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#1 Mar 04 2010 at 3:04 PM Rating: Good
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I have been playing FFXI on and off for over 5 years now and have really enjoyed the experience. I have played a few other MMO's but none have kept me in the game and wanting to come back like FFXI.
I enjoy the genre and keep up with most of them as they come out. And the Star Trek MMO had something cool that I just hope Square follows a similer suite.
As far as playing goes, there was a monthly fee, and annual fee and a "lifetime membership" fee. They dropped the lifetime one down to $200.00 if you pre-ordered. Lets just say that the montly cost is around what were paying now, that is about 18 months of playtime.
I think that is a pretty good risk for a company, and something that players who plan on staying on a long time will go for. I for one would do it.
Anyone hear of if there will be different tiers of service and/or pricing? What are you thoughts on a 1 time payment for the game?
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#2 Mar 04 2010 at 3:14 PM Rating: Good
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The reason Star Trek did it is because they knew that nobody would be continuing to pay a monthly fee after 18 months of playing anyway (if even that long). They figured they might as well get the most bang for their buck from their subscribers right off the bat, to appease investors.



SE will not have to resort to this and will likely have the same subscription model as XI.

Edited, Mar 4th 2010 1:18pm by Kirbster
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#3 Mar 04 2010 at 3:16 PM Rating: Decent
It would be silly to preorder and pay a lifetime membership. You haven't even played the game, you could hate it and you just wasted $200. It's in the company’s interest to offer this option if they know the game won't have a lasting appeal.

If I actually get into the beta I could actually tell how long the game would last for me and buy the appropriate subscription.

I played around with Aion beta and had a feeling it wasn't that great. I ended up only playing the game for two months. Good thing I only paid on a monthly basis.

Edited, Mar 4th 2010 4:24pm by Pseudopsia
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#4 Mar 04 2010 at 4:09 PM Rating: Decent
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I don't like life time subscriptions. Monthly subscriptions keep the developer on their toes with regard to continually updating and maintaining the game.
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#5 Mar 04 2010 at 4:22 PM Rating: Good
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I would most definitely purchase a lifetime subscription if it were possible but it wouldn't be smart at all from SE perspective. A company would only give you that option if they think their games lifespan will not last that long. SE expects the game to last at least as long as FFXI have, which would be a huge lost of money if they were to ever offer players a lifetime subscription.
#6 Mar 04 2010 at 4:37 PM Rating: Decent
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Something like a lifetime discount with a minimum 4 year commitment would be interesting as a limited time pre-order perk.

For example you would pay half the normal subscription price monthly, for the entire life of the game, but you would be required to stay subscribed for a minimum of 4 years continuous. If you canceled early, you would then have to pay back Square-Enix that other 50% as if you had been paying full price for all the months you played up to that point. Yet if you continued playing beyond 4 years, you would still be getting the discount and could cancel at any time without penalty.

Edited, Mar 4th 2010 2:39pm by Cyberbeing
#7 Mar 04 2010 at 4:55 PM Rating: Good
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Life time subcription usually means that the game doesn't have enough content to hold your attention longer than a few months and the devs know it, which is why they dangle this seemingly fantastic one time offer.

STO was a massive let down for me, from the tiny instanced bubbles to the way they mismanaged their subs and cash-shop. They made it very clear to me they only wanted my money and were willing to give me very little in return.

I pray FFXIV will follow the same subscription meathod as FFXI, the only thing I would have them reconsider is charging extra for additional characters.

Quote:
Something like a lifetime discount with a minimum 4 year commitment would be interesting as a limited time pre-order perk.

For example you would pay half the normal subscription price monthly, for the entire life of the game, but you would be required to stay subscribed for a minimum of 4 years continuous. If you canceled early, you would then have to pay back Square-Enix that other 50% as if you had been paying full price for all the months you played up to that point. Yet if you continued playing beyond 4 years, you would still be getting the discount and could cancel at any time without penalty.


