Greedy Goblin

Friday, April 29, 2016

The death of subscription gaming

I've checked EVE Central to see if there is any change from the old trend, but no. PLEX is 1B while skill injectors are 635M, so the 1 month old data is still right and actually it's even more right today: an SP farmer pilot gets 570M/month for a few clicks. Please note that two SP farmer alts get enough profit to PLEX the main pilot who don't have to sell skills. So you can play like you did last year without paying anything. Perfectly free to play.

This isn't an EVE post. CCP did nothing for these prices, these are completely player set. It's the players who offer so much money (ISK or real) for the injectors that it's profitable to just run SP farmer alts. Even worse: one with 1B ISK (farmed or PLEX-ed) can choose to PLEX his account or buy 1.57 injectors to receive 0.63M SP (at least 20% is lost when injecting over 5M SP). As this is the equilibrium price, we can conclude that for the average EVE player 0.63M SP right now is just as valuable as 1.8M SP over a month plus 1 month game access.

The naive gamer opinion is that the Golden Age of fairTM subscription or buy-to-play models were destroyed by short-sighted suits who know nothing of gaming. Now we have unquestionable proof that the average players value in-game items much higher than access to the game and those who are ready to give up some in-game advantage (by extracting the SP) for free to play are a minority. It's not just some whales are being stupid, the average players demand more in-game stuff to be available for $.

With this result, the "everyone pays the same" model is dead. Well not completely, it can exist as a niche thing for "pure" gamers who demand "fairness", but they can upkeep only indie games and not AAA ones. Why? Because if someone would create a "fair payment" good game, someone would make a clone of it and the players would abandon the first for the second, where they can buy progress with their wallets.

I know it's hard to face the truth and easier to just blame "evil suits", but it won't change the facts: we, the players killed subsription gaming.

Little EVE business PS: people are creating the wildest conspiration theories why PLEX prices are crashing. Not like someone didn't predict it long ago. Short version: since Goons fell and the whole politics is in turmoil, it's no longer sure that New Jita will be built in time. Every month old Jita is used, about 15T/month is sinked out of the economy, instead of the usual +10T/month ISK increase. As a result, the remaining ISK will be more valuable. Therefore every half-decent speculators are selling everything and "invest" into ISK. This of course means dumping PLEX deposits too.

PS2: my miniproject is complete, post will be up on Monday, then I try out Black Desert Online.


Vincent said...

We need to wait at least 15 days for a Large citadel to be built, on top of that it will take time before any citadel start to draw players and traders toward it...

Samus said...

Your choice to play Black Desert Online seems a bit odd to me. You can only list a maximum of 30 items on the AH at a time, at what is essentially set prices. I don't think it is even possible to make any significant money playing the AH.

Destabilizator said...

Hmm, why BDO? (If so, come EU-Jordine server, big guilds there) There's not much to accomplish, you cannot really trade (between players, market prices are controlled, 30% tax), all you can do is grind lvls and gear, and, if you picked fotm class, win in "PvP" (pointless PKing or silly battleground). That's it, for now at least.

Don't get me wrong, it's still fun, and by the time you hit soft-cap (55), Valencia patch will be hopefully rolling out along with sieges.

Anonymous said...

They made WoW free to play as well. At least if you consider the time to manage 3-4 garrisons and farm missions free. Which I dont do now, but those 15-20 min per day would have been nothing during University or even before that. These days I much rather pay the $ then spend even an hour per week to "save" that $.

Gevlon said...

@Destablizator, Samus: do you have better idea?

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is even possible to make any significant money playing the AH.

Sounds like a match made in heaven for Gevlon.

I for one approve of his pending Black Desert foray, (too bad I'm on the North American realm so won't be able to join up for old adventures.)

Trenjeska said...

Welcome to Jordine then ;)

I switched from Eve to other games as well and now to BDO, but I play it a bit differently then the vocal minority I guess.
I do NOT focus on leveling, but on exploration and life skills. You can access the whole world map without level requirement (except ONE node that requires a level 30 character ONCE to get knowledge on the node manager - Northern Wheat Plantation)
The worker system and trade system might be something you like. It is mostly a planning strategy to what to produce and what to transport where to produce trade items on one side of the map and sell them on the other side of the map (distance bonus)

So just find me on Jordine if you you want more info about how everything BUT killing monsters works. I like theorycrafting and what you have been doing sofar, so quite willing to help you out with it. Family name "De_Vir" most used charactername "Narantha"

Gevlon said...

