Tobold's Blog
Thursday, September 03, 2009
 
How much for that Blizzard all access pass?

Gordon from We Fly Spitfires doubts many people will subscribe to both World of Warcraft and Blizzard's next MMO at the same time. I think that if these two subscriptions are strictly separate, Gordon is probably right. But he also mentions the possibility of a SOE "station access" like deal, and says it would have to be at a "reasonable price point". And I think that this is the key to the issue.

The SOE station access currently costs $29.99 per month, plus taxes. Which means that you basically need to play THREE SOE games for that to become a good deal. I have no data on how many people took that offer from SOE, but I would be surprised if it was a large percentage of their players. And that is with SOE offering 8 games to choose from. Unless they'd threw in some Battle.net Diablo III or Starcraft II goodies, Blizzard would only have two games on offer, and "play 2 games for the price of 2" doesn't make for good marketing.

You'd need to be seriously weird to play two MMORPGs on two computer simultaneously, unless at least one of them is an Asian AFK grinder. With whatever your favorite MMORPG is at the moment taking up a significant amount of your time, a more likely scenario for multiple subscriptions is having one main game, and playing the other just minimally, like checking the auction house daily. Or playing WoW on raid nights, and the other Blizzard MMO on the other nights. One could also imagine people playing one game intensively for some time, e.g. after a content patch, and then switching to the other game, back and forth, after some weeks.

In any case, having two subscription is extremely unlikely to result in you playing twice as much. Thus most players would be reluctant to pay twice as much for that. A clever offer will take that into account. If, for example, the Blizzard all access pass were to cost $19.99, a good number of people would go for it, as you basically pay $5 per month for the convenience of switching between games without the hassle of subscribing and unsubscribing, or for playing a second game at low intensity.

If your favorite MMORPG company had two games, each costing $15 per month, what would you be willing to pay to play the both?
Comments:
I probably wouldn't. If I liked both games and they offered them together for €19.99 a month, I'd consider keeping both accounts open, though.
 
It depends what else they're going to throw into the deal. SOE does have some perks for subscribers and a nice wide variety of games.

Ultimately it would depend on the games. I could imagine doing it. Especially if one was very casual friendly.
 
WoW will die, slowly decline over time. Just like you and me.

Slowly cannibalizing their old MMO for their new product seems to be a lot smarter to me than to leave that to a new and promising MMO from competitors.

And who said that because Blizzard releases this or that game that we all are supposed or have to play it, after all.
 
I wouldn't play more then 1 MMO at once. I'm too much of a grinder, i like to focus my playing into one game.
 
I agree with both you and Raquel - I most likely wouldn't play two games at once.

If I were however $19.99 seems like a very good price and might tempt me at least for a short while till I figured out which is right for me.
 
I'd rather focus on only one game, regardless of the price it cost. Unless it would cost me 15 to play both, which is unlikely.
Even if they created that 19.99 deal for both games, I wouldn't buy it, because I'd never be able to enjoy both fully.
 
I'm not sure I would pay roughly £12 per month to play 2 games. The absoute maximum I would pay is £10, but then I am a cheapskate and pay 6 monthly anyway!

I guess its a bit like my characters I have on other servers - they are there, and I check in occasionally, but don't really play them at all, and I guess this could be the same with a second MMO.
 
I don't think Blizzard is as naive as Gordon fears they are. This "not cannibalize on WoW" is more of a publicity line to soothe the current player base and reiterate that their new game will be based in a new setting.

And yeah, such a package deal would make lots of sense regarding price segmentation (to track back to our recent discussion on subscription models). It can be assumed, that a whole lot more people would go for a slightly higher fee to have access to both (and then hardly make use of it), than would be willing to pay two full price subs (at least because in that case, when you realize you're massively under-utilizing one, you tend to suspend it). They'd just need to figure out the sweet point.
 
When I play an mmorpg there doesn't seem to be any room for other games. Let alone an mmorpg. So now, paying twice is a no go. At $20 for both game then yeah I might use that for a few months. But I'd eventually just buy one of the two games.
 
I highly suspect Blizzard will introduce a subscription fee for Battle.net. They were very skittish in their interview and said:

"What we’re saying is, if you buy a copy of StarCraft II, you will be in a position to play the game on Battle.net with no additional cost. That’s not to say there are no other things there."

