Forums » General Pantheon Discussion

A Cash Shop is Being Considered

    • 1313 posts
    February 16, 2021 10:49 AM PST

    Nanfoodle said:

    Fact is, no MMO doing well today, has not done so without some kind of a cash shop. Process that thought for a moment.

    Ask, should VR wait till things are desperate before they add a cash shop? Desperate could lead to things we dont want to see. Or should they add one from the start thats fair that could help VR keep the doors open or maybe make some profit? This is a busines not a charity.  

    Could be that no MMO is doing well because they all have cash shops. And that people are getting smarter, and are disgusted by the damn things. And choose not to play any MMO at all, till they find one not infected by them. 

    I fall into exactly that category. 

    • 514 posts
    February 16, 2021 10:57 AM PST

    Feyshtey said:

    Nanfoodle said:

    Fact is, no MMO doing well today, has not done so without some kind of a cash shop. Process that thought for a moment.

    Ask, should VR wait till things are desperate before they add a cash shop? Desperate could lead to things we dont want to see. Or should they add one from the start thats fair that could help VR keep the doors open or maybe make some profit? This is a busines not a charity.  

    Could be that no MMO is doing well because they all have cash shops. And that people are getting smarter, and are disgusted by the damn things. And choose not to play any MMO at all, till they find one not infected by them. 

    I fall into exactly that category. 

    From people who work in the industry, the rumor is they are making more money from cash shops then from subs. Because of this, they have been able to keep the pay wall of a sub lower then they would have otherwise.

    So for Pantheon to compete, they would need to..

    A. Add a cash shop to keep the sub fee on market.

    B. Raise the sub fee to be above market that would drive away people from trying the game.

    Larger the entry fee to try and game, often keeps away paying customers. Thats why F2P games have such a large market of players. Low risk to try a game.  

    • 1313 posts
    February 16, 2021 11:09 AM PST

    Nanfoodle said:

    From people who work in the industry, the rumor is they are making more money from cash shops then from subs. Because of this, they have been able to keep the pay wall of a sub lower then they would have otherwise.

    So for Pantheon to compete, they would need to..

    A. Add a cash shop to keep the sub fee on market.

    B. Raise the sub fee to be above market that would drive away people from trying the game.

    Larger the entry fee to try and game, often keeps away paying customers. Thats why F2P games have such a large market of players. Low risk to try a game.  

    Again, maybe there are fewer subs because of the cash shops. The existence of the cash shops could be driving down subs. With fewer subs, a cash shop is necessary to remain operational. 

    If this is in fact true, the absence of cash shops might drive up subs to the point that a cash shop is not necessary. Could in fact be that the way to the greatest profit is to not have the cash shops and because of that drawing in all the people who've run from MMO's because of them. 

    On sub price, several here including myself have flatly stated that we'd be happy to pay more if it meant no cash shop. $30-$40 a month? You bet. I'd pay it. 

    • 514 posts
    February 16, 2021 11:14 AM PST

    Feyshtey said:

    Nanfoodle said:

    From people who work in the industry, the rumor is they are making more money from cash shops then from subs. Because of this, they have been able to keep the pay wall of a sub lower then they would have otherwise.

    So for Pantheon to compete, they would need to..

    A. Add a cash shop to keep the sub fee on market.

    B. Raise the sub fee to be above market that would drive away people from trying the game.

    Larger the entry fee to try and game, often keeps away paying customers. Thats why F2P games have such a large market of players. Low risk to try a game.  

    Again, maybe there are fewer subs because of the cash shops. The existence of the cash shops could be driving down subs. With fewer subs, a cash shop is necessary to remain operational. 

    If this is in fact true, the absence of cash shops might drive up subs to the point that a cash shop is not necessary. Could in fact be that the way to the greatest profit is to not have the cash shops and because of that drawing in all the people who've run from MMO's because of them. 

    On sub price, several here including myself have flatly stated that we'd be happy to pay more if it meant no cash shop. $30-$40 a month? You bet. I'd pay it. 

    Thats not the case as well. From EQ 1999 day with 500'000 people playing online to today WoW having the biggest release of a game in 2020 with Shadowlands selling more compies of the game opening week, then any game in 2020. Breaking over 10 mill subs. We a far stretch. Add up all the cash shop/sub games like ESO, WoW, FF and business is still growing. Showing that cash shop + sub is the win. 

