The Daily Grind: Would you try a pay-per-hour MMO model?

    
185

Massively OP Kickstarter donor SoMuchMass offers an intriguing business model question for your consideration in this morning’s Daily Grind:

Would a pay-by-hour model work as a MMO payment method in the “West”? (Clarification from SMM: After a certain amount of hours played, it would go into unlimited mode, which would be a $15 month cap. Basically it is a solution for people who play only a couple of hours a week and don’t want to pay the whole $15 a month. If I play WoW 10 hours a month, I should be able to only pay 5 dollars instead of the whole $15.)

I’ve also wondered whether gamers would go for an unobtrusive hourly fee in 2015. Certainly Westerners were happy to abandon the model for online games in the ’90s once internet access became cheaper and more widespread, but it stuck around in East Asia, and our gamer pals across the ocean might be getting the better deal after all.

See, for games you just want to sample before buying a box or paying a full sub, an hourly fee would be a huge improvement. It might also work for people who dabble in several games at a time too. It would certainly satisfy our compulsive desire to pay for exactly what we’re using and not a penny more. But if handled poorly, it could also mean paying a whole lot more for a sub if you’re the type to dive in obsessively, unless there’s a monthly cap.

What do you think? Would you try a pay-per-hour MMO model? Do you think it could survive in the West? How would you set it up?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Morreion
Guest
Morreion

No.  Monthly would be fine, though.

Project54
Guest
Project54

Sutter Cane Project54 groo the wanderer

I could be misremembering, I never had much interest for just the boosts, it was other things in the store, as well as nasty lockboxes, that were (at one time – don’t know if it’s still the same) stupidly priced.

I also felt really burned from buying the ultimate edition (or whatever it was called) at launch and then having them release rushed poor quality dlcs to meet the promised deadlines.

Project54
Guest
Project54

anarres Project54

Ooh you know I’d never thought of steam, they actually would be most likely people to be able to do something like this. I’d imagined it would be slightly more expensive than a direct subscription but I’d rather pay a slightly higher charge and know I have access to whatever I’m interested in. 

Yeah I’ve looked at all access before and it would suit me down to the ground except for one snag – I have no interest in any of the games covered by the all access plan currently. :(

BigMikeyOcho
Guest
BigMikeyOcho

An hourly system? For me personally, no it wouldn’t. If I’m going to pay hourly, I may as well just pay a month and get it over with. I don’t like being reminded of how much time I have left, barriers of playing again, and I’d still probably waste those hours in a main city just standing around. Heck, for a game with a sub, I’d rather just buy a lifetime account (and I have 2 lifetime accounts currently) and get it over with. 1 time payments > sub. 

Time gating, there is too much pressure to make those hours *as productive as possible*, which I think is affecting gamers, and development, negatively. No need to stop and smell the roses when there’s powerleveling to do. No need to understand the nuances of a game’s combat system, let me just look up others builds. No need to actually appreciate a game when the goal is to burst through it as fast as possible.

BigMikeyOcho
Guest
BigMikeyOcho

Werewolf Finds Dragon You just reminded me to cancel my Hulu subscription. Yet another subscription, like MMOs, to a service I barely use that just silently pulls money out of my account until I remember to get around to canceling.

IamTaemys
Guest
IamTaemys

Tethyss Yeah, I played AW on Genie as well. I don’t remeber the hourly rate, but I remember bills for hundreds of dollars per month. O.o

anarres
Guest
anarres

PizzaDoh Really? I didn’t know WoW did that. (I must have left it for so long)

Yes, completely agree. The point of the hourly idea seems to be to entice people to jump in and play a bit, get a taste… but it would likely work for me the other way around: log off, lol, to save bloody clock ticking. That’s less time in game where I could have met a friend or who knows what could have happened to my character to make me play more in the future.

anarres
Guest
anarres

Arthwyndar SoMuchMass stiqy There are ways to not ask for CC information before they start playing. For example, unlimited in time trial mode, capped at level x or skill y. Wurm online does that for example. It’s subscription based, but you can jump in for free and play (and come back for free anytime) – just not advance beyond a cap.

But yes, I see the point here. If it’s well explained and marketed – and no surprises like ongoing MORE charges than subscription occur… it might make some sense.

My feeling however, is against it. It’s likely that, as other posters said, it will give the impression that I have to compute my time, stress over how much will I pay, grind to USE that time to make the most of it. Which kills immersion and fun.

anarres
Guest
anarres

Project54 Doesn’t Steam do a big part of that? Okay, you pay separately for each game (though from Steam). But it records play times, your play time for each game, and aggregate play times for a game; services like steamcharts can do monthly/weekly/daily statistics of players spending what time in game, so the numbers exist. What seems to be missing is to pay subscriptions through Steam with the mechanism you see for making payments proportional with your actual play.

If I were to imagine how that would work, the all-games subscription would have to be a little higher than the most expensive game subscription. IOW, if I pay and play a game with an expensive sub, say 20 bucks, the game company would receive close to that (say 17) and the service something (say 5). That makes 22 for me.

On the other hand, your idea also makes me think of Daybreak’s All Access on a much smaller scale: play per month, access any of 4-6 games they offer. They check numbers afterwards.

Bruce Wayne1
Guest
Bruce Wayne1

no i want pay to win unless they make the subscription game, a game that scales to any number of players. so a 1-2 person group can do group content without being forced to play with strangers and we can get the same rewards. give me that and i’d pay 50 a month!