Posts Tagged ‘finance’

Free to Pay to Play

Or: “Microtransacting your World of Warcraft”

Tobold made mention of this little gem, and since he called it to my attention, I’ve seen it in other places. I’ve always loathed the subscription model. I offer no pretense on that subject. To me, a casual player, it just doesn’t offer a good enough value for the cost. Other players (who usually have more time than money) love the sub model. So… what is Blizzard thinking? Is this potentially the best of both worlds, and if so… is it so for the player or the company?

***warning, this is a fairly long one*** (more…)

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Paying Attention?

We interrupt the regularly scheduled blathering with breaking news:

The international banking establishment is built on lies and confidence schemes. Somebody pointed out the Emperor’s lack of attire, and we are now in the middle of a run on the banks, worldwide. Hope you have your food storage! Bread and circuses for everyone!

We now return you to your scheduled blathering.

…which may be delayed due to technical difficulties…

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In MMO parlance, we gained a level!  Yay, USA!

National debt exceeds 10 trillion

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I happened upon this little gem today:

WoW can haz free?

They link to an article that suggests that Blizzard has spent $200 million to date (five years so far) on keeping WoW up and running. That seems like a lot (and it is), but compared to the revenue they are likely bringing in with over ten million subscribers at around $15/month ($9 billion over five years, or $1.8 billion per year), that’s a surprisingly small amount. Now, non-Americans don’t pay as much as we do for a few reasons, and they haven’t had that many subscribers for the whole five years, so that total is probably closer to, say, $2-3 billion or so, but still… yikes.

I’m not sure I can take those assertions at face value, (more…)

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I posted over here and over here about the subscription model of monetizing MMOs.  I have a long-standing antipathy for the model, but then, I’m the sort that thinks gym memberships are idiotic, too.  There’s this odd mindset that some people have that paying a subscription (sign up and forget about it) is the best way to pay for something you want.  Whether it’s a service (cable TV, MMOs, whatever) or a product (cars, consumer electronics, houses), the trouble is the same; a focus on the here and now masks the long-term cost.  Ignoring the long term is dangerous and costly. (more…)

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WoW offline

I’ve said it before in various ways, and I’ll probably say it again, but I wanted to get it down here, for future reference.  I would pay fair money for a single player, offline version of World of Warcraft.


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The Old World of Warcraft

The “world” of the World of Warcraft keeps getting bigger… but at the same time, it keeps feeling smaller. The impending expansion opens a new continent to exploration, and introduces a new character class. Talent trees are being rejiggered, as new talents are added for those next ten levels, and old talents are changed, sometimes radically. Class balance is shifting again, and there will be much fuss made of the relearning process, good for some, bad for others. There will be new baddies, and new dungeons to crawl. There’s more snow.

All in all, The Wrath of the Lich King will bring some pretty cool stuff to the game, including one of the most prominent figures in the Warcraft storyline. (Is Arthas reeeeeeeally evil, or just misunderstood? Is he even still in there, fighting the good fight against the superior mind of that demon ghost thing, or is he completely lost to the dark side? Will his son redeem him in the end? Will Jaina retire from public service and start wearing lame outfits, pining for her lost love? …pardon the mixed storylines and lore goobishness…)

And yet… (more…)

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To continue the discussion of monetizing MMOs, I want to take a quick look at the potential of the genre. Quoting myself, from last time:

* MMOs have great potential, though it’s barely realized with current games. (Potential as an art form, and as a revenue stream.)

* Current business models in the MMO genre are a limitation on design, especially the predominant subscription model.

Potential is a tricky thing to define. By its nature, it’s amorphous. Still, we can look at what is currently offered in the MMO genre and extrapolate a bit, and we can definitely find areas where more can be done.

In general, the current “mainstream” of MMOs is found in the World of Warcraft, EverQuest 2, and EVE Online. Age of Conan made a bit of a splash, and Warhammer Online is poised to be another big voice in the market. (more…)

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Monetizing MMOs #1: Overview

This one could get big, and I’ve got a lot of sources to quote, so I’ll break it up into pieces.  The series will be concerned with the way that business and design intersect when it comes to MMO games.  I hope to make my case that:

*  MMOs have great potential, though it’s barely realized with current games.  (Potential as an art form, and as a revenue stream.)

*  Current business models in the MMO genre are a limitation on design, especially the predominant subscription model.

*  Giving power to the players is a good thing, though it may be scary, and certainly needs to be carefully considered and controlled.  (And censored… which isn’t a bad thing.)

*  Tradition is a powerful thing, as is inertia.  Both must be harnessed properly, or they can easily be detrimental.

Some of these are very generic concerns that spread to game design as a whole, or even to life, but what better way to look at the vaunted “virtual worlds” of MMOs than through the lens of real life?  Sometimes the best way to understand real life is to look it in the abstract, and sometimes the best way to look at the abstract is to find the concrete within it.


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Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”, Act 1 scene 3

“…the borrower is a slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7)

“Then since, as he says, the borrower is a slave to the lender, and the debtor to the creditor, disdain the chain, preserve your freedom; and maintain your independency: be industrious and free; be frugal and free. At present, perhaps, you may think yourself in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little extravagance without injury; but, For age and want, save while you may; No morning sun lasts a whole day…”
Benjamin Franklin

Interest is usury. It is a tax on production, given to those who were either wealthy or lucky enough to have the money to loan in the first place. It is inherently either inflationary (as the people in charge of the money supply try to stay ahead of it by printing money) or a redistribution of wealth from the debtor to the creditor (if the economy is zero-sum). It is a form of “passive income”, a concept squarely opposed to the time-honored concept of “an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay”. (more…)

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