Here are some collected quotes from the boss, Mr. Ryan Dancey
As a subscriber I will not have access to the whole game?
Dont you think thats being a bit greedy?
No. In fact, I often wonder if we should have subscriptions at
all, because of the false impression they give to people like you who
think a subscription implies unlimited access. It may do more harm than
Here's today's world. Not last year, but today.With the exception of World of Warcraft and EVE, every MMO worth discussing
is now driven by Microtransactions. Star Wars, Rift, Lord of the Rings,
Neverwinter, etc. etc. etcIf you came through the transition from subscription only to Microtransactions,
especially if you skipped games that transitioned in place, it may seem
to you that what we are going to do with Pathfinder Online is bizarre.
But if you start in the present, what we are going to do seems totally
normal.I will give you $100 to $1 odds that WildStar and Elder Scrolls Online will mix
subscriptions and Microtransactions within six months of their releases
(frankly I think Elder Scrolls will launch with an MTX system). We are
going to do exactly what they are going to do, we are just telling you up front.This is the world as it is. The customers have spoken in overwhelming numbers that this is how they want to pay to play MMOs. We'd beincredibly foolish to disregard their wishes.
This is my current state of thought about playing for free.
In the classic theme park model, free players provide valuable content to
paying players. They fill the world, create more opportunities for
grouping, provide social cohesion, let people stay engaged through
real-world money problems, etc.
For a themepark game, all of the free players have a very low cost. These are
sharded games, and servers can be spun up, and consolidated as
population ebbs and flows. Today, I expect that many of those servers
are virtual running on cloud-based infrastructure that has no sunk cost.
Our game is different. Because everyone plays on one server, we don't have the need
to expand or contract server shards. We also expect that the customer
service load from a paying player is going to be the same as a free
player. So every player, free or paying, has the same cost to us.
Since we expect to always have critical mass in terms of having a population large enough to make
the server feel "populated" (the business is a failure if we don't),
there's not an intrinsic value to us, or our paying customers, to the
presence of non-paying players. Since one of our funadamental value
propositions is that players are each other's content, free players are
consuming content generated by other people without providing
compensation in kind.
Theme park games have another problem. People finish them. After finishing a theme
park, the value provided to the player diminishes rapidly. An option to
play for free is a recognition on the part of the developers that the
player has become more valuable than the game. Sand box games should
never reach that point, or they fail. For Pathfinder Online there should
never come a time when the mere presence of a player is more valuable
than the provision of the game service itself to that player.
We therefore need to think about ways to let people pay an amount roughly
proportionate to the value they are receiving. And that value should
never be "zero".
Every MMO you have ever played, if it was more than a tiny niche, had a cash shop.The cash shop, until the current era, was provided outside the game. All
the way back to Meridian 59, people were buying and selling items and
in-game currency on markets.The purveyors of those markets are often criminals. They are engaged in fraud and
identity theft. They seek to install malware and add people's computers
unknowingly to bot nets. And one of the worst things they did (from the
standpoint of the game design) was over-supply in-game currency by
paying farmers to play the game in irrational ways far outside the
assumptions of what "real players" would do.Pretending that this activity wasn't happening is just pulling the wool over your eyes.
And if you do some research, you'll discover that the revenue being
earned by these markets was, in some cases, as large as the revenue generated by the publisher of the game.Of the many good things that came from moving the cash shop into the game itself,
seriously degrading the value of the game as a host for criminal
parasites was one of the more socially beneficial. The upside to the
publishers in the switch has funded a lot of content (and new games) that might not have ever otherwise been possible to fund.So I tend to take a lot of the teeth gnashing about cash shops as the result of either utopianism, or ignorance of the truth.
It should be noted that except for Neverwinter, the major western MMOs
that have added Microtransactions did so after their basic subscription
models failed. The MTX switch was a response to revenue falling below
the level needed to hit the financial goals of the business. They were,
in a sense, a last ditch effort to save a failed business.
Now those games may overemphasize Microtransactins because
subscriptions failed. They're trying to back-fill a business model
designed for subs with revenue from the cash store. These games are
seeing "traditional" MTX performance. Those metrics are Weill known: eight to ten percent of the players spend any money. When you are only getting 10% of your customers to pay you! you need to get ten times
as much money from each of them to make up for all the non-paying
players. Obviously, you'll feel like you're in an environment that
rapidly shifts to cater to the 10% who are paying to the detriment of
those who aren't.
The solution? Have a much, much higher percentage of people pay. Collect a much much smaller amount of money from those who pay.
So, that's what we'll do.
My condolences to all backers.
Goblinworks ripped you all off!
Thanks to Quak0r for posting that at archeage-online.de