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PA comic: Wednesday December 21, 2011 - Inevitability

2

Posts

  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    The three weekend beta tests I did of The Old Republic converted me into a fanboy as thoroughly as you can imagine. But seriously, I've heard it's one of the most expensive games ever developed, and I don't doubt it for a second. And it is not going to get less expensive for them soon. A new quest in WoW can be as simple as whipping up some quest dialogue and figuring out how much gold/xp ten space pigs are worth. A quest in TOR is a mini cutscene, animators and voice actors and all that.

    I plan to play the game with my brother during his leave in February, but I'm really concerned it's not going to last that long.

  • BassguyBassguy Ghost Ride the Dragon Registered User regular
    Great birfday comic. I approve.

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    sometimes i will be in a family restaurant or a grocery store and i will hear hollaback girl playing

    i am always mystified by that

  • SyphyreSyphyre A Dangerous Pastime Registered User regular
    So whatever happened to Gwen Stefani after she left No Doubt? I haven't heard a peep out of her since.

    Steam ID - Syphyreal --- 3DS Friend Code: 2723-9387-1002
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Syphyre wrote:
    So whatever happened to Gwen Stefani after she left No Doubt? I haven't heard a peep out of her since.

    she went kind of nuts and hired four japanese girls to follow her around and act like they didn't really exist

    they were forbidden from speaking to other people and shit

    she's sort of a loon

  • NorthNorth Registered User regular
    When a subscription only games user base has dwindled to the point where staying on the subscription model is no longer profitable in and of itself but simply self sustaining it has failed. Switching over to free to play to revive your game from life support is a great business decision but that has no bearing on the games failure to maintain a viable audience without going free.

  • SyphyreSyphyre A Dangerous Pastime Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    North wrote:
    ...is a great business decision...

    Games are businesses.

    Syphyre on
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  • NorthNorth Registered User regular
    A game is a product of a business. A product failing and the business reacting to that to keep making money is still a product failing.

  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    yeah uh, North

    I don't get where you're coming from here

    "Clearly when a company is making money but realizes they could be making more money, and they choose to make a move that is a great business decision to make more money, they've failed"

    like what do you think is going on at companies like Cryptic or Paragon Studios?

    some dudes sitting at a board meeting worriedly looking at graphs with a bunch of angry red lines and worrying if they're gonna break even on their electrical bills?

    when a MMO is openly not profitable, meaning its running the studio into the red and they are barely breaking even if that, it doesn't just go F2P as some last ditch move to save the company from bankruptcy

    the game and the company implode. See APB for an example. It only went F2P after the studio that originally made it imploded and another company bought the whole game.

    with companies like Turbine, Cryptic, or Paragon Studios they made the decision to go F2P when their games were still profitable

    Profitable means "It's making more money than it is costing"

    that's what making a profit is. When a company is making money on a game more than it is costing to run and maintain that game, it's a profit. It might not be much profit, and it might not be the profit they want or expect to be making, and that's where the move to F2P (which is a way more profitable model all around) comes in

  • vsovevsove ....also yes. Registered User regular
    I got a free Collector's Edition of ToR (technically the 'Studio Edition', though I think that's only because of a special plastic sleeve attached) and my god is it big. I walk to/from work, and carrying it home was a lot more awkward than it had any right to be.

    Anyways. ToR. Right. I'm looking forward to playing it - the last time I had anything to do with it the majority of the game was still not built, so I've been exposed to very little of the game proper. I've been burnt out on MMOs since WoW, but I think I might actually play this one! And not only because I worked on it.

    WATCH THIS SPACE.
  • SyphyreSyphyre A Dangerous Pastime Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    North wrote:
    A game is a product of a business. A product failing and the business reacting to that to keep making money is still a product failing.

    By that definition, there are no successes in the world.

    I'm trying to sell this game I just made. Only $500 a pop! What, no one's buying it? Dammit this piece of crap is a failure.

