Apr 9, 2010 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
Dungeons and Dragons Online, an MMORPG by Turbine, recently switched from the usual online game business model of charging a monthly subscription to a “freemium” model. Players get the game for free, but can pay for additional content or items with an in-game store. Unlike others who have tried similar ideas before, Turbine went to great lengths to prevent the game from being crippled for users unable to pay for extras.
How did that turn out? DDO has had a 500% increase in revenue and their player base has effectively doubled. An interesting post over at Wow.com has the full story.
“Everyone can play through the content without ever getting anything from the store, and they’ll have a fine time of it. What we’re pretty proud of with the whole system is the fact that the player owns any content they buy.”
I pressed for a bit of clarification. He obliged by likening most subscription-based games, like WoW, to renting something. When you buy an expansion pack for WoW, you only have access to that content, or any content, while your subscription is active. If your subscription lapses, you can’t play what you bought anymore. “If you buy a content pack from the DDO store, on the other hand, it’s yours forever, regardless of whether you’re currently subscribed or not. If you’re normally a VIP and have a rough month financially, you can go back to the free-play model and still play what you purchased in the store,” Currie said.
What I’m wondering now is whether we’ll be seeing Turbine try to apply the same model to some of their other games, such as Lord of the Rings Online? (LOTR Online is sold in retail stores, and operates with a fee structure very similar to World of Warcraft‘s, so it doesn’t seem all that likely.) What effect will this have on the gaming industry, or on the content industry in general over time?
Mar 24, 2010 by Matt | Posted in General
Back in January I mentioned that Warner Brothers was pushing Netflix and Redbox into deals where they would not receive new DVDs until 28 days after the release date. (WB being under the impression that making it more difficult to rent films will cause people to buy them instead…) I said that I disapproved of that sort of customer-corralling, and thought it to be a rather bad business practice.
Well, it seems it’s time for an update on that…
Blockbuster, the decaying brick-and-mortar movie rental behemoth, will still be getting their new releases as they come out. The deal inked with Warner Brothers doesn’t just give Blockbuster a competitive edge to prop-up their failing business with, but it may mean that Blockbuster will be the only rental service to have new releases on their launch date.
In its announcement, Warner reaffirmed its commitment to assuring that Blockbuster remains the “only multichannel provider that has every hot new movie on the day of its release.” Indeed, with the agreements it struck with more innovative and competitive movie rental services like Netflix and Redbox, Blockbuster really is the only mainstream way for people to get movies on release day without buying them.
Can you say antitrust?
May 6, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Design
DesignM.ag recently interviewed eight designers in a fantastic group interview. Chris Coyier, Collis Ta’eed, Todd Garland, Jon Phillips, Chris Spooner, Adii Pienaar, Jacob Gube, and Adelle Charles gave their answers to a series of questions, most of them about personal projects.
Many designers and developers get the itch to work on their own projects in addition to doing client work or a full-time job. For some this is just a creative outlet without the restrictions that come with client work or being an employee, and for others it is a chance to make an additional income. Part-time projects can even turn into a full-time income in some cases.
I enjoyed the end result. It’s a very informative post, and the designers certainly had plenty to say in response to the questions. Plus, having read blog entries by many of the designers, talked with them on Twitter, and used some of their products, it was even more interesting.
Group Interview On Designers and the Pursuit of Personal Projects [DesignM.ag)
Mar 8, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Marketing
Readers of Webmaster-Source, listen up! UPrinting, a cheap business card printing company that I’ve found to be of good quality, has offered to give 1,000 business cards each to two people from our community.
Two winners will be chosen at random from those who comment before the deadline of March 15. (Midnight, EST.)
How to Enter
- Leave a comment on this post, from the form at the bottom, telling us why you want the business cards, and what you will use them for. Will you promote your website by tacking them up on bulletin boards? Will you carry them around with you at a convention or conference?
- Be sure to leave a valid email address so we can contact you and see that you receive the business cards.
- Optionally move to the United States or Canada if you don’t already live there. UPrinting will charge a shipping fee if you reside outside of either country.
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May 29, 2008 by Matt | Posted in General
What’s with the merger mania? A lot of good websites have been acquired recently, and let’s not forget the infamous Microhoo…
CNET was acquired by CBS, Ars Technica was absorbed by Condé Nast, owner of Reddit, Wired, and Webmonkey, and countless other web companies have met similar fates.
This is worrying. Big corporations are swallowing good websites, and the future is foggy when it comes to what will happen to the sites. When a big media company buys out another company, it often ends in the purchased company no longer being what it once was.
Condé Nast has said that they don’t want to meddle in Ars Technica’s affairs too much, but what about CNET? CBS isn’t likely to sit back and let them continue on as before. Sure, they didn’t ruin Last.fm when they bought them, but I’m unsure whether we’ll see the same treatment with CNET. I hope they don’t ruin the site, but there’s a good chance that won’t be the case. As someone on Digg pointed out, the $1.8 Billion CBS paid for CNET is a bargain for their domains alone. News.com, com.com, mp3.com, download.com, etc. CBS is a big corporation that has shown that they mainly care about money. They could very well sell-off some of the domains, or put them to new use. (One notable example would be puttung News.com to use for non-tech news.) There are plenty of things that they could do to ruin the site (fire the employees that make CNET, well, CNET, bringing in tech-ignorant people as replacements, comes to mind…)
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