Massively OP’s 2018 Awards: Worst MMO Business Model of 2018


Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2018 awards continue today with our award for the MMO with the Worst Business Model, which was awarded to Star Citizen last year, though this is more like a dishonor than an award, we think you’ll agree. As a counterpart to our award for the best business model of the year, this one is intended to recognize an MMORPG of any age that has demonstrated a particularly awful or consumer-unfriendly business model specifically in 2018, regardless of its past performance. We expanded this award to include pre-launch MMOs, as long as those games are operating a launched business model as well. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for the Worst MMO Business Model of 2018 is…

Star Citizen

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Star Citizen. Paying for stuff for an unreleased game for several years doesn’t seem wise at all, and every few months I feel like we get news that threatens some part of the original game pitch. It’s one thing to be a Kickstarter, but it’s another to constantly promise things for a game that’s still being developed!

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Ug, I hate to do this again, but Star Citizen. And this has nothing to do with whether I think the game is going to be good or be finished or anything like that. This is strictly about the business model, which is unselfconsciously laser-focused on whaling. I mean, they put up a $1650 package this year. And worse, a $27,000 package. A year ago, they were selling landclaims. It’s just ridiculous and it detracts from the actual groundbreaking work being done. Yes, other games whale. Yes, other games are naughty with lockboxes and other gross things. Yes, other games tried to pull a fast one on customers this yearStar Citizen is just the worst in a crowded field of bad business models here. Imagine how exciting it would be and how much bigger the hype would be if they cut that out?

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): Star Citizen. I’m coming around to the potential of Star Citizen, but even I have to agree that there’s a point where the folks behind the game have to close up the store, stop selling ships, knuckle down, and actually create more compelling content. I’m still positive they can do it, they just need to stop with the panhandling and bloody well create stuff already.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Star Citizen, a game with hundreds of millions of dollars in funding that has still not delivered a full, completed version of a game in anything more than fragments, is still busking and selling ideas without having actually put them together in a truly playable form. Even if I were sold on the concept, this would un-sell me.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Buy-to-play and paid early access, on the other hand, got some black eyes from half-finished games like Sea of Thieves and (especially) Fallout 76. Anything where people have to put up a big chunk of money to access a game puts the consumer in a vulnerable position. And we got plenty hurt this year.

Matt Daniel (@Matt_DanielMVOP): Star Citizen. Between the absolutely outlandish prices of buying ships (some of which don’t even exist in-game yet) and the fact that the game as promised may not see the light of day before the inevitable heat death of the universe, I feel like SC has earned itself this award hands-down.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): Let’s label this Outlays of Phenomenal Amounts of Cash Without Having A Game and you have to give this to Star Citizen. OK, yes, there is part of a game folks can go in and enjoy a bit of right now (we know, because we’ve been streaming it on OPTV!), but the ever-increasing price point of ships just blows my mind. The business model feels like a mile-high club for fat wallets.

How does Massively OP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together over the course of a few days to discuss candidates and ideally settle on a consensus winner. We don’t have a hard vote, but we do include written commentary from every writer who submitted it on time so that you can see where some of us differed, what our secondary picks were, and why we personally nominated what we did (or didn’t). The site’s award goes to the staff selection, but we’ll include both it and the community’s top nomination in our debrief in January.

Star Citizen won our award for Worst MMO Business Model of 2018. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: Which MMO offered the worst business model in 2018?

  • Star Citizen (57%, 1,009 Votes)
  • Sea of Thieves (2%, 32 Votes)
  • Fallout 76 (14%, 243 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (4%, 76 Votes)
  • Pokemon Go (1%, 16 Votes)
  • EVE Online (1%, 17 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (1%, 23 Votes)
  • RuneScape (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (2%, 31 Votes)
  • RIFT (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Black Desert (5%, 93 Votes)
  • Secret World Legends (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Shroud of the Avatar (1%, 26 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (1%, 16 Votes)
  • Bless Online (2%, 44 Votes)
  • Project Gorgon (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Camelot Unchained (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Ashes of Creation (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Chronicles of Elyria (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Crowfall (0%, 8 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (1%, 24 Votes)
  • Nothing (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (1%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,551

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Poll options include all games nominated plus other games we thought had a chance of winning… er, losing!
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