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Pondering F2P and P2P stuffFollow

#1 Mar 23 2013 at 2:26 PM Rating: Good
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I've been trying to think of a F2P model that I could stomach, and I think I've more or less found one. The Eve online discussion is what prompted this, as well as my own experience with the pioneer virtual worlds of Dreamscape back on Compuserve.

Instead of being based on purchasing items, the "pay" part of the F2P would be an acquisition of extra time.

The problem with F2P models is that they rely on a small number of users ("whales" as they are known to the F2P industry) to support the needs of the larger, non-paying population. Because the game is "free" the non paying populace tends to be large, upwards of 90% of the population, meaning that the 10% of whales has to support the other 90% in terms of revenue. F2P games also tend to have a larger, younger user base than subscription based games.

Back in Dreamscape, when it first came about, we were paying the outrageous blood rate of $2/hour. When EQ came out with its ten dollar a month flat fee, the cash cow of Dreamscape fell apart and they had also offer a monthly flat rate to survive. I paid $20 a month for about a year before I became an Acolyte and got a free account, far better than the $300 I racked up on a credit card as a teenager (which caused me to get into a lot of trouble with my parents. I think they disputed the charges since I wasn't 18 yet.)

What if a F2P model gave free complete game access with time limitations? A free account would get you 10 hours of game play a month. You could pay an extra $1 for two more hours of gameplay, up to a maximum of $15 a month, at which point you reached unlimited access since you'd "met" the monthly fee. These micro transactions could occur in real time or ahead of time.

I think such a system could provide both the benefits of the current F2P and P2P models. The overwhelming majority of players, the freebies, are severely limited in server time, meaning they aren't hogging server resources or generally polluting the community. Casual players who just want to log in and mess around on weekends could choose the amount of time they want to invest. For someone who just logs in on Sunday evenings, the free account plus $5 more of game time would suffice for the month. The hard cores can pay up front for unlimited access, and get to camp out overnight selling stuff, or spend 40 hours a week playing, whatever.

Pros:
- Users pay depending on their utilization of server resources
- Users choose how much they want to invest
- Free model opens up basic gameplay to everyone, even kids under 18 without credit cards
- Maximum monthly charge ensures no one gets into a gambling habit and drops $1000 on pay to win stuff

Cons:
- Limited gametime on free model will turn off large population (this may not be a con depending on your age)
- Complex microtransaciton system based on time may be confusing
- The hardcorers will invariably be better dressed and have more achievements than the freebies (since they can spend more time in the game)

Anyway, if 2-3 years down the road Square Enix were to move to a free to play system, this is the kind I would vastly prefer.
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#2 Mar 23 2013 at 3:07 PM Rating: Good
I think as long as the "monthly fee" were no more than what a normal subscription would cost, I could get behind it. I'm sure there'd be some tweaking to how much time and all that, but I prefer charging for time vs charging for items. The time in game is the service you provide as the developer, the items are what I earn. If I am physically able to earn the item in ____ amount of time, then I should be able to do so. Don't let me get in whenever I want, but keep all the shiny stuff away from me.
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#3 Mar 23 2013 at 4:01 PM Rating: Good
That could cater to the more casual/semi-hardcore crowd such as myself. For the most part, my playtime of MMO's consists of a couple hours a week with random spurts of an 8 hour marathon. Every now and then, the wife takes off with the kid and I can play for awhile, which is where I wouldn't mind paying that 1-2$/hour fee or whatever. So in the end, I probably play for free 80% of the time and don't mind dropping that extra 10-15$ of my time allows it.