Its...basically a contract? No offence but online games and offers like that really are a bad mix. You essentially become a long term customer and SE would have to spend a vast ammount of money making sure those customers are treated accordingly. Think of the uproar and the demand in money back if the game should become unavailable due to third party attacks? You could argue that the customer is not permitted their money under such circumstances, but niether are they in a similar mobile phone contract, yet still if a lot of customers are unhappy with a service for lack of 'availability' the company quickly becomes notorious for bad service and reputation suffers as a consequence.

In a contract also, you can't just bombard people with small print from a contract they signed, orally or by clicking 'I accept'. Consumer still has rights in the above situation and the company is obligated to settle any disputes like this in any way available to them. Be it free game time or vounchers not nessassarily give them their money back mind you.

Edited, Mar 4th 2010 6:03pm by akelah
#8 Mar 04 2010 at 8:09 PM Rating: Good
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akelah wrote:
Its...basically a contract?

Nothing that you don't already have under a normal subscription.
#9 Mar 04 2010 at 8:16 PM Rating: Good
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I'd like to see a year long option. Maybe at the cost of nine or ten months. This way it's almost like getting 2 or 3 months free if you pay in full up front.

I know that FFXI was $12.95, and I hope that the fee doesn't go up. But it most likely will, which sucks, but I really hope it isn't more than $15. Anything more than that and I have to seriously consider how much I'm willing to spend on something that I can only really devote time to on my weekends.
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#10 Mar 04 2010 at 8:19 PM Rating: Decent
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akelah wrote:
Its...basically a contract? No offence but online games and offers like that really are a bad mix. You essentially become a long term customer and SE would have to spend a vast ammount of money making sure those customers are treated accordingly. Think of the uproar and the demand in money back if the game should become unavailable due to third party attacks? You could argue that the customer is not permitted their money under such circumstances, but niether are they in a similar mobile phone contract, yet still if a lot of customers are unhappy with a service for lack of 'availability' the company quickly becomes notorious for bad service and reputation suffers as a consequence.

In a contract also, you can't just bombard people with small print from a contract they signed, orally or by clicking 'I accept'. Consumer still has rights in the above situation and the company is obligated to settle any disputes like this in any way available to them. Be it free game time or vounchers not nessassarily give them their money back mind you.


Umm, no. You seem to be describing the main concerns about a lifetime membership, which doesn't apply at all to what I was describing.

Cyberbeing wrote:
For example you would pay half the normal subscription price monthly,

If you misunderstood this, I was implying paying by the month with no money paid upfront. So if the subscription cost was normally $10/month, those on this deal would be paying $5/month.

There would be nothing to refund, since you only would be paying for the service you used, and at a great discount. The only penalty for canceling early would be the loss of your discounted rate, for the number of months you payed for so far.

For example, say you went for this half-price discount, and after one year you decide to cancel. Let's for a moment assume a $10/month normal rate and $5/month discount rate. After one year a normal subscriber would have paid out $120, while someone on the discount rate plan would have paid out $60. If the discount rate user canceled early, they would be required to pay out an extra $60 to bring them back to $120 (same price as the normal subscriber) for those 12 months. In other words the discount user neither lost nor gained anything, and have no right to complain.

Assuming you did understand my original post, are you seriously trying to tell me any reasonable person would feel wronged for having to pay the exact same price as the other 99% of the player base if they canceled early? Unreasonable people will cause SE trouble no matter what the subscription model is.

Would you feel better if it was set up that you get a 50% refund/credit at the end of each year on my proposed lifetime discount plan. In other words playing full price like everybody else, with the 50% refund being issued as bonus after 12 months, for the previous 12 months. In that way you could sort-of workaround the issue of people needing to pay additional money to SE if they canceled, but it would be a worse deal for SE since they then wouldn't be able to recover discounts given for previous 12 month periods.

