On March 25th Love will go live. The beta sign-up will end on Tuesday the 23rd of February. Anyone who still have an active Beta account will be able to play the game right up until the release, and I will stop the timer, so no time will be deducted from your accounts during this time. That's just like the transition from Alpha to Beta.
I'm being told again and again this is the year of free to play. Apparently subscription is dead. Internet has shown that free is the only acceptable price. This at a time when, NewsCorp and New York times starts to charge for their content and arguably the most successful news organization is Bloomberg that has chooses to charge thousands of dollars for their news, and at the cinema people pay more then they ever have before to see Avatar.
With the Internet things have had the opportunity to get huge numbers and when we think of things like Twiter, Youtube, Facebook and Google, we think of their users not their revenue. The thing is that its the revenue that lets you do things not the users. The idea is that users gives you ad money, but the question is how much.
Lets do the math on ad based media. Lets assume that Coke buys an ad in a game. Coke would then expect to sell more coke and are then willing to share part of the profit. Assuming that they have a 10% profit margin, and they are willing to give the game 20% of that for putting up the ad, it would mean that for every dollar of coke sold the makers of the game would get 2 cent. Now when was the last time you bought something because of an ad? You probably see thousands of adds for every time you see an add that makes you actively go buy something. So if you buy something only once in a thousand ads, you need a thousand people to see the coke ad to earn you your 2 cents on the dollar. In other words, you are earning 0.002 cents per player, or you need three million players in order to earn 60 Dollars, the amount you would get from a single players if you just would have bothered to ask them to pay.
These numbers are obviously bogus, because in reality you would get more money then that for the simple reason that people spend far more on advertising then has a proven effect, but it still illustrates the difference between the different business models. One can also wonder who should buy all the ads when more and more of what we consume is ad based media. The idea that we can produce more things, with higher quality, and fund it with smaller payments seams unrealistic to me.
The smart money is not the ones trying to survive on microscopic payments, but the ones creating a platform to skim money from them. Apple wants the games on the Appstore to cost next to nothing, so that people buy more iPhones even if its not sustainable for the vast majority of developers. Google wants to you to think that you can become an overnight millionaire when everyone suddenly flock to your lolCat page with google ads on it, when they really make money on having millions of websites with their adds on that get a few hundred views each.
They feed us the stories of the few who make it big, but doesn't tell us we might as well by lottery tickets because they are so few. Not just hobbyists have fallen for it, huge conglomerates too. When companies give out things for free or next to nothing that's when you should be suspicious because that's when they want to take advantage of you some other way.
I don't want to force ads down your throat. I don't want to sell you a box, and then tell you you have to pay every month to use whats in the box. I'm not trying to sell you add-ons, expansions, in-game hats or divide the community in to regular and premium account holders. I'm not trying to force you to use a platform and I'm not trying to milk you on personal information.
I plan to charge 10 Euros for 30 days of access. It will cost the same no matter where you live and you pay each time you want to extend, there will not be some subscription that is impossible to cancel. There wont be an extra charge to start an account or download the client. The 10 Euros covers everything.
Is that too much to pay for the game? I don't think so, its one and a half movie ticket, its cheaper then most other Pay to play games, and compared to a 60Euro game, not many 60Euro games gives you 6 months of enjoyment. Add to that that you get two accounts, and I think its a good deal. I don't expect all players will pay every month, I think many will pay one month, wait a while and then check back in later to see whats new.
But if its good deal or not, really doesn't matter. What matters is that I can continue to develop the game. I could charge less, and hope to get so many more users that it would cover it, but I think that's unrealistic, and I don't want to run this like some DotCom who think that money will just "work out" some day in the future. The point of charging is not to get rich, but to make the game better, and believe me when i say that is a lot of things I'm planing to add and improve in the game. That's why you are paying for it, and you know that that's where the money goes, not to some stock holder, not to some distributor, not to Walmart or Gamestop. Nobody is going to buy a sail boat using the money you pay.
I think that is fair and honest, what do you think?