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What if EA offered a lifetime subscription?

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Sargon, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. Sargon

    Sargon Seasoned Veteran
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    Many new MMO's are offering lifetime subscriptions upon release, with that one-time revenue presumably being used to recoup their initial development costs. What if EA were to roll the dice on a lifetime subscription option for UO, with the intent of financing a complete overhaul of the game engine to bring it in line with other modern games? This would be a calculated risk, since if it failed then the game would likely die a much faster death due to the loss of monthly revenue. On the other hand, if it succeeded then they could potentially attract enough new players to make up the monthly revenue difference and more. There is no doubt that UO in its current state will continue to lose players until at some unknown time in the future it becomes no longer viable to continue. Why not attempt a one-time lifetime subscription "cash grab" and take a chance on breathing new life into the game? I would be willing to invest my money in the future of UO, and I would bet that a large number of other UO players would do the same.
     
  2. Cetric

    Cetric Grand Inquisitor
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    Because I know damn well a month after i buy my lifetime membership, they will announce uo is going bye bye.
     
  3. Llwyd

    Llwyd Guest

    Taking their track record and layoffs into consideration, I wouldn't put much faith in any offer from EA for a lifetime subscription. If, however, Richard Garriott reacquired all rights and control over UO, such an offer might be very appealing.
     
  4. Aran

    Aran INFRACTION INFRACTION INFRACTION!
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    They tried this.

    Twice.

    I didn't trust them the first two times and it turned out just as I expected, the third time is shaping up the same. Why would I see the first three as losing bets then go for the fourth?

    Also, UO is great just how it is. Trying to "be in line with 'modern' games" is what would cause most of the current players to leave. UO is unique. Let's keep it that way instead of forcing it into a niche it doesn't fit that would only fragment and splinter it.
     
  5. AesSedai

    AesSedai Guest

    - Oh really? Are you sure you're not just conjecturing and supposing (that is so '97.. at least that is how long the end has been near for UO - but hey, someone will pwn the prediction of UO's downfall one of these days... yet since there are just so many names in the hat, I wonder who will win? At least you were unwilling to predict a date)?
     
  6. Sargon

    Sargon Seasoned Veteran
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    Sure UO is fine in the short term, but it can only hang on for so long with a dwindling player base. The question is whether EA is satifsifed just trying to minimize the bleeding and hang on as long as possible, or whether they would be willing to take a chance to potentially ensure the long term viability of UO. A limited lifetime subscription offer could be a great way to raise money for a major re-engineering of the game, and I'm not talking about just another KR or SA client. Could they pull it off? Maybe... Maybe not... but I'd be willing to give them one more shot.
     
  7. Viper09

    Viper09 Grand Poobah
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    *yawn*

    Tired of all these doomsayers.

    But a lifetime subscription? Not sure how well that would do considering the size of UO and the financial position of EA/Mythic. Sure it would be nice, but how well would it do for EA and would you actually want to pay that much?
     
  8. AesSedai

    AesSedai Guest

    - Would not offering a limited lifetime subscription provide the chance to further perpetuate the 'minimilization of bleeding' -supposition that we've already witnessed incessantly? Furthermore, it seems to me that these other games offering lifetime subscriptions before they even begin are just shooting themselves in the feet, as if they do not even believe they will last beyond 18 months... would you like that to be your game's slogan: 'Hey buy a lifetime subcription to my game... because who knows if I will have any subscribers 18 months from now. So buy this Now, place your bet, and see how well we support our game 18 months from now! Do it! Buy now!....' Imo - that is a ****-poor business model, especially if/when a several dozen million dollar initial investment jumps to such an extreme; the only thing I could see to be sillier would be if EA jumped to that extreme after ~13 years of profit they have had from their cash cow that we love to call UO... cripes, maybe I should be worried.
     
  9. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
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    Since many new MMO's don't survive long that would be a great move for the game company. A large cash inlay and shut down the game when it doesn't catch on. Game company wins, their customers lose.

    UO has lasted 13 years in spite of what EA has done to it. Since it is still survivng I suspect it will go on for many years more, in which case EA would lose money in the long run.


    Other modern games are simple fancy graphic shooters with little other content. UO has so much content that redoing it all would be a major & costly project. Far more costly than what a 'modern game' would cost to make. EA would have to charge an ungodly amount for those lifetime memberships to cover it's cost of redoing such a complex and large game as UO.





