Via Massively, I learned that All Points Bulletin, a game much on my radar, has received a release date (NA – 6/29, EU 7/2) and a pricing plan:
The retail client will be available digitally or in stores ($49.99/£34.99/€49.99) and will include 50 hours of ‘action’ game play plus unlimited time in the social districts. These districts include character customizing, socializing, and marketplace trading. Once you burn through your initial 50 hours of action play, you can purchase an additional 20 hours for $6.99 (£5.59, €6.29) or opt for the 30-day ‘unlimited’ package at $9.99 (£7.99, €8.99). There will also be 90 and 180 day discounts available.
I do like the pre-loaded hours option. If they were available, I would likely have hours in World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online, and who knows what else. So kudos to them for going back to a play-by-hour, and giving the consumer more options. Yet, from all that I have read All Points Bulletin is more like a Grand Theft Auto version of Team Fortress 2 with a thin veneer of persistence found in the MMO genre. It sounds like a lot of fun, but I am just not sure about their subscription and pseudo-subscription model.
To be fair, with my gaming time 50 hours is a ton of game time, especially with all the other MMOs I am involved with. If I even played the game for 50 hours on its own, the game would be considered a pretty good success in my book. And, I guess that’s why it feels a little silly, and why the business model might be their Achilles’ Heel. It feels like they are saying, if you really like our game, then we will make you pay more without really giving you more. If you kind of like it, then you will get your money’s worth with the cost of entry.
I am a bit surprised they went this route of “pay for access” rather than following a simple microtransactions route (which they seem to hint at as having also with RTW points). Honestly, I think EA might be testing the waters here, and it’s sad they are doing it with this unique game. In a few years, people might be paying more for a block of hours just to play Wodern Marfare Tr3s (developed by EA’s brand new studio) on top of things like monthly X-Box subscriptions.
What do I know? The devoted seem plenty willing to shell out plenty of money to show their devotion. Yet, this kind of devotion seems forced. It’s one thing to want to buy glowponies and shiz because I love the game and want to play it more. It’s another thing to have to buy more access time because I love the game and want to play it more. But, isn’t that what subscriptions are anyway? I’ll be watching this with great interest.
you’re not a dog, are ya Gary