    That or the bigger win is what we really dont want. Cash shop/F2P mess. 


    This post was edited by Nanfoodle at February 16, 2021 11:32 AM PST
    • 1313 posts
    February 16, 2021 11:40 AM PST

    Nanfoodle said:

    Thats not the case as well. From EQ 1999 day with 500'000 people playing online to today WoW having the biggest release of a game in 2020 with Shadowlands selling more compies of the game opening week, then any game in 2020. Breaking over 10 mill subs. We a far stretch. Add up all the cash shop/sub games like ESO, WoW, FF and business is still growing. Showing that cash shop + sub is the win. 

    Actually EQ was doing quite well without a cash shop for its time. Then they added a cash shop. I'm sure its entirely coincidental that subs started dropping when a cash shop was introduced. /sarcasm 
    (No, I dont claim that's the sole reason.)

    In 2013 WoW had an estimated 9 million subs, down from their peak of about 12 million 2 years prior. There was no marked increase of subs over the next 2 years. In fact it lost an additional 2 million subs, and another 2 million subs the 2 years after that. It declined to an estimated 4 million subs total in 2018, with brief spikes of around 7-9 million at the releases of Legion and BFA. Statiscially with WoW, the addition of a cash shop coincides with an increasing rate of lost subs. 

    Your statement that WoW sold more copies opening day of any game in 2020 is no lie. And no joke. But you failed to mention that it "only" sold 3.5 millions copies. Obviously that's nothing to sneeze at. But it's not remotely close to the 12 million subs it once boasted. Or even the 9 million that existed when the cash shop came onto the scene. 

     


    This post was edited by Feyshtey at February 16, 2021 11:42 AM PST
    • 514 posts
    February 16, 2021 12:07 PM PST

    Feyshtey said:

    Nanfoodle said:

    Thats not the case as well. From EQ 1999 day with 500'000 people playing online to today WoW having the biggest release of a game in 2020 with Shadowlands selling more compies of the game opening week, then any game in 2020. Breaking over 10 mill subs. We a far stretch. Add up all the cash shop/sub games like ESO, WoW, FF and business is still growing. Showing that cash shop + sub is the win. 

    Actually EQ was doing quite well without a cash shop for its time. Then they added a cash shop. I'm sure its entirely coincidental that subs started dropping when a cash shop was introduced. /sarcasm 
    (No, I dont claim that's the sole reason.)

    In 2013 WoW had an estimated 9 million subs, down from their peak of about 12 million 2 years prior. There was no marked increase of subs over the next 2 years. In fact it lost an additional 2 million subs, and another 2 million subs the 2 years after that. It declined to an estimated 4 million subs total in 2018, with brief spikes of around 7-9 million at the releases of Legion and BFA. Statiscially with WoW, the addition of a cash shop coincides with an increasing rate of lost subs. 

    Your statement that WoW sold more copies opening day of any game in 2020 is no lie. And no joke. But you failed to mention that it "only" sold 3.5 millions copies. Obviously that's nothing to sneeze at. But it's not remotely close to the 12 million subs it once boasted. Or even the 9 million that existed when the cash shop came onto the scene. 

     

     

     

    Ya 3.5 mill in an opening weekend not the grad total. Fact still the fact. More people MMOing today then in the glory EQ1 days. Fact is also that sub only games have died away. You have two kinds of MMOs doing well. Sub with a cash shop. Mostly cosmetic shops in that category and they are doing well. Or the bigger market today is F2P games with heavy handed cash shops. So where do you want VR to go?

    A. Risk Pantheon with no cash shop, that could likely have to close their doors?

    B. Add a pure cosmetic shop that impacts the game to a small %

    C. Follow the big money with F2P/Heavy handed cash shop.

    Because thats where the market is. There is no magic world where sub only games are making it right now. Games with cash shops can keep their sub fee's lower to gain more players. How does VR compete with that with sub only? You have no answer for that question, as the money needs to come from somewhere. If Blizzard was to make profits on subs alone, with how things have inflated. They would need to charge $40+ a month. As its been hinted by many in the industry, they make more from the cash shop, then subs. You really think Pantheon will fly with a $40 a month sub? Im not paying that. 