    They can slow or stop the player loss by redoing the monsters in the game. The things have to many hit points and do to much damage to fast.

    I play spellslingers by choice and the ML & SA monsters have so many dang hp that the best spell type against them may only change the monsters health bar by a pixel or two, if that.

    Join UO wanting to play a mage? Don't count on hunting with spells the first few months. 20 regeants don't last long when many spells fizzle & do little damage when they work. I started mages on Legends & Atlantic during Chessie's crashes. They have to melee to hunt most of the time.

    The devs need to be made to start new characters and play as a newbie has to. I suspect they would find the play experience more annoying than fun.

    With EA laying off workers and the ecomony over the next few years looking to remain bad per the news reports. I wouldn't buy a lifetime membership. EA could decide to dump UO and replace it with a 'modern game' thats all pixel crack combat and little else and we would have nothing for our money.

    Shoot, I've bought three stand-alone games to put on my computer now that I've got a fresh OS install. Something to play when I get tired of playing up-to-UO:SE UO and still see no point to hunting UO:ML & UO:SA's super-monsters.

    I bought ML & SA for the crafting changes. The ML dungeons & SA dungeons were a waste of man-hours. All they made happy were the uber-gear kids.

    I think EA finally caught on and thats why they gave us Imbueing with the 120 powerscrolls being so easy to get and the Scrollbinders so that regular non-uber players can more easily get to where they can cope with the 5000 hp, do 100+ points of damage monsters of ML & SA.

    EA's UO managers may have finally gotten their heads back out into the sunshine where they can see the light.

    Myself, I suspect UO will still be here when the Guy Upstairs decides it's time I leave this world. It may not last that long, but it's got more content than anything else out there and that is what truely counts.
     
  10. Aran

    Aran INFRACTION INFRACTION INFRACTION!
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    But I, and a great many more like me, do NOT want that, and would simply leave, were that to happen.

    Gone.

    No more.

    Not another penny to EA. Likely any new EA games, either.

    EA would be dead to me. Ultima Online, a long past memory.


    It's a gamble that would cost them dearly, and not just in the short term.
     
  11. popps

    popps Always Present
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    Personally, I do not like the idea of a lifetime subscription.

    Why ?

    Well, first of all, could it be guaranteed that the game will be there all along my lifetime ?

    And even if there was a reimbursement plan, with money reimbursed should the game end its service, what happens if the Company does not have enough funds to cover all reimbursements due ?

    Furthermore, could I be guaranteed that over the years to come after I pay my lifetime subscription the new content, add ons and general service will be satisfactory ?

    I mean, if I can end my subscription I have something that I can use to end my support of the game if it is going towards a direction I do not like. But if I pay it all for the rest of my life, how can I back off should things change in a way I do not like ?

    Too many ifs and doubts to my liking.

    I personally do not like the lifetime idea unless the discount is really considerable but I think it would still amount to hundreds of dollars if not thousands if it had to consider multiple years and if the discount is too heavy then it might reduce the amount of resources available for new content.

    Whichever way I look at it, I do not like it.
     
  12. Aran

    Aran INFRACTION INFRACTION INFRACTION!
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    Lord of the Rings Online had, if I remember right, a $200 Lifetime Membership when it launched.
     
  13. hen

    hen Certifiable
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    What if you bought a lifetime subscription and then a month or two later you died,(e.g. in a fire).
    Would you get your money back?
     
  14. Phaen Grey

    Phaen Grey Lore Master
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    I honestly can't see buying a lifetime membership unless it was stated that when the time comes for ea to shut the public servers down, the server/client software were made available so that those with lifetime memberships could run their own servers.
     
  15. Aran

    Aran INFRACTION INFRACTION INFRACTION!
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    I don't think you get what "lifetime membership" means.
     
  16. Mitzlplik_SP

    Mitzlplik_SP Guest

    Lifetime memberships aren`t a good idea for any game. I mean your shooting yourself in the foot right out of the gate. If UO went to that kind of crap I would finally concede the end is in sight.

    I don`t know why a successful company would want to limit their income by giving someone a one time fee for endless play. Makes no sense financially.
     
  17. Cogniac

    Cogniac Grand Inquisitor
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    UO has recouped its initial development costs 100 times over. There is absolutely no incentive for EA to do this. It would cost them money. This will never happen.
     
