All Access Pass

SOE has theirs and NCSoft is working on one. Turbine should give some very serious consideration to having one. In fact, it just might keep them alive. Fire up an old AC2 server and include it just for fun.

I can only see an upside for an all access pass for any MMO company that has more than one game. It would create more box sales and keep more customers playing. Can anyone think of the downsides?

Oh and while I’m at it: Family Plans.

UPDATE: SOE raised their price to $29 for their pass. Are they nuts?

– Ethic

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Ethic

I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I’m more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

16 thoughts on “All Access Pass”

  1. It would be mostly upsides for the company, but…

    From a player perspective, I think paying for an all-access pass makes it less likely that you’re willing to branch out across companies and play different games for an extended period of time.

    If I’m an EQ, Planetside, and SWG fan and I already pay $30/month for an access pass (or whatever it is), I have established characters and friends in those communities. Even if WoW is fun, that’s another $15/month I’d have to pay on top of my other subscriptions so I might just stick to other offerings from Sony.

    Then again, maybe not.

  2. This is a smart idea, actually. The players win because they get more games for the fee that they’re already paying. The companies win because this encourages stickiness.

    Your suggestion that Turbine do this is an excellent idea. This would help a comparatively fledgling effort in the face of you-knWoW-what (note I said comparatively, they’re certainly not fledgling on their own terms).

    I hope they’re listening.

  3. Oops, forgot the downsides.

    One possible outcome of All-Access is that with multiple time-axis games on offer, the users might inevitably demand that they be permitted to transfer their avatars into other games. Before flaming this idea, consider this. If EQ players that have spent a great deal of time (and subscription money) acquiring and accomplishing things within Norrath, they may feel justified in carrying their “level” (or more generally, their “potential”) into Planetside’s Auraxis. Obviously, the translation couldn’t be one-to-one, but on a more abstract basis this idea is sound. And I think the notion sucks.

    In some ways, the Multiverse service is driving towards this model. The concept of transferable avatars is not new. I just can’t abide the thought of some Level 55 EQ player coming into Ploanetside and having similar powers to someone who’s played it for 24 months.

    Another downside? For the developer, having All-Access forces them to pay attention to properties that they might prefer sending off into the sunset. You mentioned “throwing up an AC2 server” for fun, which makes sense for the player but might not for the developer. This might divert their attentions in lieu of working on interesting content for their newer titles.

    Just my .02 cubits…

  4. It is the bomb.

    But I wish it would not be used to increase box sales (i.e. sales of games), but rather use games sales (or free downloads, even) to increase all access subscriptions.

    Competition in this area will be very good for gamers: like not paying more for a multi-game pass.

    1. You’re only playing one game at a time.
    2. You ARE buying games you wouldn’t have otherwise.
    3. Expansions, too.
    4. It increases retention.

    Why in the hell are they charging MORE for that?

  5. It’s a good thing. Period.

    Not only that, but hopefully by doing so not only can you create a fan of the game, you can encourage people to be fans of your products. Eventually creating a grateful dead like following that buys regardless of the product, but by virtue of the fact that you made it.

  6. Downsides: You need to have a variety of game types in order to avoid cannibalizing your player base. SOE and NCSoft are the only ones that would qualify.

    Your support costs will rise, since people are now paying 2-3x as much and will want proportionately more/better service.

    The late stages of a game’s life will be filled with people paying for the all access pass. If you shut the game down, you’re creating an opportunity for them to cancel the subscription completely.

    You’ll have a much harder time allocating resources among your stable of games. Are people playing this game because they enjoy it, or because they have the all access pass? They may play Auto Assault/Planetside more simply because it enables a casual playstyle, but consider EQ2 or Lineage to be their primary game. Not to mention the discount for the pass in the first place.

    These are manageable problems, of course, but it’s not all roses : )

  7. I think Turbine and EA Mythic could both offer a All-Access pass eventually when their new titles come out.

    Turbine:
    Asheron’s Call
    Dungeons and Dragons
    Lord of the Rings (coming soon)

    EA Mythic:
    Ultima Online
    Dark Age of Camelot
    Warhammer (coming soon)

    What would be really nice if a service was formed which would allow independent MMOs to join and then could charge players a single all-access pass fee. There are a lot of independent MMOs like Runescape, Puzzle Pirates, Eve Online, and Shadowbane which would benefit from a platform so they could share subscribers.

  8. A downside could be bookkeeping and accounting messes. If you have multiple studios or developers, you need a way to allocate those dollars across games. That can be difficult, can encourage hardship between studios (and general drama), and can even affect game development.

    Example: you pay each company a percentage based on what percent of players’ time is spent in that game. Developers now have an incentive to give you an incentive to stay logged in, like CoH’s badges that can only be sanely achieved by overnight AFK farming. However you get paid, you have an incentive to encourage players to do that.

  9. I don’t think it is as great as you all make it out to be. How can you justify charging me $15 for access to a single game when someone can pay $25 and get access to all three? Outside of the initial investment into buying the game there isn’t much upside as a player. Chances are most players will have it as a novelty instead of something they use to it’s full potential. The proverbial “spreading yourself too thin”.

    The last thing this market needs is a segregated community. Are you part of X Pass or Y Pass?

  10. “The last thing this market needs is a segregated community. Are you part of X Pass or Y Pass?”

    Are you US Alliance or Team Advantage?

    (spot the obscure reference, win a prize!)

  11. Jeff Freeman said: “Why in the hell are they charging MORE for that?”

    —————————————————————————

    Cause they are greedy! Also we let them do it…

  12. “What would be really nice if a service was formed which would allow independent MMOs to join and then could charge players a single all-access pass fee.”

    Another great idea.

    Here’s an unrealistic and contentious follow-on to that. Allow the players of these indie games to move between worlds *in-game*.

  13. I’d actually love this… I’m one of the very few fans of Auto Assault, and I dig CoX on an on/off basis. Plus very much looking forward to Aion and Tabula Rasa. Even at 24.99, I’d be sold. I can’t stand to pay for Auto Assault, even being a fan of it, on a consistent basis, but a plan like that would make it worth wild.

  14. I’ve always been of a mindset that MMO’s should either be free for the client and then pay a monthly fee, or Pay for the box and no monthly fee (ala Guild Wars).

    As for “pass” type deals, there has yet ot be a game company that has enough titles that interest me enough to justify buying a “pass”.

    Example nothing on Sony’s pass interests me outside of Planetside. Even that game I only play on a free account now (they need ot lower the price on the monthly fee, aside from the scale of the battles just about everything done in PS is now done by Battlefield games and it’s ilk)

    I will say though that Turbine if they had it might convince me. Currently giving DDO a try, and I’m really hoping LOTR is going ot be good.

  15. An all access pass isn’t what has me wondering. I think that’s a good model for Sony, but we all know that they’re pulling money in from stranger services (i.e. Station Exchange being profitable… wtf?!?!)

    What I wonder about is the idea of paying a flat fee for a lifetime subscription. I mean, what if everyone went for this plan? The company would have a huge influx of money, but would they have the budget to develop expansions in the long run?

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