Edited, Mar 4th 2010 6:40pm by Cyberbeing
#11 Mar 04 2010 at 8:56 PM Rating: Good
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I think he understood what you were saying, but anyway that would never work. First of all what happens if your card you used expired and you didn't notice, does that mean you "canceled" and would have to pay SE back the other half just because of a human error and not a real cancellation. Secondly, their would be no way for SE to get their money, people would just cancel the credit cancel and leave, without paying SE the other half back. Their is nothing in place to enforce the contract, and I highly doubt SE will ever sue players just because of something like that. I can think of about five more things that are bad with that kind of contract (to the players and to SE) but I think I stated enough.

I would like a yearly price, (no contract of course) and the regular month by month pricing. Lifetime subscription is not even logical and will not happen for a game of this magnitude.
#12 Mar 05 2010 at 2:13 AM Rating: Good
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I understood what you meant - and yes while we are under a kind of contract when we play usually, its not in the extent Cyberbeing was suggesting. Its the same way Mobile Phone contracts work.

You get a sparkly phone and pay each month for 18 months. If you cancel during that time you have to pay the full term of the contract all in one. The reason this works for Mobile phone companies and wouldn't for SE is exactly the reasons HocusP said and what I was trying to get accross :)

They would need to train a whole heap of customer services in X ammount of languages. You'd have billing, service and support, sales and credit checks and they would need to document a whole heap of personal information to prevent anyone from just cancelling their cards/direct debit and disappearing - and you would need more people to process that information.

But I can't see anything wrong with selling game time in 6 months and over bulk. Usually you get a month free. A 11 for the price of 12 or 6 for the price of 5 yadda yadda. That works, I would like to see that.
#13 Mar 05 2010 at 4:03 AM Rating: Decent
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akelah wrote:
If you cancel during that time you have to pay the full term of the contract all in one. The reason this works for Mobile phone companies and wouldn't for SE is exactly the reasons HocusP said and what I was trying to get accross :)

That really isn't an accurate comparison. Cell phone carriers subsidize your cell phone purchase in return for a 1-2 year contract. Over that 1-2 years the cell phone carrier earns back the subsidies on your cell phone through subscription fees, and even a bit of profit. By canceling early, you are charged a cancellation fee for the future income you were supposed to provide.

In my scenario, by canceling you would only be charged for past income you were supposed to provide, not future. If a person canceled after 6 months, they would only have to pay back full-price for that 6 months, not the entire 4 years. If said person could then go back in time, they would have signed up for the standard rate plan, since for whatever reason they couldn't commit to 4 years.

I do understand what HocusP is saying about the high risk of dishonest people scamming SE though. It's kind of sad really, because having a discounted month to month plan would really benefit us as players who did plan to play a long time.

So I guess the consensus is a discounted plan paid month-to-month (not in advance) would be impossible for SE logistically?

If so, the next best thing would be buying game time "tokens". Each token would be worth the subscription cost of a single month of FFXIV. The more tokens you buy in advance, the larger the discount. Tokens would be permanently attached to your SE account, could be used at any time (buying 12 tokens, using only 6, canceling FFXIV, and using the remaining 6 at a future date would be completely OK), would be non-refundable, but could be exchanged at a reduced rate for credit at the SE store. In this way you would be buying in bulk for a discount (SE gets their money in advance), but you still have the advantage of paying month-to-month in a fashion, without any sort of continuous playtime commitment or contract.

The worst idea would be buying 6 or 12 months in bulk for a discount, where you basically are just paying future months bills in advance. Such a situation isn't player friendly. If you bought 12 months in advance, and for whatever reason an emergency came up and you could only play 2 months, you just wasted an additional 10 months of playtime which you had already paid for.

Edited, Mar 5th 2010 2:18am by Cyberbeing
#14 Mar 05 2010 at 7:17 AM Rating: Good
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Quote:
In my scenario, by canceling you would only be charged for past income you were supposed to provide, not future.


Like the income you were supposed to provide if you actually bought the mobile. I know what you're getting at and the two are more or less the same.

But even if you had completed most of that contract, enough to cover the cost of the phone - some times five times over - and you cancelled you are still required to pay a kind of diconnection fee. Because you signed up to the service for X amount of time, not to the handset itself. Take your idea for example...