To avoid problems, I suppose the company could cap your bought time to the monthly fee in case people are retarded (which will happen, often.) I'd probably still be playing XI if that was the case, I've had my account cancelled for the majority of the last year cause I simply don't log in enough. So rather then getting nothing from me, they'd at least be getting 2-3$ here and there.
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#4 Mar 23 2013 at 4:03 PM Rating: Excellent
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Well, i can't say i agree 100% because the way you put it we are not talking for actual F2P model or so i see it that way since you don't really give something for free.10 hours a month is more like a trial that gets renewed each month. It will sure be way better than buying items i give you that. But if i was a "free user" i wouldn't like the model. I would be better off paying the monthly fee to be honest but thats just me. The best model i have seen so far and i (and you as well) mentioned it before is that of eve online. You have your monthly fee but if you are playing for sometime or you find a way to make ingame money to buy 30days of game time and practically playing for free.

Finally i agree with you that if SE was gonna make this as their plan i wouldn't mind since i would still prefer buying the monthly fee, but i do not know how many people SE could attract this way.
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#5 Mar 23 2013 at 4:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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I never thought there would ever be a free to "play" method that I could abide.

You just blew my mind.


Edited, Mar 23rd 2013 6:15pm by KaneKitty
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#6 Mar 23 2013 at 5:15 PM Rating: Good
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Teravibe wrote:
Well, i can't say i agree 100% because the way you put it we are not talking for actual F2P model or so i see it that way since you don't really give something for free.10 hours a month is more like a trial that gets renewed each month. It will sure be way better than buying items i give you that. But if i was a "free user" i wouldn't like the model. I would be better off paying the monthly fee to be honest but thats just me. The best model i have seen so far and i (and you as well) mentioned it before is that of eve online. You have your monthly fee but if you are playing for sometime or you find a way to make ingame money to buy 30days of game time and practically playing for free.

Finally i agree with you that if SE was gonna make this as their plan i wouldn't mind since i would still prefer buying the monthly fee, but i do not know how many people SE could attract this way.



If you're a "free user" you're not supposed to like the model. You're supposed to hate it and agree to pay money. Smiley: laugh

As said above, the hours and such could use tweaking, and someone with access to the logs could determine the optimal number of hours to let freebies play without paying anything. But I think this model is the best compromise to cater to the whiners who flit from MMO to MMO without making a commitment and who don't want to pay a monthly fee for a game they're not tied to.

And I hadn't thought of that - if a subscription player doesn't log in at all during a month, they don't get charged. Brilliant there. (Also bad business for the company, that relies on folks too lazy to cancel their service. Did you know AOL admitted it still rakes in millions of dollars a month from people who no longer use their Internet but who still pay for an AOL email address?)
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#7 Mar 23 2013 at 5:23 PM Rating: Excellent
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catwho wrote:

If you're a "free user" you're not supposed to like the model. You're supposed to hate it and agree to pay money. Smiley: laugh


You got me there i agree!! Smiley: lol

I guess i am still thinking as a subscriber thats why haha.

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#8 Mar 23 2013 at 11:32 PM Rating: Default
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Or you could make an actual fun game, that people will play for free and pay you money to dress their characters up like Legue of Legends.

Oh and btw: Great post. Really good ideas there.
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#9 Mar 24 2013 at 1:45 AM Rating: Default
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I actually really dislike this idea. I think it's actually a step backwards from subscriptions, even.

I think the model of F2P with paid cosmetics, pets, etc. is fine. Give paying customers more fun options. It just needs to be done right. The model needs to be balanced out so that P2P users don't have an advantage over free users. I also disapprove of F2P models which encourage online gambling. I will never touch a game with in-game lotteries, gachapons, etc.

There are games that do use the system you're suggesting, by the way. They usually use a system similar to fatigue or stamina, but it's basically the same concept. Free users would be allotted a certain amount of content before they run out and can't play anymore; paying users will pay for as much time as they want.

Everyone needs to be on equal ground. If the game is P2P with a flat subcsription fee, everyone is on equal ground. If a game is F2P with paid cosmetics and features like paid weddings (I think Final Fantasy XI eventually got rid of these), world transfers, vanity pets, etc. everyone is still on common ground.

