Paying to Keep the Casuals Away
Alright, the title of this post sounds terribly elitist, let me assure you that I have nothing at all against casual players. What I do dislike is if games are modeled to fit their tastes and not mine simply because there are more of them than of me. Especially MMOs, like World of Warcraft, tend to cater a lot to larger groups of (potential) players, removing game elements that used to be very interesting to smaller groups. This is a smart business decision as more paying customers are surely a good thing – but what if the minorities simply paid more?
The real world is full of examples of niche products financing themselves through higher prices. Even grocery shopping gives you the option of going for the cheap mass market food or paying more to get something special. Me, I would absolutely pay double the normal subscription price for an MMO if that would guarantee me that it is tailored to the needs of players like me and ignores the potential of raking in more players by improving accessibility or what have you. Doubling the income per player should allow a company to operate just as well as they do now with just half their player base which should allow them to simply show the finger to the masses on the official forums.
As I said, I have nothing against casual players and I wouldn’t mind them playing the game as well. The intention of an increased monthly fee would not be to keep those casuals out, but to allow the game’s developers not to care about them. Every paying subscriber would essentially pay for an additional player that would play the game if it was less ‘hardcore’.
And really, would segregating the player-base according to taste be such a bad thing? Ideally it would be without the monetary difference, of course, but I fully understand that the mass market of casual(-ish) players is just plain bigger than the small group of people who want their games hard and in-game success to be (virtually) meaningful. So I’d be willing to bite the bullet and cough up some additional cash if it meant that I would get an MMO that’s made for players like me. How about you?