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Businesses Sony The Almighty Buck Games Entertainment

DC Universe Online Goes F2P 103

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-think-we-can-safely-call-this-a-trend dept.
mlauzon writes "It seems a lot of companies are seeing the light and turning their subscription based games into the F2P model, or 'freemium,' as it's now being called. Quoting Massively: "For those of us who lack Batman's financial resources, maintaining several monthly MMO subscriptions can be a challenge. Sony Online Entertainment recognizes this, and as a result, the company has just announced that DC Universe Online will be officially joining the freemium revolution toward the end of October."
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DC Universe Online Goes F2P

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  • Not shocking, as the game sucks and paying a monthly sub for it is just retarded. I think everyone but the die-hard masochists subbing it right now have figured that out.

    • Agreed. I had high hopes, but their insistence upon re-inventing EVERYTHING and going against common MMO UI elements (screwed up movement, no way to put things the way you want them) made the game unplayable at best. Last I heard PC and PS3 players weren't on the same servers, so why bother making the game interface dumbed down for the PC? Chat interface was ABSOLUTELY THE WORST one ever created for an MMO. I've played early beta versions of stuff like LOTRO where stuff wasn't completely baked when players

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        I'm a huge comic book fan, but the superhero MMOs so far have been disappointing.

        Well, it is kind of a stupid idea. Seriously, if you have a city with a couple hundred thousand superheros in it, are they still "super" or just "above-average"? Since nobody's going to play as Jimmy Olsen or Alfred the Butler, and everybody wants to be a hero, then they've got to create cockamamie NPCs for you to save, and usually you don't really care about the NPCs because the characterizations in MMOs are rarely good enou

        • by vux984 (928602)

          All of the microtransaction games where you do or do not choose to give them money online all seem kind of skeevy. The ones I've played at least. They all make me feel a little queasy, like a greasy video poker machine in the back of a working class bar. You know it's nothing but a machine for taking away the money of the desperate and ill-informed and just knowing it's there makes you feel bad. That's how the "F2P" games come across for me. I'm not sure there's a remedy, either.

          I agree completely. As soon

          • You do know about credit cards right? There are all kinds of fees for a transaction and this makes a 15 times a $1 fee NOT the same in money earned as a 1 time 15$ fee. It is part of why iTunes is so expensive, the CC companies are cleaning up on those small transactions. That is why micro-transactions are often done through points, so that you don't end up paying most of your small payment to the credit card company and NOT the company you are buying from.

            Expect about half of a dollar transaction not to ma

            • by gmhowell (26755)

              Wait, so on $1 charges, processing, credit co. fees, etc. take 50%? I thought in the Apple bashing threads, Apple taking 30% of a $1 purchase was considered highway robbery?

              Besides, if the per transaction charges are too high, then limit the actual charging of VISA, MasterCard, etc. to once or twice per month. Gets you to almost the same place.

              Hmm, close reading of your post shows that you are in nearly the same place. I'm just not convinced that the GP is wrong in the broad brush strokes: pay for time play

              • by Fjandr (66656)

                Most credit card transactions have a gateway fee of something around $0.15 to $0.30, and then take a percentage (1-3%) of the transaction amount. So yes, small credit card transactions are eaten up in large part by transaction fees. Probably not 50%, but certainly as high as 33%.

                This is why many places that accept credit cards require minimum transaction amounts to use them.

                Most people don't consider CCs highway robbery because they don't know how they work on the back end. Merchants most certainly see some

                • Oh I realise the implications, and if I have to shop at Tesco's rather than a local store, I always use the credit card as a means of trying to equalise the cost savings multinations have compared to the local businessman.

                  Small local store = always pay in cash (although there are charges for this as well) National Chain = Always in credit cards, even for an 80p item.
                  • by Fjandr (66656)

                    Yeah, I suppose I can get behind that logic. Most people don't have the clue to actually make that sort of informed decision though.

                • by Fnord666 (889225)

                  This is why many places that accept credit cards require minimum transaction amounts to use them.

                  The credit card companies don't like this of course and in fact the agreement that merchants sign with Visa and MasterCard specifically prohibit them from setting a minimum transaction amount. Theoretically if enough people complained Visa could cut the merchant off.

                  • by Fjandr (66656)

                    Same goes for discounting for cash transactions or charging a surcharge for CC transactions; also prohibited by the merchant agreement.

                    Though, there are companies out there who use affiliates to process their CC transactions, and recouping the gateway fees by having the primary company charge to have their payments processed through the affiliate. They then cost-share with the affiliate to cover the fees.