So it sounds like basic Battle.net will be free but you'll need to pay for the added extras.

If Blizzard combined WoW access, their new MMO and a Battle.net subscription plus a few extra bonuses into an All Access Package then it might be very tempting.

In terms of naviety, I just feel that Blizzard aren't being realistic if they expect people to pay for two of their MMOs at the full price together.
 
If the standard for one MMO is 15, I'd expect to pay between 18 to 22 bucks for a bundle. Any more than that seems too demanding.

As for me, I would stick with the 15 dollar deal regardless.
 
For some of us, it's not a matter of price but time. I don't have time for two MMOs and would not pay for the one I don't play.
 
My vision of the future:

The "All-day server maintenance Tuesday" will be increased to two days. (The equipment is getting older, blah, blah...)

Blizzard will roll out their new MMORPG.

A free introductory offer, advertised with the "The following realms are offline, we are investigating....", will get players to try the new game and get hooked.

Maintenance days for WoW and the new game will never be on the same day, this means 3 to 4 days per week where only one of the games is available to play.

Players, addicted to WoW already, will have no choice but to pay for both games to keep up their "Gamers High" for everyday of the week.

Hey, it could happen.
 
I don't have time for two MMOs and would not pay for the one I don't play.

The devil, as always, is in the detail. How do you define "the one I don't play"? Are you not playing it just now, or not this week, not this month, not this year, never again?

If you never want to play that other game again, just subscribing to one is obviously better. But if you wanted for example to switch between games every month, back and forth, that would be quite a hassle of remembering to subscribe and unsubscribe in time. And if you wanted to switch every week, you would need to be subscribed to both games.
 
$20 for two Blizzard MMOs is a good deal, but Blizzard will have to balance that against how many players would pay $15 + $15 for both MMOs. I think a lot of players will pay for both, at least during the first year of the new MMO.

A $20 all access pass could cost them revenue -- it's hard to gauge.

I'm sure that there will be some fee-based Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 features on battle.net. If Blizzard includes those in an all access pass and they are compelling, they may be able to charge $24.99 for a pass and get away with it.

That puts them into some ridiculous numbers. If they could get ten million people to pay $25/month, that's three billion a year. Sheesh.
 
Well, if Blizzard implemented such a system, I would expect them to offer incentives to play two games, particularly if the price point isn't any lower than it would to simply subscribe to two games.

We already have rested XP - Blizzard's encouragement to put the game down... why not a see-saw like rest system where time spent in one game offers rested bonuses or loot bonuses in the other, and vice versa? I wouldn't count ol' Blizz out of a deal like that.
 
I won't pay subscriptions any more. I'm happy to do RMT and even Asian-style pay-by-the-hour, but I refuse to lock into subscriptions.

So to answer the question you pose in your blog post: Zero dollars per month - but I'd happily pay using alternative means.
 
Everyone has there own personal price points for this question. And I think that how long they subscribe will depend on the price point - very curve-like.

The price point for those who "don't have time for two" is essentially $15 for both (or all, if there's ever a 3rd or more MMO for Blizz).

I know for a fact that if it was $15 total for 2 or more MMO's, Blizzard would probably have my subscription money for a least the next decade.

If it was above $15, I would probably wean myself off of one quickly or slowly depending on the incremental additional cost.

Anything over $20? I would immediately make a decision and pick one. I would not pay over $20 for multiple MMO subscriptions.

at $20? I would play both for a few months, then decide which is more fun and stick with it, and ditch the other.

$18? Might be worth a few more months. I'd be weighing the decision to stick with the second MMO each and every month.

$16? Would definitely be worth it if I had friends still in the old MMO I wanted to occasionally hang out with, even if I just logged on once a week for an hour or two. Absent those friends, see response for $18...

And there you have it. That's my plan and I'm sticking to it. Three of my friends are similarly minded. A fourth friend says he would pay full freight for both at once... (he's a bit of a "latest and greatest" MMO follower though, so I question that he'd be there for 2 MMO's over the long haul)
 
For me it is not a question on one sub, but two - mine and my wife’s (and the question moves past cost and into companionship, as we play together a lot).

