On MMO Subscription fees

There’s been a lot of talk recently about MMO profits, spurred on by the Celestial Steed Kerfuffle. About how subscription fees have not gone up in line with inflation, so companies have to find other ways of increasing their income. It is felt that consumers would not be willing to pay more than the industry standard of $14.99, so other ways need to be found to get them to hand over cash.

I’m not sure if that is really true.

If a company promised to not view their customers as an exploitable resource, neither selling ingame items or services for real cash, or through gambling systems such as loot cards within collectable cardgames. Thus keeping the game world separate to the real world, all subscribers being treated equally, regardless of their disposable income. Customers would know exactly how much the game would cost them each month.

If they promised not to exploit their employees, paying them properly and not expecting ungodly amounts of unpaid overtime for the privilege of working in the gaming industry, and allowed this to be verified by an independent monitor.

If they did these things, assuming it was a game I wanted to play, I would be willing to pay $25 a month subscription. Not because I think that a game that didn’t exploit either customers or employees would necessarily need to charge that much to be profitable, but because I suspect the only way I could persuade a corporation to do so would be through bribery.

It’s like Fairtrade coffee. I’m prepared to pay extra for an ethical product.

I couldn’t afford to do that for more than one game, mind you.

5 comments to On MMO Subscription fees

  • JB

    “Thus keeping the game world separate to the real world, all subscribers being treated equally, regardless of their disposable income.”

    But they are not treating them equally regardless of their disposable time. Time is as much of a disposable resource as money, if you have 40 hours+ a week to play MMOs then you have time to grind through content repeating dungeons for that one blue/purple/red/green drop that will make your character competative.

    Another example would be if you have 3-4 hours a week to play an MMO then you want to log on, have fun and log off knowing that next week you can do the same rather than spending your 3-4 hour session next week running round picking daisies so you can make your healing potions for the week after.

    At the end of the day an MMO is supposed to be played for fun, if me spending an extra $10 a month means I get to have more fun in the 3-4 hours a week I can play I will happily do that, whether that is for a bag of extra gold for WoW, some extra ISK for Eve so I don’t need to worry about crashing my Interceptor, or for paying for a game where they have actually found a way where a casual gamer can log on and play at the same level as someone playing the game for 40 hours a week I don’t mind.

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