fer­ent accounts among two dif­fer­ent games. What changed my mind about MMOs and the pay to play busi­ness mod­el? Why would I spend most of my free time play­ing MMOs instead of oth­er games? Let’s start off by ask­ing is $14.95 a lot of mon­ey to play a game?  When I got to think­ing about it more most peo­ple spend $50 or more on just their cof­fee at Star­bucks let alone oth­er things they throw their mon­ey at.  In all real­i­ty $14.95 is not that much mon­ey and if your bank is get­ting bro­ken by $14.95 a month then you prob­a­bly should­n’t be play­ing an MMO let alone pur­chas­ing any oth­er game for that mat­ter.  The total cost per year on your aver­age MMO 14.95 x 12 = $179.40  and most games give you dis­counts if you pur­chase bulk amounts of time. 
What do you get for your $14.95?  While not all MMO offer the same fea­tures you gen­er­al­ly get free updates for the game that address bugs and oth­er issues and in some cas­es add new con­tent, more mature and ded­i­cat­ed com­mu­ni­ty and a far more immer­sive game. 
Most games will pro­vide you with a cou­ple of patch­es after release but after that most sup­port ends for the game.  With MMO’s you tend to get a con­stant stream of patch­es that address every­thing – game­play bal­anc­ing, fea­tures, bugs, user con­tent, etc.  In addi­tion to patch­es some MMO even pro­vide you with expan­sions, while they are not always free, they do add more depth to the game and enhance the user expe­ri­ence.  EVE online pro­vides its mem­bers up to two expan­sions a year that dra­mat­i­cal­ly increase the user expe­ri­ence by adding, new ships, star sys­tems, items and skills. WOW on the oth­er hand pro­vides free updates to its mem­bers but it does not pro­vide free expan­sions, while it does pro­vide its mem­bers with expan­sions it does require them to buy them at about $30.00 a pop. 
The com­mu­ni­ties with­in MMO are prob­a­bly the great­est offer­ing that MMO’s have.  Not only are the com­mu­ni­ties large and full of ded­i­cat­ed play­ers that are there to help you with almost any ques­tions you might have but the mem­bers of which tend to be far more mature than your aver­age gamer that would find say on Xbox Live.  While it is pos­si­ble to run into a younger and imma­ture play­er whose life goal is to make your life mis­er­able by yelling pro­fan­i­ties in a high pitched voice the peo­ple you tend to find in “pay to play” games are old­er more mature play­ers who actu­al­ly want to play with oth­er like mind­ed play­ers. 
MMO’s take immer­sion to an entire­ly new lev­el by com­bin­ing the need to have cohe­sive team work with an more mature com­mu­ni­ty the game actu­al­ly feels like a real world.  Games such as eve actu­al­ly have played based economies, cor­po­ra­tions and alliances so when some­thing hap­pens in the game world it actu­al­ly feels like it affects you and the uni­verse that you are play­ing in.   
I asked myself the ques­tion why is every­one afraid to “Pay to Play”?  Let’s start by say­ing “Pay to Play” is a decep­tive term the way most peo­ple use it.  You “Pay to Play” almost any game out there.  Your aver­age main­stream X360, PS3, WII or PC game will cost you on aver­age a $50 — $60 admis­sion tick­et   It’s most like­ly not the fact that you have to pay $14.95 per month that scares peo­ple more so then the fact that they can’t play the game if they aren’t pay­ing and the fact that they don’t own the game out­right.  If you aren’t pay­ing you can’t play it.  Peo­ple don’t like pay­ing for some­thing that they can’t call theirs.  How­ev­er it should be not­ed that now days, unless the game gets shut down, most com­pa­nies keep your saved data and infor­ma­tion even if you are not pay­ing to play the game so that way if you want to come back and play you can pick back up where you start­ed.   Many MMO’s now state that you down own the account and all of its con­tents.   
Hav­ing said all this why did I change my mind­set of “Pay­ing to Play”?  There are sev­er­al rea­sons why I changed most of my gam­ing to MMO’s *EVE Online and Bat­tle­ground Europe specif­i­cal­ly*.  The first and fore­most rea­son for me was that I bought at least two titles a month and these were new titles and I would play and beat them nev­er touch them again.  The aver­age game now days is less then 10 hours sin­gle play­er.  If you take $60 / 10 hours you get $6 per hour of play­ing time.  I might play through the game a sec­ond time so it would be $3 per hour of play­ing time to play through the game.  Where­as with eve I spend an aver­age of 4 hours a night at $14.95 a month which is $14.95 / (4 hours a night  x 30 days a month) = .12 or 12 cents an hour of enter­tain­ment.  You can see that in my case the cost per hour of enter­tain­ment is far less.  The oth­er rea­son I’ve switched the way I play games is the com­mu­ni­ty that comes with MMO genre is near impos­si­ble to beat.   I still talk to the guys that I played with even after I quit the games years after the fact.   Why?  Because I actu­al­ly got to know the guys and some gals that I played with.
Are MMO for every­one?  No.  Are MMO the way games should go?  Absolute­ly not.  But we don’t think peo­ple should dis­miss a game just because of the month­ly price tag as most peo­ple pay this and more with XBL fee’s and DLC alone per month.

Have your say

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Archives - Powered by WordPress - A theme by cssigniter.com