Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Combobulater: September 19th 2009

Hey Guys,

The latest episode of The Combobulater has been set free to roam the intertubes! We have a special guest with us this show, Andrew from the blog 'Of Teeth and Claws' (which you will find if you move your eyes a little to the left) and a listener to the show who volunteered his time to help us redesign the site.
Join us as we kick off with our usual 'what you been playing' which includes Emeny being hopelessly addicted to WoW, Burnsy being hopelessly addicted to...oh wait no apparently he's going to kick the habit again! Andrew gives us his thoughts on the games he's catching up on including Monkey Island and Bioshock.

We then jump into a segment which Burnsy and I have been hinting at wanting to tackle for a while now and with Andrew on board we felt that we had some extra insight to take us through this topic.

With so many MMOs on the market now each staking a claim on a huge player base, which of the payment models that are currently popular do we think will survive and are still relevant to todays market?

In our discussion we look at the pros and cons of the following:

Monthly subscription fee

Games such as WoW, Warhammer and the recently released Aion all adopt a standard monthly fee to play these games. Does this fee represent good value for money though and how do you as a player feel about having to pay this fee?

Does it tie you to a game and thus demand your time? Is this monthly subscription model a barrier to entry to certain people and does it have an impact on your decision to pick up the game at all?

There are some advantages though right? It's in the best interest of a company to have you playing their game so if they can compel you to do so then that's a win for them. This model is also fairly easy to setup and players are familiar with the system, if they are prepared to stump up a fee every month then why not take advantage?

A monthly fee though does apply a level of expectation that a publisher/developer must live up to if they are to survive. It's no good whacking a fee onto your game and then letting it idle, you only need to look at the dramatic playerbase plummet of games such as Age of Conan and Warhammer to appreciate that developers need to be on the ball.

Free to play models/Micro transactions

These days there are a lot of games that offer a free to play experience which can be supplemented by microtransactions. In our cast we discuss how this has evolved over the years, as developers mature in their approach to this model players are now offered genuine value for money on the form of micro transactions.

They're not all perfect of course. You could argue the value of a mount in game against that of an expansion pack or new content. It is interesting to see how these games have come along and the choice that they offer players that pick up these 'free to play' games. We look in detail at Wizard 101, DDO and Runes of Magic.

Give players more choice

We wrap up our cast with Andrew sharing his thoughts on the an Asian payment model which sees players paying for chunks of time which they can spend as and when they choose to. Therefore eliminating the feeling that you have to play and allowing you to enjoy the game at a pace that suits you.

Why hasn't this model caught on in the West and are there any developers out there that might take on the challenge of bringing this model over here?

Join us as we thrash this out on The Combobulater, September 19th 2009!

Thanks for tuning in.



Andrew said...

Thanks for having me on, guys! Great times.

I keep forgetting to mention it, but Virgin Worlds seems to be having a problem picking up your new podcasts - perhaps you could give Brent a quick email to see what's up? (He seems to be back from his hiatus)

Emeny said...

I've emailed Brent a number of times re: our show and I've had absolutly no response :( Maybe you could try giving him a poke...

Andrew said...

Seems like it's fixed now =)