You want to cancel? That's fine, just pay us £54 now please, we will deduct that from your card. That's 12 months@£9 minus the £54 you've already paid us. Thank you and goodbye.

That's in a situation where you can no longer play. The other option would be to wait it out for the next year or so and continue paying for the game even though you either can't or won't play for <insert reason here>. To me both situations are pretty bad for someone who can no longer enjoy the game.

Quote:
The worst idea would be buying 6 or 12 months in bulk for a discount, where you basically are just paying future months bills in advance. Such a situation isn't player friendly. If you bought 12 months in advance, and for whatever reason an emergency came up and you could only play 2 months, you just wasted an additional 10 months of playtime which you had already paid for.


See above.

You're ideas aren't bad at all, but they are terribly hard to impliment in a service like online gaming. Especially since SE would make very little profit after they've made the fundemental changes to how its customer services work. And that's assuming the game takes off. Many MMOs have had a great launch and millions log to play for the first month - a few weeks later and...silence.

I like the subscription system and how it is. I personally just pay each month as its not so much of a shell out for maybe a 6 month or 12 month block and like you said, I can cancel at any point to take a break. But even then, if I knew I would be playing out-right non-stop for the whole year, the tiny saving isn't worth it to spend so much in one day.

#15 Mar 05 2010 at 10:25 AM Rating: Good
The lifetime subscription is a gimmick as some have noted designed for investors of a really mediocre game. Having done beta for STO I can say it was the worst NNO I've played in years. My guess is the marketing guys said "Hey the only people who will play this game long term are the Trekkies who have no prior MMO experience -- so let's offer them a lifetime subscription and they will think of it more like a fan club membership and pay..." "BRILLIANT!"

The 3-6 month discount makes a lot of sense to me. The single month fee is also commonplace but I would prefer to pay every three months and save $5.00 or so, that would feel like a perk. I don't begrudge profit making at the expense of the player, but at least make a payment plan that can benefit the player in some way.

However, the fees we are already charged for reactivation are absurd and in my view abusive. "Welcome back to the game here's your complimentary plate of steaming excrement!" Things like that truly baffle me and are also a blatant profit generator with zero benefit to the player. And don't even get me started on 3D secure... /facepalm.
#16 Mar 05 2010 at 12:50 PM Rating: Good
I seem to remember Sony offering 1, 3 and (I think?) 6 month subs. I didn't think it was a horrible idea really, but I always just paid one month at a time.
#17 Mar 05 2010 at 4:37 PM Rating: Good
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To go off of what someone said earlier, I also disliked the additional character policies in FFXI. You had to pay around $1 for an extra character, yet you could not use more than one character on an account at the same time. While I understand why SE charges the monthly subscription for each individual account, I think the rules are simply too strict. Not only do I think additional characters should not cost anything if you can only use one at a time, they should create some sort of package deal, like a "family deal." I know this won't happen, nor does it really affect me, but if one household is paying for multiple subscriptions I'd like to see SE relax their financial hold on the FFXIV characters.

Back when FFXI first came out two of my friends had to share an account even though they had their own characters. Obviously their mom refused to pay $30 for them to both play so they had to take turns on their characters. These were two very competitive brothers, mind you, so I'm sure you can imagine how that turned out.
#18 Mar 05 2010 at 4:45 PM Rating: Decent
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Cyberbeing wrote:
If so, the next best thing would be buying game time "tokens". Each token would be worth the subscription cost of a single month of FFXIV. The more tokens you buy in advance, the larger the discount. Tokens would be permanently attached to your SE account, could be used at any time (buying 12 tokens, using only 6, canceling FFXIV, and using the remaining 6 at a future date would be completely OK), would be non-refundable, but could be exchanged at a reduced rate for credit at the SE store. In this way you would be buying in bulk for a discount (SE gets their money in advance), but you still have the advantage of paying month-to-month in a fashion, without any sort of continuous playtime commitment or contract.


akelah wrote:
You're ideas aren't bad at all, but they are terribly hard to impliment in a service like online gaming. Especially since SE would make very little profit after they've made the fundemental changes to how its customer services work. And that's assuming the game takes off.

