I understand why many AAA MMO developers need to make more money. We’ve been paying $14.99 or about that since Ultima Online and the development cost of video games has gone up drastically since then, especially top tier MMOs. I know that in order to make back the money they put into the game developers are going to need to either raise the price of a subscription (suicide for any new game, and most likely for most established games unless World of Warcraft does it first), or find alternate ways of making money ON TOP of the subscription model.
What I do have a problem with is companies fleecing their players for no real reason other than the fact that they can. An angry fire was sparked inside of me when I read about EverQuest II’s new Cash Store mount, the Prowler. This mount is priced at, you guessed it, $25! $10 MORE than a monthly subscription. That means that the developers feel that this mount is worth almost double the content that I would experience in a month of gametime.
I know some people are going to already be angry and thinking “Blizzard did it first!” and fear not, I am COMPLETELY DISGUSTED by what Blizzard did. Let’s do a little math problem.
World of Warcraft (Last I heard) has 11 Million subscribers worldwide.
Blizzard Entertainment has (according to Wikipedia) 4,600 employees.
A monthly subscription to World of Warcraft costs $14.99
This math may not be entirely accurate, but it’s going to be good enough for this purpose.
$14.99 times 11 Million subscribers equals 164,890,000! A MONTH!
Let us assume that Blizzard Entertainment pays ALL of it’s employees $100,000 a year. This is almost certainly NOT the case, but let’s pretend.
A full year of salary for their entire staff would be $460,000,000. In three months they make $494,670,000. In four months they make over the entire cost of all of their employees being paid $100,000 a year, which I am CERTAIN is NOT the case.
Over a one year period, JUST off of World of Warcraft subscriptions, Blizzard Entertainment makes $1,978,680,000. This does not count the actual SALES of World of Warcraft or it’s expansion packs, or of any other Blizzard game.
The Celestial Steed made Blizzard Entertainment more than $3.5 MILLION dollars! In about a MONTH! In order to justify JUST the subscription cost alone, not to mention making people pay for a mount, a $25 mount, Cataclysm better come with three times the landmass of current WoW, contain next generation graphics, AI and gameplay, and have it’s next three years of content already made and ready to be given as patches at regular intervals.
Otherwise they’re just duping idiots into giving up their money, and I’m pretty sure being a conman is illegal. Let alone an entire company of them. Of course I blame the entire thing on Activision and their CEO Bobby “I want to kill fun” Kotick.
Wow, interesting math. Kinda makes you wonder where all the money is going.
Straight into Activisions Coffers, same place they are keeping the bonus money that Infinity Ward developers were supposed to get for Modern Warfare 2 (which they aren’t paying).
And it went into keeping Vivendi Universal up and running before they were bought out by Activision.
A cash cow like WoW can keep you alive when you make bad choices about the other games your company makes.