Right now I don’t see myself as willing to move to, or add, any other pay-to-play MMO, Blizzard or not (if we grow bored with WoW that might change). There are two major scenarios, one being to quit MMOs for a time, the other to transfer to a new MMO (a decision sure to be impacted by friends & family).

You might have already guessed where this is ending:
For me the ‘bottom line’ is time, not money - with social relationships a significant contributing factor.
 
In any case, Blizzard is planning for the new MMO to be a different breed of cat that will not cannibalize their existing market share. They expect to grow into a new market. Sure, some wow players may choose the new product and drop their wow sub for the above-cited reasons, but it would only be a small proportion of them.

Any predictions on what the new MMO will be? I am guessing a console and mobile supported, fps, streaming graphics, second-life - starcraft - diablo combination!
 
Assuming the company is Blizzard, and the two MMO's are WoW and the next-gen one, my answer depends on:
- what extras are included in the combo pack
- what stage WoW is in: just-released expansion excitement, or pre-expansion boredom
- whether I have time to raid in WoW along with playing in the new game
- how different the new game is from WoW
- what my friends decide
- what single-player games are out and holding my interest (e.g. SC2, D3)

So like you say, Tobold, the devil is in the details...
 
What if the "all access pass" included StarCraft 2/Diablo 3 Battle.net stuff.

It's rumored that at least a portion of the new battle.net will be P2P. So at 29.99 a month would you pay to play ALL of Blizzard's games... not just the MMO's?

I would. If it got me D3, SC2, WoW, and the unnamed IP.
 
It would depend if I was interested in the other game. Since I got my lifetime deal with CO, I feel I can play it casually and not grind to anything, so it's making the experience really fun.

Even in WoW, I'm really limiting myself and putting a timer on how long I can play.
 
"You'd need to be seriously weird to play two MMORPGs on two computer simultaneously"

When i played EvE i often had it open on another computer while playing WoW or something other. So much of the playtime there was spent flying to and from places (or being ganked at gates) that it wasn't really a problem. Other types of MMOs, well, that's a problem unless it's just chatting or other casual activities.
 
I forgot to add, at my height i played and payed for four (or five, i forget) MMOs per month. WoW, CoH, EvE, DDO were the main ones (now CO instead of CoH). Yeah, i never really hit cap, or raided, but i had fun. I tried out a bunch more, that didn't stick. Right now toss in the free to play MMOs like Wizard 101, Free Realms (and i guess DDO now counts) and i play those too. Sometimes i'm in a mood for one type, or none at all, or the people in one game or another start to get to me. I personally think it's good to try as many as you can, and wish they would be cheaper so people could, it broadens your outlook and you can see the positives and negatives of each.
 
I will not pay for time to game. I was done with that when I gave up on arcades. Now I want to spend my money on content that I can play whenever and for how long I please. Time-infinite game purchasing, if you will.

Guild Wars 2 will get more money from me than anything Blizzard puts out with yet another subscription (or even pay-per-time) model.

As to the market analysis of what I expect the mainstream to do, I'd peg the price from 20-25 USD, and plenty of players just accepting whatever Blizzard sets the pricepoint at and sending in the checks.

In other words, it's not a question of what I would do, it's what I expect Blizzard and the market to do. They can soak the market for $25 with some fringe grumbling, or $20 with wild applause. As noted by others, throw in the perks of a new, subscription-based battle.net, and $30 isn't out of the question for a lot of people.

I'll never buy in, but I'm a market outlier. *shrug*
 
I'm one of the people that have two accounts and play them both all the time.

One of the accounts is hovering in the AH continuously making sure that my glyphs are stocked at the lowest prices.

I make 1500- to 2000- gold a day. Is it worth $15/month? I dunno. It's not much work and my alts have all the BoEs they need.

If I could get two WoW accounts for anything less than $30/month I'd jump on it.
 
@Tesh

You know I thought that way when I first looked into EQ. However over 12 months a MMO will cost me less than buying a F2P game.

The problem is that most "free" games have alot less content, typically being beaten with in 20 hours. Before MMO's I was buying a new game every other month, sometimes more.

Paying $15 a month is cheaper than $50 every other month. Now I typically play 1 MMO and buy maybe 1 other game a year.