    I'm selling this game like hotcakes, $30 a sale! What, I could have made $31? Dammit I failed at selling games because I'm now going to adjust to price to make more money.

    Syphyre on
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  • vsovevsove ....also yes. Registered User regular
    And the big difference between subscriptions and F2P is, as far as I know (and it's been a loooong time since I read anything about it, so don't quote me) is that subscriptions are a more consistent source of income. Not necessarily more income, but you have a pretty good idea month-to-month what you're going to be making. F2P can offer a larger amount of income, but it's not consistent and it's not predictable, and predictability is a pretty damned important thing in any business venture.

    WATCH THIS SPACE.
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    vsove wrote:
    And the big difference between subscriptions and F2P is, as far as I know (and it's been a loooong time since I read anything about it, so don't quote me) is that subscriptions are a more consistent source of income. Not necessarily more income, but you have a pretty good idea month-to-month what you're going to be making. F2P can offer a larger amount of income, but it's not consistent and it's not predictable, and predictability is a pretty damned important thing in any business venture.

    It's why many companies adopt a mixed or "freemium" model where you can subscribe and get nearly everything as part of your subscription, or you can be a "free" player and buy bits and pieces a la carte to suit your needs

    Champions Online and City of Heroes are both using this model and it's working great for them.

    Quite frankly I think the normal subscription-only model is antiquated and not a good way to maximize profit.

  • SyphyreSyphyre A Dangerous Pastime Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    For the most part, it's been pretty well shown (due to successes in the model) that F2P games make money. Very few games have the subscriber base or other intangibles to keep the subscription format going as things stand.

    To switch tracks, lets look at an interesting case: Guild Wars. Buy once, no subscription fee. They were doing fine for years. Then they started adding costumes to the store, why? More money! That's not a failure, that's a success on a success.

    Edit: To add to Pony's comments, DDO caught my interest and LOTRO regained my interest once they went F2P. That's a nice big success because they got money out of me whereas they didn't before. They both work on the freemium model which works really well from what I can tell.

    Syphyre on
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  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    A lot do. DDO still has a subscription option.

    On the note of FTP, I have paid much more than I am willing to admit on stupid internet tanks.

    Der Waffle Mous on
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  • vsovevsove ....also yes. Registered User regular
    Syphyre wrote:
    For the most part, it's been pretty well shown (due to successes in the model) that F2P games make money. Very few games have the subscriber base or other intangibles to keep the subscription format going as things stand.

    To switch tracks, lets look at an interesting case: Guild Wars. Buy once, no subscription fee. They were doing fine for years. Then they started adding costumes to the store, why? More money! That's not a failure, that's a success on a success.

    Edit: To add to Pony's comments, DDO caught my interest and LOTRO regained my interest once they went F2P. That's a nice big success because they got money out of me whereas they didn't before. They both work on the freemium model which works really well from what I can tell.

    Yeah, DDO was something I always found moderately interesting, but was never really up for playing until it went F2P. I didn't spend a ton of money on it, but the money I spent was more than they would've gotten from me otherwise.

    WATCH THIS SPACE.
  • Warlock82Warlock82 Never pet a burning dog Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Radius wrote:
    Oh see, here's the problem, I love No Doubt, but hate Gwen Stefani.

    This so much. I hate all of her solo stuff.

    Also, good comic. I don't think it's so much a moratorium on TOR as it is the fact pretty much every single MMO "WoW-killer" that comes out goes F2P a few months down the road. So it's just sort of expected at this point :P

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  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    Warlock82 wrote:
    Also, good comic. I don't think it's so much a moratorium on TOR as it is the fact pretty much every single MMO "WoW-killer" that comes out goes F2P a few months down the road. So it's just sort of expected at this point :P

    Bioware is the first company in Blizzard's weight class (in terms of trust capital) to take a swing at WoW. Like WoW, they're going for the "Subscription AND Micropayments." They're just going to have to rack up so many loyal subscribers here at the start. I'm not sure falling back on F2P is even viable for TOR.

