June 26, 2011

Subscriptions VS Microtransactions


With advancements in gaming come new ways for the industry to get our money. However with EA giving way to the “online pass” codes trend we see gaming heading in a new direction. Now we see free to play, pay to play, and all thats in between popping up all over.

Subscriptions – Ahh the familiar feelings. Pay for a month? Three months? A year? Two years? Hopefully this game lasts that long. Subscription based games rode the MMO wagon to become a standard for a lot of games and gaming services. I am sure the first guy to see a pay to play game said, “Ha! That will never work.” Now that same guy does his best to scrape together enough money to get another month of WoW access like a crackhead getting his fix. Success in the MMO world led Micrsoft to charge a subscription for its Xbox Live content. Even Playstation Network finally  jumped on the bus when they saw how successful it was. More and more we are starting to see new games released with pass codes or codes for add-ons. Now whispers are being heard of possibly charging a flat subscription fee and getting access to all the new content as it comes. Will you want to pay for Xbox Live, a new game, and a subscription for playing that game? Seems a bit much to me.

Microtransactions – The other side of the coin. Microtransactions are the newest fad in the gaming world but they actually aren’t as new as you think. Xbox Live charges microtransactions everytime a user buys Microsoft points. What is newer is the way these transactions are presented. They are wrapped secretly in a “free to play” game. A perfect example is League of Legends, a top down action real time strategy tower defense game. It is absolutely free to download and play. Everything can be unlocked in game by simply putting in time to the game. However for a few dollars here and there you can speed up the process to get ahead. The success this in PC games like League of Legends has gotten Steams attention. Steam announced a new direction of free to play games using the microtransaction method. Even Xbox is rumored to be getting new games as well.

As with everything it all has to do with money. How much can they get from us and how much are we willing to pay? Some like the idea some don’t. Prices will be the biggest issue. If I have to pay for a game, pay for a service to play it, or pay for in game content to be able to contend in game, what will that cost me?


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  3. ScrotusKilmystr - June 30, 2011 3:56 pm

    1st off cute cat pictures for a gaming article….hhmmm haha no seriously
    If it becomes an access fee ie xbox, psn then buy the game THEN purchase access to play that game on line then no I will never do it that is simply uncalled for just as must as EAs new ploy for some of it’s recently released games… if you buy the street pass I think its called for each game that you’ve already pruchased you will get DLC for that game at a discount…hhhhmmm pay large sum upfront then pay slightly less each time dlc comes along hhmmm carry the 2 divide by PIE and well YOU PAY MORE!! wtf…..
    anyway paying subscription vs micro it would depend on the game type MMO WOW types in my opinion (if you can find it then why pay for it) wouldn’t be bad as long as you had patience
    now for competitive play to get the edge you may have to purchase that gun, sword etc to win

  4. thsoundman - June 27, 2011 12:10 am

    It’s actually really funny you bring up this topic because I was actually thyinking about it the other day. The thing is, is that companies have learned that they can earn more money by charging you less.

    For example if you charge someone 35 dollars for an expansion they are going to think about it and may not even buy it. Let alone a second expansion however if you charge them 5 – 15 dollars for something and even give them far less people are far less likely to think about a small transaction. It’s actually been proven that someone is far more likely to pay 3 dollars a hundred times then they are to pay 100 dollars one time. It’s just simple numbers. It’s actually the reason I think that MMO subscription fees are going to start becoming a thing of the past. People spend more money on less if that makes sense.

    Personally I’d rather have the subscription fee but thats because i know that it’s actually costing me less to pay to play then i would be “getting it free” but thats just me.


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