The system you're suggesting gives some members more freedom than others, so it will turn people off immediately.
#10 Mar 24 2013 at 4:22 AM Rating: Excellent
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Killua125 wrote:
I actually really dislike this idea. I think it's actually a step backwards from subscriptions, even.

I think the model of F2P with paid cosmetics, pets, etc. is fine. Give paying customers more fun options. It just needs to be done right. The model needs to be balanced out so that P2P users don't have an advantage over free users. I also disapprove of F2P models which encourage online gambling. I will never touch a game with in-game lotteries, gachapons, etc.


Do you mean that there wont be any P2P users in the game with that model? I do not follow. I mean if the game has F2P and P2P what benefit would the P2P have over the F2P user? Or do you mean that the P2P player only pays for buying pets, cosmetics etc?

I do not believe this is a viable model for the companies. I mean i do not know if they can earn enough to pay for the servers and make a profit as well. Can you tell me what game does that so i can take a look at it?


Killua125 wrote:
The system you're suggesting gives some members more freedom than others, so it will turn people off immediately.


Well the point is mate that some people SHOULD have more freedom than others. No game is really F2P. There are a few i can name that are totally free but you can buy with real money xp boosters or scrolls to enchant your weapons without breaking and at general stuff that will give you an advantage over others. What the OP suggested was that EVERYONE will have free access over the game but the free users will have a limited time over the world than the others that subscribed in the game.

The only way i will/can play a game (that i like) that has a F2P model is if they have a subscription option that gives me everything the game has to offer without me needing to put my hand in my pocket for extra stuff.




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#11 Mar 24 2013 at 7:57 AM Rating: Good
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This is pretty much how most facebook games work, although packaged much less sneakily. In FB games you are limited by energy which allows you to play for a certain amount of time before you run out. to get more energy or to make things go faster for the same energy you have to pay real money. My ex used to play Cafeworld religiously, racking up nearly 700 days of continuous logins. She eventually started purchasing 30, 60, 100 dollars worth of spices and whatnot every month or so, thus making the model way more expensive than a sub fee. What's worse is that this game was so terrible it got to the point where they continued to add more and more stuff to the point where there was no way to complete everything without spending money on it.

I guess the point I'm getting at is that a pay as you go system like that probably wouldn't be nearly so cut and dry, and the whales would most likely have to fork over a lot more cash than that to sustain it.. but then again Zynga is the gaming antichrist so maybe I'm wrong.
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#12 Mar 24 2013 at 9:17 AM Rating: Good
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Pfffft. I made 26 Facebook accounts to get all the medals in Farmville back when it was 50 cap. Those accounts are still in use, actually; there's a spreadsheet with the passwords I emailed around to everyone who was playing FV with me so they could use them to play other games after I quit.

To this day I say I "beat" Farmville without paying a dime.

That's why the time cap of $15 is important for this kind of game. Most of us get ****** off at F2P games because they end up being "throw money at it to win" - and the amount of cash Zynga makes for the low amount of quality they put out is absurd. If the freebie players aren't using up a significant amount of server resources, they can spend less money on the data center infrastructure and put more of those resources toward the actual game.
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Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#13 Mar 24 2013 at 9:59 AM Rating: Decent
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Ostia wrote:
Or you could make an actual fun game, that people will play for free and pay you money to dress their characters up like Legue of Legends.

Oh and btw: Great post. Really good ideas there.


I support the well designed fun game you pay to play honestly. Given you were likely sarcastic, LoL you do have to pay for more than just 'dress ups' if you don't want to spend an eternity grinding out 'for free'.

If SE goes the unfortunate route of F2P when they're done with ARR, as long as it's not like Doofus/Wakfu where you can't do much of anything unless you're paying a sub, it'd work out with a small playerbase since they did keep XIV around when under 20k people were supporting it by shutdown.

#14 Mar 24 2013 at 10:12 AM Rating: Good
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Killua125 wrote:
I actually really dislike this idea. I think it's actually a step backwards from subscriptions, even.