                  • The credit card companies don't like this of course and in fact the agreement that merchants sign with Visa and MasterCard specifically prohibit them from setting a minimum transaction amount. Theoretically if enough people complained Visa could cut the merchant off.

                    That used to be the case, but not anymore [creditcards.com].

                • by MBraynard (653724)
                  This is why many places that accept credit cards require minimum transaction amounts to use them.

                  Which is a violation of their merchant agreement and, if you notify the credit card company, will result in them being told to either drop the minimum or stop taking cards.

                  IThey are not allowed to have minimum transactions for cards and they are not allowed to charge a premium for card-using customers. They are, however, allowed to give cash discounts.

                  /merchant account reseller for the last 5 years.
                  • by Fjandr (66656)

                    The merchant agreement doesn't trump federal law, which allows up to a $10 minimum purchase requirement.

                • by gmhowell (26755)

                  I actually used to be a small vendor, so I know the math. My question was mostly meant to elicit information for those who don't. My practice is that for megacorps, I always use credit. For mom and pop shops, I will use it as a debit card unless it's a large transaction.

              • What people forget is that bulk really allows you to cut costs. Call center support is a good example. Running multiple call centers is expensive so can't be done for small setups BUT this means you need night shifts. The bigger the support, the more I can specialize each support tech and still have them work full time. Example? Apple could have one person answering all the calls for how to start your phone and have them busy all the time. Your local plumber's wife probably got to call her husband who is ou

                • by gmhowell (26755)

                  Your suggested changes would be an ideal situation in the US, but would require sacrifices of banks (credit card issuers) and we all know how the US likes to reign in banks </eyeroll>

            • >MMO players are stuck witht the idea that 14,99
              See that is the problem with people like you....thinking that this business model is ok.

              No one I know that plays these games feels ok that the game they bought can not be played single player mode without the internet connection.
              The fact that this game now forces you to have a internet connection (and many people dont) just to play sucks....
              so when they come out with their 15$ a month ...hell yeah thats is a lot...you already made 1billion of your sales tot

              • by AntiNazi (844331)
                I know a fair number of gamers and none have every complained about not having a single player mode in an MMO. Kinda would defeat the entire purpose of the genre don't you think?

                Add another vote from me for $15/mo rather than Free2Pay(in smaller chunks).

                Not saying they don't exist, but I've yet to meet anyone (that has an income capable of paying their owning gaming costs) that prefers micropayments over subscriptions.

                The game would suck ass (even more? haven't played for over a year) if it was sin
                • You know, you are the second person that read my post and thought I was complaining about that, when in fact I was complaining about the game not being yours even after you pay for it....you have to keep paying for it afterwards monthly, and then if ever they think it not profitable enough , they shut the servers down, hence stopping your game play altogether....

                  also have you done a lvl 85 40 man heroic raid for you to even reply?

              • by murdocj (543661)

                If you want a single player game, buy a single player game. The whole point of an MMO is to be on line in a persistent world. Complaining that an MMO requires an Internet connection is like complaining that a computer game requires a computer.

                • I am not complaining about single player games, I am talking about charging for content, that normally would be yours right after you purchase it, yet now you still need to pay a monthly fee to enjoy it, and if it becomes non profitable to keep the servers going after x years, well they shut it down...so the game you have is useless. Learn to read a little...my complaint as you call it is not about mmo needing internet connections....as some single player games need an internet connection too....but about p

            • by nedlohs (1335013)

              You do know about credit cards right? There are all kinds of fees for a transaction and this makes a 15 times a $1 fee NOT the same in money earned as a 1 time 15$ fee

              And since they'd bill at the end of month it wouldn't matter in the slightest. Sure there will be some <$15 charges but they aren't doing 15 $1 charges instead of 1 $15 charges.. Charging in the CC in $1 increments would be stupid and nobody would do that.

              Heck they could even charge a $15 minimum - via the points system you mentioned. At the end of the month they take the number of hours the player has played and cap it at 15. Reduce the number of "time points" the player has by that amount. If the "ti

            • by vux984 (928602)

              You do know about credit cards right? There are all kinds of fees for a transaction and this makes a 15 times a $1 fee NOT the same in money earned as a 1 time 15$ fee. It is part of why iTunes is so expensive,... rant rant rant

              Look, I'm the poster you responded to, and I don't know what you are going on about. PAYG doesn't require that there be a multitude of tiny transactions.

              I'd be happy to pre-pay them in $20 or even $50 lumps, and then chip away at the balance over 3-12 months...

          • by gmhowell (26755)

            I'll go with this. See my earlier comment regarding partial custody and playing with kids.

