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Titan and monetization - your thoughts?


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#1
Falloubst

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Hey guys and girls,

I wonder what your thoughts on Titan and monetization are.

What do you think which model is Titan going to use and why? Do you think that Titan will use a traditional (payment) method or establish its own way of monetization?

Here are some models that are currently being used in the (MMO) genre.

1. Subscription based or pay-to-play (e.g. RIFT, WoW): You pay a monthly fee in order to play the game. There might be an additonal cash shop where you can buy cosmetic items (mounts and such) with real-world currency. You have to buy the boxed version too to play the game. Expansions usually cost money too; however, EVE Online for expample doesn't charge players for its new expansions.

2. Free-to-play: There is no monthly fee required, you don't need to buy a box (or license key) to play the game. However, some free-to-play games offer a premium subscriptions which often grant players additional power (i.e. XP boost). Cash shops always play a big part in the free-to-play model, offering power items, XP boost etc. In some free-to-play titles, players are kind of forced to use the cash shop if they want to compete with other players.

3. Buy-to-play: Think about Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. You buy the boxed game and you can play it, without having to pay extra money. There might be cash shops (with more ore less cosmetic items only) to make sure the game has a steady "income". Diablo III, even it's not an MMO, uses the "Real-Money Auction House" ("RMAH" for short) to gain real money from its playerbase. In Diablo III, players are able to sell in-game items for real-world currency to other players. Everytime an item (or in-game gold) has been sold on the RMAH, Blizzard gets some money off of that transaction.

So, those are basically the models that come into my mind when I think about MMO and monetization.

Here's my personal opinion:

I'm almost a 100 percent sure that we will have to buy a license key (boxed version or digital download) to play the game. IMHO those initial sales are very important to a game company. The Diablo III sales showed us that Blizzard is able to build up a lot of hype around a game. I think Blizzard would be *stupid* if they wouldn't use their ability to "convince" people to buy their games at launch.

Some Blizzard employees (I think Paul Sams, Mike Morhaime & Jeffrey Kaplan) stated that Titan and WoW may co-exist. The Titan development team is not trying to kill or to compete with WoW. With that in mind, another subscription based MMO wouldn't be logical. I think it's almost safe to say that most (MMO) players only like to pay for one subscription based game per month. Maybe Blizzard will offer a subscription bundle, if you want to play both games at the same time. But if they release Titan as a "standard" subscription-based game, people will either play WoW or Titan, not both. And that's not what I think that Blizzard wants, they want us to play all of their games.

Another fact is that there're lot of people (I think) who don't want to pay a monthly fee in order to play a game. Blizzard said that Titan should appeal to the masses. And what if majority of people don't want to pay for games anymore?

I personally think that Titan is going to use its own, new way of monetization - in-game advertisements, RMAH, maybe a cash shop with cosmetic items.

- Falloubst

#2
Sarnakyle

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Titan will have a "box" that you must buy to play. I wonder if it will be all digital copies by then, with the collectors edition (which I will buy :) ) being the only physical copy available. I feel the same as you, Titan will most likely have a unique monetary system. I'm really not to crazy about the idea of in-game ads because I don't want real life creeping into my game. However it would generate a lot of cash for Titan that isn't coming out of my pocket. Myself and a couple people from this site have stated that Titan will not support an RMAH do to the fact that it is probably gonna go eSport. But as I think about it, does RMAH really disqualify you from being eSport?

Anyway since this is a theory crafting thread about ways Titan is gonna pay for itself, I'll put this article out there (read point #9). It's a bit crazy but maybe it's on the right tracks. Who knows :)

http://www.titanever...ke-to-the-bank/

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#3
mynsc

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Even though the subject is really interesting (love your thoughts Falloubust), I haven't said anything here because I'd just repeat myself. I already wrote 2 articles on the subject (Titan's revenue models and RMAH in Titan [speculation]) and my opinion is still pretty much the same.

Myself and a couple people from this site have stated that Titan will not support an RMAH do to the fact that it is probably gonna go eSport. But as I think about it, does RMAH really disqualify you from being eSport?


Interesting thought. I'm actually not that convinced that Blizzard will go for the eSport approach, although it's a pretty popular option these days with almost all the multiplayer games. If they go with it, I really don't think an RMAH would fit with this philosophy.