     


    This post was edited by Nanfoodle at February 16, 2021 12:08 PM PST
    • 1333 posts
    February 16, 2021 12:09 PM PST

    Nanfoodle said:

    .......

    So for Pantheon to compete, they would need to..

    A. Add a cash shop to keep the sub fee on market.

    B. Raise the sub fee to be above market that would drive away people from trying the game.

    Larger the entry fee to try and game, often keeps away paying customers. Thats why F2P games have such a large market of players. Low risk to try a game.  

    I'm not taking a side in this discussion, but thought I would point out - in case you haven't heard this yet - that VR has stated more than once that there will be a free trial for Pantheon. Perhaps the first 5 or 10 levels before you have to decide whether to subscribe.

    • 514 posts
    February 16, 2021 12:16 PM PST

    Jothany said:

    Nanfoodle said:

    .......

    So for Pantheon to compete, they would need to..

    A. Add a cash shop to keep the sub fee on market.

    B. Raise the sub fee to be above market that would drive away people from trying the game.

    Larger the entry fee to try and game, often keeps away paying customers. Thats why F2P games have such a large market of players. Low risk to try a game.  

    I'm not taking a side in this discussion, but thought I would point out - in case you haven't heard this yet - that VR has stated more than once that there will be a free trial for Pantheon. Perhaps the first 5 or 10 levels before you have to decide whether to subscribe.

    Ya, that shows VR knows a pay wall is just that. The trial will help but what will VR have to set the sub fee at to pay staff and keep content flowing at a steady flow is what will really matter. Snail speed after launch will mean a dead game. No profits means the investors they bring in will force hands to make profits. That can really make gamers unhappy. What is the smallest evil? What will impact us as gamers the least? A smart cosmetic cash shop thats not an after thought but designed into the game from the start. Systems after launch are never as well done as systems made from the ground up.  

    • 1333 posts
    February 16, 2021 12:41 PM PST

    Nanfoodle said:

    What will impact us as gamers the least? A smart cosmetic cash shop thats not an after thought but designed into the game from the start. Systems after launch are never as well done as systems made from the ground up.  

    To equate adding one "go to cash shop" button in the UI to adding an entire gameplay system to the game, is as much of a stretch as any argument yet made in this thread. Which is already full of very 'stretched' arguments based on people's beliefs about how economics works generally, how economics will apply to a game that is not yet created, and how VR should act in response to all of those assumptions.

    As I said previously, I'm not taking a side on "should there be a cash shop". I made my point, enjoy your debate :)

    • 1313 posts
    February 16, 2021 1:49 PM PST

    Nanfoodle said:

     There is no magic world where sub only games are making it right now. Games with cash shops can keep their sub fee's lower to gain more players. How does VR compete with that with sub only? You have no answer for that question, as the money needs to come from somewhere. If Blizzard was to make profits on subs alone, with how things have inflated. They would need to charge $40+ a month. As its been hinted by many in the industry, they make more from the cash shop, then subs. You really think Pantheon will fly with a $40 a month sub? Im not paying that. 

    You've entirely missed the point I've been trying to make. 

    There's no magic world where sub only games are being tried right now. Because they are run (generally) by massive corporations that want to make the most profit possible. Cash shops are easy profit. You spin up a few models (one can be made in 1-3 days easily), add a couple items to the db and sell em. In terms of profit/loss its easy money and easy math. 

    Blizzard was making money hand over fist. Their subs started to slip. They were still making money hand over fist, but not quite as much. On the quarterly corporate earnings report they had to show a decline in profitability. Not an inability to remain solvent. Merely a decline in the profit margin. So entered the cash shop, which propped up that margin. 

    Its management by spreadsheet. In their minds, the road to the biggest profit margin is the best road. But that doesn't consider what makes the best game.

    I'm simply arguing that a great game without that cash shop can (and I believe would) be very profitable. Even with moderate subs in the $15 neighborhood. It might not be the most profitable. But it would be stable and would have a better capability of retaining many subs from clients who want the one product not tainted by cash shops. If the game is sufficiently good, not only will people play, but they'll play for prolonged periods. And they'll do it in part because they arent negatively impacted monetization schemes. 

