When I first read the Bioware’s Star Wars MMO based in the KOTOR universe (my apologies for making up yet another acronym for it) was going to be micro-transaction based – I rejoiced. I am still in rejoice mode. Doing the math, I spent about $1000 on WoW, between two accounts, two expansions, sub fees, etc. In fact that is probably higher than that. $1000 is a nice round number though.
For the life of me, I can’t think how I can possibly spend the same amount on a micro-transaction based MMO. Even one in the Star Wars Universe. Unless, of course, $1000 lets me be Darth Vadar.
I mentioned before how playing an MMO’s is much like entering into a marriage – it is a full commitment. If the time sinks don’t get you, the subscription fee does – heck, I am paying for it, better get good value from it! A Micro transaction MMO will allow me to enter into a much more mutually beneficial arrangement – I can date the MMO. Not only that, but if the dates get boring I can go on less dates. If I fall behind my friends in the dating scene, I can pay a little out of pocket to catch up. It really is a fantastic idea – one that will push developers to put out a high quality of product to entice people to play. One that will focus on fun, instead of focusing on sucking as much time out of you as possible to lengthen the almighty sub fee. One that will force you to pay $5 to get a cool outfit. I know that last line just sounded wrong – and of course it all depends on what you will be paying for – and then I had an ancillary thought. What if EA learned from their Warhammer mistake?
More after the break.
The general (ie:casual) populace only plays one MMO at a time. Moreso for the time required than the $15.00 fee. The Sub fee does pay a part (as there is no way I would sub to 5 or 6 MMO’s – although I would play 5 or 6 under a model where I chose what to spend). This goes back to my argument – maybe EA realizes that WoW has captured the casual market, and no budget possible will unseat it under the $15 sub model. So, to compete, remove the sub model altogether and give (literally) GIVE access to the game. After the little present, EA can earn their money the hard way. By, you know, earning it.
I am assuming the goal is to hook as many millions as possible, and as people spend less and less time in Pay to Play WoW, they will stop justifying their monthly payment to NOT play it. With freed up cash those ex WoW players will turn around and justify spending money on a game they are actually “playing”, under a scheme that they can contol.
I learned a long time ago in business there are really two quick and easy paths to success: 1) find something someone else is doing, and do it better – or – 2) find something someone else is doing and do it cheaper. The best way is of course to design something completely original but the aforementioned two is the path of least resistance. Being original takes too much talent and time.
Of course will withold judgement until more details are spilled, but from the outset I like where they are going with this.