  18. the 4th man

    the 4th man Lore Master
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    A lifetime subscriptions alot less than what I've dished out so far, for 2 accounts.......:wall:
     
  19. Aran

    Aran INFRACTION INFRACTION INFRACTION!
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    Three accounts here. Ten years next month for one, six or so for another, three for the third.
     
  20. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    I would buy a $200 lifetime membership in a heartbeat. That's less than the regular cost of two years worth of six month subscriptions, and I'm thinking it is a pretty safe bet that UO will be around for at least another two years.

    But EA is all about $$, and in the long run they would lose $$ on that kind of subscription offer, so they would never make an offer like that. I expect that the publishers of LotRO are ruing that business decision themselves.
     
  21. Evlar

    Evlar Guest

    Well, I signed up for the new Star Trek Online beta, so have since had plenty of emails from the developers of this new MMO. One of these emails was to offer "lifetime" subscription via a one-off payment (two or three hundred dollars), with exclusive content offered to such subscribers that is unique to these accounts.

    In all honesty, it's potentially a good way for developers to boost the coffers to some extent upon launch (or pre-official launch) of a game, though for some reason I doubt it would work so well with UO. It might work well with a licensed brand like Star Trek, but UO simply doesn't have the following that a licenced movie/tv brand has the potential to generate.

    From a cost perspective, clearly it's an attractive proposition to hardcore players. It's unlikely that EA would offer such a promotion in my view.

    For one, I believe most likely to sign up to such an offer, would be existing players. This would therefore mean a long term loss in revenue from these account holders.

    Secondly, I doubt that EA would be prepared to outlay what would be required to promote such an incentive, in order to generate new or returning players. You have to cast your line to catch fish, something which from a UO perspective, is very much neglected.

    From a purely personal perspective, long term such a proposition would be attractive financially to sign up to. I genuinely do believe though, that there will be a point (and within the next two years) where UO will either be wound down, possibly sold on to another producer (arguably Japanese given the player numbers for their servers), or at least scaled down significantly (server closures, developer job losses, latter of which has already happened since the Mythic/Bioware merge).

    I'm not wishing to sound like a harbinger of doom, I look at what EA has done over the last few years with some of their online games or online content. More recently, look at the following:

    http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=230601

    Granted, these are not perhaps games along the lines of UO, however, current UO subscriber figures "to date sit around 135,000 subscribers (approximately 70,000 of whom are Japanese)" to quote Wikipedia, it certainly wouldn't be surprising to at least see UO server closures over the next two years. Note though that in the article link, servers are already being dropped for 2008/2009 launched titles.

    It's evident that EA in Japan are supporting and promoting the Japanese servers more so than anywhere else, therefore it makes good business sense that they will support their servers while subscriptions remain at a good enough level.

    In summary then, I would predict that we will see server closures to shards that don't have sufficient players (in the eyes of EA), to make them "profitable". With the merger of Mythic/Bioware production teams, there's potential that UO falls further down the pecking order of the manpower available to the merged entity, in favour of general release games. This may lead to further decline in the quality of of the "product" we subscribe to, which always risks losing further subscriptions. Alternatively, given some of the quality games that Bioware have produced, their input may add to the overall "quality" of UO, though it could be argued, this might not be to the UO "purist's" liking.

    Of course, I hope that I am wrong. Although not particularly affectionate towards some of the changes over the years, UO remains the only online game I've continued to play for many years.
     
  22. Olahorand

    Olahorand Slightly Crazed
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    I also would go for a lifetime subscription if one would be offered. No more hassles with international purchases of game time, credit cards not accepted, permanent tax disease for European customers ...
    I could also imagine, if access to the game would be part of a bundle of online games, i.e. Warhammer online, which you can access with a monthly payment, this would also help our population.
    *Salute*
    Olahorand
     
  23. Gelf

    Gelf Guest

    Not sure about a lifetime subscription, but would pay a couple extra dollars a month for a premium acct that let u have 2 houses on it
     
  24. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
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    Many would, but it's not going to happen. EA now gets an extra months fee out of it's players for every extra house we want. They would lose money if they let us have two houses per account for an amount less than what an additional month's subscription fee is.
     
  25. Warpig Inc

    Warpig Inc Babbling Loonie
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    EA would take that influx of funds to lunch some new POS and very little would see its way to UO.
     
  26. KalVasTENKI

    KalVasTENKI Babbling Loonie
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    1. "New MMOs" have an unpredictable life span.