    As for what I want VR to do? I want them to be the one company that: 
    A) believes producing an exceptional product, and with it an exceptional reputation, outweighs maximizing profits in the short term, and 
    B) has the balls to prove that cash shops are not a requirement to be profitable in the long-term.

    • 2952 posts
    February 16, 2021 4:44 PM PST

    Feyshtey said:

    Nanfoodle said:

     There is no magic world where sub only games are making it right now. Games with cash shops can keep their sub fee's lower to gain more players. How does VR compete with that with sub only? You have no answer for that question, as the money needs to come from somewhere. If Blizzard was to make profits on subs alone, with how things have inflated. They would need to charge $40+ a month. As its been hinted by many in the industry, they make more from the cash shop, then subs. You really think Pantheon will fly with a $40 a month sub? Im not paying that. 

    ...

    Blizzard was making money hand over fist. Their subs started to slip. They were still making money hand over fist, but not quite as much. On the quarterly corporate earnings report they had to show a decline in profitability. Not an inability to remain solvent. Merely a decline in the profit margin. So entered the cash shop, which propped up that margin. 

    Its management by spreadsheet. In their minds, the road to the biggest profit margin is the best road. But that doesn't consider what makes the best game.

    I'm simply arguing that a great game without that cash shop can (and I believe would) be very profitable. Even with moderate subs in the $15 neighborhood. It might not be the most profitable. But it would be stable and would have a better capability of retaining many subs from clients who want the one product not tainted by cash shops. If the game is sufficiently good, not only will people play, but they'll play for prolonged periods. And they'll do it in part because they arent negatively impacted monetization schemes. 

    As for what I want VR to do? I want them to be the one company that: 
    A) believes producing an exceptional product, and with it an exceptional reputation, outweighs maximizing profits in the short term, and 
    B) has the balls to prove that cash shops are not a requirement to be profitable in the long-term.

    This. The number of subs required isn't nearly as high as some people seem to think, they don't need anywhere near FFXIV or WoW numbers for it to be highly profitable. Also I think there would be a strong showing of support from players in the modern gaming climate to a company willing to shrug off the trend of cash shops. 

    • 205 posts
    February 17, 2021 3:43 PM PST

    Iksar said:

    This. The number of subs required isn't nearly as high as some people seem to think, they don't need anywhere near FFXIV or WoW numbers for it to be highly profitable.

    Everyone here seems to just assume that the costs associated with running an MMO have gone down over the years, but unless you're on the other side of the infrastructure and budget planning table, we simply don't know what the real costs of running a modern MMO are. Massive companies like Blizzard and Square Enix can afford to absorb those costs elsewhere, and likely have had long standing agreements with their hosts and managers that afford them preferential treatment. As a new and comparably minuscule company, VR is in no such position.

    Who knows, maybe they can be sustainable on $15 a month from 150,000 players. Maybe they'll need 1 million players to be sustainable at $15 a month. Maybe they'll need a cash shop along with a subscription for any number of players less than 200,000. You don't know any more than I do.

    • 3405 posts
    February 17, 2021 4:14 PM PST

    eunichron said:

    Everyone here seems to just assume that the costs associated with running an MMO have gone down over the years, but unless you're on the other side of the infrastructure and budget planning table, we simply don't know what the real costs of running a modern MMO are. Massive companies like Blizzard and Square Enix can afford to absorb those costs elsewhere, and likely have had long standing agreements with their hosts and managers that afford them preferential treatment. As a new and comparably minuscule company, VR is in no such position.

    Who knows, maybe they can be sustainable on $15 a month from 150,000 players. Maybe they'll need 1 million players to be sustainable at $15 a month. Maybe they'll need a cash shop along with a subscription for any number of players less than 200,000. You don't know any more than I do.

    Here is some relevant information from a 2018 interview:

    - What is your minimum target audience size / demographic expectation for launch?  10k subs, 50k subs, 100k subs, or more ? In other words, how small is your niche tolerance?
    Ben:  We’ll be sustainable with subs in the 10s of thousands.

    If you want to check out the full AMA:  Pantheon AMA Responses | Fires of Heaven - A Technology Community


    This post was edited by oneADseven at February 17, 2021 7:02 PM PST
    • 1313 posts
    February 17, 2021 6:03 PM PST

    Thanks oneADseven. 

    eunichron said:

    Iksar said:

    This. The number of subs required isn't nearly as high as some people seem to think, they don't need anywhere near FFXIV or WoW numbers for it to be highly profitable.