I think the model of F2P with paid cosmetics, pets, etc. is fine. Give paying customers more fun options. It just needs to be done right. The model needs to be balanced out so that P2P users don't have an advantage over free users. I also disapprove of F2P models which encourage online gambling. I will never touch a game with in-game lotteries, gachapons, etc.

There are games that do use the system you're suggesting, by the way. They usually use a system similar to fatigue or stamina, but it's basically the same concept. Free users would be allotted a certain amount of content before they run out and can't play anymore; paying users will pay for as much time as they want.

Everyone needs to be on equal ground. If the game is P2P with a flat subcsription fee, everyone is on equal ground. If a game is F2P with paid cosmetics and features like paid weddings (I think Final Fantasy XI eventually got rid of these), world transfers, vanity pets, etc. everyone is still on common ground


Any game in which you have pay real money for clothing, pets, accessories, etc. is a game that has been gutted of expansive content in an effort to make money. All of those awesome vanity items would be better and more satisfyingly linked to actual in-game activities.
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"I could only read so much for this paper and the syphilis poem had to go."
#15 Mar 24 2013 at 11:11 AM Rating: Decent
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Someone suggested the same thing in another forum I recently started visiting (yes, I'm seeing other forums). It was met there with not much positivity for a melange of reasons.

It sounds perfectly sensible to me, but a sensible solution isn't always a working one, either. You'd need to address the question of actual human behaviors with regards to subscribing. The model sounds enticing, but that doesn't mean that players will actually take to it.

With the first month free and the right marketing, I could see it being workable. But you're also creating a payment mechanism which requires players to keep track of their playtime in order to know how much they're paying, which could intrude upon the gameplay in unforeseen ways. One of the things that makes MMOs so successful is that they allow players to lose themselves in the game.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

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Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#16 Mar 24 2013 at 12:45 PM Rating: Good
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I was thinking a login notice when you first get in for the freebie ones. "You have 10 hours of play time available." "You have 1 hour 2 minutes of play time available." Under an hour time left starts sending a notice every ten minutes in warning.

Full subscribers who pay for a full month ahead of time don't get that message. So they can immerse all they want without worrying about hours.
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I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#17 Mar 24 2013 at 1:37 PM Rating: Decent
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I'd probably drop the in-game warnings and just have it in the agreement that if they go over, they pay for the next level automatically. Or just make an easy way to turn off the warnings, I suppose.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#18 Mar 24 2013 at 2:52 PM Rating: Excellent
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Of all the F2P solutions I've heard of this is the only one I've ever thought of as one I wouldn't mind. As long as I have my option to pay a monthly fee and have full access to everything in the game then I'm cool with it.
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#19 Mar 24 2013 at 3:08 PM Rating: Good
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Wint wrote:
Of all the F2P solutions I've heard of this is the only one I've ever thought of as one I wouldn't mind. As long as I have my option to pay a monthly fee and have full access to everything in the game then I'm cool with it.


I greatly prefer the P2P model as well. I'm fine with knowing I'm going to spend $15 a month no matter what. The weeks where I play a few hours will balance out with the days I play for hours on end. I also like knowing that someone can't just buy up a win. I do like a vanity shop though. I dropped $10 on the spider mount in Rift. Why not? Pro-rating time in a F2P model is, I think, also a very good idea. More options is always better.

Maybe Cat should send SE her resume'. lol

Edited, Mar 24th 2013 2:09pm by LebargeX
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#20 Mar 24 2013 at 4:01 PM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
I'd probably drop the in-game warnings and just have it in the agreement that if they go over, they pay for the next level automatically. Or just make an easy way to turn off the warnings, I suppose.


Something like this would still require people to put in credit card info to play, taking a large portion of the F2P idea away. Any game that requires a credit card on file at all times is going to get lumped in with subscription games. Even if it didn't require you to always have one on file it seems like it would create a lot of hassle in the account/billing department, which might cause them to lose players, especially from the younger crowds. Buying currency that effectively equals game time is a nice idea but making sure that you keep it stocked could also provide some annoyances for those that want to spend the full month playing. Even though SE has that Crysta system in place (I've never used it since I've only played FFXI) I don't think they could handle this kind of system, especially with how horrid their account/billing system and support is already <.<.

