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Thread: F2P, Popcorn, and Alternate Ruleset Servers

  1. #1
    Plane Touched Ware's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Cleveland, OH

    Default F2P, Popcorn, and Alternate Ruleset Servers

    On a recent Massively podcast they were discussing LotRO's new F2P model and quoted one of the PR people as saying that 98% of their F2P players don't buy a single item from the shop. But, the 2% that do bring in enough income to make the entire operation profitable. So, the real impetus in making the game free isn't attracting a bunch of people who are willing to spend $1 a month it's getting more people in the door knowing that around 2% of them are going to end up being high spenders.

    On the same note, in Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies: And Other Pricing Puzzles the author argues that the reason why the price of popcorn at movie theaters is so high is that the people who want popcorn are willing to pay that high price and that the additional purchasing volume that would come from reducing the price doesn't increase demand enough to be more profitable.

    So, in at least some circumstances, offering a product that only a small percentage of people are willing to pay top dollar for is more profitable than offering a more generalized product at mass market pricing.

    That makes me wonder if alternate ruleset servers (classic, permadeath, etc.) would really be as unprofitable as many think. As long as maintaining content for the rulesets didn't require a lot of additional development work, it could be that having a core of rabid fans willing to pay 2x or 3x the normal sub price or commit to longer subscription lengths might be just as profitable as a volume of $15/month subs that only last a month or two.

    No way to know until someone tries it but I think that there's some potential there...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010


    I don't think people would bay 2-3x the amount for an alternative ruleset server compared to the regular price. Here's where your comparision to popcorn fails, there is no regular and super popcorn available, cimenas get away with extortionate prices because they are a closed shop, and since all cinemas work in a cartel that all charge excessively for popcorn you can't avoid it, except for sneaking in your own food and drink under your coat.

    If all mmo's decided to double the subscription fees, would they continue to get subs, of course! would they lose more than half of their subscriptions? Most likely, not because of the cost but because of the feeling of being ripped off.

    The current $15 a month standard rate dictates where all mmo's pretty much have to price themselves, deviate too far and you will lose revenue (I'm surprised that costs haven't crept up due to inflation, I suppose this is in part due to the fear of being the first company to blink and raise fees up to $18). MMO gaming is a lot cheaper than it was 10 years ago, in a relative sense.

    However, the idea of having old-school style servers limited to those who buy in 6 month blocks would at least get people put their money where their mouth is and commit to such a server without simply idealising on the forums. If enough people were willing to sign up in a 6 month block to get access to a non-standard ruleset server, then that server can be justified.

    It might be one way to actually provide real support for a RP enforced server for example. If people want a server with extra GM support to help enforce RP, something like this scheme might well be an option.

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