  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    Radius wrote:
    Oh see, here's the problem, I love No Doubt, but hate Gwen Stefani.
    "To this day I have no idea what that woman was singing about, like literally no idea. I don't know what a hollaback girl is, but I have to imagine it's a foul, disease-ridden thing that wears too much makeup to cover up the fact that it's a forty-seven-year-old fish dog." -Cleveland Brown

    The best card in Hearthstone is your credit card.
  • PMAversPMAvers Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    I’d be very surprised if he had any idea what sort of “person” his Troll Shaman was in WOW.

    I know what kind of person Skull was.

    A dead guy. :D

    So dead that he eventually embraced his dead-guy-ness and re-rolled as a DK.

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  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    So the question is: if F2P/freemium/whatever is the better model for so many of these games, why did most of these recent MMOs release as a normal subscription model and then only later go F2P?

    The best card in Hearthstone is your credit card.
  • vsovevsove ....also yes. Registered User regular
    forty wrote:
    So the question is: if F2P/freemium/whatever is the better model for so many of these games, why did most of these recent MMOs release as a normal subscription model and then only later go F2P?

    Consistency and predictability of revenue. F2P offers the opportunity to make more money, but it's not a definite. Whereas if you have 1 million subscribers, you know you're getting 15 million dollars per month.

    WATCH THIS SPACE.
  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    In the case of DCUO, I've heard it might've been DC vetoing the original business plan and forcing a subscription model.

    Der Waffle Mous on
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  • NorthNorth Registered User regular
    Pony wrote:
    It might not be much profit, and it might not be the profit they want or expect to be making

    Setting a goal and then not meeting that goal is failing. That is what failing means. That is the definition of failure. How is it difficult to understand that a game can be failing to meet financial goals without necessarily being dead in the water.

    Star Wars The Old Republic is absolutely going to fail to meet the financial goals that were set when it went into production.

    http://www.joystiq.com/2011/12/21/star-wars-the-old-republic-a-big-risk-for-ea-say-analysts-eve/

    Companies do not sink $300 million into something with the goal of breaking even.




  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    They're probably making a profit purely on the initial sales numbers like pretty much every MMO.

    Its a question of what the subscriber stream looks like in 3 or so months and whether that can sustain the game.

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  • lostprophetlostprophet Registered User
    North wrote:
    Pony wrote:
    It might not be much profit, and it might not be the profit they want or expect to be making

    Setting a goal and then not meeting that goal is failing. That is what failing means. That is the definition of failure. How is it difficult to understand that a game can be failing to meet financial goals without necessarily being dead in the water.

    Star Wars The Old Republic is absolutely going to fail to meet the financial goals that were set when it went into production.

    http://www.joystiq.com/2011/12/21/star-wars-the-old-republic-a-big-risk-for-ea-say-analysts-eve/

    Companies do not sink $300 million into something with the goal of breaking even.




    Did you read the article? It's literally saying that some analysts think The Old Republic has already surpassed its goals.

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  • SyphyreSyphyre A Dangerous Pastime Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    North wrote:
    Pony wrote:
    It might not be much profit, and it might not be the profit they want or expect to be making

    Setting a goal and then not meeting that goal is failing. That is what failing means. That is the definition of failure. How is it difficult to understand that a game can be failing to meet financial goals without necessarily being dead in the water.

    I don't think anyone is arguing that there's a failure somewhere in the lack of meeting said goals, whether the failure be due to bad goals, bad pricing, a bad game, or anything else.

    Your original post stated that a switch to f2p is a failure, no matter what. The responses to your post said not necessarily! it just means they found a better way to run their business, and I agree with those responses.

    Syphyre on
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  • BusterKBusterK Negativity is Boring Cynicism is Cowardice Registered User regular
    They're probably making a profit purely on the initial sales numbers like pretty much every MMO.

    Its a question of what the subscriber stream looks like in 3 or so months and whether that can sustain the game.

