Digital Salad: Pay As You Go Subscription MMOs

I need to thank CakeBoxFox, my flatmate and pretty awesome blogger, for this idea before I go claiming all the glory. Go check out her blog if you haven’t already! On with the topic of this post though, Pay As You Go Subscriptions.

free-wow-subscription

Monthly subscriptions are a massive part of the MMO market. You’ve got your WOWs, Diablo IIIs, FF XIVs and the forthcoming Elder Scrolls Online all relying on this model, where you pay a subscription (generally about £15 a month) to play as much or as little as you want for a month, rolling on every month until you stop paying. Its a really strong business model for many MMOs, but it has seen a lot of challengers going Free To Play, relying on in game currency exchanges for real-world money.

Does it always have to be one or the other though?

The main problem with subscription gaming for CakeBoxFox and I is that we both work. I like to call us Time Pressed gamers. We’re fairly casual gamers too, but that’s separate from what I mean. I decided to make a graph in Excel to show it better, a picture is better than a thousand words and all that! Here it is, after much Digital sweat and tears to make work:

Untitled

Basically, so long as Mr Typical Hardcore has a regular discretionary income of at least £15 a month, he can jump right on in with a subscription based MMO, and you see many such players on there – not that that’s a bad thing I hasten to add!

For Fox and I, we can’t justify the expense. If we spent £15 a month each on an MMO subscription we just wouldn’t get the playtime out of it to justify the cost, never the less that it would be £30 a month if we decided to play together as we likely would. Each day of a month costs roughly 50p each, and with work commitments during the week it can be almost 7 days before we sit down and play a video game for even a single hour.

That’s not a story that’s uncommon either, we’re not the only gamers with jobs but who would love to take part in these subscription based MMOs.

This is where the idea of Pay As You Go was born from, our ideal solution to our problem.

'nuff said
’nuff said

Thinking about it, an MMO subscription isn’t unlike a mobile phone contract. So, a Pay As You Go subscription opportunity isn’t all that strange an idea.

Essentially, you could ‘top up’ your account by an amount, corresponding to a charge of say 50p an hour. For some players that might work out cheaper than a £15 a month subscription, but for Mr Typical Hardcore it certainly wouldn’t for the amount of hours put in to the game every month.

Quite a few subscription MMOs have tried to draw in some more players with pre-paid cards, giving you a set number of months in one go. Its just a different way of paying the same subscription though, the Pay As You Go model is the compliment to the subscription, not threatening it but strenghting the games that rely on it.

What do you think of the idea? Would it work for all subscription MMOs or just some?

 

Digital Salad – https://lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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6 thoughts on “Digital Salad: Pay As You Go Subscription MMOs

  1. ipvgaming January 26, 2014 / 3:52 pm

    “For Fox and I, we can’t justify the expense. If we spent £15 a month each on an MMO subscription we just wouldn’t get the playtime out of it to justify the cost, never the less that it would be £30 a month if we decided to play together as we likely would. Each day of a month costs roughly 50p each, and with work commitments during the week it can be almost 7 days before we sit down and play a video game for even a single hour.”

    While I just in general do not have much of a favorable view on subscription based games, this hits on a major point of contention for me. A subscription model is very abusive of those who fall into the same quadrant as you in your graph, along with those that don’t want to dedicate their life to a game so that they don’t feel like they’re pouring their money down the drain if they’re not playing it.

    Pay as you go, seems like a good in between for subscription and straight up f2p, though anyone that implements that would likely have to introduce more microtransactions to make up for any revenue shortfalls (should they come).

  2. C. T. Murphy January 26, 2014 / 5:20 pm

    I wouldn’t mind it in addition to subscriptions, though it would probably need to be pretty expensive per increment of time compared to subscriptions to justify its inclusion.

    • cakeboxfox January 26, 2014 / 7:48 pm

      Yeah, the pricing would have to be very well balanced in order for it to work, but it adds an illusion of choice. It’s almost a micro transaction, and people generally don’t know how much they spend on things like Steam.

      We did discuss it in a bit more detail, with maybe doing bulk-buy of time etc and if it was a dev with previous experience you could take a look at player habits to make it work.

      • C. T. Murphy January 26, 2014 / 7:57 pm

        I’d look into Eastern models if you want to research it further. Several of them use pay per hour models.

        Early on, AOL games used pay for hour services. The original Neverwinter Nights followed that model for example!

    • cakeboxfox January 26, 2014 / 7:50 pm

      Seems that every joint post we do, pugs appear out of nowhere. Yay for Pugs

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