I don't mind this idea at all and some Subscription based models should consider adopting a program like this. There are players out there that might be too busy from month to month and don't feel like they get their full $15 worth out of their sub. This would entice them to keep with the game and most likely spend more money down the road. Although, the majority of games tend to charge you for the upcoming month rather than the previous, so it might be interesting to see how much of a difference that one change could make.


Edited, Mar 24th 2013 6:02pm by DamienSScott
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#21 Mar 24 2013 at 4:03 PM Rating: Decent
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I was thinking of a free month to counter that, but it works without requiring a subscription either way. You just cut them off unless they've subscribed.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#22 Mar 24 2013 at 5:39 PM Rating: Excellent
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catwho wrote:
Pfffft. I made 26 Facebook accounts to get all the medals in Farmville back when it was 50 cap. Those accounts are still in use, actually; there's a spreadsheet with the passwords I emailed around to everyone who was playing FV with me so they could use them to play other games after I quit.


This speaks more favorably about your gaming credentials than any trophy would.Smiley: lol

Edited, Mar 24th 2013 7:39pm by Xoie
#23 Mar 24 2013 at 5:56 PM Rating: Good
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Surprisingly Facebook has never caught on and banned them. I got all creative when I set them up. They have legit sounding names (Alfred Farmer, Betty Farmer, Charlie Gardener, Daphne Gardener) and I set them up with marriages, different birthdays, anniversaries, and cross friendships. They even made status updates at first, talking about their daily lives. Francine Mower owned a restaurant. Penny Lakes was a lawyer. Juliet Bush was a retiree. George Grass was a teacher.

Each has a unique Facebook icon created using the eLouai Candbyar doll maker.
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Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest and Taprara Rara on Lamia Server - Member of The Swarm
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#24 Mar 24 2013 at 6:00 PM Rating: Decent
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Theonehio wrote:
Ostia wrote:
Or you could make an actual fun game, that people will play for free and pay you money to dress their characters up like Legue of Legends.

Oh and btw: Great post. Really good ideas there.


I support the well designed fun game you pay to play honestly. Given you were likely sarcastic, LoL you do have to pay for more than just 'dress ups' if you don't want to spend an eternity grinding out 'for free'.

If SE goes the unfortunate route of F2P when they're done with ARR, as long as it's not like Doofus/Wakfu where you can't do much of anything unless you're paying a sub, it'd work out with a small playerbase since they did keep XIV around when under 20k people were supporting it by shutdown.



Theonehio wrote:
Ostia wrote:
Or you could make an actual fun game, that people will play for free and pay you money to dress their characters up like Legue of Legends.

Oh and btw: Great post. Really good ideas there.


I support the well designed fun game you pay to play honestly. Given you were likely sarcastic, LoL you do have to pay for more than just 'dress ups' if you don't want to spend an eternity grinding out 'for free'.

If SE goes the unfortunate route of F2P when they're done with ARR, as long as it's not like Doofus/Wakfu where you can't do much of anything unless you're paying a sub, it'd work out with a small playerbase since they did keep XIV around when under 20k people were supporting it by shutdown.



Outside of FFXI, Rift or WOW, most MMO that have been launched do not deserve 14.99 a Month. GW2 did it right, just buy the game, and play for free, if you want some extra EXP or totally estethic items, drop some cash, and Legue of Legends does not requires you to pay any money if you do not want too, you start off with 3 rune pages, that is more than enough rune pages to play at any level of the game, skins are not mandatory, they do not add stats to your character, they just look Badass (Legendary Tynn skin) everthing required to play the game at casual, semi hardcore or hardcore level you can purchase with IP, the only things that cost real money are skins, and you do not need those <.<
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