    I think this is the point Tycho is circling around in his newspost
    That eventually there won't be the same level of new subscribers that seem to be the life blood of a subscription model

    I'm not sure I agree with him that it is inevitable

    I can't say I know much about videogame business
    But I do know Star Wars
    And I know Star Wars is really popular
    And as a property it gains new fans all the time
    Certainly this all applied to the last Star Wars MMO
    But that failed on its own
    Whereas this has its own success and Star Wars

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  • NorthNorth Registered User regular
    Did you read the article? It's literally saying that some analysts think The Old Republic has already surpassed its goals.

    I'm not going to the analyst who doesn't understand the difference between a pre-order player and a subscriber for financial advice. It is impossible for The Old Republic to have reached a subscriber based goal when no one is out of the free month yet... Read the whole article not just the hopeful gem planted at the end.

  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    Where the hell did that goalpost go?

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  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    I knew there was going to be someone taking up that side!

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • The Good Doctor TranThe Good Doctor Tran Registered User regular
    North wrote: »
    Did you read the article? It's literally saying that some analysts think The Old Republic has already surpassed its goals.

    I'm not going to the analyst who doesn't understand the difference between a pre-order player and a subscriber for financial advice. It is impossible for The Old Republic to have reached a subscriber based goal when no one is out of the free month yet... Read the whole article not just the hopeful gem planted at the end.

    That article lists a lot of analyst numbers regarding cost, but doesn't address how much revenue, in real terms, the pre-order customers and initial sales have generated. We also don't have good data on what a month of subscriptions looks like, in terms of hard revenue. As of three hours ago business analysts in this sector were still up in the air regarding the success metrics of this product. Moreover I'm having difficulty sussing out how this relates back to your argument that F2P = failure.

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  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    It's a conservative mindset. MMOs 'til recently were subscription games, and changing to anything must mean something is 'wrong.' But it's just a new legit avenue of revenue. One may as well say a game is a failure because it sells a lot through digital distribution instead of boxed copies (as in, it's a dumb thing to say).

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • Warlock82Warlock82 Never pet a burning dog Registered User regular
    BusterK wrote:
    They're probably making a profit purely on the initial sales numbers like pretty much every MMO.

    Its a question of what the subscriber stream looks like in 3 or so months and whether that can sustain the game.

    I think this is the point Tycho is circling around in his newspost
    That eventually there won't be the same level of new subscribers that seem to be the life blood of a subscription model

    I'm not sure I agree with him that it is inevitable

    I can't say I know much about videogame business
    But I do know Star Wars
    And I know Star Wars is really popular
    And as a property it gains new fans all the time
    Certainly this all applied to the last Star Wars MMO
    But that failed on its own
    Whereas this has its own success and Star Wars

    Star Trek was popular. But ST:O was a mess of a game and that license couldn't save it.

    Obviously SW:TOR isn't even remotely close to the joke that is ST:O but ultimately I'm saying that license doesn't mean everything. License isn't going to sell copies. It will sell *some* copies, but the game also has to be good. Let us not forget there was ALREADY a Star Wars MMO. Is Galaxies even still running?

    Also I don't think the Star Wars license is nearly as potant as it used to be thanks to Lucas kind of whoring it out during the prequels (which a lot of fans didn't like). It's still good, and certainly the Old Republic is a much beloved offshoot of it (at least for those who know about it). But it's not where it was ~10 years ago.

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  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    They shut Galaxies down this past week, actually.

    It's true that license isn't everything. There's been more than one case, even with Star Wars, where people figured, "Shit, slap some Star Wars on it, and this will RULE." And then it's awkward shit. Masters of Teres Kasi, anyone?

    The thing is, any criticisms I've seen of TOR is that it's "exactly like WoW," which is debatable on whether or not it actually is a negative. It might be a positive. It could pull people into playing it, and then the narrative strength could hold them for the long term, or get them to convince other people to play, and replayability, even with the same class, actually becomes a legit thing.