    Everyone here seems to just assume that the costs associated with running an MMO have gone down over the years, but unless you're on the other side of the infrastructure and budget planning table, we simply don't know what the real costs of running a modern MMO are. Massive companies like Blizzard and Square Enix can afford to absorb those costs elsewhere, and likely have had long standing agreements with their hosts and managers that afford them preferential treatment. As a new and comparably minuscule company, VR is in no such position.

    Who knows, maybe they can be sustainable on $15 a month from 150,000 players. Maybe they'll need 1 million players to be sustainable at $15 a month. Maybe they'll need a cash shop along with a subscription for any number of players less than 200,000. You don't know any more than I do.

    Costs have in fact come down for enterprise ops. Cloud computing (which VR is using) can make costs notably less. Especially if they are designing with dynamically scaling infrastructure. You don't have to have a traditional datacenter that's got 1000's of servers and racks of spinning disks. Today its pretty common for infrastructure to be built on the idea that you're consumers of cycles (cpu/memory/disk IO), and you're being billed on what's being utilized at a given time. So in low load times of day you're getting charged less, but at peak times the provider throws a bunch more resources at it. Helps with managing peak loads too. Provided you build your solution/code on that premise. You dont have the capital expenditure of equipment (and often licenses). Instead you have an operational expense model. When done right (and often its not) you can bring costs down a lot.

    • 205 posts
    February 18, 2021 5:25 AM PST

    oneADseven said:
    If you want to check out the full AMA:  Pantheon AMA Responses | Fires of Heaven - A Technology Community

    I've read it. All I can say is, a lot has changed with the game and the team since 2018. I wouldn't put much weight on what was said that far back.

    • 132 posts
    February 18, 2021 7:41 AM PST

    I've read it. All I can say is, a lot has changed with the game and the team since 2018. I wouldn't put much weight on what was said that far back.

    I can't agree with this sentiment.  The whole reason I pledged back in 2015 was because of the weight of what was being said.  Had they been afraid to use the word 'niche' back then, or said wishy-washy things about cash shops, etc., I would not have pledged at that time and would have taken a more 'wait and see' approach.  Things do change but that doesn't mean that we should shrug off everything that's already been said especially when asking people to pledge real money to a project.  

     

     

     

     

    • 3405 posts
    February 18, 2021 8:09 AM PST

    eunichron said:

    I've read it. All I can say is, a lot has changed with the game and the team since 2018. I wouldn't put much weight on what was said that far back.

    I shared that information to demonstrate that people aren't just making assumptions as you suggested.  In terms of sustainability by way of subscription, that is the best and most recent information we have and it was sourced directly from a senior member of VR leadership.   Ben has been around since the beginning and is still with the team today.  While it is certainly possible that something may have changed, in the absence of evidence, wouldn't that just be making an assumption?  I think it's important for the community to properly manage expectations, especially when it comes to a topic as sensitive as this.  If you have any relevant information that would support the notion that something has changed, please share it.


    This post was edited by oneADseven at February 18, 2021 8:17 AM PST
    • 3137 posts
    February 18, 2021 8:32 AM PST

    The core principles of what they want from the game hopefully have not changed. Though I would make a good bet that there is some room for compromise if it guarantees or greatly accelerates release and the game keeps *most* of them.

    Everything but the core principles is just detail subject to not just small change but total reversal if the team decides that such is beneficial for technological or economic reasons and the change does not trash the core principles.

    I view having a cash shop as an extremely annoying detail and potential precursor of worse to come. But in and of iteself I don't ...quite .... see it as yet violating any core principle as long as it is purely for cosmetics.

    I too would put little weight on anything from 2018 if it merely relates to details.

    • 205 posts
    February 18, 2021 9:59 AM PST

    dorotea said:

    The core principles of what they want from the game hopefully have not changed. Though I would make a good bet that there is some room for compromise if it guarantees or greatly accelerates release and the game keeps *most* of them.

    Everything but the core principles is just detail subject to not just small change but total reversal if the team decides that such is beneficial for technological or economic reasons and the change does not trash the core principles.