      • The only way I found it comfortable to play was with a controller and not with my keyboard. It is another example of a grand scale fuckup in the MMO industry.

        I won't be subbing to or playing games from Sony ever again after the SOE hacks.

    • by ProppaT (557551)

      Not all of them. I would start playing Everquest again if there was a F2P option. Unfortunately that's just for EQ2.

  • I played this as a beta tester for free for about 6 weeks and found it to be fun, but simply not worth the money. Now that it is free, even if it is with advertising I can follow the story and watch more of these cool cinematics [youtube.com].

    As to how this all relates to the New 52 though, that will be interesting.

    • by gmhowell (26755)

      As to how this all relates to the New 52 though, that will be interesting.

      The MMO is also a complete suckfest? Not happy with the first couple of weeks of 'the New 52' (haven't seen the releases from last week yet).

  • Despite game makers thinking f2p is the next bastion of making easy money, they'll eventually realize, even if they make it free, when everyone else is free, they're back at square one... with a game encrusted in micro-transactions. Going f2p won't make a game good. If it sucks it will continue to suck regardless.

    I also seem to be part of a growing crowd of gamers who also would rather pay for a good game, rather the having to play it after it's f2p. f2p models, even ones like TF2, tend to ruin games. Even
    • by Chas (5144)

      Thing is, they're not simply doing it "because everyone is" or "because it's hard to compete with "Free"".

      At least in CoH and CO's case, they're running a Hybrid model. They have a F2P and a Subscription tier. In CoH's case they also have an intermediate tier for people who were previously subscribers.

      So they have a regular income channel from their subscribers. And they will periodically get infusions from the F2P/store. Their subscriber level may go down a bit. But it'll eventually normalize (subs in

      • All these people complaining about being nickeled and dimed with temptations must not have ever been on the subscription model. Subscribing to EQ was one of the biggest gaming mistakes I ever made, right up there with playing the bottomless pit of spending known as Magic the Gathering. On the subscription model, I felt pressured to play, because it was costing me money. Not playing felt like buying a ticket to a movie, and then missing it. But playing so easily became a grind. I found it much easier to

        • by Chas (5144)

          I understand where you're coming from.

          Honestly, I don't think the same way. If I take a couple weeks off playing, so be it. $10-11 a month comes out to around $0.35 a day.

          I pay more than that just driving to work.

          F2P works for me because now friends that can't afford to pay can come back (albeit on a more limited basis) and play as regularly as they want.

          And, in between my yearly sub renewals, if I have a budget crunch, I'm not missing anything.

    • by ProppaT (557551)

      I see F2P as an absolute last resort for MMOs. If the MMO start off poorly and never gains traction, it's a good step to salvage the game and attempt to break even on the development. If the MMO was fairly popular and F2P is a response to subscriptions falling off, I think it's more of an eleventh hour money grab before it tanks. Players that were subscribing but never made it very far in the game will be tempted to drop to a free subscription. New players will try the game but will rarely, if ever, mak

    • by delinear (991444)
      This is exactly what I thought. If anything it's going to eventually work against them. Once the novelty wears off, people will start seeing these for what they really are - extended trials with hidden payments if you want to fully participate. At that point people will use the trial to critique the game not as "something that's free" but as "something that's likely to cost at least $X over the next year". At that point the games had better stand up as solid experiences or people will just look for the next
    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      I'm with you on this one.

      I would much rather pay a monthly fee to play an MMO than play a micro-transaction supported one. It's much easier to control how much I spend on the game each month. I was pretty hardcore on both FFXI and WoW for quite some time (over it now, thankfully). I know there were "black markets" for currency trading around those games, but I never used them - partly for ethical reasons but, if I'm honest, mostly because I didn't want my account suspended. Legitimise that kind of thing - i

    • by geekoid (135745)

      A good game is a good game, how people pay is a different subject.

      What it does do is get more people looking at it, and in the cases of some games, make the company more money.

      Face it 60 bucks AND a monthly fee is a steep hill for a lot of people. A hill I won't climb again.

      • by Slider451 (514881)

        That's the key. More eyeballs give a great game a chance to catch on with folks who may have passed it by when it was subscription-only. It's worked so far for LOTRO, F2P for over a year and doing better than ever. F2P helps build server population, too, so the mature servers don't feel empty when passing through lower-level areas.

        I'll probably give DCO a look. Wouldn't have touched it otherwise. Same for SW:TOR. The barrier to entry is too steep for my discretionary game dollars. This from a loyal B

  • Wow, neat! At what payment level do I get to have my personal information stolen [soe.com]? I'm so excited, I can't wait to have my credit card number sold to the Russian mafia and my username and password hash posted on 4chan!