Hasn't Square-Enix already implemented the basics of my 'token' idea above when they introduced their Crysta currency? On the most basic level, there is a high chance they are at least going to make paying for your FFXIV sub possible with Crysta, so don't be surprised when that happens.

Such a system where you buy Crysta in bulk for a discount which you could then use to pay the bills on any SE games or merchandise, is just an alternative spin on what I'm suggesting. Free-to-play MMOs make use of such a system quite successfully, with only a small handful of customer service reps. Granted, I am not suggesting FFXIV have micro-payment system. Micro-payments in a pay-to-play MMO has always been an insanely bad idea.

As you've probably noticed, I like the idea of retaining flexibility of paying in a month-to-month fashion, with a discount of some sort for those willing to commit to more than one month. This can be done in numerous different ways, a couple of which I've already touched on. Which is also the reason I hate the idea of a lifetime membership or paying for bills in advance, in a play or lose your money fashion.

Bad comes to worse and they don't implement anything like this, I'll be perfectly happy with your standard month-to-month subscription plans like FFXI. Am I wrong in hoping SE will make billing system improvements for the benefit of us as players?
#19 Mar 05 2010 at 5:09 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Bad comes to worse and they don't implement anything like this, I'll be perfectly happy with your standard month-to-month subscription plans like FFXI. Am I wrong in hoping SE will make billing system improvements for the benefit of us as players?


Not at all, but they're not going to go out of their way to cut your costs at the expense of their own profits either. I'm just being realistic. The token system isn't that bad but its very exploitable. For example, whats to stop someone from - as soon as they've logged out - unsubscribing and re-subbing right before they want to play again?

There are just to many things SE would have to consider before putting something like that in place. And that would cost a LOT of money.

The only thing I can think of that would come close to your idea and that is already in use, is the top-up-gaming cards. They're in circulation in Korea I think, to help combat game-addiction. You pay, literally top up your subscription and as you play, your 'credit' depletes. When you hit zero, its time to top up again. But I'm not sure how much 'value' these things are since they're to try and prevent long-time game play and essentially cut the players time to moderate levels.

This kind of payment system would appeal to those who can only log on a few hours a day at a time and would be a nice option for those casual players and for everyone else? Monthly sub or bulk buys.

As for cash shop bought game time? I dunno - its possible that MMOs will head that way some time in the not to distant future, personally I hope that's all that ends up in the c-store for FFXIV, like I said, not a bad idea if it can be managed well and not exploited causing SE to loose more than they stand to make with any other sub option.
#20 Mar 05 2010 at 5:45 PM Rating: Decent
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akelah wrote:
The token system isn't that bad but its very exploitable. For example, whats to stop someone from - as soon as they've logged out - unsubscribing and re-subbing right before they want to play again?

Please explain how that is an exploit. There would be no benefit (monetary or otherwise) for the player in doing something like that with my 'token' system, so you must be misunderstanding something. This isn't just some limited time promotion for new players, it would be an on-going promotion even for current players whenever they made a new purchase of 'tokens'.

akelah wrote:
There are just to many things SE would have to consider before putting something like that in place. And that would cost a LOT of money.

You keep falling back on the claim that it would cost SE a lot of money to make any changes to their current system, but I just don't see it.

Implementing a change would be a one time cost which could be re-used on future games. Supporting such a system would be only be minimally more expensive than their current system.

Let's say FFXIV sells 100,000 copies on day one for $40 a pop. That right there is $2,000,000 (assuming SE only gets a 50% cut) before anybody has even played 24 hours. After 1 month that number may have grown to 200,000 people and $4,000,000. After the first 12 months of payed subscriptions from those 200,000 people, assuming $10/month, SE just earned an additional $24,000,000 bringing the grand total to an amazing $28,000,000 in the first year. I think you are underestimating how profitable MMOs are. Making changes like I'm suggesting would be chump change for SE the long run.

Edited, Mar 5th 2010 4:21pm by Cyberbeing
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