    I view having a cash shop as an extremely annoying detail and potential precursor of worse to come. But in and of iteself I don't ...quite .... see it as yet violating any core principle as long as it is purely for cosmetics.

    I too would put little weight on anything from 2018 if it merely relates to details.

    Agreed wholeheartedly. I still believe and am faithful that VR is remaining true to the core principles of the game- that is the sole reason I am here. But when it comes to technical details, such as class design, economies, progression, monetization, etc., I'll wait to pass judgment until we get into Alpha/Beta, and then release when those details start to become more concrete.


    This post was edited by eunichron at February 18, 2021 10:00 AM PST
    • 514 posts
    February 18, 2021 11:28 AM PST

    oneADseven said:

    eunichron said:

    I've read it. All I can say is, a lot has changed with the game and the team since 2018. I wouldn't put much weight on what was said that far back.

    I shared that information to demonstrate that people aren't just making assumptions as you suggested.  In terms of sustainability by way of subscription, that is the best and most recent information we have and it was sourced directly from a senior member of VR leadership.   Ben has been around since the beginning and is still with the team today.  While it is certainly possible that something may have changed, in the absence of evidence, wouldn't that just be making an assumption?  I think it's important for the community to properly manage expectations, especially when it comes to a topic as sensitive as this.  If you have any relevant information that would support the notion that something has changed, please share it.

    But as was pointed out, lots have changed since then. Including VR perspective. Heck, VR used to tell us they could release this game on the funds they were getting. Now… they see that time would make the games release date an irrelevant game if launched 5-10 years from now. They now get they need to release this game in a timely manner. When the game launches, keeping new content flowing will be needed to be done in a timely manner as well. That means funds.

    • 3405 posts
    February 18, 2021 12:23 PM PST

    Speaking of core principles, let's consider this excerpt from the FAQ:

    WHO IS THE TARGETED PLAYER (DEMOGRAPHIC) BASE FOR THIS GAME, AND WHY?

    `While some MMOs have been designed with the goal and desire to appeal to all gamers, all of the time, we at Visionary Realms believe the future of MMOs is all about creating more focused games, targeting specific gamers with distinct preferences.  Pantheon is first and foremost a deeply social game.  Players who desire cooperative play, working together as a team, and the shared experiences that result from playing with other real people to overcome challenges will enjoy Pantheon.  Players who want an MMO to be their home and to interact with communities and player-driven economies will find what they are looking for in Pantheon.  Why?  We feel that, at least recently, the MMO players who enjoy these elements have been orphaned.  In fact, the Visionary Realms team feels they are part of this orphaned group.  And it doesn’t take a lot of research to find countless articles, blogs, and posts full of players seeking for the kind of experience we aim to offer in Pantheon.`

    Pantheon is supposed to be the MMORPG that is made for gamers, by gamers.  #CommunityMatters  --  it doesn't take much research to find countless articles, blogs, posts, videos, and comments from members of this community, one that is full of specific gamers with distinct preferences, to know that the words "cash shop" are highly contentious and borderline blasphemous.  There are plenty of orphaned gamers here who want the items you would typically find in an MMO cash shop (weapon/armor cosmetics, mounts, vanity pets) to be earned through the cooperative/social/challenging gameplay loops.  There are plenty of folks who have supported this project with time/passion/funding who take great pride in being part of the target demographic that Pantheon is being built for.  This community is full of gamers that are in it for the long haul as long as VR remains true to their word.  You can expect incredible retention out of this group.  You can bank on getting plenty of referrals.  You can enjoy a fiercely loyal and supportive community for as long as trust continues to be earned.  Any mention of possibly having to resort to a cash shop would be ill-advised as it will undoubtedly contribute toward the erosion of that trust.

