Mid-Session Game

EA CEO John Riccitiello said in a recent conference call that the upcoming BioWare MMO is a mid-session game, which are microtransaction based.  This caused quite a wave throughout the MMO news sphere, but EA came back to claim that their CEO is full of misunderstandings. 

I tried to do a Google search on “mid-session game,” and it truly seems to be a lexicographic frankenstein creation of EA used to tell their stockholders things.  Honestly, I find the term not catchy and kind of not descriptive of what they are trying to sell. From my understanding, a mid-session game is a microtransaction game that may also have a nominal buy-the-game fee or small subscription fee.

Mid-session evokes none of that.  I realize that EA might be trying to get away from the stigma attached to the filthy “microtransaction” word, but they can do better.  Mid-session seems to imply some sort of break in a gamer’s playing time.  “It’s mid-session.  Deposit 25 cents to continue playing.”  Even if Riccitiello is in the dark on his own company’s business models, I am excited with the possibility that another game might break away from the $15 flatline.  I honestly was not really interested in Star Wars: The Old Republic, but now I am.  The only thing I know about the game is Cloud-sword sized lightsabers, but I would pick it up on only that knowledge (and BioWare’s reputation) if it followed some rough equivalency of the Guild Wars business model.

Now “medium session game” makes sense, but that is just following the crowd.  Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft are both becoming “medium session games” where gamers can knock off a few solo quests or do a complete dungeon run in an hour or so.  Warhammer Online let’s players jump in and out (as long as there is ongoing PvP action) in an even shorter time.  So, the amount of play required is not really determinative of whether the game is a subscription-based game or not.  Therefore, EA, with all your money, and lawyers, and English major marketing execs… create a new term.

I hope that whatever alternative business model they do, though, it is right for our (read: my) Western MMO payment schedule culture, and they are not stupid or greedy in adding microtransactions to a game.

And best of all kids, I am liquid.

7 thoughts on “Mid-Session Game”

  1. “It’s mid-session. Deposit 25 cents to continue playing.”
    What is scary is that Aion from NCSoft is suppose to have a hard rule in place for amount of monthly hours playable.
    Now whether that is in Asian countries or will also include Western countries, who knows
    …Tell me this would not be insane.
    As to the EQ2 debacle, it at least shows me that I do not need that game on my list. Double dip FTL.
    But, I am of the mind that paying for transactions or “chapters” would be the better alternative…i.e: Guild Wars.
    If Bioware does this type of system, and micro trans for goodies, I will play it. And I am not a big Star Wars fan.

  2. I’ve said for weeks now that I’d buy into the SWTOR game if it’s sold like GW. If it’s another subscription game, it will fail, pure and simple. The market is not kind to subscription upstarts, Bioware’s reputation notwithstanding.

    I’ve also written several articles about microtransactions and dual currency models, and to put it bluntly, the stigma against them in the Western world is extraordinarily shortsighted and ignorant.

    Openedge1, from what I understand, even WoW has a daily limit of playtime in Asia (which is part of why they pay less than we do). A limit on Aion is par for the course. It’s a little odd, perhaps, but not unprecedented.

  3. The 300 hour monthly limit is required by Korean law. It doesn’t force them to have the limit anywhere else. China has a different, far harsher set of limitations IIRC. Both apply to Western MMOs in those countries too ofc.

  4. Well, based on this years offerings, we can see the “subscription” based MMO is going the way of the DoDo.
    It is like anyone but WoW is doomed to low pops or niche audiences or even closure.
    Maybe it is about time someone tried it different (worked for GW, who is the second largest MMO, if we can include them there, based on sales..)


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