You know, I am certain that at the beginning of the F2P/Monitization debates, that there was this heated debate that centered around the notion that “time is money” and that the M&S, basement dwelling or “time rich” gamer had an unfair advantage over the “money rich” gamers who felt their wallets should be able to be used to equalize the presence of the “time rich” gamer. Developers listened, or at least figured out how to manipulate both groups, and the subscription model died and the F2P concept arose out of the ashes.
I don’t disagree. I merely wish to point out the lack of focus on the middle class. I mean people who are both time and money-middle class. People who don’t want to or cannot play more than 2 hours a day (but they still play 1-2 hours a day), nor they can pay hundreds of dollars a month on a game (but they still pay $10-30/month). I believe this “middle class” is pretty big, even if it puts in less total hours than the “time rich” or less total money than the “money rich” class. People who work or study and don’t let their hobby consume their day – but do have their hobby. People who have disposable income, but not a top 1%-er.
The current monetization methods put them in worse position than either the “time rich” or the “money rich”. Consider World of Tanks (without rigging, because players make decisions assuming there’s none). The whales have gold ammo and gold tanks to earn XP, so they only play with fully decked tanks with overpowered ammo. The nolifers have thousands of hours of practice that allows them to aim as good as humanely possible. Both of them defeats the guy who pays premium subscription and maybe some credits to avoid playing farming tanks. The whale wins because his ammo penetrates your armor, the nolifer wins because he is aiming at the hole of your armor. What did the middle class guy get for his $15-20/month? A dead tank. His 50% accelerated training and 50% more credits won’t keep up with someone paying 300% more. His accelerated stuff give nothing that would make his tank any stronger. So why should he pay?
The same question can be asked in every monetized game: why pay anything unless you go full whale? Either enjoy the game for free (if it’s enjoyable), or pay enough to be the king of the hill and enjoy pwning “n00bs”. I believe more and more people will realize this and stop paying/playing. Which in turn creates the wrong impression that potential players are either free or whale, making the games more monetized.
I’m sure that if someone would take a leap for the abandoned middle class, he’d score big. What would be the “middle class game” holy grail? Equal subscription, no further monetization and time-locked servers. The last means that all servers are up 2 hours a day (in different times for different people). If you can play between 7PM-9PM, you go to such server and no one can out-nolife or out-pay you. Sure, someone can get more experience (not more resources) by having multiple subscriptions and playing in multiple timezones, but that would mean whale-nolifer, a rare combo besides professional players, streamers and their ilk.
Repeat the above 15 times, with computer restarts, checking internet, everything fine, then: