Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A small break from survival horror

So I'm taking a small break from survival horror for the time.  Just picked up Fallout New Vegas and started playing it with my friend Dyslexic penguin.  So I'll be putting up a review of that in a few days, more then likely this weekend so I have some time to fully absorb the new game.  So today I'll be talking about the pay models used in most online games.  The three main models you'll see in most online games are either a free model, micro payments or full subscription based.

Free based games mostly tend to be small, web based online games, or some pc based MMO's use this model as well (I'll go into greater detail on those as well soon).  Most free games are free, with either micro payments put in, or advertising features built in to generate revenue for the game.  Some even have subscription based services, offering the players more options if they choose to pay a monthly fee.   Subscription based games are actually the most common model of online games you'll find.  How these work is you agree to pay a standard monthly fee, and you get access to all of the content of the game.  So all of the standard updates ,areas, services and features are included in this.  Most companies will give you a small discount if you agree to pay multiple months in advance.

Micro payments are actually the newest version of transactions you'll find in alot of online games.  How these usually work is your given full normal access to the game, and you can do all of the usual things.  How micro payments come in is that you can pay some money to either get a special in game currency or access to a special store.  The special currency will allow you to buy in game items such as weapons, armor, abilities or skills.  Some games make it so you don't need to use micro transactions to acquire everything in the game, if you have the time to spend getting it yourself.  In these games micro payments let people even out the playing fields somewhat.  Others give the micro payers special privileges, special areas only they can go into or even special classes they get access too.

Some subscription based games have even gone the route of micro payments.  Turbine is a very good example, taking both of their games (Lord of the rings online and Dungeons and dragons online) and turning them into micro payment based.  You buy turbine points from their online store and use them to purchase expansions, new items, special offer and other things from the game.  So you actually get to pick and choose what items you want.  If three new classes come out and you only want one, just grab the one you want.  This makes it a bit cheaper on the average gamer.

The last type of payment is much more obscure, but it's called a life time payment.  It's usually a large sum of money (a few hundred dollars upfront) but it guarantees you access to the game as long as it lasts.  Turbine did it with Lord of the rings, Champions online had it, and so did the ill fated game Hellgate London.

I hope you enjoyed this look into various payment methods of online games.  If I've missed one, please let me know.        

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