We have Starcraft as an example. Most of the PROs first start in the ladder system, where they play together with everyone. Giving real-money advantages here would mess up the ladder and also make people mad as f**k when playing against RMAH users. If we consider SC2 again, just think how mad people are when they get cheesed or how disrespected the players that constantly cheese are. This would be much, much worse, especially since it would be very easy for someone to realize you've been sticking your hand in the cookie jar. :D

They'd have to completely separate the players that are aiming towards PRO status from the rest and I think that would be a pretty bad design decision.

Anyway, the eSport thingie is an interest subject, thanks for bringing it up Sarnakyle. Will ponder about it a bit. :)

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#4
papaz

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Titan will have a "box" that you must buy to play. I wonder if it will be all digital copies by then, with the collectors edition (which I will buy :) ) being the only physical copy available. I feel the same as you, Titan will most likely have a unique monetary system. I'm really not to crazy about the idea of in-game ads because I don't want real life creeping into my game. However it would generate a lot of cash for Titan that isn't coming out of my pocket. Myself and a couple people from this site have stated that Titan will not support an RMAH do to the fact that it is probably gonna go eSport. But as I think about it, does RMAH really disqualify you from being eSport?

Anyway since this is a theory crafting thread about ways Titan is gonna pay for itself, I'll put this article out there (read point #9). It's a bit crazy but maybe it's on the right tracks. Who knows :)

http://www.titanever...ke-to-the-bank/


Heelllllllllllz yeaah, he also thinks Titan will be released in 2015 just like me :)

On topic

1. I don't think Titan will have subscription model due to the fact WoW has it already.

2. I think there will be some kind of buying virtual goods for money. Whether this is RMAH or Blizzard putting up a store or a combination is hard to tell without any info on the game. But since we all believe there will be player houses and some kind of "sims" feeling to the virtual world i don't see how Blizzard wouldn't sell stuff like "furniture" or features that will make the player house more awesome.

Or this could also be sold on RMAH.

3. I don't think gear will be sold for money. If the game indeed has two sides of it, like one "Sims life" and one "combat, questing life" I think they will cater to the masses by having Sims moneytized and combat gear acquired by putting in hours. This way players that wants to "play house" can do so without interfering with other gamers that wants to min-max and fight each other or quest/raid.

One thing I sincerely hope they have learned from WoW is try not to divide the community into PvP and PvE by having two sets of gear with different stats. That just divided the community and the infinite qq's "why can you win PvE gear in bg/arena" or "why can you clear dungeons/raids with PvP gear".

#5
rs10rs10

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I actualy think Titan will have some sort of Subscription model, because it's just much more profitable (is that a word in english?) than the Buy 2 Play Model. And I really don't think Blizzard would want to replace WoW, with another game that earns them much less money.

Blizzard currently have atleast 9 million people willing to pay 15 dollars(or whatever it is) each month, they don't want to lose them. At the same time Blizzard(as Mynsc said) don't want to have people stop subscribing to WoW, because the people that start playing Titan instead of WoW, might just end up quiting Titan, and not come back to WoW again causing a loss for Blizzard. Therefor I'm pretty sure ,that Blizzard will first of all create a new Annual Pass. Secondly they will maybe give x% discount to people subscribing to both games. Because the most important thing for Blizzard when Titan launches, is to have a successful launch, and a lot of subscribers very fast so the game can grow. They already have 9 million people paying every month for WoW, so if Blizzard plays there cards right, they will probably be able to get millions of the people currently playing WoW, to also play Titan.

(Wrote this on my smartphone, so lots of grammar mistakes I think)

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#6
DevilsD

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My thoughts on the subject.

I think they will have Ingame Ads as well as an RMAH. No Pay to Play, just a single one time Box payment.

Their recurring revenue will come from Advertisements and through Items Bought and Sold on the RMAH.

The success of Ingame Advertisements depends on Exposure, the level of exposure and the duration of exposure. The longer a player is exposed to ads the more they stick in the back of their mind, especially if the ads they are describing is relevant to the audience in a significant way and all my bets are on Blizzard having one kick ass team which will do just that. So how to keep players exposed? By creating an environment that keeps the player involved and engaged in the game world, the AH and RMAH will play a part in this as they are there to show the players the level of Gear/Items and Equipment avaliable to them, this gives the player something to push for.

