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Author Topic: Fee Increases  (Read 27630 times)

Offline Solase

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2005, 08:43:18 PM »
Outragous!  When does SOE realize that they are LOSING PEOPLE!!!!  Raising prices on an already too high per month cost is ridiculous and to attempt to hide said fees saying that expenses has gone up is laughable!  Expenses are always increasing, but SOE is making money hand over fist and has been for quite some time on EQ.  Taking such actions as this will NOT make them more money in the long run.  What it will do is choke out those riding the fence about staying in the game.  The only saving grace that has kept myself in EQ is the yearly specials they have offered over the past two years at their anniversary:  the 12 months for $99 .  The price of playing EQ online should have NEVER risen above $10 a month.  Anymore and it's plain gluttony on SOE's part and has ruined our population time and again.  It's pretty obvious that SOE is heading their MMO generation down a slow and painful death slope.


Offline JillieMT

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2005, 09:04:35 PM »
Welcome Solase!

I gotta say though... your accusations are faulty. They are not getting any new subscribers, so how are you to cover increasing costs, with fewer subscribers? Your only recourse is to raise prices... period. There is no other way to raise the funds to continue the service at... oh gosh, dare I say it... a profit? There, I said it... SOE is a business!  :-)

This is all basic economics here people.

Also, price raises did nothing to "ruin our population." Perhaps you haven't heard of a few little games called World of Warcraft and Everquest 2? Those are the reasons why people moved on.
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Offline Koullyn

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2005, 12:05:47 PM »
Actually how are their costs going up? They have elminated underpopulated servers which put old server clusters out of use which could then be re-added to the newly merged servers for more horsepower. Bandwidth gets cheaper by the day. They have elminated almost ALL of their support staff and from the last few expansions I have seen not much thought is put into anything anymore so developers are thin. SOE has cut costs at every corner at the expense of their user base so I don't understand how you can say their expenses are going up. The only expenses they have increasing is padding pockets. In the tech industry lecacy apps do not increase in price they level out and maintenance becomes quite cheap.
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Offline JillieMT

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2005, 12:42:46 PM »
OK, thus far, this entire conversation is speculation. If you think the costs of running EQ are getting cheaper, prove it. Show me some numbers. It seems we have alot of economists here, so maybe they should start backing their claims with numbers.

I'll be handing out the tin foil for hats later.  :-D
Lady Jillianna Silversoul and Cody
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Offline Kylanzek

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2005, 04:32:58 PM »
Well, I had a 2 paragraph run down of real world numbers (if I shut off one server and merged where I work).  But I thought I'd spare you all that. 

There is a much simpler way to look at this:

Cost of going to see Star Wars Ep III:   

$7.50      ticket
$1.50      for gas ( more like $5 for me since I live in the sticks).
$10.00   Popcorn, soda, gummy bears, etc.  (don't say you wont buy it, theres no reason to go to the movies cept popcorn after the home theatre boom).
_______
$19.00   (this is if you like to watch movies by yerself.....add $10 if your taking the wife or girlfriend, more if you have kids.)

$19.00 for 2h 20m of entertainment.

$14.99 for EverQuest.....potentially 720 hours of entertainment.   I spend that much in one trip to the store.  EverQuest is still the cheapest entertainment around.

And don't go spoutin off about all the expansion you HAD to buy....no one held a gun to your head.  Classic/Trilogy play just fine.
Savage Lord Kylanzek Breezybottom
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Offline Kylanzek

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2005, 04:39:54 PM »
Also....if anyone here has a right to complain, I do......I've already starting paying 14.99:

Transaction Date              Order No.                         Description                        Amount
5/12/05                             996002648                  EQ Subscriptions                   $14.99
4/7/05                               995172716                  EQ Subscriptions                   $12.95

 :-o
« Last Edit: May 25, 2005, 04:42:38 PM by Kylanzek »
Savage Lord Kylanzek Breezybottom
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Offline Mahes

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2005, 04:43:38 PM »
SOE provides entertainment as a service, just like the example above.  They're raising their prices to a competitive rate.  It's not unheard of in any entertainment industry.  Honestly, if a couple more bucks a month ensures that the Devs and QA are making a competitive wage and SOE is bringing in enough money to remain profitable in the eyes of their upper management, I'm fine with it.

Wages increase, businesses that provide services to SOE, such as leases, charge more as time goes.  It's just the nature of things.

Offline Tchara

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2005, 05:08:37 PM »
I have to agree with the above posters.  SOE is in the business of making money.  As long as the game is showing a profit the suits will continue to support it.  However, making unsubstantiated claims of corporate greed is really just a knee jerk reaction to the price increases.  All in all $14.99 is relatively inexpensive given the amount of enjoyment I get out of the game.  It's certainly considerably less than I pay for cable and I play EQ more than I watch TV.
-T

Offline Solase

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2005, 01:32:46 PM »
Welcome Solase!

