The Coffee Break. 28 February 2014
Guild Wars 2 makes a move in China with their plan to introduce the “pay-once” model that they have been using in the west for quite some time. According to Gamasutra.com NCSoft and ArenaNet have decided when they launch Guild Wars 2 in China later this year, they will use the same business model as the one used in the west. Now coming away from the article, as readers we are quite pleased to see that NCSoft and ArenaNet have decided to give the Chinese market the same treatment as their western counterparts. Asia’s gaming market is dominated by free-to-play titles, as well as time-based pay-to-play models, so it will come as a relief to Asian buyers in general (though this particular release is aimed at China) when they begin to see alternatives to the current models available in their region. Indeed subscription-based games continue to hold onto a steady base of supporters – with World of Warcraft being the obvious example – but the market is quite ready to see more free-to-play or pay-once models come into play. Another good alternative to the whole “one or the other” concept is hybrid models (and this is just coming from my thoughts). The hybrid model can be similar to how Planetside 2 or The Old Republic does it in that you can – if you want – subscribe to the game and get all these additional perks like faster experience, and bonus cosmetic items per month, on top of priority log-ins and customer service priority – this along with an in-game store. However where this can go horribly wrong is that the game takes an almost predator-like approach – as seen with a lot of tablet and smart phone games – of which they will literally stop you from progressing unless you buy something.
The predator-like approach however is easier to get away with on tablet and smart phone games than on PC or console games, though there is still the risk of it occurring should the company produce a free-to-play title and are in need of fast cash to keep their lights on. After all the video games industry is like any other entertainment industry: they do this to make money. Regardless however, NCSoft have taken the right steps in order to attract more players from a market that is drowning in free-to-play games that are fairly predator-like in nature. Ever play through JRPGs? Notice how badly they handicap you to the point where you are spending 3 to 4 months straight just to get to – say – level 50 if the level cap in the game is 150? Western gamers are quite lucky in that the games they have to choose from take a more ethical approach to marketing, as opposed to the Asian market where they do charge by the hour. You can read more on this story in the link below.
That’s all folks for today’s coffee break. Have a good rest of the day, a good weekend, and I will see you next time.