pay-to-play

Here it seems as Mr. Pachter is not clear on the history of FPS games nor the current climate for subscription based MMO’s.~J.A. Laraque

Subscription fee for Fee for Call of Duty Multiplayer?

How many of you remember playing games like Doom, Duke Nukem and Quake online and enjoyed hours of “free” play time. Not only could you play online for free, but there were maps that were created by players as well as mods that you could enjoy all for free. A game like Quake 2 could be played for years because of this and with LAN support we were in a golden age of multiplayer.

pay-to-play

Well it seems if Michael Pachter had his way we would all be playing a subscription free to play today’s multiplayer games like Call of Duty Black Ops 2. You can read the source article over on Gamespot, but here are some of the key quotes.

“I know the game sells billions of dollars. Activision did a bad thing with Call of Duty from a profit perspective,” Pachter said. “They trained gamers that you can buy a game and play it all year, ten hours a week, forever, and you never have to pay again. You just wait for the next Call of Duty. I promise you there are plenty of people, numbering in the millions, who play one game, which is Call of Duty, and they never stop.”

This is interesting as it makes me think of a drug dealer who gets someone hooked then raises the price. He is right in that many people are really into their COD multiplayer and many would pay for the service. We already see the awful premium service you can sign up for to receive new maps.

The mention of training gamers is important as well, just like many gamers became used to paying a certain monthly amount for MMO’s many gamers still remember old FPS games you could play online with hundreds of maps all for free and most of us would not accept a pay service. However, newer gamers and admittedly, those who may not actually be shelling out the cash, may be more inclined to pay such a free.

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Pachter also said:

“That’s just like the people who play World of Warcraft and never stop, yet the World of Warcraft guys are paying $180 a year, and the Call of Duty guys are paying $60. So who’s got a better model?” he said. “This multiplayer thing being free was a mistake. I don’t think anybody ever envisioned it would be this big. It’s a mistake because it keeps those people from buying and playing other games.”

Here it seems as Mr. Pachter is not clear on the history of FPS games nor the current climate for subscription based MMO’s. First, FPS online games, or a game with an online component, has always been popular and though the Call of Duty series did set records it should not have been a big surprise that people would navigate to a good online FPS and play it. He mentions World of Warcraft, but if you look at games like EQ2, Conan, DC Online, Star Wars Online and many other MMO’s that started out as a paid service they are now switching to free to play.

It seem as if to many companies point to WoW and believe they can be next incarnation, but reports show even WoW is bleeding members and is heading toward a free to play model of their own. Then you have games like Guild Wars 2 on the MMO side and Tribes and Planetside 2 on the FPS side and the question you have to ask is, how can a move to charge for multiplayer do anything but hurt the brand?

Pachter pointed at juggernaut Activision about their upcoming titled rumored to be called Destiny and said it will be subscription based adding; “Activision’s going to try it, because they’re greedy pigs, and they’re bold,”

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I did not know greed is bold but I digress. We do not know exactly what Destiny will bring and even if it does cost monthly there is no guarantee it will be successful, just ask SOE. We as gamers will put up with a lot more than we claim we will. Many of us screamed when Everquest raised their subscription rates and yet we still played. However, we can only take so much and as we get older and money is tighter the same thing that happened with MMO’s will happen everywhere else. We will pick and choose a game that works for us and our budget and dump the rest.

In the end, the hopes of people like Pachter is to “train” the upcoming generation to be used to these fees. Many are used to paying for small things in F2P MMO’s and used to paying small amounts for mobile games and music, so what is a few extra dollars a month for Modern Warfare 4? COD is a powerful title, but it does not stand alone and I am sure other FPS games would love to take advantage of a move like this if it is made. I guess the only question that remains is, if this was done would you pay?

  • AdamD

    Games like Quake and Doom where on local area network and fan based levels are dead. Even linking console to console never took off.

    Paying money for online gaming will soon be replaced by free online games but to increase your avaitar powers will cost money.

    Remember Matrix on-line, Everyone wanted to be Neo, if you wanted the Trench coat, the Gun and the sunglasses you were able to mod up or pay more.Now that game is dead too.

  • Micro transactions have been great for MMO’s because they know people will spend a few bucks here and there and next thing you know they spent more than they would have with just a monthly subscription.