I gotta say though... your accusations are faulty. They are not getting any new subscribers, so how are you to cover increasing costs, with fewer subscribers? Your only recourse is to raise prices... period. There is no other way to raise the funds to continue the service at... oh gosh, dare I say it... a profit? There, I said it... SOE is a business!  :-)

This is all basic economics here people.

Also, price raises did nothing to "ruin our population." Perhaps you haven't heard of a few little games called World of Warcraft and Everquest 2? Those are the reasons why people moved on.


All I have to say, Guild Wars is managing to do it  :-P .  With SOE releasing on average 2 expansions a year now and knowing that all of us levels 60+ are going to buy the new content who are staying, I'd say they have a pretty guaranteed return on investment there alone.  At least NCSoft realizes this and has taken a much better and different approach to their customers:  "Keep the customer happy!"  What a concept!!!  As someone mentioned earlier as well, how many things have gone unfixed for how long now?  To give you an idea of some SIMPLE FIXES that should have been fixed a long, long time ago, what about our claws that when worn are turned backwards?!?  How freakin hard is it to invert the graphic and attach it to the existing equipment!?!  Even I could manage to do that one  :-P

Offline Koullyn

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2005, 02:19:21 PM »
Has nothing to do with being an economist, I run a web hosting company and have for the past 5 years. In 2000 a site that gave you 1gb of space and 50gb of bandwidth would have run you over $199/month, today that same site will run you about $9.95 with most hosts. The reason???? Bandwidth and disk space are extremely cheap now. The support staff you speak of was mostly outsourced so they do not stay competitive with US rates and the development is mostly off shoots of EQ2 development now. There is very little originality being made for EQ, for the last two years we were a beta test for the release of EQ2. Every new feature they added they said would be an existing feature of EQ2.

I agree with the GuildWars comment, they are making enough off of the software to justify the online play. Blizzard has done that for years with Diablo also. I know EQ is different, but there is little justification for making the existing population even unhappier with rate increases.
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Offline Solase

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2005, 10:07:28 PM »
I agree with the GuildWars comment, they are making enough off of the software to justify the online play. Blizzard has done that for years with Diablo also. I know EQ is different, but there is little justification for making the existing population even unhappier with rate increases.

Then at least you see my point.  Software development along with the movie industry has made money hand over fist during the last 20+ years.  From my Financial Accounting class, I specifically remember them having a blurb regarding the movie "Forest Gump".  At the box office, it grossed more than $600 million, yet they were able to claim it as a loss as they creatively worked the number to show that it cost them $630 million.  This is a practice that extends over into the oil industry, entertainment industry, etc...  So to think that EQ is not profitable or would not be profitable for SOE to charge only $9.95, you should consider the fact that they are able to offer the $99 a year offer (or $8.25 a month).  They would not offer such a deal if it was not profitable.  I'm glad that you have done well with your small ISP company and I completely understand that you may feel that SOE's belt is tightening due to inflation.  However, they have a larger purse and also more clients than a small ISP provider has and therefore cut huge amounts in less amount of manpower needed as well as the cumulative interest accrued from the multi billions of dollars invested throughout the corporation as a whole.

Think of climbing a hill to get to the otherside where the grass is greener.  Most large corporations that are managed correctly are over the hardest part and on the downward slope.  They can aquire smaller companies, merge departments, and cut manpower so what once took twice the amount of manpower is consolidated under one large umbrella.  SOE is like any other company: in the business of making money.  When they see a product of theirs start to decline, they do what most large corporations do; shift the funds to a more promising product without analyzing if the product is still making them a large profit.  I've seen it happen time and again.  Chrysler bought Dollar, Thrifty, and Snappy rent a car and merged them under the "Pentastar" umbrella.  When numbers declined for the rental car business in the mid 90's (and only a small decline to say the least), they spent millions of dollars splitting the 3 companies apart again and sold them all off one by one.  Today, Dollar and Thrifty Rent a Car are worth about twice as much as they were on the Nasdaq 10 years ago!

In closing, SOE is just making more poor decisions based on a short term experience.  As many others have stated, people (including myself) left EQ for a short while to check out WoW, EQ2, etc.. yet, many of us have returned to EQ for the simple fact that those products don't hold our attention as well as EQ.  Instead of investigating and correcting areas that would make the newbie levels more captivating, they have decided to put all their efforts into EQ2 (ie. what you said about us being the beta testers for EQ2).  So again, many areas that need fixes applied or whole new reworks (ie. Smedley's claim to redo all the character models over a year ago that has not and from last account will not happen) go left unattended which speaks volumes to us the consumer that SOE does no longer care about it's EQ product to the extent of it being a viable continued commodity.  Raising pricing on EQ is most likely not to cover the cost of inflation on keeping EQ up and running, but more to the point of covering the failed EQ2 product which from what I remember had many budget overruns.  They have lost a large contingent of EQ players to WoW and now NCSoft has come along and smashed them again with the release of Guild Wars which promises (and from what I've seen so far delivers) a very captivating MMO that has less downtime for patching than any other MMO and provides a full featured RPG with no, yes NO! monthly fee!