    2. Ultima Online having a complete overhaul of the game engine would be basically making a new game while keeping the old name. Which is completely off because that is cutting out the 2d client which is why UO is UO and the majority of subscribers use 2d.

    Not only would they lose tons and tons of money while doing a lifetime subscription but they would also lose their most loyal subscribers ( the majority of players ) who play 2d. [ Only way EA is making money from this game is the monthly subscriptions. Only reason why they didn't shut this game down ]

    Just with that being said, this idea that you bring to our attention would completely destroy UO.

    Modern games are modern games for a reason. What's the point of making a nostalgic classic into a modern game? What sense does that make? None.




    3. THIS GAME HAS ONLY SURVIVED BECAUSE OF 2D AND LOYAL SUBSCRIBERS


    And actually no this game is bringing a lot more players back sense the installment of faction artifacts and imbuing.





    / Thread. / Thread.
     
  27. Fink

    Fink Guest

    What does "lifetime" subscription really mean?

    Over the lifetime of the game?
    I would need some guarantee as to how long that is before deciding whether it's good value or not.

    Over the lifetime of the player?
    The account holder dies and the account is void, seems a bit callous.

    Over the lifetime of EA?
    I really think they'll still be in business long after they've decided to drop UO.
     
  28. Warsong of LS

    Warsong of LS Seasoned Veteran
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    You all know exactly what EAMythic would do if they offered lifetime subscriptions? Many of us would by them, then it would be announced that the lifetime sub was for access to the servers only and all further expansions would have to be purchased for 39.99 each. And since they would be losing monthly fees, we would get even more craptacular expansions (like 2 a year) to keep up the revenue flow.
     
  29. Lord Gareth

    Lord Gareth UO Content Editor | UO Chesapeake & Rares News
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    Lifetime subscription? Yes and No. I say why not? Whatever they want to do.

    I am happy to report that we have around eight returned players in just our player run town on Chesapeake. most of them have two accounts each.

    And we have two more people returning after they quit a few months back. Guess they heard about the EMs and Mesanna with the player run towns. So its only ten returned within two months but, we haven't lost anyone in those two months.
     
  30. Aran

    Aran INFRACTION INFRACTION INFRACTION!
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    Gareth would you DO SOMETHING with that plot by Zento? I don't care if it's for sale, just make it less ugly.
     
  31. Sean

    Sean Slightly Crazed
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    ROFL


    As far as lifetime subscribtioons, I don't see EA doing it at this stage of the game. As far as other games, it's all about the gamble. Will the game last long enough for me to realize a "profit" on my transaction. I did get the lifetime/founder offering in LOTRO back in Jan 2007. The game actually opened April '97. So at 9.99 per month, it would take me about 20 months of play to break even, as of now I'm at 33 months now, so for me the gamble paid -off. The lifetime offering for STO was $299 and at the base monthly price of 14.99 (there are some mutli-month discount plans) it would still take about 20 months to break even. So the gamble is, will the game last longer than 20 months and will it keep my interest that long.

    My decision on LOTRO was that I'm an LOTR fanatic, love the graphics and gameplay, gives me a nice change of pace from UO. I'm not sure any other game can guarantee my interest for that long.

    Just my random thoughts on the subject.
     
  32. Amren

    Amren Journeyman
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    Problem is, those MMO's with no monthly fee find other ways to make back their money.

    Look at Guild Wars for example. All you need is the game and you don't pay monthly, however they try and get you to use the Guild Wars store as much as possible (upgrade storage, buy full skill unlocks, etc)

    Imagine if EA said you can play for free, however we will charge you $10 to access your in game house...
     
  33. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    One thing I hadn't thought of with this idea is the whole issue of housing. I think they would have to re-institute the house refresh system so that we don't have absentee landowners dominating the landscape. Even just requiring that you log on once a month to refresh your housing would probably be enough.
     
  34. Sargon

    Sargon Seasoned Veteran
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    Don't we already?
     
  35. Sargon

    Sargon Seasoned Veteran
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    While I would love to see server merges in order to improve shard populations, most players are too attached to their houses for it to ever work. It becomes a financial question of whether the cost of server maintenance is greater than the subscription revenue of the players who will quit over their lost property and that would be an extremely difficult measure to predict. Has EA ever published any information with a breakdown of their server expenses?
     
  36. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    You have a good point, but I think the problem could potentially be exponentially worse if there were lifetime subscriptions offered with no housing refresh criteria.
     
  37. JHall

    JHall Guest


    Amen.