During my lapse in MMO gaming I spent nearly $200 on Wii games that only kept me interested for a few weeks at most.
 
Nobs, that's the lament of the early adopter. Wait for games to go on sale and read some reviews to see if it's worth your money. ;)

Also, it's perfectly OK to get "only twenty hours" of completely free gaming out of a title. (Well, OK for the player.) Seriously, what more do players want that isn't a junior exec's head on a platter?

That said, yes, the numbers *do* work for a lot of people, obviously. That's why I talk about what I think the market will do. :)
 
I wouldn't want to pay two $15 subscription fee's, which is why the MMO market is in such trouble, because companies keep trying to rely on the subscription model in an oversaturated market. They need new and different models, like RMT. This is why games like DCUO, TOR, and APB have a good chance at success, they are not going the subscription route, which would doom them to mediocraty, as we've seen over and over again.

Don't expect Blizzard's next MMO to have a subscription fee. Expect it to be RMT based.
 
Did so for years, but likely wouldn't do so again. Not because of the cost, MMO are extremely cheep forms of entertainment, but due to RL time not being there to play more than one game.

And, there's no way in the world Blizzard will release a free MMO. They are neither desperate or a "hopeful up and coming".
 
Nah, I played EverQuest 2 and Eve Online at the same time regularly for a few months. But that was only possible because Eve Online is mostly a glorified half-breed spreadsheet/screensaver.
 
I am willing to pay for three MMO subscriptions. One for my son and two for me.

I currently only pay for one but I don't mind having a second, on the side.

If Blizzard's next MMO is RMT, then I likely won't play it unless it follows a model like Wizard 101 where you can pay a lower sub fee to get access to content and you can spend cash to get items and what not (I've never spent money to buy items in W101).
 
I'd never play two MMOs simultaneously. €12 for one game *a month* is expensive enough as it is. Money is no problem, but I hate to spend it on expensive things. I'd rather buy a copy of SC2 and Diablo3. :)
 
$25 US dollars would be a good deal, if I actually liked both games.
 
Bonno is right. It is hard to play more than one MMORPG at a time.
 
I wouldn't pay for two MMO's at the same time. The games just demand too much time. And with a subscription you feel like your wasting money of you don't play. (Silly but its the way people are wired)

That being said I've tried a few RMT games and they are either expensive or annoying or both. I won't play the next blizzard game if it's RMT. It will likely be a fun game and I'd want to spend too much money to keep up. Or spend to much time being aggravated over the little stuff like pets I would like to have but I won't pay money for.
 
The new MMO isn't even announced yet and it is WAY WAY too early to even speculate about it.
 
I probably would, to be honest, and what I'd pay for would not be "two games", but the option of choosing and the comfort of not going through the hassle of subscribing etc. when i want to switch. That's an extra that deserves a few more bucks. Although I'm well aware, in theory at least, that more options does not mean more happiness (not sure if i can post a link here, i'll do it and you cut it if you don't like it: http://www.spring.org.uk/2007/09/barry-schwartz-on-why-too-much-choice.php)

I think it's funny how we never fully realise how we pay for one thing, only to buy another. You never buy a game. WOW is something you pay for, but what you buy is different. You buy... fun, entertainment, comfort, in some cases, you buy the illusion that you have options and that your are the director of your life when you actually are avoiding that altogether, a shelter from boredom and thoughts about life, the universe and everything :)), a parry/avoidance chance for real life issues, now or in the future, finally, what we buy when we get epic is in some twisted way meaning (aka immersion, epics mean smth, for ex. a crappy day job might mean smth i dont wanna face).

And yea, that plus a heap of options, to give the illusion that the present will last forever and i will never die, hmmm..... thats worth a few more dollars :))

oh well, that's just me. interesting that many of the commenters said they wouldn't. Also a question would be: what would take for you to abandon one of the 2 subscriptions? Because what Blizz wants is not for me to buy those 2 subscriptions once, but to keep doing it for a long time.
 
At the moment I am not paying 2 subscriptions, but only WoW. So 2* normal price doesn't work.

If I could get the second game I want to play for less than 8 EUR per month (in addition to my 13 for WoW) I'd be in, I guess.
 
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