If im a low level character starting out and i stumble upon the AH, i search for awesome gear i can buy, obviously i wont have alot of Money but i really really want a kickass new sword so ive just set myself a Goal. I spend X amount of time playing the game to accumulate needed gold to buy my sword all the while im being exposed to ads along the way.

If Blizzard is to support this model for Ingame Ads then they will model the game mechanics to encourage players to spend more time in the game, whether they take a similar aproach as WoW by adding long drawn out Traversal Times on "public transport" or through Daily Quests which require you to login day after day for X amount of times before you get some shitty mount :p This increases the duration of Exposure for those Ads.

This Strategy and Model doesnt compete with WoW and allows for both Communities to exist and i dare say the Majority of players will be playing them both for that simple reason, they can continue paying and playing WoW but also spend Free Time in their one time payment Titan and choose to buy ingame Items through the RMAH.

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#7
Silverthorn

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I actualy think Titan will have some sort of Subscription model, because it's just much more profitable (is that a word in english?) than the Buy 2 Play Model. And I really don't think Blizzard would want to replace WoW with another game that earns them much less money.

Blizzard currently have atleast 9 million people willing to pay 15 dollars(or whatever it is) each month, they don't want to lose them. At the same time Blizzard(as Mynsc said)they don't want to have people stop subscribing to WoW because the people that start playing Titan instead of WoW might just end up quiting Titan and not come back to WoW again causing a loss for Blizzard. Therefor I'm pretty sure that Blizzard will first of all create a new Annual Pass. Secondly they will give x% discount to people subscrining both games. Because the most importent thing for Blizzard when Titan launches, is to get a lot of subscribers very fast so the game can grow. When they already have 9 million people paying every month for WoW, so if Blizzard plays there cards right, they will probably be able to get millions of the people currently playing WoW, to also play Titan.

(Wrote this on my smartphone, so lots of grammar mistakes I think)


Agree with everything you say except the % discount. :)

#8
rs10rs10

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Yeah, I could definitely be wrong on that on with the %, just throwing some ideas out there :)

"Rogues guard the secrets to poison-making carefully, lest magi start incorporating poison into their spells. Poisonbolt? Rain of Poison? Poison Elemental? Nobody wants that."


#9
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I think Blizzard will find a way to make the revenue streams incredibly flexible to cater to a wider variety of players / budgets / play styles. I'm also betting they will throw in something we have potentially never seen before, although I have no idea what it would be...just a hunch.

I'm expecting something along the lines of:

1. Hybrid subscription model (some F2P w/ cheaper monthly sub for geater access etc.)
2. Item Mall / Micro Transactions (when they added this to WoW, it tripled its profitability, they won't walk away from that)
3. Real Money Auction House
4. In-Game Advertising
5. Box / Digital Copy / Collectors Edition one time payments
6. Possible new, never before seen revenue model / generator

It will definitely be interesting to see what / how they actually end up monetizing the game.

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#10
DevilsD

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1. Hybrid subscription model (some F2P w/ cheaper monthly sub for geater access etc.)


I dont think this one is Blizzards style, i dont think they would force people to have to spend more money just access another Zone of the Game for example. This is obviously leaving out Expansion Packs unless you were directly refering to those.

But a Free to Play Model with Exclusive Content for those who can afford it seems a tad unfair and not really in Blizzards interests to create such divisions in their games.

Your other Models seem quite viable though. I guess time will tell.

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#11
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I have to sort of agree with you all to a degree, mainly because we have no clue, but partly because it makes sense.
  • RMAH seems very strong because of its use in Diablo III as a test (as mentioned above). Honestly, I think the revenue from the AH would be enough to sustain the MMO because, people won't be paying a monthly fee they'll use that to justify buying things from the AH every now and then or by buying from the e-store.
  • Paying for just the game also makes sense, appealing to that sims-esque casual idea that's floating around.
  • A more crazy point... they may even make WoW F2P with one off payment, using it as a sort of 'gateway game' into the Blizzard gamesverse. Plus, I imagine they'll close/merge some servers to save costs and make it more viable.
Ergo, I believe the above points are Blizzards most effective way of keeping a similar revenue stream without using an outdated model - as I'm sure having subscription will turn off many players and not having it will shoot player numbers through the roof.