    Here are a couple other excerpts to consider from the expanded FAQ:

    What is Pantheon’s Revenue Model? Will the game be pay to play, free to play, freemium or what?
    `We are considering either using the traditional subscription based model or a model where the player buys the game and then has the option of purchasing mini-expansions or ‘modules’ after launch.  Either way, the game’s world will continue to expand, more content will be added, as well as new features and mechanics.  Visionary Realms strongly believes that the revenue model of an MMO needs to match the game’s target audience.`

    Will there be a Cash Shop in Pantheon?
    `No, we have absolutely no intention of putting a Cash Shop in the game. Pantheon will not be ‘freemium’ or have ‘cash shops’ -- building your character and advancing in-game will be based on time invested and tactics used, not on how much money the player has in real life.`

    All that said, I do think there is potential for VR to get creative with how they monetize their product.  It's entirely possible to create a revenue model that is primarily based on box sales, subscription retention ... and ... something else.  The something else part is where it gets tricky.  My suggestion is to create separate profile/guild tabs and allow players to customize what they look like.  Fonts, colors, background colors, borders, icons ... these are all cosmetic extras that wouldn't be earned through standard gameplay.  This is exactly the type of thing that you could sell to this target demographic without compromising core values and trust.  There is no scenario where everyone will be perfectly happy but I do think that there is an opportunity for a healthy middle ground.

    There are plenty of folks who would be willing to throw some extra cash toward a game that what would ultimately become their long-term virtual home  --  the key (IMO) is avoiding any type of transaction that would take away from the classic / authentic RPG experience that so many of us cherish.  Earning advancements toward our character's appearance ("Rags to Riches") is absolutely a big part of that and cannot be compromised.  It's very important to get this right if you want to do right by the community.  We want to go on adventures.  We want to explore.  We want to buy and sell from other players.  Trust in all of the core principles that have helped us get this far.  Trust the gameplay ideals.  Trust this community.


    This post was edited by oneADseven at February 18, 2021 12:25 PM PST
    • 2402 posts
    February 20, 2021 3:51 PM PST

    MacDonalds makes huge profits. This does not mean burgers are better than steaks and when all there has been in town for years is burger franchises, a new steak house is not a risky venture even if it prices out the majority of the MacDonalds crowd.

    The point is, most of us here are hoping VR is happy to not make MacDonalds-size profits in order to have a classy, quality steak restaurant that we will love and visit for many many years to come.

    Most of us are probably hoping that VR's new steak restaurant *does* price out the kind of customers that are happy to stick with burger bars just because they are cheaper and their screaming kids like the brightly coloured Happy Meal toys.  Some may even realise it's worth the money and they are happy to get a baby-sitter and have a decent, grown-up meal...

    TL;DR: Companies do not have to chase the lowest common denominator mass market to be a very profitable success.  VR not doing what modern MMO producers are doing is largely why most of us are backing them.


    This post was edited by disposalist at February 20, 2021 3:55 PM PST
    • 12 posts
    February 20, 2021 4:41 PM PST

    I personally don't like cash shops, however, I understand that sometimes they can be a necessary evil. From the sound of it, they don't plan on having one and will do everything in their power to not need one. Hopefully we don't see one for a very, very long time if at all.

    The sad reality is that the costs of running a business can be rough. And even if a game charges $20 a month for access, people do unsub for periods of time and will cause that income to swing. If your monthly income fluctuates dramatically from month to month while operating costs stay consistant, you might find yourself needing to supplement.

    Hopefully a cash shop isn't needed, but I won't hold it against them if they have to at some point. As long as they keep it non-P2W.

    • 1107 posts
    February 20, 2021 10:02 PM PST

    There will likely be some form of cash shop given that they are even considering it.  Accept the reality, or move onto another game.
    I "personally think" that what they are actually considering is to what level and how to implement it without breaking immersion.  It's a safe bet that there will be cash exchanges for services like extra character slots, character re-customization, server change, name change, ect.  What people (myself included) are concerned with is having it thrown in your face whenever you log in or open a window in your UI - and I don't think people will need to be concerned with that as I am fairly confident that VR will not throw it in our face... perhaps even making it a feature in the options (that is disabled by default) so people don't even know its there while playing.  That is obviously an optimistic opinion, but I do believe that they don't want the game's success to rely on cash grabs.  As some have pointed out, having a cash shop is a necessary evil in today's MMO if it is to "thrive" versus barely survive.  

    The majority of people will play if there is a cosmetic only/non pay-to-win cash shop compared to the amount of money they would lose if there wasn't one.  The subscriptions lost from the few thousand people that refuse to play for a trivial cash shop would be vastly (not even close) outweighed by just a fraction of cash shop transactions.  Accept the reality, or move onto another game IMHO :(

    • 1436 posts
    February 24, 2021 8:49 AM PST

    make the cash shop a two way street and im on board