A Glorious Future of Flexibility

I personally have no interest in APB, despite several of my friends raving about it, but I am pretty enthused about their interesting pricing model.  It’s basically a pay-as-you-play subscription (or you could go for a $10 traditional unlimited sub), which isn’t new at all, but it’s something we haven’t seen here in the west since the golden days of Compuserve.  To me, this model takes a lot of the pressure of having to play just that title to get your “money’s worth” for the month — instead, hey, you don’t waste anything.  You play as short or long as you like, and you don’t have to feel guilty about juggling MMOs.

I’m really loving how companies are experimenting with these payment options, because we as the consumers are going to benefit the most from it.  More!  More!

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7 thoughts on “A Glorious Future of Flexibility

  1. We Fly Spitfires April 30, 2010 / 1:52 pm

    Definitely sounds like a step forward. Going to be exciting days to come if we can have more flexibility with our pricing models. I’d love to be able to dip in and out of any MMO I choose.

  2. Dblade April 30, 2010 / 3:22 pm

    Don’t see the point. Its a difference of US $3 per month for a lot of hours: even if you decide to play 40 hours a month, the limited model screws you over.

    Plus you are paying $50 for a box, which would defeat the purpose. If I think I’m only going to play a MMO a couple weekends a month, I could just go grab a F2P one and save myself $50.

    I don’t really see the market that benefits from it. Box+hours is more expensive than something like Wolf Team by Aeria games, but the hours are too low for moderate casual play. That;s kind of betting a lot of people aren’t going to care about the “action” part of the game, will want to try it out, and will stick in the social aspect except for when they get randomly bored.

    I think a real innovation would be triple AAA MMOs imitating the F2P portals, which have multiple games under one “currency.” SOE does that with stations, but I could see bundle deals: I mean I’d even be tempted to pay 20 bucks a month to play Fallen Earth and Darkfall unlimited together, even if I don’t play either hardcore.

  3. canazza April 30, 2010 / 4:29 pm

    I’m currently playing the Closed Beta. Shhhh!
    But what I will say is that the payment plan really does fit in with the gameplay. It’s like a brain worm, you get a fix, then you’re itching for more, but it’s something you don’t have to be playing constantly (like say WoW or DDO).
    Another good thing is that you can go on a holiday and not worry about your sub running idle.

    It shows that the local Uni does two things well. Business and Computer Science 😀

  4. PeterD April 30, 2010 / 6:22 pm

    Dblade, it’s beneficial to casual players. You’re not looking at it from the point of view of someone playing a game occasionally. It’s $6.99 for 20 hours of play, period. That’s not $6.99 a month, it’s just $6.99. If you play 2 hours a month for 10 months you’ve still only spent a total of $6.99. In that same period if you were on a sub you’d have spent $100.

    The idea is to appeal to people who simply don’t play regularly, and there are a LOT of people who play that way — the very casual gamer. You can come and go as you please until you’ve used up all your hours. The 50 hours that come in the box will get your average casual player much more than a month’s worth of play, so they could easily play for quite a few months with a very minimal cost.

    You can’t really compare it to the subscription cost because they’re simply not comparable objectively. For you, the sub is clearly more cost effective. For many others, it won’t be.

    Would it make more sense for them to follow a DDO style hybrid business model? Probably, but it is still an interesting option.

  5. Dblade April 30, 2010 / 9:14 pm

    I don’t think there are a lot of people that play that way. Tbh I think this price point is chasing a mirage, as is the EQ offer too, and the majority of people interested in a game are not going to meter their gaming per hour. If you do, it’s usually a sign that the game sucks for you in terms of an MMO.

    You’d have to convince me that these mythical casuals are not casual enough to choose WoW or Call of Duty over this for it to work.

  6. royale May 1, 2010 / 1:08 am

    Man, what happens if your MT runs out of hours half way through a boss encounter?

    I know, I know… not that kind of game but wouldn’t that be funny? “Make this fast guys, my game card expires in 24 minutes.”

    “Alright, let’s do this, go go go!!!”

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