Cage Match: Strategy and Revenue Battles

“We’ll be launching another MMOG — Free Realms — prior to The Agency late this year. And we’ve already said that we’re absolutely going away from standard subscriptions there, using ‘freemiums’ instead,” says John Smedley, SOE’s president. “That means you can play for free but you can also sign up for a club within the game if you want extra features.

“As for The Agency, we’re taking a wait-and-see attitude,” he adds. “Before we make any decisions, we want to see how the combination of free play, microtransactions, and advertising support works for Free Realms. If I had to guess, I suspect we’ll be doing the same with The Agency, but we’re not quite ready to commit.”

“In the meantime, we’ve designed the game to fit different models. Regardless which we actually choose, I foresee us moving to various business models other than subscriptions over time for newer games.”

Gamasutra – MMOG Business Models: Cancel That Subscription!

(Warning: before reading, do note that I indulged in a Latte a slight earlier than normal today, and therefore am quite flibberty-jibbety this morning. I’m suffering from roller-coaster-thought-processes, it seems. Do try to bear with me 😉 )

While many of the youth-based virtual world/MMO experiences are slipping closer and closer to establishing that common bond of “subscription” based (or product-purchase buy in) revenue models… some think a little differently for the adult fanbase of MMO’s. It will be an interesting change to a format that’s worked thus far.

We’ve (VW peeps, collectively) been talking about subscription models for a while, and I’ve had quite a few animated convos here at 6DG (when DON’T I have animated convos… sigh). Microbuys/microtransactions are an enigma wrapped in bacon for some peeps. While product-buy-ins are like coca~cola cans for Six Flags in summer, two birds & one stone, and cheap.

But again, for the tater tots – the ultimate multitasker… how will the industry make it easy for a kid to be a PAYING multi-member? How will kids be able to choose Bears vs Penguins? Cartoon Network MMO vs Nickelodeon MMO? Disney Radiator Springs (Cars) vs Disney Pixie Hallow (Disney Fairies)?

I’m only thinking that the path to market will be a bit more adventurous, like the yellow brick road, then say… Little Red Riding Hood’s sketchy path to Grandma’s.

The next year will probably show a variety of techniques, and LOADS of combo-patterns. …A little bit of subscription, with a splash of microbuy. A dash of product-buy-in with a smidge of microtransaction. A co-op business venture with a cup of free-fun. A hybrid of multi-brand cross promotion & subscription forming some mutant forever known as (dun dun duuuuun): Multi-bross prubscrotion (on second thought, that sounds rather dirty). The worlds is a giant oyster of possibility.

Who knows, maybe someone will discover a brilliant way to make EVERYONE happy (parents, kid advocates, businesses, VC’s, moderators, kids, brands, Dr. Evil, marketers, gym teachers, pitch forks, etc. ) < How great would that be?  Sigh. A girl can dream.

Anyone have any other possible combinations? Or perhaps a question as to WHY we can’t do it yet ANOTHER way? Or thoughts about kids & microtransaction, and why they do/do not work? Or thoughts about the future of product tie-ins & kids & VWs? Or anything else on your mind. Please do ramble. 😉

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