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Purchasable game time (in hours)

Hello there!

As someone who is more used to box prices and who is a less active member of the community due to the lack of time, I had thought which of course was very appealing to me and I think would be very appealing for other people in a similar situation as well, who have less time for games but would like to play ashes regularly.

The idea is that there could be a limited option (purchasable once every 6 months or so) to purchase game time as in-game hours let's say 40-50 hours at the price of a monthly sub, which would last 2-3 months from purchase or the expiry of your current sub.

In that sense, this came to my mind that it would benefit more casual players (like me), who have a job, university, family, etc. I don't think that it would hurt the game financially, because of the purchase limitation and the fact, that the aim of this option is the people, who wouldn't be subbed throughout the whole year anyway, because it's simply might not worth it for them.

I know, you can support the game, even though you are not playing it all the time, but I'm not talking about the people who would support it financially that much without getting something in return that they can take advantage of. In my opinion, the game could benefit from an option like such, which should make the game more accessible. I'm willing to pay for games, absolutely, but I think that it would keep a lot of more casual players and engage a lot of people to try ashes out in the first place if there is an option besides subbing.

I would like to hear your opinion about this option.

Comments

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    AtamaAtama Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited December 2021
    I think it's a terrible idea because if you set up a system where players will need to ration their game time, then the players will be incentivized to play less. There will be the stress that if you play too many hours one week that you'll run out before your game period ends. I think that will greatly reduce players' enjoyment.

    This is on top of the fact that yes, it will of course hurt the game financially. When you offer play at a discount, you get less money. That's just basic math.

    I doubt that there are a significant number of potential customers who worry about wasting $15 a month on a game where they barely have time to play, but would instead pay $15 for 40 hours that they can use over a 3 month period. I don't think they will be luring too many people that way. It just won't work.

    If Intrepid was going to entertain this idea, they'd be better off to just charge by the hour. They'd potentially make more money that way overall, depending on how much they charged per hour and casual players would get a discount. But again, I think that would drive people away. People don't want the stress of having to financially manage play time in an online game.

    Charging a flat monthly (or multi-monthly, or yearly) subscription is the most attractive option for all customers and it's the reason why that's the method most MMORPGs use to monetize things when they have subscriptions.

    (Note that I have a lifetime sub so none of the above would apply to me, so I have no dog in this fight at all.)
     
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    AncientIncantAncientIncant Member
    edited December 2021
    Cool idea. Just not business friendly.

    Pay-by-hours instead of monthly subscription introduces volatility in sales. This is harmful for financial and product management because they cannot accurately approximate future sales. Which is important to decide which endeavours can be undertaken and how to pay for those.

    Also it is simpler to conceptualize $60 to 4 months play time, rather than $60 to 200 hours play time. A lack of transparency hurts customer conversion.

    Adding to @Atama ’s point, it should go without saying why bills are typically charged on a calendar basis. Paying by usage takes more effort because the units charged are too abundant. It’s simply too tiresome for most to be bothered with.

    Sorry. I guess it just didn’t stand the test of time :wink:
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    "Knowledge is Power and I know a lot."
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    AtamaAtama Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Cool idea. Just not business friendly.

    Pay-by-hours instead of monthly subscription introduces volatility in sales. This is harmful for financial and product management because they cannot accurately approximate future sales. Which is important to decide which endeavours can be undertaken and how to pay for those.

    Also it is simpler to conceptualize $60 to 4 months play time, rather than $60 to 200 hours play time. A lack of transparency hurts customer conversion.
    I hadn't even thought of that. That is absolutely true. A consistent revenue stream is much better than one that comes in fits and starts.

    That's not to say that an MMORPG needs that to survive. Free to play games which are monetized purely on micro transactions (which are more the norm these days) do not enjoy that sort of steady income. They get money in chunks as people voluntarily buy stuff. So they surely go through months where they are making huge profits and lean months. But given the choice between one model and another, most businesses would prefer the steady income.

    You can't always do that though. I've played multiple MMORPGs that started out with subscriptions and were forced to go F2P when the subscription model wasn't making enough money. (Off the top of my head, I can think of The Secret World, Lord of the Rings Online, Star Trek Online, Champions Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic as games I personally played that later swapped to F2P to stay alive.) I'm hoping that Ashes of Creation can succeed with a subscription model where those failed, but only time will tell.
     
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    Thanks for the answers.

    I admit, that business wisely it's not a great idea, that is why I thought that if you limit the option to buy it, so basically you can't play throughout the year using this deal. Also, I didn't have an intention to make it cheaper than a monthly sub.

    I was not really concerned about Ashes money wise honestly.

    I didn't even think about what Atama said in the first place:
    Atama wrote: »
    I think it's a terrible idea because if you set up a system where players will need to ration their game time, then the players will be incentivized to play less.

    and what a great point. Ashes will be the first sub based game that I play, so I have no experience in the effects that it could cause in the community of the game.

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    AtamaAtama Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    It's an interesting thought and a good question.
     
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    It would also create extra work for Intrepid to make sure they were calculating the time for each consumer if they did a second pay model as you suggested. If they had 100,000 people using the hourly model and the game didn't calculate time correctly, then the customer service would have a lot of tickets to address. What if you only got to use 35 of your hours instead of 40. What if you thought you had logged off and the game still sees you as logged in? What if you are having a good time and you need 5 more hours of time to finish the quest or raid you are on? It's simpler to have a $15 month subscription. For university people who are busy studying you could subscribe during the summer or other holidays. There is nothing saying you can't just subscribe for just 6 out of the 12 months a year. The only option Intrepid might consider to save people money is allowing 6 month and 12 month subscriptions with a slight discount to guarantee revenue and reward loyalty. Perhaps $80 for 6 months or $150 for 12 months giving you two free months if you subscribe for the year. I get some people will argue that $150 is a lot to pay up front and that for some people that $15 is all they can budget. I also get that by paying for the whole year you are locked in and what if the game changes in a way you don't like and now you already spent the money.
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    SeriousSerious Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    $15 a month for unlimited play is a lot easier for me to handle. I don't want to be thinking about the number of hours I have left while doing a siege or anything like that :P. Plus now a day $15 a month is like nothing that is basically the price for a burger combo.
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    tautautautau Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Yeah, $15 a month is trivial. I can spend ten times that much taking a girl out for drinks, dinner and a show, and all I end up with is a slap in the face usually!
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