Messing With Pricing Models

I was listening to a podcast a few days ago (one of many, unfortunately). I honestly can’t remember the name, but they were discussing the idea of new pricing models for games like Call of Duty or Battlefield. Someone said they wanted to be able to just buy the singleplayer for a flat $30. Though I’ll never understand why anyone would want to play the campaign of a CoD or BF game, I can see the reason behind it. If you don’t play multiplayer, why pay the extra money. If you only plan on using half the product, then you should only have to buy half the product.

Someone else had suggested going with an MMO like model. What if for instance, Call of Duty simply became Call of Duty Online. You buy in to the game for a reduced price, then pay a monthly fee to keep playing. Perhaps something like $10 or $15. Then they can release the map packs for free and whenever a “new game” would come out you simply label it an expansion pack. It could come with new modes, new maps, balance changes, etc. Imagine how much money Activision could make if instead of charging people once $60  and $15 three times, they charged $15 per month. They’d easily make back all their money and then some.

Lastly, I’d say the other price model worth considering is FTP. The only problem is making sure players can’t pay to win. CoD and BF don’t have something like TF 2’s hat system, nor their intricate balancing. Some weapons in CoD are clearly better than others and making those available to get on the outset would make it problematic for those who can’t pay.

What do you guys think? Should companies start breaking away from the standard $60 model and try out new things? Would you prefer something like the MMO model for first-person shooter multiplayer?

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