@Trenjeska Schutte: Thank you, but first I want to figure it out myself. If I get stuck, I'll ask for help.

maxim said...

To be completely fair, SP is a pretty nasty gating mechanism and i am not surprised that those players who are still willing to play a game with that kind of gating mechanism are going to unreasonable extends for the ability to circumvent it.
Wonder how long this is going to last, though.

Anonymous said...

btw: how many plex per day did you haul between trade-hubs? According to eve-central, there is a gap of more than 100m between dodi-buy and jita-sell right now...

Gevlon said...

I didn't really haul PLEX-es. I've never seen such discrepancy. Probably many other traders quit the game too.

Anonymous said...

Black Desert Online is "good enough". You are kidding me, it has fullblown simulators that would be several seperate games by EA with several DLCs.
Did nothing else than fishing and building boats and exploring the ocean for the last weeks and still didn't saw everything nor did I finish the fishing related quests.
The game has some whiners that never played a RNG korean mmo in their lifetime. Anyway this game blows my mind and show great potential.

Stabs said...

Not having tried it, I'm guessing there still may be trading opportunities. 30 AH slot limitation suggests you could succeed by going tall rather than wide (eg 50,000 gold bars). There's presumably other ways to trade as well, like directly, inventory to inventory.

Also in a MMO with a bad market margins are huge. If it's hard for people to sell stuff the guy who finds the Vorpal Sword just wants whatever cash he can get and it may be hard for him to connect with the big spender who will pay a million bucks for one.

As for subscription games they've been pay-to-win since early EQ and Diablo 2 players paid big bucks for items and didn't get banned. When someone paid $2000 for a Windforce in 2000 the devs were bemused. They contacted the buyer and asked him why. He turned out to be a very busy very well paid professional lawyer with no difficulty earning $2k and a lot of difficulty grinding a rare drop.

Video game morality is always in flux. Back in the 80s looking up solutions (the way we use the E Uni wiki) was cheating.

Tomke said...

Maybe the phase of non pay2win games was the exception actually. When video games started out as arcades it was common practice to pay for extra lives. Feels a bit like the coin slot has returned...

In the mobile market we already have the situation that most titles are financed by only 2% or 3% of their playerbases. I think the sad truth is that part of the market simply falls in line with the wealth distribution of the real world.

Making games mostly for the upper 10% that own most of the wealth anyway seems to make sense. There are enough people out there that are willing and capable to throw hundreds, if not thousands of euros at their favorite game each and every month. Rich guys owning the plebs unfortunately seems to work out great for a lot of studios. Life ain't fair, why should games be?

Cheating in online games is an enormous market and most people seem to be unable to look through even the most basic schemes like dual currency setups. Throw in the opportunity to grind let's say cashshop diamonds in the game at ridiculous low rates like 10 cents/hour and you are golden. Heck, most players even embrace such setups wholeheartedly.

The MMO genre really feels like a lost cause to me. The production costs are astronomical, really nothing an indie developer could handle and the whole social setting makes them ideal to sell ingame stuff.

Classic case of "they don't make em' like that anymore". Well at least there is always going back... I would describe my time on Nostalrius as one of the best WoW experiences I had in a decade of playing the game. Even if that was an exception, as most private servers are as rotten as it can get (plus the whole piracy thing ofc), it is still something I would recommend exploring.

Anonymous said...

Gaming industry seems to be just following the film and music industries down into bland, repetitive, low-risk taking, easy profit mediocrity.

Trenjeska said...

Market is hard really really hard. The problem are first the soft caps on item listing prices:
An Item can only be listed for +- 15% of the CURRENT (rolling?) average.
After that comes the HARD cap:
A fishing boat sells for a maximum of 1.5M currency. It simply wont allow ANY higher price when the hard cap is reached, BUT all the loose materials this item is created from, could sell for up to 3M currency when sold separately. So only fools are selling finished products on the AH.

Of course the loose items take up 6 AH slots, where the boat only takes up 1. So I leave it to Gevlon to figure that one out.