At the end of the last millennium, the Internet opened the ban to a whole series of features that, as we can see, are here to stay: rankings, communities, tournaments, user-created content, cross-play games, patches and mods are the bread of every day of the players.
The MMORPG games took these possibilities to the limit and created a new conception of videogames.
What are MMORPG games?
MMORPG games are massively multiplayer online role-playing games ( Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game ) that capture the gameplay of the classic role – avatars, abilities, levels and experience are not lacking – and set them in virtual worlds to which they are They connect thousands of people at once.
The persistent world of the MMORPGs, in which everything follows its course after having closed the window of the game, converts them into alternative universes with a life of their own. These grow in size and content over time so that players always have something to do. The new genre came to change the way to obtain income and today we can find a multitude of models and many combinations of them. In this article, we will review which ones exist, as well as which are the advantages and disadvantages that each one entails.
What do business models succeed in MMORPG games?
Single payment. The traditional method, with Guild Wars as the maximum exponent of the genre, has the advantage of offering all the content from the beginning. The buyer makes sure to have the complete experience and without limits. However, only the initial payment is usually insufficient for the long-term maintenance required by the huge worlds expected of an MMORPG. For this reason it is a decadent model.
Subscription. The classic of the models goes through the payment of a monthly fee for connecting to the server and entering the virtual world. The reference of the MMORPG games, World of War craft, popularized the method and today, despite having lost half of the subscribers that reached in 2010, is still the king of the genre. A few have dared to subscribe for life, although their high prices (between 200 and 400 euros) have made it never rise as a popular trend.
The player who pays monthly is, by far, the most faithful – after all, he is paying for that time – and, if he is offered content regularly, is able to remain in the world for years, in part thanks to the emphasis placed on team play. As in the traditional method, there are no barriers to the gameplay. On the contrary, to sustain the interest of the player requires a constant investment in making the virtual world bigger and richer, and the attachment to a game practically excludes the player from any other, since it would imply the loss of the community that is He has agency.
Free-to-play. The prevailing trend in the last five years has given reason to the drivers of this method. The advantage is obvious: the free distribution of the software ensures a critical user base that all MMORPG requires to start. Many games of payment have turned this model as soon as they have suffered a mass exodus among its players, thus extending its useful life a few years. The null barrier of entry also encourages you to try a game that you are not convinced of. Therefore, even the almighty World of War craft has offered a free option with limitations to enter its world.
The monetization of these products goes through microtransacciones: players can buy mounts, weapons, armor, etc. While these objects stand out only for their visual appearance (the so-called ” skins “) there are usually no problems. Complaints arise when stores offer items that greatly enhance certain player states, affecting very negatively the gaming experience of those who do not pay. However, the pay-to-win so reviled in the West is a practice morally accepted by Asians, so the target market is key in the definition of the monetization strategy.
Donation ware. A minority of games is supported solely by donations, but even the most veteran and known as Dwarf Fortress have shown that this option is unprofitable, although patronage platforms like Patron have made it a bit easier.
Choosing the right business model for an MMORPG game can make the difference between stardom and failure. Although almost all recent titles have joined the free-to-play fashion , most of them bet on hybrid models , offering the player different advantages depending on whether he pays the full game or a monthly fee, giving more freedom to the user willing to spend.