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#12
Sarnakyle

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I was thinking about how Collectors Editions for Blizzard games will unlock goodies for their other games. (e.x. CE HotS will unlock Blade Wings in D3) This will get people who only play Diablo to buy CE Starcraft. This got me wondering if they could find a way to push the sales of there standard editions and, yes, I think they can.

What if Titan has a system that will unlock items for gaining achevements in other games? So defeating inferno with a Demon Hunter would unlock a special crossbow skin or something like that in Titan? Not only would this get people to buy Blizzard's other games but play them as well, and therefore be more likely to use the monetization systems for those games (RMAH for example). I don't think that Blizzard could do this for current games; meaning only games released after Titan could support this feature do to the backlash from people who couldn't or haven't gotten those achievements. I also know that people would love this feature, but a lot would hate it as well. Love it or hate it you know that it would work to push their games.

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#13
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Just implement a separate battle net achievement system, not game specific.

#14
WickedWitchy

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Whenever I read in-game ads I cringe a little...

 

Bear with me with this but I sincerely hope there won't be any. I have played ( and if anybody laughs I will cut some faces ) Neopets for a very long time back in the day. Now while this is a very childish game it had a certain charm to it and it acquired a MASSIVE amount of players. The site had minimal small ads at first but when it was bought by Viacom all hell broke lose, resulting in an NPC Mall ( items for real money ) and every game being linked to a product. Eventually it became a crapfest of Nickelodeon ads, ads for cereals, ads for toys and so on. Needless to say, even though it still receives massive hits daily most people I know have abandoned it.

 

In-game advertising would put me off a lot, especially given the context in which we are playing. As DevilsD mentioned, it's all about exposure and frankly, I'm not here for a lot of exposure while I'm playing a game. I'm like Sarna that way, I don't like 'real life' things invading my game play, at all. When I'm in the zone of gaming I don't hear, see or wish to hear/see anything that is not in my interest at that time. An ad, no matter how small, would seriously annoy me.

 

Personally, I feel there is room for another subscription based MMO, maybe not like WoW but a smaller amount? Like some people suggested there is a lot of options for combo packs and such. Heck, even maybe give people a choice like websites do: go premium ( subscription ) and you will have no ads. I would pay money to not have them in all honesty. So another subscription would be fine in my book.


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#15
Eremite

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Personally, I feel there is room for another subscription based MMO, maybe not like WoW but a smaller amount? Like some people suggested there is a lot of options for combo packs and such. Heck, even maybe give people a choice like websites do: go premium ( subscription ) and you will have no ads. I would pay money to not have them in all honesty. So another subscription would be fine in my book.

 

I agree with this, and if there's any company that can still get away with a subcription model then it would certainly be Blizzard.  They've already set their own precedent with WoW.  While that doesn't mean there won't be in-game adds or some kind of supplementary income for them in Titan, I am comfortable saying that the subscription model will still be the primary mode of gameplay.



#16
jackjack1337

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makes me bit worried with 9million subs on WoW atm to bring Titan out with there WoW mmo going so strong could be risky on the money side... makes me think they will only release titan when blizzard starts too see steady drop in subs... so im going to say there might not be monthly fees... i think there will be RMAH and money from adds... i love them both makes the game more Real



#17
Orhai

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i dont think rmah will make it to titan i think blizzard is not happy with the result in d3 and it would be harder to implement into a mmo but i do think there will be:

 

pay to play ship box/collecter edition hard copies to retailers+digital normal and delux free after purchase and free to try

 

cash shop for furniture/social pets/social costumes/character slots/guildhousing?+ingamevoiceservers?