Please don't try to justify (at least not to me) the necessity for SOE raising monthly subscription rates.  Many of my friends, many articles I have read, etc.. people have stated time and again that they feel it's silly to have to pay for a monthly subscription.  I, however, don't feel that way, but I do feel that charging $15 a month is going beyond standard profitability to gluttony on SOE's part.  By us paying a monthly subscription rate, we should feel that within the same amount of cost spent it was worth more than going out and buying a new game on the market (ie. at $10 a month in 5 months it should feel like we spent are money more wisely than say going out and buying Guild Wars) .

Offline Daarr

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2005, 02:15:27 AM »
Unfortunately this is the corporate world we live in today. It's not enough for a company to be profitable. The corporation must not only show profit, but show growth as well.
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Offline Iskandar

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2005, 03:45:13 AM »
EverQuest's pricing fits in right with everyone elses. These prices are all current as of 10 minutes ago according to the official websites of each respective game:

Monthly Term................. 1 ........ 3 ....... 6 ..... 12 ...... 24

EverQuest....................14.99...13.99...12.99...11.99....8.33
EverQuest II.................14.99...13.99...12.99...11.99....n/a
World of Warcraft..........14.99...13.99...12.99....n/a......n/a
Dark Age of Camelot.......14.95...13.45...11.95...11.45....n/a
Star Wars Galaxies.........14.99...13.99...12.99...11.99....n/a
City of Heroes...............14.95...13.95...12.95...n/a.......n/a
Lineage 2.....................14.95...13.95...12.95...11.95....n/a
Horizons.......................12.95...11.95...10.95.....9.37...n/a
Shadowbane.................12.99...11.66...10.84.....9.99...n/a
Planetside.....................12.99...12.00...10.83...10.00....n/a

SOE also offers the All Access Pass for $21.99/month -- if you play more than one Sony game (EQ, EQ2, Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies, plus a few other miscellaneous ones) this will save you money over the monthly flat rate. Since I play EQ, EQ2, and Planetside, I pay $21.99 instead of $42.97, so I rather like this -- plus I get free expansions in EQ2 and some other perks.

Guild Wars will make its profit by selling expansions. Want to play something other than John Doe Human? You gotta pay for it. NCSoft did this in Shadowbane also -- want to play a cool race with extra abilities? Pay for a year subscription in advance... it didn't fly as well as they'd hoped. I'm curious if they will continue this if the expansions don't sell well. I'm also curious what type of customer service they offer, if any. Bear in mind, too, that GW is not in the same category of game as EQ/WoW.

The monthly fee provides Sony/Blizzard/Mythic/NCSoft/etc with the resources to do a great many things, but primarily it fulfills one very important need all of these companies share -- no one works for free. Personnel costs are the single largest expense for ANY company, and unlike things like web hosting, they don't go down with time. My salary has steadily increased over the last six years -- I wouldn't even consider a job that paid me now what I made six years ago. My benefits have also improved dramatically. The MMORPG market is highly competitive, with new venture's starting up all the time, and existing ones always seeking to expand. If WoW wants to get some experienced people for their team, where they gonna look? Sony would be my first guess -- Brad looked there first when he started Vangard. So Sony's options are to let their most experienced and skilled people trickle away to better job offers, or to provide suitable compensation so that they are not as easily tempted. Where does that compensation come from? Scroll up to that chart above :)
Wildcaller Iskandar Darkpaw --  80 Beastlord, Cohort Chalybeius, Cazic Thule

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Offline Khayden

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2005, 02:54:26 PM »
Sony have a duty to their shareholders to make as much money as they can, as does every company. 

It's basic economics, if people are willing to pay it they'll charge it.  I've worked in software development with outsourcing etc and project budgets long enough to know that outsourcing is no cheaper in the long run and development staff get paid more every year if you want to keep them, and development times go up the older the product is.

Bottom line:  Price is dictated by what people will pay and $15 is a pittance for the amount of hours of play I get out of EQ.

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Offline Stingite

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Re: Fee Increases
« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2005, 03:35:13 PM »
Just to chime in on the Guild Wars angle here . . . 1) GW expansions will be higher priced than EQ's expansions . . . 2) GW is basically a giant LDoN . . . everything is instanced, which means there will NOT be a lot of hours and hours of QA to ensure the persistant world is balanced and golden for their players.  Although some of EQ's work is less than golden for sure . . . and to see EQ charging more money when more and more of their content is becoming instanced . . . well . . . um . . . at least you can still raid stuff . . . you can't do that in GW :-D