    But this is all speculation, and that's the point of what annoys me about TOR criticism; we have to actually wait and SEE what the fuck happens before saying, "oh teh fayals." :P

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
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  • FandeathisFandeathis Registered User regular
    F2P is for sure the future of PC gaming. I pretty much only play games that are free, and to this day I have never paid a cent to buy an item in any of them. It doesn't bother me that I am getting a "watered down" experience. I'm playing a game for free! Anyone in the Tribes Ascend beta can attest to how incredible F2P games are becoming.

    I happened to beta test TOR, and I already knew by level 10 that I will never play the game until it becomes F2P. It really is just WoW skinned for Star Wars with a better story and voice acting. For some people that is awesome. For me, I wouldn't pay any money for it. The only PC game that I have bought at all recently was Battlefield 3, becasue the game is just that good. But you won't catch me buying any games next year with the exception of Diablo 3. Everything else is going to be F2P for me. I'm especially excited about Mechwarrior and the new MNC. In this economy, who the hell can afford to PC game without F2P? Certainly not my friends and a lot of people I know in the 25-30 age range. Maybe it's just been a trend with us, but we love the hell out of F2P.

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  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    I uh... I can afford it? And I work bottom of the barrel jobs.

    I agree that F2P is the future of the genre, but I don't begrudge WoW or TOR for being on the subscription-only model.

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    I love SWTOR. I've never loved an MMO before, certainly not one you have to pay a monthly fee for... but I love TOR. It's kind of weird.

    And I, too, came up with relatively 'normal' names for my characters. I even rolled more than one character which is practically unheard of for me.

    Also my Commander Shepard Trooper is the best.

  • BusterKBusterK Negativity is Boring Cynicism is Cowardice Registered User regular
    Warlock82 wrote:
    BusterK wrote:
    They're probably making a profit purely on the initial sales numbers like pretty much every MMO.

    Its a question of what the subscriber stream looks like in 3 or so months and whether that can sustain the game.

    I think this is the point Tycho is circling around in his newspost
    That eventually there won't be the same level of new subscribers that seem to be the life blood of a subscription model

    I'm not sure I agree with him that it is inevitable

    I can't say I know much about videogame business
    But I do know Star Wars
    And I know Star Wars is really popular
    And as a property it gains new fans all the time
    Certainly this all applied to the last Star Wars MMO
    But that failed on its own
    Whereas this has its own success and Star Wars

    Star Trek was popular. But ST:O was a mess of a game and that license couldn't save it.

    Obviously SW:TOR isn't even remotely close to the joke that is ST:O but ultimately I'm saying that license doesn't mean everything. License isn't going to sell copies. It will sell *some* copies, but the game also has to be good. Let us not forget there was ALREADY a Star Wars MMO. Is Galaxies even still running?

    Also I don't think the Star Wars license is nearly as potant as it used to be thanks to Lucas kind of whoring it out during the prequels (which a lot of fans didn't like). It's still good, and certainly the Old Republic is a much beloved offshoot of it (at least for those who know about it). But it's not where it was ~10 years ago.

    First, you don't seem to have read my whole post which addressed the issue of the confluence of license and quality needed

    Secondly, as for the prequels
    You have to consider that people for whom the prequels "ruined Star Wars" are actually a subset of a subset of Star Wars fans
    Star Wars is still popular with a much larger base of fans overall
    If the people who hated the prequels were the majority opinion
    The movies themselves wouldn't have been commercial or critical successes
    Sorry, but it's just a straight fact that they were

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  • AurichAurich Registered User regular
    It's a VERY fine distinction, but TOR trades less on the greater Star Wars vibe (movies, EU) than it does on KOTOR specifically. Really, that's the only reason I was interested in the game in the first place; I wanted to go back to that setting that Bioware made with the XBOX games. Again, it's a fine distinction, but I see loads of older fans of the movies saying TOR doesn't look like Star Wars to them. I doubt Bioware would be silly enough to rely on the name to sell copies anyway.

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