The $15/month fees are massively profitable, none of these modern MMORPGs are "just scraping by". They're raking it in.
I agree with the guy who is asking for the ability to pay less money than a guy who plays all the time. There should be a cheap 10-hour purchase plan, where your first 10 hours of any months are like.. 5 bucks. If you play 11 hours, you immediately go into the standard monthly plan (you add 10 bucks to your billl). For one thing, this invites casual gamers, and most gamers are casual gamers. They play a few hours a week, if even that. So it's fair to them. Second, this invites more people to buy the game in the first place, and get hooked on it. I'm sure lots of people will go to the 11th hour, because the past 10 hours were so great. And since it was their own choice to pass 10 hours, they only blame themselves for the higher charge, instead of the company :-P
I would like to suggest to people who are fed up with high MMORPG fees.... to organise themselves into a massive group of consumers, form a coherent mass organisation, and then lobby the game companies for reduced fees. If the company ignores them, they can threaten to all cancel their subscriptions at the same time. It's kinda like how labor unions work. The workers are united, and threaten to take away their total labor power, when one of their members has a grievance. Hmm that's kinda like the Three Musketeers slogan.. All for One, One for All. Haha.
Cancelling subscriptions en masse would scare the bejeezus out of a company. Even if it was just 10% of the total player base. Of course, it won't be long before game companies ban consumer organisation efforts within the game. I dunno bout you folks, but when I applied for a job, I have to sign off on a paper agreeing that I will never pass literature to other workers. That's designed to prevent you from spreading union info. So I'm sure the game companies will do the same. This market pressure concept works for other policy changes (I've been told international market pressure against South Africa was what defeated apartheid). So it can work for games too.
I like the other guy's idea of "instant MMO", custom made by individuals. If you think about it, it's not too hard to pull off. For one thing, there are THOUSANDS of Half-Life servers out there. I calculated the yearly fees that go into each server per year, and it was extremely high (I think 20 million dollars a year!). These servers operate entirely for free (and some donations). So insant player-run MMO servers are very much possible, but companies don't want to provide that, as it will remove the consumer's interest for their future products. It's just more profitable to milk you forever. Another guy said that the fee goes into constantly adding content. I would remind him that the amazing Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, and Quake Team Fortress were all top quality games that were entirely free. Nevermind the endless supply of custom sounds, maps, and models. Another example that's semi-close to a player-run MMO is the Neverwinter Nights community. The game allows players to create all the quests, custom treasure, models, maps and graphics that they want. Not only that, you can spread your game world across multiple servers. When the player steps into a portal, he's shifted over to another server. EVERY SERVER OF NWN IS COMPLETELY FREE TO PLAY ON. Bioware refuses to allow any server to charge for gameplay. So we're talking about tens of thousands of kind-hearted computer gamers out there who are providing total conversions, and expensive servers, all without expecting any financial reward from it. Hmm now that I think of it, the gaming community is pretty damn generous and selfless :-P
Finally, I think high service charges are the MMO industry's own enemy. For example, I'm guessing that many Everquest players have not tried Star Wars Galaxies because they can't possibly pay $30/month (both are Sony games). They WANT to play more MMOs, alot more, but just can't. MMOs are all unique in their own way, but usually not unique enough to subscribe to multiple games. I think Sony, at least, should consider lowering the monthly to $20/month TOTAL if the player plays both SWG and EQ.
OK i'm done +_+
This comment was edited on Apr 13, 22:50.