    • by qxcv (2422318)

      In Sony-speak, "poor internal security" translates into "massive business opportunity [soe.com]".

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Wow, neat! At what payment level do I get to have my personal information stolen? I'm so excited, I can't wait to have my credit card number sold to the Russian mafia and my username and password hash posted on 4chan!

      And don't forget, you can't form a class-action lawsuit, AND can only submit to arbitration!

      (Those PSN terms are coming to all Sony online services near you, if they haven't already).

  • I was recently involved in a discussion about F2P game models...here is a an except from a post I made regarding some recent experiences with F2P games (DC Universe most closely resembles DDO in the examples I give).

    ""Google free to play MMORPG some time, and see what is out there."

    I did that, and without exception, there was always some serious catch to the "free" part of the title. Paying wasn't much better.

    The worst example is my last experience--Runes of Magic. Most of the in-game equivalents of such th

    • by Fjandr (66656)

      The only F2P MMO I've ever played that had a developer who actually gave a shit was Puzzle Pirates. Then again, it's also the only MMO I've ever played that rewarded skill much more highly than how much you paid. A skilled player could easily afford anything in the game, and there's no such thing as level grind when all stats are ranked against averages created by all the players on the server. Create a new character and you can immediately rank at the top of the charts if you are among the best at playing

    • by Krneki (1192201)
      league of legends
    • I haven't played D&D Online, but I do play Lord of the Rings Online, which is also a Turbine game, and I believe the free / pay sub model works similarly.

      I'm a paying subscriber to LOTRO. As a paying sub, I get no limits on gold, bank use, auctions, etc. I also get 500 Coins a month to spend in the LOTRO Store.

      This does NOT get me all the content. Want Mines of Moria? That's extra. Want Mirkwood Forest? That's extra. Want Rise of Isengard? That's extra.

      But you know what? Say I'm a World of Warcraft subs

    • by ErikZ (55491) *

      I've been playing a ton of League of Legends, and I love their F2P model.

      If you simply can't afford to spend any money, and have a ton of jobless free time, you'll eventually own every character in the game.

      Even then, they rotate heroes around to the "Free" section for people to try out for a week at a time.

      I have a job, so I spent the money and bought a hero package. (More money than free time)

      There are two aspects of the game that are interesting. 1. The hero skins require you to spend money if you want t

    • by geekoid (135745)

      DDO has thousand of dungeons and modules that are free to play... and it' nothing like DC universe.

      OTOH, who can respect an opinion about MMORPG from someone who plays UO? no one, that's who.

      Yeah, there are thing in the games that you can pay for. That's the point.

  • IMHO the real way for any MMORPG, who didn't want to goes F2P (Free To Play), it is going for a B2P (Buy To Play) with Item Shop, with item that are just esthetic. Like Guild Wars or Guild Wars 2!
    • Guild Wars isn't just aesthetic anymore, though. With the $10/slot "Player Character heroes," (and, arguably, as far back as the additional inventory panes at $10/pane), the GW store absolutely sells in-game advantage for RL money now.

      That decision was what made me decide not to get GW2, rendering my 50/50 HoM a waste...

    • by ProppaT (557551)

      I agree, I think the real future of MMOs is going to be the Guild Wars model. Its sustainable for the developer and keeps players playing by not beating up their wallet. It also encourages the developer to pump out expansions and not put out a game until it's properly balanced. Borderlands was a great example of this as well. It was B2P, yet came out with 4 quality expansions in a years time. While the expansions were smaller compared to most MMO expansions, they also only cost $10 each. I have a feel

  • by toriver (11308) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @06:31AM (#37454012)

    About time.

    Oh wait, that wasn't it was it...

  • It's time to get out of your parents' basement if you have enough time to play several MMOs (and be any good at any one of them), but lack the financial means to do so.

    • Reminds me of this comic: What it's Like to Play Games Online as an Adult [theoatmeal.com].
      • by geekoid (135745)

        That comic should be titles:
        "What's it;s like for a dumb ass adult who doesn't know how to keep a social gaming group of peers so he grabs just anyone to play and then bitches when he doesn't like them."

        To long?

        And for the record, I have a tight group of peers I play with, but when my wife wants to go out and get funky, I drop therm like a hot potato.

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@yahoo.cMENCKENom minus author> on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @10:43AM (#37455806)

    Free as in; I do not have to give them any personal information, any business information, any money, and free of any chance installing their software will effect my computer? That would be the only circumstances I would involve myself with Sony.

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