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

    
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NO I GET THE REAL HEADER NO BLOOPERS

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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Kickstarter Donor
bluntoze

And honestly , I think the business model SC will have when released will be to buy ingame credits with cash. Basically same as games like EVE where you buy monthly sub item and sell it for ISK.

Are we judging worse business model or worse crowd funding model.
If we are talking worse crowd funding model , then yes I agree SC should get the title.
But business model , hell no, there are many more gambling based models out there

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
bluntoze

Are lootbox based models better than one where you directly buy something. Are game systems designed milk your wallet instead of being fun to enjoy and make sense in the game world better?

((Edited by mod. Please review the commenting code.))

Reader
Bruno Brito

instead of being fun to enjoy and make sense in the game world better?

Depends. Does the game sells you a 30k ship to improve everything?

Reader
Kevin McCaughey

I wonder will this put of the SC love handles from posting their fuzz in here on how great it is or will they just hold their heads in shame.

Phyl
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Phyl

SC is a joke, I’m glad I got refunded late Jan before they stonewalled all refunds.

Reader
Crowe

I voted for Star Citizen as well. While I’m a fan of Roberts and have high hopes for the game, I think the business model has way outlived its value.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

Ugh. Totally Agree. I wish this game would crash and burn. Not because I don’t want a cool space sim to exist, but because I want this shady way of funding game development to never be a thing again.

Reader
Armsman

A worstMMO business model that DOESN’T have SWToR on the list? Who’s drinking the Kool Aid here? ;)

Veldan
Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Maybe they got bored of it being picked every time?

Reader
Roddy

News flash, they got so much money because people WANT to spend their cash. So it’s a good business model – deal with it. Why hasn’t any other game got so much crowdfunding? Maybe it’s because backers saw true potential in the game? With evidence? And they can acctually see the progress? The devs got the money to continue their work and people can spend money, VOLUNTARILY, to support the project they believe in. Nobody forces anybody to buy anything, for $40 you get access to all the content, there are no paywalls, unlike in some other games on the list.
On one hand everybody frowns upon practices in the industry with slave-driving devs and publisher/invertor-forced crunches, but when somebody finds a different approach they are dissed for that.

(Edited by mod. Please review the commenting code.)

Reader
Bruno Brito

News flash, they got so much money because people WANT to spend their cash. So it’s a good business model – deal with it.

So is selling cocaine.

Maybe it’s because backers saw true potential in the game?

I see potential with betting my savings on casinos. Doesn’t mean i should.

With evidence? And they can acctually see the progress?

“A fool and it’s money are easily parted” or so they say.

The devs got the money to continue their work and people can spend money, VOLUNTARILY, to support the project they believe in.

Ok.

Nobody forces anybody to buy anything, for $40 you get access to all the content, there are no paywalls, unlike in some other games on the list.

The other games in the list are at least, complete games. Most of them, to be fair.

On one hand everybody frowns upon practices in the industry with slave-driving devs and publisher/invertor-forced crunches, but when somebody finds a different approach they are dissed for that.

True. You got a point.

Here’s the problem: This isn’t a different approach. This is a company with 500 developers or something, who achieved 210m bucks still taking 5 years to develop ONE planet where you can LOOK at stuff, while keeping the game in a perpetual Alpha but who has it’s entire business model, not only figured it out, but already being functional.

This is Shroud of The Avatar all over again, but it’s waaaay more profitable and insidious.

Hell, i’ll probably die before SC launches. But it’ll already have achieved more money, IN A ALPHA, than any other game.

Reader
Roddy

1. “So is selling cocaine” – Comparing selling drugs to a legit business is so absurd I won’t even comment on that.

2. “I see potential with betting my savings on casinos” – again, gambling and investing in a prospective product with a clear road map is worlds apart.

3. “A fool and it’s money are easily parted” – Are you a videogame expert and an experienced investor with some inside info on the projet? No? Then offending people who have a different idea than you is out of the line.

4. “The other games in the list are at least, complete games. Most of them, to be fair” – Another hit and miss. You want to make a point of SC being not finished and then contradict yourself. If some other games in the list are not complete then your point is meritless.

5. “…still taking 5 years to develop ONE planet where you can LOOK at stuff…” – You are clearly oblivious to the number of celestial bodies, places and activities you can do in game. Secondly, average time to create an MMO is around 6 years. And that’s for well established companies with ready teams, procedures and pipelines. And sometimes even higher budget. And let’s not forget that CIG are striving to build a game at an unpecedented scale.

All in all, only time will tell. But if they manage to deliver a game making the backers not regret the money spent, then that’s a win in my book. And telling by the progress they have made this year I remain hopeful.

Reader
Bruno Brito

1. “So is selling cocaine” – Comparing selling drugs to a legit business is so absurd I won’t even comment on that.

Lol legit. Sure.

Your first comment gives me all i need to know.

Also: 6 years to create a MMO. Sure. But SC had 5, has 500 developers, like your screechers like to put it, and a 210m budget.

It should already have 3 games launched.

Reader
Roddy

Yes, it is a legit business. Deal with it. If you think otherwise please report a crime. And again, try to understand what you read. I wrote 6 years for “well established companies with ready teams, procedures and pipelines”.
But whatever, haters gonna hate. Couldn’t care less.

Reader
Dankey Kang

BDO does it for me. Wanna PVP? you gotta pay. Wanna grind well? you gotta pay. Wanna change class? You gotta pay. If you really wanted to play the game at a decent and competitive level, you’re looking at £300-500 worth of things from the cash shop (Top tier Pets, Artisans Memory, Tent, Value Pack etc..) not to mention hundreds of hours of grinding. Even the costumes which stop your character from looking complete ass are £30.

It’s dispicable.

kjempff
Reader
kjempff

Impossible for me to cast a vote because I generally never get in contact with the worst models, having dismissed them so early that I never cared to learn the details.
As much as I have issues with f2p (p2w) models and want to mention something like neverwinter because it is a game I would def play if it had a different business model, there is something else that really rubs me the wrong way, whicis…
B2p and sub games that also include a shop, even worse the more p2w it is or otherwise puts a (subjective) demand for extra investment to be part of the full game experience. That is taking the worst of both worlds and discarding all the benefits (from a player perspective) of each model, and it frankly just come out as appearing greedy.