Paying for hours instead of months in MMOs?

I don’t really write a lot on this site. But I figured responding to this blog post would be a good topic to throw in here.

While going though the daily RSS feeds I came across a post about alternative payment for MMO subscriptions. The poster “C.K.” has noticed a problem I have myself been dealing with over the years. Namely that some of us don’t really have the time, or motivation, to play for a month at a time and really get ours moneys worth of game time.

Currently there exists basically two types of payment models for MMOs: Subscription and micro-payments. And subscriptions basically buys you access to the servers for a specific period of time, no matter if you actually use it or not. And that is then the problem. If you don’t really feel you get enough out time you are likely to simply cancel your subscription. And with a subscription cancelled the chance of returning to the game becomes very slim (at least for me).

While it is a logical conclusion that a pay-as-you-go sort of plan might work in your scenario, it would fundamentally undermine the first two M’s in MMORPG. If you had to pay for each minute in-game, most people would constantly be thinking of getting the most of that minute, making it much less likely they would have any sort of patience with waiting for or helping other players.

Personally I solved the issue by simply getting a lifetime subscription for Lord of the Rings Online. I have had the same issue many times. But for me it was never truly about the actual money “wasted”. Instead it is more about paying for something I don’t use.

Having a lifetime subscription isn’t likely saving me any money, but it completely removes the consideration of putting money into the game on a continual basis. And allows me to take time off the game and then come back with no real hurdles in place.

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