 

ingame adds i expect to see blizzard stuff like clothes authenticators etc. and also possibly add space for computer hardware vendors maybe limited to blizzard styled items tho like blizzard game themed equipment and of course advertisment of blizzard lore books/events/companiansites i dont think the add system at least initially will be open to things like mcdonalds or alienware and such unless it fits well with the area advertised in

 

expansions ever ~2 year that you have to buy to play



#18
Eremite

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i dont think rmah will make it to titan i think blizzard is not happy with the result in d3 and it would be harder to implement into a mmo...

 

I think it's quite possible we will see a revamped version of the RMAH in Titan.  Rob Pardo's interview at the MoP launch event gives signals that they're generally moving forward with the idea given all the new data they've gathered.  The RHAM part of the interview starts at 7:16.

 

 

Here's a transcript of the relevant part:

 

Lindsay: "Now that we're a few months away from the release of Diablo 3, can you tell us how the Real Money Auction House worked out for Blizzard, and are you happy with the feature and how it was received by players, and would you consider adding the same existing feature to the game or even existing games?"

 

Pardo: "I would say that internally the way we look at the feature right now is mixed.  I think it was really a big experiment and it's something that in some ways has done really well, in some ways has really changed the game a lot.  I think it gets to be a very complex answer because there's the component that's the Real Money Auction House and there's just the part that's the Auction House. 

 

When you see a lot of the complaints on the forums they're talking about how it's gotten so easy to skip to the best items in the game and how it devalues your progression or your advancement.  Well, a lot of that would happen with any sort of auction house.  Even if you're paying gold auction house you'd have that same sort of feeling.  So you kinda gotta separate that from the real money component of it which also has its own unique issues.  Obviously, anyone that plays the game now looks at items with a dollar sign attached.  Which, again, with all the different games out there that have micro-transactions I think that's much more acceptable.  But it definitely has damaged in some people's mind the purity of the game. 

 

But one of the main reasons why we did it was that we know that there's going to be a lot of third-party auction sites out there and we felt like, okay, well that's already going to be in existence so we'd rather give players a safe, secure way of doing that.  I think in that way it's been successful. 

 

We're really talking a lot internally though of what's the right way to evolve or iterate on the auction house and that's something we're actually trying to figure out right now.

 

It seems clear given the last sentence that Blizzard is looking to expand and refine the auction house idea.  I would say that includes real money since the main reason they did it in the first place (third-party sites) still exists and Pardo said that part of the experiment was successful.



#19
Orhai

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rmah was an attempt to legitimize a out of control black market economy of pixel rmt trading and at the same time make a little money off it but i think blizzard by expanding that market in their games they are giving even more motivation to professional players/hackers to make and lander money through their game every month there is a new "tool" that sends the d3 economy on a roller coaster and countless other "tools" that remain in private hands keeping the ah the most profitable way to play the game wether it be secretbid flipping/friendlyprofitmarginguarantee commodity price manipulation on a grand scale(sell 10 buy back for minimum or low price 100s of times to manipulate regular players to place thier own commodities at lower than market value than buy those up also) or botting or hackign blizzards servers or of course the classic way duping or currenly there is rumors of an even more classic cheat people have learned how to actually manipulate the very stat rolls on items but hopefully this was fixed in the emergency maintenance

 

now obviously none of this stuff is new in any game you can buy and sell pixels legit or not but the point im trying to make is that what the rmah did was turn a blackmarket that only had a small portion of the game population as consumers into a legit market that had a much larger portion of players as consumers and at the cost of dealing with a multiplied effect of the above as well as living with the cost to the integrity of the game i dont think blizzards revenue from the rmah is enough to offset those costs



#20
Aereus

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Subscriptions are still where the real money is made for MMOs. There's a reason nearly all of them start as subscription and only use F2P as a fallback -- it's just flatout more lucrative. I see no reason to believe the game won't be potentially profitable enough for them to also start it out as a subscription service.

 

The most likely scenario is what we've already seen from Sony: A "Battle.net Subscription" for $20-25/mo that gives you access to both WoW and Titan. Or of course, the ability to still subscribe to just one for the normal $15/mo.

 

I would also be fine with them offering in-game ad-supported accounts (possibly with certain content restrictions) as long as the subscription choice is still there. I like my gameplay experience to be straightforward. I don't want to have to think about how my account is gated, or what each piecemeal content is going to cost me, etc. Charge me $15 for the month and give me All The Things.