Thursday, February 03, 2005

Online Gaming Revenue Models Part II

Many thanks to Brian Sanderson for the following e-mail (excerpted):

The day of incremental billing is already here, Bill.

SOE with the release of Everquest 2 has introduced some interesting billing ideas:

1. You are limited to 4 characters across all servers in EQ2 (in EQ1 you could have 8 characters per server) for the $14.99 monthly subscription. You can increase this to 8 characters by purchasing the Station Access subscription ($21.99), which allows you to play any of the SOE online games.

The evil genius of this move is that they can pretend that you are getting access to several other "premium" games which you obviously don't have the time to play as you are trying to get more characters to play the main game.

2. You can have a great character website that can be used to upload your in-game screen shots etc... This directly takes on a free service introduced with the Magelo website (that was mostly free). Each level service you buy is another 1.99 per month (and I think there are 3).

3. They have introduced "adventure packs" as mini-expansions. Each will have a free portion that anyone can play, but if you wish to adventure deeper it will cost you 4.99 (one time price).

I did a little looking around and found this from a press release from January 16 about the Adventure Packs:
All players will have access to certain levels of the Adventure Packs; however in order to complete the content, players will need to purchase the Adventure Packs for a small fee.

So no one has started a Goober Server, but the idea of incremental revenue streams is already being implemented by Sony. It's based on content and access, though, not items.

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