A recent GIbiz interview on Ubisoft’s monetization reveals that studios, at least the type making online shooters, have come full circle again to the idea of making content like maps and quests free while charging for cosmetics and customization. The company’s VP of live operations, Anne Blondel-Jouin, likened Rainbow Six: Siege’s model to a themepark’s:
“If I take an analogy of an amusement park, you can go through all the rides, but then you can also go to the shop to buy some food or merchandise or whatever… regardless of whether you spend in the shop, you’re still part of the whole experience. Nobody is making you buy if you don’t want to, but it is another way to have a different entertainment experience. If you’re with your kids, and there’s a toy you want to get, we will make sure it is an extra experience. It won’t be the case if you don’t buy it then you can’t do anything else. It wouldn’t work if it was about making it compulsory for gamers. No more DLC that you have to buy if you want to have the full experience. You have the game, and if you want to expand it – depending on how you want to experience the game – you’re free to buy it, or not.”
Not mentioned in this analogy? Two things that also affect the balance of the modern MMO business model: pay-to-win and gambling lockboxes. But even setting those aside, I’m annoyed by the constant willingness of studios to let cosmetic whales shoulder the costs of upkeep for “content” consumers. Not only is it obnoxious to minimize the importance of customization content as fluff, it’s unsustainable for way too many titles and dissociates high-quality consumable, participatory content from the revenue stream.
How about you? What’s the most bothersome part of MMORPG monetization to you?
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!